Newsletter No. 33September 1970
"If the county councils fail to restore the Basingstoke Canal to navigationthroughout, then their purchase of that waterway will be a waste of money..." -- Capt. Lionel Munk, retiring chairman, IWA.
"The next time the IWA feels moved to meet in the South of England, I hope we shall be able to offer you in Woking the kind of amenities you have enjoyed here in Guildford..." -- Cranley Onslow, MP for Woking.
WOKING 1975 - ODIHAM 1980?
There they all were, big boats, little boats, working boats, fun boats. All moored along the way from the River Wey, Nearly all bearing their Save the Basingstoke Canal stickers. They travelled the length and breadth of England to come to Guildford - and support us.
"Look Bert, that boat's come all the way from Birmingham!" - awe-struck spectator.
One could not fail to be moved at the sight of the gaily painted narrow boats which rested for a few, all too brief days, on the Wey. One followed with mounting excitement the voyage of Jaguar, bringing the first delivery of coal to a Godalming coal merchant for many years. But perhaps it was the sight of thousands of people enjoying themselves which made the 1970 National Rally of Boats really memorable.
At the annual dinner of the IWA, which closed the rally, Capt. Lionel Munk, retiring chairman of the association said: "Each of the former rallies was successful in either saving the waterway concerned, or strengthening its position immeasurably. I am quite certain that exactly the same will occur in regard to the Guildford rally and the Basingstoke Canal".
Thanks to the rally, our membership has taken yet another leap forward. Our bank balance has rapidly increased. But, best of all, the interest and attention focussed on the Basingstoke Canal for a few days in August has given the society new strength and new authority at a time when, perhaps, some of us felt we were beginning to run out of steam. The society's debt to the IWA for bringing the rally to Guildford can never be fully repaid. Certainly, we could never have put on such a great spectacle ourselves.
A message to this effect, from the chairman of our society to the chairman-elect of the IWA, Mr. John Humphries, was read out at the annual dinner. The message invited all those who attended Rally '70 at Guildford to attend Rally '80 - at Odiham. Cranley Onslow, MP for Woking who was a guest at the dinner, hoped that Woking could host a rally too - "with a means of getting to your destination in your own contrivances", as he delicately put it.
The rally has meant a lot of work for a lot of people. Elsewhere in this newsletter you will see just what was involved. The Editor makes no apologies for devoting much of this newsletter to the rally.
What next? At the request of Surrey County Council, the committee is now preparing a document outlining proposals for a Waterway Trust to manage the restoration and maintenance of the Basingstoke Canal, with alternative methods of how this can be done. The document will include a plan of work to be done and ways in which Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society members can help the county councils.
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Sunday, November 8: Ramble along the ItcHen Navigation. Leave Winchester Town Hall (near King Alfred's statue) 10.30am. we will walk down the Itchen to Eastleigh, returning to Winchester by train at about 4.00pm. There is plenty of free car parking near the town hall on Sundays. Anyone with transport difficulties should contact the following, who can probably arrange for lifts in cars in their respective areas: Fleet - Dave Gerry, 10 Fairland Close; Camberley - Peter Caiger, 42 Orchard Way; Woking - June Sparey, 8 Beaufort Road, Maybury Estate, tel. Woking 63095. This is a very interesting ramble and, weather permitting, should provide photographers with some good autumn shots. It was very much enjoyed by the small party which walked it in 1968.
Jumble Sales Unfortunately we couldn't fix a hall for this before the newsletter went to press. But it will be held, in Fleet, some time before Christmas. Fleet members might like to contact Dave Gerry (address above) to offer help in selling, and everyone should start collecting jumble. Please let Dave know if you have a bundle you want shifted.
Members' meeting: Details in next newsletter of a members' meeting to be held for a general chat about the canal and slides of the rally.
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The Gladwin & White trilogy ENGLISH CANALS is now available in bound form - comprising "A Concise History", "Engineers & Engineering", and "Boats and Boatmen" in a cloth binding, the price is 48s, (plus 2s. postage) and may be obtained from The Oakwood Press, Tandridge Lane, Lingfield, Surrey, or your society's sales manager.
NB: The individual parts, of course, may still be obtained in the same way. Price 15s. each (plus 8d. postage).
Wanted: Punt under 20ft. long. Anything considered. Please phone John Edmondson, Bagshot 2331 at weekends, or after 5pm on weekdays.
Items listed below can be obtained by post from Peter Walker, Sales Manager, 6 Carlyon Close, Farnborough, Hants (Farnborough 42438). Items marked with an asterisk are not available by post because of breakage risks, but by personal application only. Callers wishing to inspect the stock welcome most evenings and at weekends by arrangement.
Basingstoke Canal: The Case for Restoration, 4s.6d. post free.
Basingstoke Canal: Some Questions and Answers, 1s. (post 6d.)
Boats from the Basingstoke's Past, by Tony Harmsworth, 2s. (post 6d.)
Walks Along the Basingstoke Canal, by David Gerry, 2s.6d. (post 6d.)
Waterside Inns of the Basingstoke, by Jon Talbot, 2s.6d. (post 6d.)
6" map of the Basingstoke Canal, two sections (east and west of Farnborough Wharf) 8s.6d. per section, post 6d, each;
6" map of the Wey & Arun, northern half (southern coming soon) 8s.6d. post 6d.
Society badge 4s.6d; cuff links 15s; tieclip 7s.6d. (post 6d. in each case).
London's Lost Route to Basingstoke by Paul Vine, 50s. post free.
Canals of South & South East England by Charles Hadfield, 70s. post free.
English Canals: Part I - A Concise History; Part II - Engineers & Engineering; Part III - Boats & Boatmen. 15s. each, post free.
Back copies of newsletters: Nos. 3, 6, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15-22 inc. 24-32 inc. 4d. each, post 6d. per order (individual copies).
Sets of newsletters: 15-19 inc. ls.6d. each (post 6d.)
IWA Canal Holiday Guide, 1970: 2s. (post 6d)
*Miniature Measham Teapots, 22s.6d; *Painted china narrow boats l7s.6d; *Miniature painted stools 10s.6d; 15s; 21s; 30s; *Painted plant pots 6s.
Cardboard cut-out narrow boats 5s. (act suitable young children) post 6d. Plastic carrier bags, canal water carrier design, 2s. (post 6d).
Christmas cards, design by Robert Harris of Langman's Bridge, Goldsworth. 6s. dozen, 7d. each, post 1s. per order. For sample card send three 4d. stamps. Please order early as late orders may be delayed by the need to reprint more cards.
Don't forget we can obtain any of David £ Charles' books on many subjects including canals and railways for you post free.
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RALLY DRAW RESULTS
Remember the rally draw tickets that were sent out with the June newsletter? We understand that a surplus of about £650 was made on this draw. Of this, £450 was taken at the rally, and pre-rally sales came to about £230. This latter figure represents the efforts made by members of this society, the Wey Cruising Club and a few others. Under the terms of the draw, this money is to be earmarked for restoration of the Basingstoke Canal.
For information, here is a list of prizewinners:
1st Week's free holiday for four on a Thames cruiser; Mr. Baden, The Old Manor House, Chilworth, Surrey.
2nd Evening out for two at the Market Tavern, Guildford, to a value of £5.5s: Mr. Heggie, 47 Kettlewell Close, Woking.
3rd to 6th inclusive - Caskette of beer: Mr. Rayner, 153 Kirby Road, Portsmouth; J. Sindell, 173 Stoughton Road, Guildford: Mrs. J. C. D. Lawrence: A. P. Tonkin, 464 Church Eoad, Frampton Cotterell, Bristol.
7th Burma teak shrub tubs B. V. Strugnell, 2 Crutchfield Lane, Walton-on-Thames.
8th Marks & Spencer £5 voucher: Mrs. M. Batty, 63 Raymond Crescent, Guildford.
9th £5 voucher at V. Messinger & Sons; Mrs. J. Conway-Jones, 32 Warren Road, Guildford.
10th Steam irons F. I, Hemington, Peach Cottage, 12 Woodstock Grove, Farncombe Hill, Godalming.
llth Subscription to Motor Boat & Yachting: Mrs. J. E. Webb, 2 Kingston Villa, Capel, Dorking.
12th to 15th inclusive - 30s. voucher at the Market Tavern, Guildford; Mr. Ashwell, 64 Penton Avenue, Staine; Mrs. Rayner, la Tyford Gardens, Bishops Stortford; Mrs. M. Raven, 24 Maple Grove, Guildford; Mrs. B. Colon, 33 Pondtail Road, Fleet.
l6th - Roasting chickens G. Hartley, 21 Oliver Road, Hemel Hempstead, Herts.
17th - Bottle of sherry: C. R. Illagridge, 59 Shepherds Lane, Guildford.
18th - Bottle of whisky: R. Wells, Little Acre, East Horsley, Surrey.
19th - Bottle of gin: Mrs. P. Thorogood, 188 Bushy Hall Drive, Merrow, Guildford.
20th - 200 cigarettes: J. D. de Russett, Six Oaks, Cranleigh, Surrey.
21st - Box of chocolates: Brian Walter, 154 Stoughton Road, Guildford.
22nd - Fire extinguisher: B. W. Fairlegg, 16 Elmwood Road, St. John's, Woking.
23rd - £1 voucher at Elphicks Ltd: Mr. Hardie-Brown, Grove Lodge, The Grove, Woking.
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YOU'RE NEVER TOO YOUNG...
Quote: "And here comes the barge along the Chigley Canal. It's a slow way to travel, but so quiet and peaceful..." - Chigley, Watch With Mother, August 14, BBC 1.
For those who did not visit the rally, copies of the Rally News are available, price 2s.6d. for all four issues, from Jim Woolgar, 56 Connaught Crescent, Erookwood, Woking, Surrey.
THE SOFT SELL
Before he had sold any of his 20 tickets for the Guildford boat rally draw, a Farnham member went to Southsea. Parked by the water, he and a Mini driver alongside inquired the name of the big ship outward bound. - "QE 2 probably, I'd like to go for a cruise in her". "Give me a shilling and I'll sell you a chance of a week's cruise on the Thames for four". So the first ticket went to a Birmingham policeman called Bywater. He deserved to win.
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Damage caused to canal banks by the wash of passing boats is becoming a national problem. It is one which will have to be considered when the Basingstoke Canal is put back into working order. Here John Gould, of Newbury Lock on the Kennet and Avon Canal, gives his thoughts on the solution to this problem. John is a director of a boat hire firm, and has considerable experience in this field:
In ordinary canals, the chief wave is caused by the displacement of the craft moving along the channel. Propeller or bow wavew are usually of little consequence.
If the cross-section of the canal is still of the proper shape, i.e. steep sides with no silt shallows at the banks, the wave normally does no damage.
If, however, the cross-section of the canal is such that it has wide silt shallows near the sides, with perhaps just a deep centre channel kept open by traffic, the wave breaks as it follows the craft along the banks.
It is this breaking wave which can do much damage over a period - and it can be a vicious circle, with the breaking wave bringing in more and more soil which further shallows the sides and thus increases the breaking of waves.
Very good and lasting bank protection is given when there is plenty of sedge growing along the sides, and in dredging this should be allowed to remain growing thickly on any narrow strip of silt left on each side.
These observations have been made on canals similar to the Basingstoke, at one time little used but now carrying considerable pleasure traffic, large and small, and a few working boats.
In short, keep the canal's cross-section shape correct, with the sides near vertical so that waves do not break, and/or allow plenty of thick sedge along the banks. There should then be little wash damage.
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When the rally dust had died down, we received a letter from John Humphries, chairman of the Inland Waterways Association, paying tribute to the help and hard work put in by society members before and during the rally. For example:
Our sales stand was manned continuously for four days and the sales manager and his team are to be congratulated on their takings of over £150. Boat trips went on throughout the rally, with society members at the helm. But these were the more glamorous jobs. How many visitors to the rally spared a thought for the people who delivered milk in the mornings to boat crews? A special newspaper was printed on the society duplicator for each day of the rally and circulated by our members. Temporary waterpipes were laid along the river bank, locks were manned and the site was managed by our members. The working party group spared no efforts to raise money in the bucket of the Hymac loaned by Dragon Plant Hire (if you visited the excellent caravan toilets on the site you'll know what we mean). Over £10 was "spent" in the bucket. About 150 visitors to the rally actually visited the Basingstoke Canal by coach, saw our lock gates and walked along the towpath at Crookham led by SHCS couriers. And who organised the water entertainments — you've guessed ...
There were dozens of other tasks involved. But what a flop it would have been had not the boats and their crews turned up. Finally, someone should thank the crew of the "mystery" boat that collected the contents of the chemical loos each morning.
So thanks everyone. It was hard work, but it is probably true to say that it was very enjoyable. Our sales stand, backed by the caravan, has never looked better, the canal workshop (unfortunately minus the lock gates) was most impressive. And the paintings done specially for the rally by our member Mr. Best drew large crowds to the art exhibition. Eight out of ten of the paintings have now been sold, resulting in a donation of over £40 to society funds - the commission which Mr. Best generously allowed us.
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CANAL MEMORIES - by F. W. Simmonds, Farnham
From the then popular pastime of boating on the Basingstoke Canal before the Great War of 1914-18 to an enjoyable lunch in the most attractive Butty Bar of the new Goat and Barge, Basingstoke, seems a long way in point of time and distance.
I then lived at Camberley and it was quite an adventure to cycle to the canal with my father, mother and friends, and embark on a four-oar skiff. Sixty years on, not a lot is remembered. Father disappeared on one occasion (at least) and left us by the towpath, near a bridge. He reappeared in a few minutes with welcome refreshments, probably stone bottles of ginger beer, perhaps ice cream.
Then I disappeared more than once on my bicycle, riding on the towpath all the way from Frimley Green, or thereabouts, to Woking where I had a pretty girl cousin to visit. Brave adventure for a small boy and a miracle I didn't go for an involuntary dive - at worst.
Happy days, and more later on the Wey up and down from Send. Still later, the canals of the Midlands looked pretty murky and Home round the Horn from New Zealand was not nearly so placid.
So memories are revived today by restoration efforts and P. A. L. Vine's excellent book. The skiffs at Ash Boathouse seen from the train on the way to Farnham Grammar School; the gradual disintegration of the boat-house by the bridge on the Farnborough Road...
...Funny how the canal went over the railway at Deepcut. Why that name, for the camp is on a hill? But yes, there really is a deep cut, well worth a peep.
Vine, P.56: B. Simmonds & Sons, Aldershot, steam wagon and a Harmsworth barge (?narrow boat), unloading flour at Aldershot Wharf 1916. I wonder if that barge was bringing corn to be ground at Simmonds1 Steam Flour Mills, hard by ALdershot Station (closed Christmas week, 1955)- Flour was more likely to be delivered by road.
Richard Simmonds (a granddaughter is Mrs. B. F. Bateman of Fleet), founder of those mills just about 100 yeqrs ago was the second son of Thomas Simmonds, of Rock Mill (in Moor Park) Farnham, who lost his life in the depths of his mill on December 31 1862. He had installed a steam engine to augment the water power and his coat tails caught in a coupling. A dozen watermills on the River Wey from Froyle to Godalming were operated by Simmonds for several generations and barge traffic, first from Guildford, must have been important to the mills for many years (see Vine, P.52).
Farnham author George Sturt describes in "William Smith, Potter and Farmer", how pots made at the Farnborough kilns were carefully loaded on barges for transit to London hospitals and other customers.
Mr. Vine writes of and illustrates barges and narrow boats but does not differentiate. Since the Basingstoke was a broad canal, it seems likely that meat craft would have been barges. Both bars of the Goat and Barge however, emphasise narrow boats and it would be interesting to know to what extent these were used on the canal end if families lived on them.
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THANKS FOR THE MEMORY
We are anxious to have as many recollections as possible from our older members about the canal in its working days. These may be incorporated in a new booklet to be published about the canal's history. If you can recall those days, or can tell us of any incidents which happened on the canal, please jot then down and send then to the secretary.
We are also desperate for old photographs of the canal. We get many requests from students who are writing theses and want to study such photographs. If you have such treasures, but don't want to part with them, our archivist, Miss Potter, is willing to get them copied and will look after them carefully in the meantime. Old postcards often show interesting views of the canal. Can you help us build up a valuable library of the canal's past? Please contact Miss Doris Potter, 22 Queen's Road, Fleet, if you can.
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PURCHASE - THE LATEST INFORMATION
Negotiations between Surrey and Hampshire County Councils and the New Basingstoke
Canal Co. Ltd. are still going on. The latest position is that the canal company
has appointed a valuer to do a survey of the canal and place a figure on it.
Meantime, the county councils are having their own valuation survey done. Once
the two figures are known hard bargaining will begin. That's the latest, up to
One point: Surrey County Council has issued an excellent little booklet called Protecting the Surrey Countryside. It has been published for Conservation Year and represents a statement of the county's planning policy. It mentions the intention to acquire the Basingstoke Canal for recreational purposes.
WANTED - URGENT
We need a spare tyre for our caravan, size 5.20 x 15. A secondhand one will do fine, so long as it has more than the minimum tread allowed. Cross-ply, not radial. Offers to Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking. Tel. Chobham 7314,
PROTECTING HISTORIC BUILDINGS
The Greater London Council is publishing a book under this title this month. It contains nearly 90 photographs and drawings, cartoons by Osbert Lancaster, a poem by John Betjeman, a centre spread in full colour, and 14 sections which explain every aspect of the preservation of historic buildings. It is available price 10s. (postage 1s.3d.) from the Information Centre, County Ball, London S.E.1. Cheques, postal orders should be payable to the Greater London Council.
To the many new members we have enrolled during and since the rally. With negotiations for purchase of the canal now taking place, you have joined the society at an interesting time. We hope you will enjoy the newsletter, and be as patient as our many other members have been in waiting for the day wfeen work can at last start on the canal. If any of our new members have literary talents, the newsletter editor is always on the look out for interesting articles, anectdotes, letters, opinions to publish in the newsletter.
WHO TOLD YOU THAT?
Overheard at the rally: "They seem to be trying to raise money to turn the Basingstoke Canal into a miniature Blackpool...". - Oh no we're not. We just want to turn it back into what it was built for - a canal to carry boats.
NEW TELEPHONE NUMBER
The secretary has swopped jobs, and can now be contacted, if the need is urgent, during the day at Camberley 4444.
Hon. Sec. & Newsletter Editor: Miss June Sparey, 8 Beaufort Road, Maybury Estate, Woking, Surrey. Tel: Woking 63095 (weekends only); 01-992-5167 (weekday evenings)
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