Keeping in touch with friends and carrying on climbing – all very important motives – were the reasons for the formation of the Graduate mountaineering club of the University of London in 1950. First named as the Senior Branch of the University of London Mountaineering Club (ULMC), it later became known as the University of London Graduate Mountaineering Club (ULGMC).
ULMC had begun its life in 1945 when the climbing scene was vastly different to today. There was little accommodation in Snowdonia, camping equipment was poor and expensive and transport very limited. Right from the start ULMC aimed to have its own hut and it was thanks to the help of Professor Huggett, Professor of Physiology at St. Mary’s Hospital that the ambition was achieved. Caseg Fraith is built on National Trust land, the NT having acquired the Penrhyn estate on Lord Penrhyn’s death. Caseg was officially opened in 1961. ULGMC played a key role in obtaining Caseg’s site, helping to finance the building and providing Trustees and a Hut Warden. Read more: “The beginnings of Caseg Fraith”
Throughout the 1950s, ULGMC regarded itself as a London based club, holding indoor meets and dinners at various pubs. However, as time passed and its membership increased no longer were those members to be found mainly in the London area. Annual dinners were held in North Wales and later in other climbing areas. Read more: “An extract from the Log Book December 1950”
The Club archives record many of the exploits of its early members – the Karakoram, Greenland, Kenya and South America were among many places round the world that attracted our members’ attentions. Members also made their mark in the mountains of Europe and many were the routes accomplished. Read more: “A Himalayan Odyssey”
The 1970s opened up new prospects, the chief of which was the acquisition of Fallcliffe cottage in the Peak District. The cottage was not without its problems – it needed a piped water supply, drainage and first and foremost planning consent for use as a club hut. The story of the dealings with the various planning authorities beggars belief, especially as throughout the negotiations there was every danger of losing the property to another purchaser. However all came together and with much help from many members the cottage was ready for its opening in December 1971. Read more: ”The acquisition of Fallcliffe Cottage”
The history of ULGMC has, to a large extent, marched alongside that of ULMC. The 16th March 1996 saw the two clubs celebrating the 50th anniversary of ULMC at a function at the Alpine Club premises in London. Read more: “ULMC 50th Anniversary”
And in 2000 it was time for the 50th anniversary of ULGMC. Read more: "ULGMC 50th Anniversary".
Jill Bennett has edited the 'full' version of the history and it is now available now to download, click here of you want to jump to it.
If anyone has enquiries regarding the history of ULGMC, or material for the Club Archives, please contact the ULGMC Archivist, Jill Bennett.