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First Ever Pegasus Cave Diving Group Pub Dive

Pub Diving in the Red Lion

In the mid seventies the Pegasus Club achieved another “first”, by diving inside a pub.

This rare opportunity came about when Peter Popple the landlord of The Red Lion, in Birchover Derbyshire, made building alterations and uncovered a well in the Bar. 

The usual wild stories about “bottomless pits” were passed around and despite our best scientific explanations, that water would not be there without something to hold it up, ‘pub logic’ prevailed.

 We decided this was the perfect venue to combine the club’s usual activities of spending most of our time in a pub, and occasional forays underground or underwater.

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The plan was for me (Al Harrison) to dive the well with Paul Thompson as “Sherpa” for the air bottles (and beer) with Cheg Chester as back up, (you can see his legs in the photograph as he lent on the bar for support).

To gain access to the well an electron ladder was belayed to a leg of one of the fiited seats which ran along the wall of the bar.

The water was fourteen feet deep with a very muddy bottom holding it up. Digging produced nothing of interest other than a healthy thirst which was quenched without leaving the dive site.  If only all underground diving had such facilities!

The well was fitted with a glass top and illumination which still causes consternation when people walk in to the bar and see what appears to be a hole in the floor.

For obvious reasons I did not publish a dive report in the Cave Diving Group Log.

Al Harrison (Big Al) 

The Red Lion, Birchover, 2017

Cheg Chester

The follwing photos were taken at Christmas 2017 and show that 'The Well' is still a prominent feature of the pub.

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There's Nowt so Queer as Folk


Shortly after the well was fitted with it's glass cover and lighting, Aileen and Myself called in to the Red Lion for a drink or two. Now there was strict dress code for the lounge area but on this occasion, for some reason lost in time we did not have our usual Boots and anoraks on so went into the 'posh' side. Access to the lounge was only available via the bar in those days.

Standing at the bar with our drinks, an overdressed middle aged man appeared and announced to the Landlord Peter Popple (In a loud twee voice)

"I say Peter; Like the well! But you should have had it put in the lounge."


Well Dive at Dogmanslack Farm

The well at Dogmanslack Farm was dived by Cheg Chester during a dry summer in the late 1960's. This was to try and ascertain the water table with relation to a cave dig situated at the lowest point between Dogman Slack Farm and Laneside Farm. This site often experienced collapses in the soil overburden of varying depth and size around this depression. Digging at the site was undertaken over a period of time with no definite conclusion.

The well is a rough limestone ginged shaft of 60 feet depth to water. Several artefacts were recovered including a grappling iron which could have resulted in two Pegasus members serving a long prison sentence. But that is a different story!

Cheg Chester 2018

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