Covid Update, Feb 2022

The Rev. William Black Photograph Collection

Photograph of the Reverend William Black

The Reverend William Black

(Return to Collection Registry)   The Reverend Black was born in 1905. In the early 1930s he was working in Cleckheaton, and explored many of the caves in the Yorkshire Dales with a group of friends using home-made ladders. Remarkably, he built his own camera for underground photography, and in the course of the next ten years took many superb cave photographs all over the British Isles. These include some important pictures of Penderyn Cave which was destroyed by quarrying shortly after his visit. His photographs were good enough for him to be invited to give a talk on the Irish caves at the BSA Conference in Swansea in 1939.

Rev. Black died in 1974. Seven albums of caving photographs, together with a copy of his autobiography, 'Life of a Twentieth Century Parish Priest', were generously donated on permanent loan to the British Caving Library in 2010 by his family.

The collection is held at the British Caving Library, and consists of seven photograph albums:

  1. Volume I - Caves of the West Riding
  2. Volume II - Caves of Caves of Yorkshire and Lancashire
  3. Volume IIIa - Caves in Ireland - 1934
  4. Volume IIIb - Caves in Yorkshire. How Stean Caves, Nidderdale. Nov. 1934, Feb. 1935
  5. Volume IV - Caves in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and County Fermanagh. 1935
  6. Volume Va - Sea Caves in Sark. June 1936
  7. Volume Vb - Alum Pot, Long Churn, Kirkdale, Thor's Cave, Goyden Pot, Catnot Cave
  8. Volume VI - Ireland - Sept. 1937, Alum Pot - June 1938, Calf Holes - July 1938, Gaping Gill - Aug. 1938, Sell Ghyll Hole - Aug. 1938
  9. Volume VII - No title page, but many Welsh caves including Penderyn Cave, and some Yorkshire caves

The albums and the relevant chapter from the autobiography have been scanned and included in the BCRA Online Archive.

Further details may be obtained from the BCL Librarian, and the material may be inspected by prior arrangement at the BCL premises in Glutton Bridge.