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Newsletter No. 12May 1968

I would like to thank all those who have helped in our membership drive - this is still going on and we would like more people to help push leaflets through letter boxes. The Society is now growing rapidly - mainly due to the membership drive - and our membership has leapt from 300 to 400 in just over three months.

Obviously, increased membership means more work, but unfortunately the same number of people seem to be doing it. Is there anyone interested in working parties, painting posters, duplicating, storing jumble or giving lectures/slide shows? We ask for help in any way. We shall be keeping the Situations Vacant column going for some time - so see if there is a job that you could do in it.

One way in which every member, irrespective of where they live can help is by writing letters. Earlier this year we asked you to write to Hampshire and Surrey County Councils and their councillors about the canal's future. If you have not yet written do it tonight. This year may well be the turning point for the canal. And if you had a reply and it was unsatisfactory, then write again.

The Society is in constant contact with county councils, but we need the individual backing of all our members to give our campaign added weight. Additionally, local elections are coming up, and this gives everyone an ideal opportunity of making contact with councillors,

Our Easter activities gained considerable publicity in the local and national Press. Did you write a follow-up letter to the papers, either praising or condoning our activities? It all helps - particularly to show the authorities that there is a strong band of people keenly interested in the future of the canal.

Towards the beginning of April a letter from the canal company was published in some of the Hampshire newspapers, explaining that the canal was possibly decaying because the two county councils have not as yet adopted the "new canal policy'. They also stated a few reasons why they would not let us work. Your committee replied to this letter the following week. We have also been in correspondence with the canal company requesting permission to work, and giving them an assurance that we would not use this for publicity purposes against the canal company. This was one of their objections, although we had never been asked for this specific assurance - only one against publicity in general.

We will obviously keep you informed of any developments.
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Sunday, Friday 6: There will be a members' boat trip on the canal starting from Ash Barge Yard (next to Ash Vale Station) at 10.30 am. The trip will be towards Frimley and Deepcut and back and will last all day. A good turn out of members would be appreciated to help clear a blockage in the canal at Potters Pool, Mytchett, so that the boats can pass.
Sunday, May 12: We have permission from the Army to clear out Cowshott Stream. If you would like to come, contact the Secretary by May 5 and full details will be sent.
Friday, May 17: The Society is holding a public meeting titled 'The Canal and Your Village' at the Victoria Hall, Ash Hill Road, Ash, at 3.15 pm. This is being held as a result of our membership drive in Ash, and some of our newer members might like to come along to hear about the work of the Society.
Monday, June 3: Surrey Show - As stated in the last newsletter, we have booked a site for the Surrey Show at Guildford. More volunteers are needed to man the display stand. Stall holders' tickets at 5s. and car parking tickets at 5s. are available from the secretary. Please enclose remittance with offers of help.

Sunday, June 16: There will be a working party at Greywell/Nateley area, trimming parts of the towpath which form a public footpath. Please contact the Secretary by June 7 if you want to Join this working party.
Sunday, June 30: Working party at Ash Vale - trimming grass, fencing, tidying-up.
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Easter was a big weekend for the Society, when we held our "protest cruise to the first lock on the Basingstoke Canal. This achieved splendid Press coverage including paragraphs in the Times, Telegraph and the Sun, and good backing from the local Press. In addition we made our first TV appearance: a Town and Around team paid us a short visit and we appeared in the programme on Good Friday evening. We achieved our aim of showing that lots of people would want to use the canal if it were navigable, mustering about 30 boats of all shapes and sizes. These belonged to society members, and to members of Byfleet Boat Club and the Wey Cruising Club.

After our pilgrimage to the lock, where Robert Harris hung a protest notice on the gates, the boats cruised along the Wey Navigation to Guildford over the Easter weekend. We erected our stand on the island at Mill Mead, Guildford, and it drew many interested people.

Our thanks to members who brought boats from far and near for the start of the rally, and to our friends from Byfleet and the Wey Cruising Club for backing us in this venture.
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Our thanks to members who are still delivering publicity leaflets. We have been inundated with inquiries from the Ash Vale and Woodham areas in particular, and now we hope that the inquirers will join the Society. Membership is now fast approaching the 400 mark. Remembering that at the A.G.M. at the beginning of this year we had 275 members, we are certainly leaping ahead at the moment.

For those who did write to their county councillors as suggested in news­letter No. 10 - we have another writing job for you. This time it is the Trans­port Bill which is causing concern, aa it contains certain clauses which could have a disastrous effect on our hopes for the future of the Basingstoke Canal if it is passed in its present form. Those who have not yet put pen to paper can be of real help in this campaign by turning over a new leaf. Please write to your M.P. and to the Minister of Transport (the Rt. Hon. Richard Marsh). If you are not sure what the new Transport Bill involves, the Secretary can let you have details.

Our thanks go to Mr. Dodwell for donating surplus furniture for future use at Ash.

Brief history of the Basingstoke Canal with map: 1s.0d.
Reprints of newsletters 1-6: 1s. the set.
Notes from Priestley's book on canals in Southern England, 1833: 1s.
We can also supply any of Messrs. David & Charles books post free.

Crevalds Services Ltd. of 105 Straight Road, Old Windsor, Berks. (Tel: Windsor 60393-4) have very kindly offered members 10 per cent off orders over £5. They sell trailers, engines, boat chandlery etc.
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Postmen:- to deliver newsletters in Woking, Knaphill, Frimley, Guildford and Crookham Village. This saves us vast sums in postage.
Working Parties:- people to act as leaders to join a rota.
Tape Recorder Fanatic:- to prepare a tape to accompany a standard slide lecture.
Naturalist:- to lead a projected ramble, pointing out items of interest.
Lock Keepers:- The National Trust have again asked us to man Bowers Lock during summer weekends. Please let secretary know if you can do a weekend's lock duty. Scroungers:- Have you got, or can you get, any "come in handy" stuff. Items we have in mind include: bricks, wood, paint, tools, odd lumps of furniture. These items can be stored at Ash Vale - NOT Connaught Crescent - until required. In connection with the furniture, please have a word with the Secretary before visiting jumble sales, as we have no need for grand pianos, cookers and beds.
Newsletter helpers:- Someone who can staple and fold newsletters about every 4-6 weeks. We are now sending out 400 newsletters at a time.
Finally - can anyone get thousands of postage stamps for nothing????
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The Redjacket and Bluejacket were barges of almost identical design. Redjacket was 13ft. 2in. wide by 72ft. 6in. long, and 5ft. 2in. high in the side. She was built by Costains at Berkhamstead in 1909. Bluejacket was the same length, but 13ft. 6in. wide and 5ft. 1lin. high in the side, built by the same yard two years later in 1911.

Both craft would carry 70 tons of coal under hatches below Weybridge and they carried 50 tons of round timber down from Crookham in the First World War. The Redjacket was rebuilt at the Ash Vale Yard in the late 1920s and the Bluejacket had extensive repairs at a yard in Brentford. In 1940 Redjacket was sold to carry explosives up the River Lee to the Waltham Abbey explosive works, and was lost during an air raid while so employed. The Bluejacket was laid up in 1938 and was moved to a mooring below Goldsworth locks, where she may now be seen sunk and derelict.

Sec: E. J. Woolgar, 56 Connaught Crescent, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey: Tel B'wood 4064
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Last updated April 2005