History of Caseg Fraith

The following report is from the September 1998 Newsletter:

At the AGM in 1958, as reported in Newsletter no. 40: Professor Huggett, President of ULMC, announced that he had finally obtained enough money to build the ULMC hut in the form of a donation of £1,000 from an anonymous donor, although he was still 30 short of the estimate. He had signed the contract for work to commence on a truncated version of the original plan two weeks before. Various details had yet to be settled. In particular, who would run the hut, who were to be the Custodian and Caretaker, what income would there be to maintain the hut? In answer to the last, he thought there would be sufficient income from letting out the hut to such bodies as CCPR and from ULMC meets, which made on average a profit of £20. He considered that the graduate club had an important part to play in the management of the hut. Unlike ULMC, the graduate club had a stable membership and a continuity of responsibility. The (then) LGMC should co-operate with the undergraduate club to give it a sense of personality. It would be an idea to set up a special committee of the affiliated clubs of ULMC to share the responsibility of running the hut. Practical policies and ideas would be required.

Stella Berkeley suggested that LGMC donate a further £10 to the hut fund - (leaving only 20 to raise) and that affiliated clubs be asked to donate equipment. Professor Huggett thanked LGMC and said he already had some promises for domestic equipment, but technical equipment such as ropes etc would be needed. He mentioned that Convocation had donated £200 for the provision of running water in the hut, and that the trustees work of the hut would be taken over by the University. Some discussion of the letting of the hut followed. Dr Butler, on behalf of ULMC, said that only a certain proportion of the beds would be let out at any one time to other clubs. The estimated accommodation of the hut would be 27 in the truncated version, 12 in bunks and 15 in the attic. The complete version of the hut would take 40 bunks and an infinite number in the attic.

It was later suggested that the annual dinner be held outside London, for the first time, and as a result, the AGM and dinner were held at the Pen y Gwryd Hotel, in Capel Curig, on 26 November 1960 - costing 15/6d per head.

The Hut was not ready for use by the AGM, and by February 1961, Newsletter no.43 reported - The Hut is usable as it stands but is pretty bleak inside. It seems that ULMC were promised gifts of furnishings which have not materialised. Work will still have to be done on the basic furnishings after the builders officially hand over. Such fixed items as cupboards, shelves etc will have to be made, probably on the spot, and to get such jobs done the Hut Committee will be asking for working parties. Will anyone who can help with this sort of work please get in touch with the Hon. Secretaries indicating at what times they might be able to go to North Wales for this purpose. At the moment, 3 or 3 heavy old-fashioned tables with chairs and benches will be needed, together with quantities of cutlery, strong china and cooking utensils. If anyone has anything to spare after spring cleaning their kitchens, or if any such items can be obtained cheaply at local auction sales, the Hut Committee would be very glad to have them. Items such as tables might be a problem to transport, though it is sometimes possible to take them to pieces and re-erect on site. Alternatively, it might be possible to find someone who would move them on the roof of a car or van going to North Wales.

In May 1961, Newsletter no.44 announced: As regards the name of the Hut many possibilities have been canvassed and the choice seems to rest with ‘Caseg Fraith’ which is the name of a Llyn about a mile away. The work of equipping the hut seems to progress very slowly. Although various fittings such as the stoves are ready, they have not yet been installed . . . Various items such as an "Elsan" have been presented. A snag has appeared about electricity as it seems the local board were raising difficulty over the supply. It is hoped that the problem will be solved by negotiation. In view of the incomplete state of the hut the present charge is 1/6d per night instead of 2/6d as originally fixed.

Despite these problems, Caseg Fraith Hut was finally opened on 28 October 1961 by Professor G I Finch. A dinner was held in Llanberis to mark the occasion, and between 60 and 70 ULMC members slept at the hut for the weekend.

The amount of background material on Caseg Fraith in the Club Archives is still remarkably sparse – the newsletter editor would be very grateful if anyone could fill in the gaps.