Midland Association of Mountaineers, Records of the

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Records of the Midland Association of Mountaineers comprising membership records; minutes and associated committee papers; correspondence; papers of hut committees; publications; a small number of papers of the University of Birmingham Mountaineering Club; and the illustrated alpine mountaineering diaries of Hester Norris (1910-1991) primarily written between 1934 and 1956. Records cover the majority of the Association's existence from its inception in 1922. The collection comprises no material dated after 2000.

Taken together, the records constitute a valuable source for the study of mountaineering during the 20th century. In particular the records shed light on the activities and functions of the Midland Association of Mountaineers whose primary purpose was to provide a means of intercourse between mountaineers in the Midlands region of England. Furthermore, the alpine mountaineering diaries of Hester Norris provide a particularly detailed and colourful account of the expeditions of an early female alpinist.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Midland Association of Mountaineers was formed on 5 May 1922 primarily through the work of Wallace May of Hall Green, Birmingham. May initiated the formation of the Association following correspondence with F. E. Wallbank of Wylde Green, E. W. Steeple of King's Norton, W. G. Gregory of Penn, Wolverhampton and R. E. W. Pritchard of Birmingham.

Minutes indicate that the Association was established 'for the purpose of arranging occasional meetings of local mountaineers and opportunities for intercourse on subjects of common interest'. The Association encouraged the pursuit of mountaineering through a series of lectures, discussions and a programme of outdoor meets. The minute book dated 1922 indicates that the Association was formed as a breakaway from the 'Rucksack Club' whose own handbook indicated that there were a number of Midland based members 'without any local facilities for occasional meetings of local mountaineers'. The Rucksack Club was founded in 1902 and was based in Manchester.

The inaugural meeting of the Midland Association of Mountaineers was held on 24 March 1922 with E. W. Steeple as Chairman. A. E. Barker became the Association's first President. Wallace May became the Association's first Secretary and R. E. W. Pritchard and F. E. Wallbank joined them to form a 'general purposes sub-committee'. Within a few years the committee expanded to include the Treasurer, Librarian and the 'Honorary Organizer of Out-Door Meets'. Committee meetings were initially held at various Birmingham locations including, courtesy of Mr Goode, the offices of Messrs R. L. Impney, Cudworth and Company at 26 Waterloo Street as well as the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce on New Street and Queen's College. Some meetings included entertainment such as that held on 25 May 1922 in which the President delivered a lecture on 'Experiences in the Swiss Alps'. Monthly meetings were soon arranged and the first Annual General Meeting of the Association was scheduled for 26 April 1923 to be followed by a conversazione.

The Association formed an affiliation with the University of Birmingham Mountaineering Club (UBMC) whose members were also known as 'The Stoats'. The UBMC was established in 1932 and the two organisations have retained close links. During the early 1950s a London Section of the Association was established for the benefit of members who had moved from the Midlands area.

The Association remains in existence today and currently has some 500 members. The Association possesses two huts for use by members: Glan Dena in Ogwen, North Wales and Low House in Coniston, Cumbria. Both of these huts are run by a Hut Committee. Members of the UBMC continued to be affiliated members of the Association, enabling them access to Association meets and use of the Association huts.

Past presidents of the Association include:

  • 1922-1924 A. E. Barker;
  • 1924-1925 W. E. Sumpner;
  • 1925-1927 Julian A. Osler;
  • 1927-1929 The Right Honorable L. S. Amery;
  • 1929-1931 Wallace May;
  • 1931-1933 G. A. Lister;
  • 1933-1935 F. G. Brettell;
  • 1935-1937 Walter Barrow;
  • 1937-1939 M. Tatham;
  • 1939-1941 H. J. H. Sheldon;
  • 1941-1943 F. E. Wallbank;
  • 1943-1945 Wallace May;
  • 1945-1947 J. E. Grosvenor;
  • 1947-1949 T. Clutterbuck;
  • 1949-1951 J. Donkin;
  • 1951-1953 Miss A. M. Jacques;
  • 1953-1955 D. J. Munns;
  • 1955-1957 N. J. Cochran;
  • 1957-1959 W. O. Duncan;
  • 1959-1961 Showell Styles;
  • 1961-1963 C. B. Machin;
  • 1963-1964 E. Lloyd;
  • 1964-1965 A. E. Witheridge;
  • 1965-1966 A. H. Robinson;
  • 1966-1968 J. G. Brown;
  • 1968-1970 Gordon S. Major;
  • 1970-1971 E. Hambly;
  • 1971-1972 F. M. Campbell;
  • 1972-1973 S. J. G. Hutchinson;
  • 1973-1974 Miss B. McLauchlan;
  • 1974-1975 R. W. Willmer;
  • 1975-1977 F. R. Robinson;
  • 1977-1979 R. F. Fletcher;
  • 1979-1980 S. A. Crawford;
  • 1980-1982 David M. Roberts;
  • 1982-1984 Stephen D. Padfield;
  • 1984-1986 B. A. F. Jones;
  • 1986-1988 John Scarborough;
  • 1988-1990 David M. Roberts;
  • 1990-1992 W. Moores;
  • 1992-1994 Mike Shaw;
  • 1994-1996 Roger High;
  • 1996-1998 Brian Waters;
  • 1998-2000 Tony Margetts;
  • 2000-2002 Barrie Hanson;
  • 2002-2004 Bill Truscott;
  • 2004-2006 Dave Thomas.

Sources: records of the Midland Association of Mountaineers; Midland Association of Mountaineers website available at: http://www.themam.co.uk viewed 25 July 2011; University of Birmingham Mountaineering Club website available at: http://www.ubmc.co.uk viewed 25 July 2011.

Arrangement

These papers have been arranged into six series: administrative records; papers relating to the running of the huts; publications produced by the Association; publications collected by the Association; papers relating to the University of Birmingham Mountaineering Club; and miscellaneous material.

Conditions Governing Access

Some files are closed for 100 years from their creation under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 because they contain personal information about individuals. 'Closed' files are indicated as such in the catalogue.

Acquisition Information

Acquired from the Midland Association of Mountaineers on permanent loan in January 2011.

Note

The Midland Association of Mountaineers uses the abbreviation 'MAM'. Special Collections already hold a separate archive collection, Papers of the Mid-Africa Ministry, which uses the abbreviation 'MAM'. Consequently, this catalogue uses the abbreviation 'MAOM' throughout when referring to the Midland Association of Mountaineers.

Other Finding Aids

Please see the full catalogue for further details.

Alternative Form Available

There are microfilm copies of part of the main committee meeting minutes from 1926-1974; and microfilm copies of part of the Annual General Meeting minutes from 1922 to 1975. Both microfilms include a general index. These surrogate copies are located in microfilm cabinet drawer F10 in the Lois Garratt Room in the Cadbury Research Library.

Archivist's Note

Description prepared by Mark Eccleston, July 2011, in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the Director of Special Collections (email: special-collections@bham.ac.uk). Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

A small number of flyers and leaflets relating to events organised by the Midland Association of Mountaineers and the UBMC are held at University Collection 17/iv/4. The UBMC account book for 1933-1939 is held at University Collection 4/iv/11.