New Archive

A new Archive of MCRA Films has been created on You Tube -

This currently contains 43 Films - more will be added in the near future.

Mendip Cave Rescue - Black Hole, Swildons- Rescue 1989

This was one of the MRO’s largest rescues and involved bringing the casualty back through Sump 1 in Swildon’s Hole.

Length 7 minutes 27 seconds

Oliver Cromwell Lloyd in Gibraltar - 1960's and aged 70 with friends in Swildon’s Hole

Length 3 minutes 58 seconds

A World Apart – 1973

Made on 16mm cine film, using battery lights in Box Cave and Wookey Hole. A power cable was used for some of the shots in Rickford Farm Cave. Cavers – Tom Elkins and John Spence.

Length 23 minutes 15 seconds. Filmed by Nick Barrington

UBSS In Ireland – 1952 by Professor Edgar Tratman

Length 12 minutes 40 seconds (Filmed on 16mm colour film)

NHASA at Chancellors Farm – 2002

Length 6 minutes 3 seconds. Filmed by Eric Dunford.

Shatter Cave – 1981

Shot on Super 8 cine film on 28 January 1981. Lighting was with a 12 volt car headlight and a bank of Nickel/Cadmium Cells. Cavers – Angela Glanvill and Sue Durston.

Length 7 minutes 17 seconds. Filmed by Peter Glanvill.

Wessex at Gaping Gill 1991

Filmed on VHS. Cavers – Nick Williams, Pete Hann, Keth Fielder, Aubrey Newport, Nick Marachov, Andy Summerskill, Mark Helmore, Carmen Smith.

Length 8 minutes 52 seconds. Filmed by Mark Helmore and Carmen Smith

Opening of Honeymead Hole - 27 April 1996

Filmed on Hi 8 video tape.

Length 7 minutes 23 seconds. Filmed by Pete Hann

Candlelight Party in Swildon's Hole – 1964

This unusual film was made underground with only candle light on 18 December 1964. The shots on Priddy Green were taken on the next day. Cavers – Mick Pritchard, Leon Martindale, Brian Himbury and Ray Biggs.

Length 4 minutes 7 seconds.

Cave Diving Group 50th Anniversary - Wookey Hole – 1996

Filmed on Hi 8 video tape on 11 May 1996. The singers are the “Belfry Boys”. Also CDG at Wookey in 1982.

Length 9 minutes 1 second. Filmed by Pete Hann.

Opening the Mendip Nature Research Committee Hut - 1967

This film was donated by Ray Biggs. Dignataries present include Bishop Henderson, Lord Waldergrave, Dr. F S Wallis, Harry Ashworth and Fred Barrow.

Length 3 minutes 8 seconds.

White Pit Cave, Priddy – 1996

Filmed on Hi 8 video tape.

Length 5 minutes 13 seconds. Filmed by Pete Hann.

Wessex Cave Club – MRO Rescue Practice in Box Mines - 1994 Filmed on Hi 8 video tape.

Length 5 minutes 42 second. Filmed by Pete Hann.

Wessex Cave Club Dig at Clay Holes - 1993

Filmed on VHS tape. The tractor driver is Jim Young.

Length 12 minutes 41 seconds. Filmed by Judy Hewins

Wessex Cave Club - Caving in Ireland - 1960 & 1964

Filmed on standard 8mm cine film. Underground lighting with a Bauer lighting unit.

Length 15 minutes 59 seconds. Filmed & Commentary by Maurice Hewins

Cave Diving Group Training at Wookey Hole – 1974

Filmed on Super 8 cine Film.

Length 4 minutes 37 seconds. Filmed & Commentary by Phil Hendy

Digging at St. Lukes Hole – 1996

Filmed on Hi 8 video tape. Caver – Max Midlen, winch operators Bob & Ann Scammell.

Length 2 minutes 56 seconds. Filmed by Pete Hann.

Discovering Mendip - 1970

Black & White with sound. Made by the ACG&AS. Directed by David Bromwich, narrated by John Craven, sound by Bernard Roughton. c. 1970. (For full description see bottom of page).

Length 12 minutes 53 seconds. Filmed by Clive North.

Netherworld Journey – 1951

Black & White, no sound. Title – Netherworld Journey – A Bridge Studios Production. Made by the ACG&AS. Cavers – Mr Young (who farmed the land on which GB Cave is situated) in army steel helmet. The entrance to GB is before the “blockhouse” was built. Cavers on the ladder are climbing from the Gorge into the Ooze.

Length 26 minutes 19 seconds. Filmed by Ev Humphries.

Hunters’ Lodge Inn Sink

Length 10 minutes 2 seconds.

Opening Eighteen Acre Dig – 1991

This film was made on VHS Tape. The digger was operated by Dave Gibbons. Dave Morrison was supposedly in charge despite interference by others on site!

Length 12 minutes 3 seconds. Filmed by Mark Helmore & Carmen Smith.

Opening Hymac Hole - 1991

This film was made on VHS Tape. The digger was operated by Dave Gibbons. Dave Morrison was supposedly in charge despite interference by others on site!

Length 8 minutes 49 seconds. Filmed by Mark Helmore & Carmen Smith.

Wessex Cave Club in South Wales & Yorkshire – 1958 & 1962

Filmed in 8 mm cine film. South Wales and Bradford winch meet.

Length 10 minutes 1 second. Filmed & Commentary by Maurice Hewins.

Wessex Cave Club Activities – 1968 Filmed in 8 mm cine film with a Bolex B8 cine camera. G.B. Cave, Water Tracing Experiments, Hillgrove Dig and Experiments with Georestivity.

Length 11 minutes 10 seconds. Filmed & Commentary by Maurice Hewins.

Horseshoes with Rings - A Study of Bats in Devon Caves 1958

Filmed on 16mm cine film. Virtuous Lady Mine, Beer Caves and Buckfastleigh.

Length 18 minutes 16 seconds. Filmed by John Hooper.

Jack Duck in Lamb Leer – 1969

Jack Duck and Lord Waldergrave return to Lamb Leer Cavern in 1969. Jack Duck made the original survey.

Length 18 minutes 16 seconds.

Swildon's Hole – 1964

This film was made on six trips to the cave in 1963-4. It was shot on 8mm Kodachrome IIA film using two 25 volt airfield spotlights powered by two banks of four motorcycle batteries and a commercial Baur lighting set. The original sound track was made on a tape recorder, synchronized to the projector. Although this tape was lost, Keith O’Mahony’s commentary survived and it has been supplemented by sounds recorded in Swildons.

Length 22 minutes 53 seconds.

UBSS - Manor Farm Swallet, GB Cave and BOS Swallet

Three short 16mm films made by Edgar Tratman between 1960 and 1968. Apart from the Manor Farm dig, there are shots of Gaping Gill, experiments with a May Pole, the dig at Bos Swallet and at the UBSS hut at Burrington.

Captions by Chris Howes.

Length 13 minutes 15 seconds.

Thrupe Lane Swallet – 1974 The cave was first entered by ATLAS diggers in 1974 and this film shows a descent in that year. Cavers – Simon Meade-King, Tony Dingle and Ricard Witcombe.

Filmed in 16mm by Clive North

Length 2 minutes 18 seconds.

How To Explore A Cave – 1958

This classic comedy was made in 1958 in Baker’s Pit Cave and in Buckfastleigh. Filmed in 16mm, using two 12 volt car headlight bulbs powered by two motorcycle batteries. Flares were used for long shots.

Length 16 minutes 32 seconds. Filmed by John Hooper.

Wessex Hut, Thrupe Swallet & Cow Hole 1961-2 Hillgrove Hut, Thrupe Swallet & Cow Hole Digs

Filmed in 8mm.

Length 9 minutes 21 seconds. Filmed by Maurice Hewins & Tony Dingle. Commentary by Maurice Hewins.

Lamb Leer Cavern - 1937

UBSS 16mm black &white cine film. The seventh caving film in the world. Lighting with Tilley lamps powered by paraffin; there was still insufficient light so the shots taken in Burrington were filmed at half speed so they would appear to move at twice the normal speed on the screen so they walked at half speed to compensate.

Length 18 minutes 37 seconds. Filmed by Edgar Tratman.

Lamb Leer Cavern – 1962

Filmed in 8mm. Lighting with two 25 volt airfield spotlights. Cavers – Keth O’Mahony (lifeliner), Terry Hall (1st Man on Pitch), John Thomas (2nd Man on Pitch), Dave King.

Length 8 minutes 42 seconds. Filmed by Maurice Hewins. Commentary by John Thomas.

Grotte de Bedheilac – 1958

Filmed in 16mm. Lighting by magnesium flares.

Length 3 minutes 34 seconds. Filmed by John Hooper

Full Moon Over Eastwater 1994

Film made on video tape. Cave Rescue Conference at Eastwater Farm, Priddy Mendip. Fortunately there was an absence of health & safety officers!

Length 10 minutes 21 seconds. Filmed by Mark Helmore & Eric Dunford

MRO Swildons Rescue Training Film – 1960

Length 15 minutes 02 seconds.

Shots of Manor Farm Priddy and Upper Swildons Length 9 minutes 58 seconds.

Virtuous Lady Mine Devon – 1959

Length 4 minutes 46 seconds. Filmed by John Hooper.

Wessex Cave Club at Cow Hole Dig

Length 7 minutes 42 seconds.

UBSS Camp Life at Burrington - 1933

Length 2 minutes 43 seconds. Filmed by Edgar Tratman.

Cave Diving Group at Cheddar - 1960 Length 2 minutes 20 seconds.

UBSS Goatchurch Cavern and Read’s Cavern – 1933

Length 8 minutes 31 seconds.

Old Archive

There are currently three films in the old You Tube archive MCRAFilms. These will be moved to the new archive.

Netherworld Journey (G.B. Cave 1951) Length 26 Minutes


Black & White, no sound. Title – “Netherworld Journey”. Frame 2 – “ A Bridge Studios Production. Reg Office 7 Binford Place, Bridgwater, Som. Telephone Bridgwater 3598”. Frame 3 – “Grateful thanks are extended to the following, whose help made this film possible:- UBSS, The 21 Club Caving Group, Wessex Cave Club”. Frame 4 – “In this mundane world it is refreshing to do something that savours of the unknown. This film is dedicated to all modern cave men who revel in the gloom of the Netherworld”. Cavers involved – Mr Young (who farmed the land on which GB Cave is situated) in army steel helmet. The entrance to GB is before the “blockhouse” was built. Cavers on the ladder are climbing from the Gorge into the Ooze.


Bristol Evening World. 8 December 1951. The ACG & AS organised a showing of the black and white film of GB in the Axbridge Town Hall. To quote the press “the hall was besieged. Before the programme every seat had been taken, people were standing in every possible corner, and the pressure was so great that stewards had to be instructed to prevent further admission.” Over 250 people attended this film show.

Discovering Mendip (1970) Length 15 minutes


Black & White with sound. Made by the ACG&AS. Directed by David Bromwich, narrated by John Craven, filmed by Clive North, sound by Bernard Roughton. c. 1970. Pair walking over hill with a map, lady in a floppy hat – Marie & Russell Clarke. Jack Weare is preparing the skeleton. The archaeological clip shows excavations at Star – Mike Batt & Jim Hunt. Dig – Nettle Pot with scaffolding tripod above. Mike Ferraro is setting the explosive charge. Tony Jarratt is shown breaking through into the “new cave”. The underground sequence of the “new cave” was shot in Fairy Cave Quarry, Shatter Cave (now partly quarried away) – Erratic Passage. Terry Feltham is operating the still camera. Colin Rogers is shown in this sequence. Swildon’s diving Sump 1 – Steve Spartt. Next sequences - Double Pots, climbing the 20. Pub sequence shot in the Hunters’ Lodge in what is now the lounge bar. Man with large beard is Paul Allan. Drinking group – lower left Alfie Collins and next to him Dick Wickins.

ACG Newsletter October 1972 Page 36

It is now some 3½ years since the Committee approached David Bromwich and myself with a view to making a film on caving and archaeology.

The project, it was said, would stop the group from stagnating. Whether this has been so I cannot say, but I am very happy to announce that our film is, at long last, finished!

Around 2,000 feet of film has been shot, many, many hours have been spent in cramped, wet and muddy places underground, both in pretty grottoes and harsh wet streamways; several flights over Mendip were taken and even more hours spent editing, producing sound effects, writing the commentary and puzzling over where the money would come from.

Our 12 minutes takes us on a flight over Mendip in a light plane, pausing to look at some of the places of interest and to follow the activities of various groups of cavers and archaeologists. I won’t spoil things by listing what can be seen on the film. Instead I hope members and friends will come along to the “Grand Premiere” to see for themselves.

Unfortunately, various exciting things which have occurred since the film was started, such as the Church burials, Banwell Stalactite Cave Great Chamber, Singing River Mine and Hutton Cavern have been impossible to include.

Our minute budget was decided and the script had to be followed to the letter. If new ideas had been substituted – great expense would have been incurred and the film would never have been finished.

At various times appeals have been made to members for contributions towards the cost of the film and some members in particular have been very generous.

With Group funds as they are, we cannot afford to pay for the first copy of the film and some of the final expenses involved. Therefore we earnestly appeal for donations to the fund in order that the project may be finished. The Committee also asks whether any members would consider loaning money to the project. Please contact David Bromwich on both these matters.

Secretaries of caving and Archaeological societies and other groups all over the country are being informed of the availability of the film for hire. Various film libraries have shown great interest in distributing the film for us. Bookings have already been received for the film and interest shown in buying copies.

It was, of course, impossible to credit in our film all the people who have helped in its production. Therefore I have listed as many as I can recall here and thank them most sincerely for their assistance.

Acting: Tony Jarratt, Roger Robinson, Steve Spratt, Colin Rogers, Derek Swift, Tim Bevan, Terry Feltham, Ken Jones, Alfie Collins, Marie and Russell Clarke, Jack Weare, Mike & Chris Batt, Jim Hunt.

Production: Messrs. Spratt, Rogers, Swift, Ray Cavill, John Padget, Andrew Conroy, Martin Tripp.

Narration for the film is by John Craven.

Axbridge Ochre Cavern (1951) Length 14 minutes


Colour – Carbon Arc lamps were used to film the underground sequences which accounts for the flickering on the film. The day after the filming several of the cavers were unable to work due to “arc eye”.


Climbing Axbridge Hill to visit the Ochre Cavern – Mike Durston, Mrs Humphrey, Donald McKeand, David Weare.

At generator – Mr Pople, Jack Weare, Donald McKeand, Mr Ham.

On telephone on the surface – David Weare.

In tight rift – Percy Baker.

Taking shots in cave with still camera – Ev Humphrey

On surface – Donald McKeand, David Weare – having a discussion, which is the best - carbide or electric light.


Bristol Evening World. 11 April 1952. The ACG&AS made what is believed to be the first colour film in a cave in the British Isles. The 20 minute film of the Axbridge Ochre Cavern was described by the press as “ probably the finest piece of movie photography, in colour, ever to be taken underground.”

In 2009 John Chapman added an audio sound track.

Films viewable at Wells and Mendip Museum

DVD No. Index No. Titles Additional Information
11,2, 66, 67 and 68Camp life at Burrington, Lamb Leer (3 edits). Goatchurch and Read’s Cavern. Tratman’s B and W (best Copies)
258 to 65Ireland, Manor Farm dig, sundries. Tratman/UBSS colour.
348, 54 and 55Discovering Mendip, Netherworld, Axbridge Ochre Cave Axbridge Caving Group films.
448, 54 and 53 Axbridge C G films – best copiesDuplicate of DVD 3
53 and 46MRO Swildons film (best copy) and Horseshoes with Rings. MRO and Hooper
621,22 and 57MRO pool training films, B and W and colour. Rings on their Wings. MRO and Hooper.
743, 44,45, 47 and 57Smugglers Hole, Virtuous Lady Mine, Reeds Cave, Caves by the Sea and Ring on their Wings. John Hooper.
81, 2, 25, 26 and 42Goatchurch and Reads, Lamb Leer (edit 1), CDG at Cheddar, OCL on Gibraltar and How to Explore a Cave (original silent version) Tratman/UBSS and Hooper.
94 to 9, 12, 13 and 17Below the Mendips, Wessex hut, Manor Farm, Priddy and Upper Swildons, GB, Water Tracing, Hillgrove dig, Within the Limestone, Cow Hole dig, Lamb Leer. M Hewins best copies from Trilith master, (all silent)
1010, 11, 13 to 16,24 and 27Georesistivity, Hillgrove dig, Cow Hole dig, GG winch meet, Wessex in Ireland, Thrupe dig, Cow Hole and Hillgrove Hut, Clay Holes dig. M Hewins, Tony Dingle and Judy Hewins.
114 to 9, 11, 12 and 17Below the Mendips, Hillgrove hut Priddy and Upper Swildons, GB, Hillgrove dig, Lamb Leer. Within the Limestone. Water tracing. M Hewins. Some copies on DVD 9 may be better.
123Best copy MRO Swildons film plus various clips MRO (best copy)
1319 and 23A world Apart and Brendon Hills Iron Mines Nick Barrington.
1420, 38,39 and 49Diving Goughs, MRO Abseil, Aude Gorge Expedition Shatter Cave. Stevenson, Gwynne Thomas, Mark Simms Pete Glanville.
1550, 70,71Clive North’s films, News Items, Balch Cave. Collection (Clive North, TV etc.)
1651,69,73, 74,75WL Cave, Lodmore dig, NHASA Dinner 2001, Goatchurch Grotte de Bedheilac. Eric Dunford, John Hooper
1752, 53, 56, and 72Swildons Hole, Eastwater, Crane at Templeton, Full Moon over Eastwater.Laurie Orr, Neil Wooldridge, Dunford.
1833, 34, 35, 40 and 42.How to Explore a Cave (with music), Mexico 1993, Windsor Hill dig, Hillgrove dig, Upper Pitts, Rock Swallet.Hooper, Joint Services and Bob Scammell.
1912, 17 and 41Belize 1988. Lamb Leer 1962, (Best copy with original sound track). “Within the Limestone” 1964, Best copy with original commentary and added sound and music).Queen Mary college. Maurice Hewins.
2036 and 76George Comes in Lancaster Hole 1990 Upper Wharfedale Cave Rescue Film 1965NPC Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Organisation.
2129 to 33CDG at Wookey, 1975, Wessex Picos trip, 1975, Upper Pius and Hillgrove dig, 1974/5, Windsor Hill dig 1974, Cow Hole dig 1962 and filming at Long Churn, 1963.Phil Hendy, Bob Scammell and Denis Warburton
2228 and 77Digs at 18 acres and Hy-Mac Hole c. 1991 and Wessex at Gaping Gill, and Malham 1991.Mark Helmore.
2378SWETC in Norway, 1963Mike O’Connor
2479, 4-11, 13 - 16NHASA dig at Chancellors Farm Hewins and Dingles Wessex films with 2007 commentary added.Dunford, Hewins and Dingle
2580-83NHASA digs at Frog Pot, Templeton and Chancellors Farm (best copy). Ray Biggs candle light birthday 1964. Opening of MNRC hut, 1967.Dunford and MNRC?
2684 and 85Meghalaya 2003 and Meghalaya 2004Nicola Bayley
2786 - 90Films shown at “Rat-Fest” at Priddy, 15/11/08. Claonite-Rana connection, Meghalaya 2007, Grampian dinner, Hunters Lodge Sink, and Harry Potholer and the Speleologist’s Stone.Grampian S G Nicola Bayley et. al.
2829,30 and 55, 31 and 32CDG at Wookey, 1975, Wessex in Spain, 1975, Hillgrove Dig, 1975. Axbridge Ochre Cave 1952.Warburton’s Cow Hole and Long Churn with commentaries. All with new commentaries.Axbridge C. G. and Phil Hendy.
2991“New” copy of lamb Leer from BRO (much better quality)Tratman/UBSS
3092 - 96White Pit, Box Mine Rescue, Honeymeade Hole Dig, CDG 50th Anniversary in Wookey Hole, St’ Lukes.Pete Hann
Last modified: 10 Apr 2017 08:37
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