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Newsletter No. 13June/July 1968.

During the last few weeks the correspondence columns of the local newspapers have been well filled with letters from the canal company and your committee. We had hoped some of our members would help our campaign by writing, if only to get a fresh viewpoint on the vexed question of the Basingstoke Canal's future. The correspondence opened with an attack from Mr. Swales, the canal company's solicitor on our Easter activities and outlined the company's policy. Your committee members in replying, pointed out once again that our policy for the canal was the only one which would guarantee the canal's security for the future. In a further letter, Mr. Swales said, among other things, that the society consisted of an "irresponsible minority". Our immediate reply was to the effect that surely, with a membership of close on 500, we are hardly a minority and are truly representative of the public, more so than the three shareholders of the New Basingstoke Canal Company. We would like to emphasise once again that it is advantageous to the society and its cause for all members to take whatever opportunity they can to publicise the work of the society and the present state of the Basingstoke Canal.

As you will see from the above, membership is close on 500. This is due to our membership drive, which is still continuing, and any persons who have a few hours to spare and could deliver leaflets are asked to contact the secretary.

During the summer months, the society had a display stand that tours mainly local fetes and carnivals. This is one way in which we can put over our policy to the public, and at the same time enrol members. We would be grateful for any help from members in manning the stand, erecting it, and providing transport facilities.

Below is a list of fetes and other functions we intend to cover during the next few weeks.

Press cuttings are invaluable in seeing what sort of support we are getting throughout the area, though it is not possible for members of the committee to see every local paper which is interested in the Basingstoke Canal. Could all members please look out for any mentions the canal or the society might get in their local papers, and send cuttings to Mr. Paul Dyson, 53 Wyke Avenue, Ash, Aldershot, Hants.
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On the following dates the society will have its stall at various fetes etc. If you live in the district, your help would be very much appreciated. Please contact Mr. Les Harris, 198 Hermitage Woods Crescent, St. John's, Woking, if you are willing to lend a hand.
June 3: Surrey Show, stall No.70. The Walker family are also manning a stand at the Farnborough Donkey Derby. June 8: Crookham Village Fete.
June 15: Fleet Carnival Trade Show.

June 19: Fleet Carnival procession of floats.

July 6: Scouts Fete, Church Crookham
July 13: Fete at Cove
Aug. 31: St. John's, Woking, Fete.
Sept. 7: Blackwater Fair.

June 16: Working party at Greywell, meeting at 10.30am at the eastern end of the Greywell Tunnel. Persons requiring further details please contact Tony Harmsworth, Inverurie, Frimley Road, Ash Vale. Please bring suitable tools for cutting grass, hedges, saplings etc.
June 30: Ash Vale working party. Meet 10am, Ash Vale Barge Yard, tools for trimming grass, fencing, tidying up. This may be the first working party we shall have for some time, and we have decided to make it a members' social event as well. We are holding a barbecue in tho evening at the barge yard, which is across the canal from Ash Vale Station. All members, including non-workers' wives and children are welcome and it will be an ideal opportunity.

It has been suggested that members might be interested in a canal trip on a narrow boat on either the Kennet and Avon Canal or the Grand Union. This would obviously have to be a block booking, and before proceeding any further it would be a help if members could indicate what sort of demand there would be for such a trip. It will probably be towards the end of August or beginning of September. If you are interested, please let the secretary know as soon as possible, with details of how many tickets you would require. If we find many members would like to go on this outing, which will be a pleasant day out for all the family, we will announce further details in a subsequent newsletter.
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Ash Boat Trip. The highlight of this trip was probably the fact that the previous day all canal power boat licences were withdrawn. But it gave members a chance to exercise their limbs in bow-hauling two craft from Ash to Frimley Top Lock. We were delighted to see many new faces on this occasion, and once again the weather was on our side. We hope more of our new members will join us on future activities.

Public Meeting at Ash:
This was very well attended by about 70 people and gained us several new members. It also achieved excellent Press coverage. We hope to arrange similar public meetings in other localities along the canal in the near future.
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Crevalds Services Ltd. of 105 Straight Road, Old Windsor, Berks (Tel. Windsor 60393-4) have kindly offered members 10 per cent off orders over 5. They sell trailers, engines, boat chandlery etc.
Hostelcraft Ltd., 2 Waverley Road, Fordingbridge, Hants, run narrow boat holidays. They have offered members l0s. a week discount. Please mention the society if you write to them.

Brief history of the Basingstoke Canal with map: 1s.0d.
Reprints of newsletters 1-6: 1s.0d. the set
Notes from Priestley's book on canals in Southern England, 1833: 1s.0d.

We can also supply any of Messrs. David & Charles books post free, and any of Messrs, Ian Allen's transport publications post free.
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This will be carried on in the next newsletter, but we would still like volunteers to man Bowers Lock on the River Wey during summer months.
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BOOK REVIEW - by E. J. Woolgar
The Thames Highway, by Fred S. Thacker, Vol. I: General History (42s.) Vol. II: Locks and Weirs (50s.) published by David & Charles. Special price for two volumes purchased together before 1.1.69 - 84s.
These two excellent volumes are done in photo-litho reprint from the original text which was last published in 1914. Since then, the books have often been sought after by collectors. In the first volume, the history of the Thames is traced from 1066 to the turn of the present century. The second volume describes tho physical nature of the river in intricate detail, covering its course from Thames Head Springs down to the tideway at Hammersmith, with comprehensive notes on all the locks, bridge and interesting adjacent features. Both volumes are illustrated with Mr. Thacker's original photographs and maps. A slight criticism: there is nothing to indicate any developments from 1914 to the present day, and an appendix giving this information could have been included to advantage.

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