Newsletter No. 28February 1970
RESULT OF COMMITTEE BALLOT
Three new faces join the society's committee for 1970, as a result of a very good response to our postal ballot. The new committee comprises: Peter Caiger, John Dodwell, David Gerry, Les Harris, Robin Higgs, Barry Humpidge, Dieter Jebens, June Sparey and Jim Woolgar. Not elected were Paul Dyson, John Preston and Jon Talbot. Statisticians may like to know that 284 valid ballot forms were returned, and 2,556 votes cast. We should like to thank Mr. Erik Ten Kate of Crookham Village and his helpers for undertaking the count.
The new committee has already met and society officers are as follows:-
Chairman ........................ David Gerry
Vice-chairman.................. Les Harris
Secretary ....................... June Sparey
Treasurer ......................... Barry Humpidge
Membership Secretary ..... Flo Woolgar
Sales Manager ................ Paul Dyson
Publicity ......................... Dieter Jebens
Social Secretary .............. Peter Caiger
Newsletter Editor ............. June Sparey
Mrs. Woolgar and Mr. Dyson are officers appointed from outside the committee.
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CHANGES TO FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS
Two motions passed at the Annual General Meeting affect our financial arrangements, and all members are asked to take note of them.
First, the junior membership of 5s.0d. is to be limited to persons under 18 years of age, irrespective of whether they are in full-time education.
Second — and this is important — we are changing over to an annual renewal date on which all subscriptions will fall due. March 1 will be pay-up day in future. But members who join the society after November 1 (or whose renewal of subscription is due between November and March), will get four months "free" membership in that for administrative purposes, they will be considered to have joined on March 1.
The reason for this change is to streamline the time-consuming task of sending out monthly renewal notices with each newsletter. In future, only one reminder will be sent out with the March newsletter (although those who do not pay up promptly can expect further nudges). So, if you know that your subscription lapses between the months of March and November you will be affected by the change. You might as well renew now ...
As you will see, we have a new treasurer. Please continue to send membership subscriptions to Mrs. Woolgar, who will forward them, and send other monies (donations to both general fund, Lock Gate Fund etc.) to Mr. Barry Humpidge at 48, Wood Lane, Fleet, Hampshire.
Finally, the secretary dropped one when typing the annual accounts which were circulated before the AGM. A bright student did some adding up and found that the figures didn't. The figure of £13.7s.1d. given for expenditure on newspaper advertisements should be £13.17s.1d. Otherwise the figures are correct throughout.
CALLING ALL PARENTS
This month's newsletter contains a specially commissioned article by a teacher on the canal's educational value, and a Children's Corner which we hope will puove popular among children. Children have an enormous talent for taking a serious interest in something of this nature - so leave the newsletter lying around where they can see it. After all - they may be the future generation who will foot the bill for the canal's restoration!
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COMING EVENTS (See also Page 6)
Wednesday, February 18: Members' meeting: Talk on the canal's natural history by Mrs. Heather Angell, North Warnborough Village Hall, North Warnborough, near Odihan. 8.00pm.
Friday, February 27: Members' meeting: Talk by Rhodes Thomas on the Thames and Severn Canal, Red Cross Hut, Clarence Road, Fleet, 8.00pm.
Monday, March 2: Waterways Brains Trust, The Plaza, Market Place, Newbury, Berks. 7.30pm. The society is providing a member of the panel and some SHCS "supporters" will be very welcome.
Saturday, March 14: An invitation to join the Wey Cruising Club for a meeting at which Mr. David Hutchings will be speaking on the restoration of the Upper Avon. Prince of Wales Hotel, Woodbridge Road, Guildford, 7.30pm.
Monday, March 16: Public meeting, Ex-Servicemen's Club, Camphill Eoad, West Byfleet, Woking. Byfleet area members willing to display posters please contact the secretary. Time: 8.00pm.
EASTER 1970: The society's Easter activity will take the form of a "Walk The Canal" campaign. A main walk will be arranged which you can join (details in the next newsletter); otherwise any member with some time to spare over the holiday is urged to take a stroll along the towpath - if only for 100 yards. Keen types who want to couple a hike with some fund raising are invited to obtain sponsors at however much a mile (or a lock) they are prepared to pay. Unfortunately the committee has not got the time to turn this into a bona- fide sponsored walk, but if members like to make out their own sponsorship cards we will get them verified by a society official.
APRIL 4-5: Society working party on the Upper Avon. Many important eyes are keeping a close watch on the work being done by volunteers on the Upper Avon. The success of all future canal restoration schemes could be measured against this project. It is therefore vital that everyone who is anxious to see our existing waterways maintained should add both voice and muscle to the Upper Avon work. If you can spare a weekend away from home - and accommodation is provided - please join our working party at Harvington, near Evesham, Worcs. Send your name and address to: Jim Woolgar, 56 Connaught Crescent, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey, and he will let you have full details of the trip. Many people who have spared the time to do this type of work have actually enjoyed it - so don't think about it: GO!
August 7, 8, 9, 10: Guildfcrd Water Festival and Rally of Boats: See Page 3.
Watch out for: a rubbish-clearing operation on the Basingstoke Canal in Woking, which is being organised by Woking Council and notice of which was given in the Woking News & Mail. Volunteers will be needed to help with rubbish clearance. No date for this has yet been announced, but an advertisement giving details will be placed by the council in local newspapers. Members living further afield who would like to volunteer should contact Jim Woolgar (address above) or telephone Brookwood 4064 and he will send details as soon as they are available.
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The following items can be obtained from the Sales Manager, Paul Dyson, 53 Wyke Avenue, Ash, Aldershot, Hants.
Canals and their Architecture by society member Robert Harris, £4.4s. A special order form for this book is enclosed with this newsletter.
London's Lost Route to Basingstoke by Paul Vine, 50s. post free. Also London's Lost Route to the Sea, same price.
SHCS Badge, based on barge symbol, blue and white. 4s.6d. plus 6d. post per order.
Basingstoke Canal: The Case for Restoration; 4s.6d. post free, 2nd edition.
Boats from the Basingstoke's Past; 2s.0d, plus 6d. postage per order.
Map of the canal: 6" to the mile, two sections (east and west) 8s.6d. per section, plus postage 6d.
IWA Canal Holiday Guide and River Wey Guide: ls.6d, plus 6d. postage.
Miniature Measham Teapot, China Model Canal Narrow Boat: 22s.6d. and 17s.6d. respectively. Available only from society stalls or by personal application to the Sales Manager.
Society cufflinks: 15s., postage 6d; Newsletter sets (15-19, 20-24) 2s. inc. postage.
Available soon: hand-painted traditional canal stools and handbowls from Little Venice; society tieclip.
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IWA NATIONAL RALLY OF BOATS - An appeal by Flo Woolgar
This year, the Inland Waterways Association are holding their annual event at Guildford - this being the nearest practical point to the Basingstoke Canal. The SHCS will, of course, have a stand at the rally and, as about 400 boats are expected to attend, it offers the best-ever opportunity for us to make a big leap forward in our membership.
The rally is from Friday, August 7 to Tuesday, August 12, and during this period (particularly Saturday and Sunday) we will need three people on the stand all the time, campaigning and selling books etc.
In order that a rota can be drawn up we meed to hear from at least 20 people who are willing to help - and also help in erecting and taking down the stand. It may seem a long way ahead but we need to know N0W as the organisation of such a big happening must begin early and already our most active members seem to be getting snapped up elsewhere.
So please don't let your society down. This is the most important opportunity we have had for publicising the campaign to save the Basingstoke Canal.
Please write to Peter Caiger, 42 Orchard Way, Camberley, Surrey, stating how and when you can help. Let's hope that in our next newsletter we can say we have been inundated with offers.
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AN OFFER TO ALL MEMBERS
We need keen people to help the main committee - people who can spare a little of their time to bring new ideas and thoughts to committee work. The new committee has set up three sub-committees, and we are looking for members to co-opt.
The sub-committees cover the following categories:
(a) IWA Rally Sub-Committee: To make arrangements for the society's participation in the rally. Anyone with experience of organising fetes and fairs is especially welcome, otherwise we are pleased to have anyone who wants to do something practical.
(b) Fund Raising Committee: Financial wizards wanted for a committee which will examine fund raising on a broad scale - not fetes, jumble sales and the like but methods of raising the vast sums of money which might be needed for maintenance, restoration etc. This is planning for the future on a large scale.
(c) Working party organisation: This will form a nucleus of people responsible for planning and supervising working parties under the direction of the working party organiser.
The amount of work involved will depend on how much you are prepared to put into it. If you are interested in being co-opted on to one (or more) of these sub-committees, please contact the secretary immediately.
Up-to-date slides of the canal. Our main slide collection is now over two years old and we have very few new slides to show. Any members who are willing to donate their canal slides to the society should contact the secretary. Remember: if you are taking your camera for a walk along the canal take two slides of each subject - one for us!
Helpers required for stripping down and refurbishing a caravan which we will be using for publicity. The caravan is being kept at Fleet, and offers of help should be nade to Mr. Barry Humpidge, 48 Wood Lane, Fleet. Tel: Fleet 6822.
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WATERSIDE INNS OF THE BASINGSTOKE by Jon Talbot
"Roast Aylesbury duckling with apple sauce and stuffing; Devilled rump steak; celery hearts; Honeydew melon ..." Why display a menu which merely tells the prospective customer what is offered when, with a more careful choice of words, you can make him hungry? The above items appear on the menu outside the Swan Inn at North Warnborough, in company with a further selection of dishes, the range and variety of which can be excelled at few establishments outside the big cities.
Mr. V. L. Coals, licensee of The Swan, makes no secret of the fact that his primary concern is catering, although in keeping with many waterside inns, a significant proportion of the trade of The Swan once stemmed from its being located near to the Basingstoke Canal.
Mr. Jack Barton is the North Warnborough historian, but it is Mrs. Barton who has a particular "feel" for The Swan and its past. She once lived within its walls and clearly recalls boatmen staying overnight under the terms of a contract with the canal company. Boatmen slept in a room called The Barge Room ("The best food was kept for barge men"). This was a back bedroom which was reached via a special staircase which did not require passage through the main building.
Among a wealth of fascinating memories Mrs. Barton recalls outings organised by the Wesleyan Chapel in a barge which had temporary seating and was drawn by a horse, An outing to Dogmersfield Park by water and a picnic to follow was one of the events of the year which was eagerly anticipated in this quiet Hampshire village. In winter the journey was undertaken once more, a party of villagers skating along the canal to the Tundry Pond and back.
On at least one occasion, village life was enlivened by a party of customers of The Swan who, having taken their fill of ale, decided to commandeer a loaded barge for their journey homeward and bow-hauled their way along the cut, hotly pursued by the local lengthsnan, a Mr. Bird.
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A MESSAGE TO PARENTS
Two parents have recently written to the
Newsletter Editor regarding the interest
shown in the canal by children. Mrs.
Elizabeth Faulder, of Ford Lane, Farnham
writes: "I thought you might be interested in the following exam question which
turned up in my son's geography paper.
There was an outline nap of the British
Isles on which they had to mark various
features including an oil refinery, a
canal (the Basingstoke, of course), the
highest mountain and about three other
features. They had to write five lines
on one feature chosen from the above.
David then wrote: 'The Basingstoke Canal
is a disused and decaying waterway
running from the River Wey to Basingstoke
via the Greywell Tunnel. It has several
locks for which the canal society have
built new gates. I was delighted to
feel that at 11, David was sufficiently
interested to always read the newsletter
when it comes and to take the opportunity
to use the information".
Mrs. Evelyn Bickford-Smith, of The Borough
Crondall, tells this story: "The other
day I heard my young granddaughter saying
to another child, a propos a guessing
game in which the answer was the Basingstoke Canal, and giving her a tremendous clue - 'It's something we've got to save!"
Both letters illustrate the same point: children are interested in the canal. And to keep up their interest, and maybe even expand it, the newsletter is experimenting with a Childrens' Corner. Parents are asked to bring this to the notice of their offspring (but please try not to do the competition for them).
The educational value of the canal is something that has been overlooked. The secretary would like to hear from parents with views on this subject.
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Our first competition is a quiz. All
the answers can be found in the book
Basingstoke Canal: The Case for Restoration.
1. What river joins the Basingstoke Canal at its eastern end?
2. What is special about the bridge at North Warnborough?
3. Whose name appears on the Basingstoke Canal token?
4. How many locks make, up the Woodhan flight?
5. What is a windlass?
6. The canal passes over a railway line: True or False?
7. What is a narrow boat?
8. What can be seen at Scotland Bridge, Arthur's Bridge and Hermitage Bridge?
9. By what name is the last lock on the canal (Lock 29) more commonly known?
10. How wide is a barge?
Write your answers clearly on a letter or postcard, and send your entry to Miss June Sparey, 8 Beaufort Road, Maybury, Woking, Surrey, by February 27.
Write your name, address and age on your entry. The competition is open to all children under 14 years of age whos parents are members of the society. Age will be taken into account when entries are judged.
The sender of the winning entry will receive a small prize, and his or her name will be published in the next newsletter.
Watch out for more Children's Corner competitions.
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THE BASINGSTOKE CANAL IN THE CLASSROOM by Hugh Gregor, History Master at Ottershaw School, Chertsey, Surrey.
My object in writing this article is to try and explain briefly the use that 29 schoolboys of average ability have made of the Basingstoke Canal in the space of only one term.
Wherever it is possible, I enjoy approaching national or International history through local history. I have also found that history means much more to a child if it can be studied from time to time away from the classroom, out on the spot. Thirdly, I believe that children can achieve a deeper understanding of any subject if a number of teaching departments combine their efforts. Thus a project built around the Basingstoke Canal seemed to me to link up several of these ideas. The canal was close at hand, the school possessed its own passenger van, the Geography Department proved to be enthusiastic, and we managed to timetable a double teaching period for one particular form on a Monday afternoon with three members of staff available if needed.
Having solved the inevitable administrative problems, we set about drawing up a workable scheme. Mr. Vine's book "London's Lost Route to Basingstoke" was compulsory reading; we pored over Ordnance Survey maps, we tramped up and down various sections of the canal - and this turned out to be the result.
In the classroom we studied the history of British canals in general, and the Basingstoke in particular. We examined the geographical background to the canal -the land formation of Surrey and Hampshire, the available water supply, the past and present land usage, size of population etc. Then we split into two groups and went out on different Monday afternoons to Deepcut and Frimley Aqueduct. The boys were each given a photo-copy of the relevant section of the Ordnance Survey map on which to identify their position, any conventional signs that they could pick out, and other noticeable landmarks; they were also given a list of twelve questions to answer as they walked down the towpath. On returning to school this material was all written up and an account of what each of them had seen and done.
Then the ideas came thick and fast. We organised a debate in the classroom on the pros and cons of building the canal; we moved on to study a modern canal - Suez; we decided we wanted to see a working lock in operation and we were lucky in finding a most co-operative lock keeper at Chertsey Lock on the Thames. One boy plunged off into a scheme of his own and is making a model lock in his metal and woodwork lessons. We ended the term by putting together our own tape recording to illustrate the people and problems involved in the construction of the Basingstoke Canal.
That the boys have enjoyed things there is no doubt, and that after all is half the battle. What was fascinating to watch was the way their interest was aroused even though our initial scheme was distinctly unpolished! One boy sat straight down and embarked on a written history of the Kennet and Avon Canal, while another brought me a succession of cuttings from boating magazines.
And what of the future? Next year I hope to bring into the scheme the study of history through original documents; a visit to the County Archives at Kingston and Winchester has shown me that there is a wealth of usable material on the canal if only I can find a way of paying for the cost of duplication.
Of course, from a teaching point of view, it's a tragedy that the canal has been allowed to deteriorate to such an extent. It makes it almost impossible for children to visualise the canal in its heyday, even if they have looked at Mr. Vine's photographs. But then, if it were in running order, we would find ourselves competing for the school vehicle with the school Fishing Club, the CCF Canoeing section, and the Natural History Club!
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PETITION —— PETITION —— PETITION —— PETITION —— PETITION —— PETITION —— PETITION
You may have forgotten about it - but it's still going. At the moment it is stuck around the 13,000 mark, and we would dearly love to be able to hand over a total of 15,000 signatures at Easter. So we need to ask another 2,000 people if they would like to see something done about the Basingstoke Canal. Members who belong to clubs or other organisations in the area should have no difficulty in filling a form. And remember - 18-year olds can now sign with the lowering of the age of majority! Please can we make one, last effort? The secretary has petition forms and will gladly send them on request.
WHAT PRICE NOSTALGIA? - A review of the LP record Narrow Boats (BBC Radio Enterprises)
On first hearing this record, one is bound to feel nostalgic. The sounds, songs, voices of the canals coming from a gramophone cannot fail to evoke memories, be they sunny or windswept. The sound of a Bollinger engine thudding through the living room brings memories of watching a pair of working boats slide through a lock, viewed from a canalside pub on a warm, summer's evening. Then what? Do we smile blissfully and turn the record over? I hope this record will not mean nostalgia to those who buy it. It is a brief biography on wax of the experiences and recollections of generations: the men and women who lived, loved and died on the country's cuts, told in their own simple words and music. Far from being a record of the past, it should be a warning for the future - a warning that a tiny slice of English tradition could so easily slip away unnoticed. Campaigning aside, it is a record to be particularly enjoyed by a winter fireside. Desmond Briscoe, the producer, has carefully selected the peculiar sounds of the canals and blended them into a record to listen to and enjoy again and again. Whether it be a boatman talking about his horse, the sound of a lock paddle being worked, David Blagrove's poignant songs of the waterway, it is an absorbing record. It costs 37s.6d. A small price for nostalgia. But what a high price we will pay if we are content to leave it at that.
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NEW GENERAL MANAGER
The British Waterways Board announce the appointment of Mr. David McCance as General Manager, in succession to Mr. David Kinnersley. Mr. McCance is 42 and has been the Board's Chief Accountant since September 1966.
MORE COMING EVENTS
Working Party: A general working party will be held on Sunday, March 1 at Ash Vale Barge Yard, adjacent to Ash Vale Station, 10.30am.
Ramble: On Sunday, March 15, a ramble will take place from Brookwood to West Byfleet. Meet Brookwood Station 11.30am (train from Woking and Byfleet arrives 11.18am, from Farnborough at 11.23am); lunch at the Rowbarge, St. John's reaching West Byfleet around 16.00 hours. Leaders are Pam and John Thorn of Mytchett.
Jumble Sale: Please start collecting jumble for a sale to be held in April. Full details in next newsletter.
ANYONE SEEN A SEAPLANE?
Member Mr. Michael Goodall of 2 Queenswood Road, St. John's, Woking, would like to know of any photographs of the seaplanes which used Greatbottom Flash (other than the one in Paul Vine's book). Can anyone oblige?
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WORK ON THE CANAL
It will be obvious to anyone who has walked along the canal lately that there has been some activity by groups of people in clearing the towpath etc. May we emphasise that these groups are not organised by the society, nor does the society carry any responsibility for them. The society committee has always honoured the New Basingstoke Canal Company's refusal to allow its members to work on the canal in the society's name, and as many members will know, the society's activities in this connection have always been confined to a strip of public footpath and the land which it leases at Ash Vale.
We need someone to deliver newsletters in the Ash Vale/Aldershot area, once every six weeks. If you can help, please write to the Membership Secretary, Mrs. F. Woolgar, 56 Connaught Crescent, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey, or phone Brookwood 4064 with details of the area you can cover.
The society's stock of plant now has an estimated value of £250. The Machinery Fund is administered by the committee, and Howard Diamond has been appointed machinery "foreman" responsible for renovation and maintenance of the plant, while Dick Snell remains as secretary/treasurer of the fund. We need hand tools (spades, shovels etc.) Offers of money or equipment should be made to Dick Snell, Bridle Path Cottage No.2 Bridle Path, Ewshot, Farnham (tel Crondall 463). Please keep an eye open for any second hand machinery going cheap - and let us know if you are clearing out the tool shed!
Hon. Sec. & Newsletter Editor: Miss June Sparey, 8 Beaufort Road, Weybury Estate, Woking, Surrey. Tel: Woking 63095 (weekends only), 01-992-5167 (weekday evenings).
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