Whilst sorting through some old paperwork, I recently discovered some interesting papers about Croydon Caving Club. I originally approached the club in 1985 when I was still a student at Coventry Polytechnic. I was interested in joining a local caving club near my parents house so that I could continue caving during the holidays. I received a reply from the (then) honorary secretary Chris Fry. In his letter, Chris explains a 'normal' caving weekend every 2-4 weeks would involve from 4-12 members all travelling by 1-3 private cars leaving from the Croydon/South London area. If the club has a 'special' weekend involving a bonfire party, barbecue or other celebration, this number is boosted to about 20-25 members." In addition, he enclosed a copy of his infamous newsletter which included a 1985 membership list - there were 33 members!
So what has changed in the last ten years? Well, both the 'normal' and 'special' weekends seem pretty much the same. And the club still meets in the Blacksmiths Arms. Even most of the 1985 members seem somehow familiar. No, what has changed in the last decade is the variety of the members of the club.
Enclosed with this edition is an updated 1995 membership list. One of the updates is the new telephone numbers. I was surprised to find that very few of these numbers began 071 or 081. The club now has 75 members from Plymouth to Kelso in the UK and 1 member in France. The focus of the club is no longer in South London but in South Wales. I wonder if it is still right to call the club Croydon Caving Club?