Contributing to the Audio Archives

How you can help with the Audio Archive

Cavers in Britain have often been reticent to put pen to paper and as a result much of caving history has not been recorded. How many wonderful tales that you have recounted or heard over a few pints, have never made it into the press? These could be tales of exploration here or from expeditions abroad; accidents or incidents; or just great stories from well known cavers. Capturing that history and the true flavour of today's caving scene or times gone by, is what this archive is all about.

This is a British caving resource, and we need British cavers to contribute. It is easy to be self-deprecating, and to underrate the achievements being made by ourselves and our colleagues, but in fifty years time our successors will thank us for having recorded our contributions to caving. We are fortunate to have recordings of Eric Hensler describing his solo exploration of Hensler's Long Crawl and Hensler's Master Cave; of Will Stanton describing the Black Hole explorations in Swildon's Hole; and of Brian Price describing the original explorations of Agen Allwedd, as well as many others. Unfortunately, it is now too late to record others who also made important contributions, so let us make the most of our current opportunities.

How to do it

There is no set formula. The current recordings include an address by Herbert Balch when he opened a museum; addresses given during the social gathering called to celebrate the opening up the link that finally created the Three Counties System; and addresses given by colleagues at Oliver Lloyds's memorial service. In general, however, most contributions are one to one interviews. The most successful are when the interviewer has done his homework, and knows in advance what he would like the interviewee to talk about, and he manages to maintain focus rather than allowing the session to drift off into general conversation. They are also better undertaken in a quiet environment. Elaborate recording equipment isn't required, but it is important that both the interviewer and the interviewee are clearly heard. We may be able to lend you a recorder.

Contributions should be sent to John Gardner:
c/o BCRA
The Old Methodist Chapel
Great Hucklow
SK17 8RG

The final format will be MP3, but we can cope with most formats - ¼ inch tape, cassette, video tape, .WAV file, etc. etc. So don't worry - just get recording any way you can. We'll sort it out, and will even edit out some of the "ums" and "ahs" to make them sound coherent!

If you already have some recordings, or would like to discuss the issues further, please email John via the BCA Librarian at:

Dave Checkley and John Gardner
Last updated: 9 September 2014