Journal Archive - The Early Years, 1909 - 1919

The Committee have wanted to make our Journals available to all members, past and present and climbers in general. Although copies of all our Journals are archived in the Alpine Club library in London they are not readily available for review. It was thought that the easiest way to access the Journals was to digitise them.

The work to digitise all the Journals was started following a legacy from Alasdair Andrews, who died in 2011. The Committee decided to start from the current year and work backwards so to include the majority of the time that Alasdair was a member. The Journals from 2013 going back to 1975 were copied as PDF files and were put on the website.

Late in 2019 the Committee agreed to continue with the work and complete the digitising of the Journals from the founding year, 1909, to 1974. This work was completed in February 2020. The PDF files are being loaded onto the website in batches.

The Journals of the early years incorporating the founding of the Association, raising the money for the Britannia Hut above Saas Fee and up to the end of the Great War (1909 to 1919 inclusive) are now available on the website. This batch of Journals should be read in conjunction with "A History of the ABMSAC" written by James Bogle published in 2005.

The first Journals show that the UK activities were mainly monthly dinners and an Annual Dinner and AGM in London. They contained the complete after dinner speeches, the annual accounts and asking for money, by subscription, for building a hut for the Swiss. The Swiss asked for around 600 for the hut and by the end of 1909 over 120 was raised. The Journals through to 1912 show the amount of money raised each year and some of the decisions on the hut. Eventually nearly 700 was required by the Swiss and this was raised by the end of 1911, with the assistance of the AC and the Ski Club of Great Britain. Remarkably the hut was built and then opened in August 1912 - within three years of the ABM being formed. To learn more about the hut I reccomend you see "Inauguration of the Cabane Britannia", written in 1912.

As the ABM membership grew to around 500 it was felt that they needed some club rooms and a library. Rooms were rented at Getti's on the Strand in London.The monthly meetings were held at the rooms and the library was housed there.

The Journals of the next few years were evitably dominated by the Great War and take on a sombre tone. As a reflection of the times in the 1915 Journal the Committee asked for money for the Belgain Relief Fund and the Swiss Guide Relief Fund. The Belgain Relief Fund, for helping Belgains displaced by the war, raised 52:12:6d and a huge 209:7:11d for the Swiss Guide fund. Some members still climbed in Switzerland in the summer but many took alternative holidays in North Wales, Lake District and Skye.

As you may imagine a number of the members served in the Armed Services during the war and from 1916 until 1919 a Roll of Honour was presented, along with portraits and obituaries of many of the members killed in the war. They make tragic reading.

In the 1919 Journal there is a note about the drop in membership after the war.

Journals from 1909 to 1919: 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919

This series of Journals gives an interesting insight into a bygone age. I hope that you enjoy dipping into them.

Mike Goodyer, Hon. Editor, updated 30 March 2020

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