Jan-Feb 1972

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Newsletter No. 42January-February 1972

For the third year running, we are having to hold a ballot for the election of a new committee, having received ten nominations for the nine committee vacancies. Two members of the committee are not seeking re-election: they are Treasurer Barry Humpidge, and Social Secretary Peter Caiger. To both we extend our thanks for the work they have done during their time on the committee.

We have three new nominees, and in addition our secretary, Mrs. Elizabeth Nicholson, who was co-opted on to the committee when she took the job on in September, is now seeking official election to the committee.

With this newsletter you will find all the paperwork for the Annual General Meeting on January 26 - agenda, accounts, and a ballot paper (on yellow paper). The names of the candidates for committee are given in alphabetical order, and you will find brief biographical details about the candidates on the last two pages of this newsletter. Please read the following instructions about voting procedure carefully, and make sure you carry them out.

1. Indicate your vote with a cross or tick in the space provided on the ballot paper, opposite the candidates' names. Do not vote for more than NINE. candidates.
2. Return the ballot paper to Miss June Sparey, 8 Beaufort Road, Maybury Estate, Woking, Surrey, to reach her NO LATER THAN SATURDAY, JANUARY 22.
3. On the envelope in which you return your completed ballot paper, please write the word "BALLOT" in the top, left hand corner, and write your own name and address on the BACK of the envelope, to enable it to be checked against membership records.
4. Family members, i.e. husband and wife, will receive two ballot papers. Both can be returned in the same envelope.

All ballot papers returned by the closing date (January 22) will be handed unopened to independent persons for counting, and the result of the ballot will be announced at the AGM and in the subsequent newsletter.

If any member only receives one ballot paper when they think they should have two, having paid the family membership subscription of 75p, please contact Miss Sparey (phone numbers on back page).

Candidates have been proposed and seconded as follows:
Alan BabisterProposed by B. H. Parker; seconded by D. J. Herd.
Mrs Glenys CrockerProposed by D. Gerry; seconded by D. Jebens.
John DodwellProposed by D. Gerry; seconded by R. Higgs.
John EdmondsonProposed by P. Walker; seconded by D. Gerry.
David GerryProposed by A. Babister; seconded by E. Nicholson
Robin HiggsProposed by J. Holman; seconded by E. Nicholson
Jeff HolmanProposed by D. C. Miller; seconded by E. Nicholson
Mrs Elizabeth NicholsonProposed by D. Gerry; sesonded by R. Higgs
David RobinsonProposed by J. Holman; seconded by P. Walker
Phillip YoungsProposed by E. Nicholson; seconded by D. Gerry
For information, the number of meetings attended by members of the committee seeking re-election is given with their biographical details. We apologise for the short tine allowed for you to complete and return the ballot paper, due to some late nominations, but hope that as many members who can will vote in order to get a representative result. We also hope to see as many members as possible at the AGM, which our President, the Earl of Onslow, will be attending.
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COMMITTEE NOTES - Glenys Crocker
Now that the Earl of Onslow has become our President, we are proceeding with the appointment of Vice-Presidents of the society, and have made several approaches.

We expected by now to have heard the outcome, of the county councils' negotiations to buy the canal. The fact that we have not heard is our central preoccupation at present.

A few weeks ago we wrote to over 250 local organisations to inform them about our campaign and enlist their support. The replies received so far have been encouraging. This project is helping to form contacts which may be valuable at a later stage, and we are pleased that these include several angling societies, as anglers have not so far been active in the society's affairs. We are now informing societies of the continued deadlock and urging them to use their influence on our behalf.

We are also writing to all county councillors, and to a number of influential individuals and national bodies and to the Minister for the Environment. In connection with our work with local authorities, a cruise is to be held on the River Wey in the spring for local councillors, to demonstrate the correct techniques of cruising on inland waterways.

We are making inquiries of the Countryside Commission about the availabiliiy of grants for work on the canal.

Woking Council has been approached about housing development at Slococks which we fear may affect the canal adversely. We are informed that plans will soon be on display in the public library, and that a Tree Preservation Order has been issued for the area concerned, and is awaiting confirmation by the Ministry. We have also written to the developers, but have not received a reply as yet.

Basingstoke RDC has been asked if it can take action about effluent which is entering the Brickworks Arm of the canal at Mapledurwell, but there is some doubt as to whether it is within their area.

Our membership campaign is to continue with public meetings at Byfleet and Basingstoke in the spring.

We need a volunteer prepared to house the society's duplicator, and to be responsible for undertaking all our duplicating work. The duplicator is an electric Roneo, simple to use. The job will involve storing the machine, and our stocks of paper (so a volunteer with a spare bedroom/study would be best equipped); running off the newsletter once every two months, plus any circulars, leaflets and handbills, and copies of our duplicated booklets.

The frequency of work may well be patchy, with nothing to do for some weeks, followed by a busy period. It would best suit a housewife at home during the day who has some experience of duplicating, and has the time to "space out" the work when it comes in. Volunteers should also live within easy reach of Camberley.

To give some idea of what the job involves, the newsletter can take up to seven hours to duplicate (though it need not be done all at once) depending on the number of enclosures that have to go out with it.

If anyone feels they can volunteer to take this work load off the committee's shoulders, their offer will be very much appreciated. Please contact the secretary, Mrs. Elizabeth Nicholson, 1 Kielder Walk, Heatherside, Camberley, (tel. Camberley 29468) if you can help. It could be quite an interesting job for a housewife who wants something to do besides housework during the day!

"You night be interested to hear that one of our members, held up by traffic in Australia, saw on the car in front one of your 'Save the Basingstoke Canal' stickers. It's a small world," - Extract from a letter from Frimley and Frimley Green Women's Institute.

Saturday, January 22: Last day for returning ballot papers. See Page 1.
Wednesday, January 26: Annual General Meeting, Brookwood Memorial Hall, Connaught Road, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey, 8.00 pm. The hall is situated down a little lane at the junction of Connaught Boad and Connaught Crescent. If approaching from Woking, it is on the right hand side of the road, on the left if coming from the Aldershot direction. Connaught Road is the main road through Brookwood.
Saturday, February 12: Jumble Sale, Ex-Servicemen's Club, Camphill Road, West Byfleet, near Woking. All jumble gratefully received by Stuart Browning, 34 Parvis Road, West Byfleet, or Peter Caiger, 42 Orchard Way, Camberley. Sale starts 2.30 pm. Helpers urgently needed on the day to sell the stuff - the more the better so please come if you can.
Sunday, February 1/3: Ramble - Dogmersfield to Basingstoke. Meet Winchfield Station, 10.15 am See below.
Saturday/Sunday February 12-15: Society working party on the Stratford Canal, See overleaf for details.
Tuesday, February 15: Evening of short films presented by Camberley Film Society at the Elmhurst Studio, Middle Gordon Road, Camberley, 7.45 pm. Programme includes The World of Waterways and a railway film, Talyllyn Holiday. Ticket admission only, but a limited number are available from Peter Caiger, 42 Orchard Way, Camberley.
March 25-26: Inland Waterways Association and Waterways Recovery Group working party, at Dukinfield Junction, near Manchester. See Page 4.
Sunday, April 9: Ramble - River Wey Navigation from New Haw to Guildford. 15-16 miles, hard case. Meet at West Weybridge Station, 10 am. More details in next newsletter.

JOHN'S RAMBLES (See also Page 6)
Our next ramble, on Sunday, February 13 will be a ramble along the canal tow-path, over the Greywell Tunnel, visiting the Little Tunnel and then into Basingstoke via Basing. This will be a fairly easy ramble of approximately 14 miles, but as with the December event, sound footwear and weatherproof clothing are essential.

A lunch break will be taken at Greywell where The Fox and Goose will provide the usual light bar snacks. Orders for hot pies must be given to me, John Peart, at the start. For those wishing to leave cars at Winchfield Station, a "get you back" service will be operated fron Basingstoke Station to get drivers back to their vehicles.

We shall soon be needing a new Sales Manager, as Peter Walker, who has handled sales so efficiently for the past couple of years, is taking his A-levels this year and then hopes to go to university. The job needs someone with (a) transport; (b) tine to attend our public meetings at which the sales stand is a feature; (c) some storage space; (d) ideas for increasing sales or adding new items to the stock; (e) a mathematical mind to keep the books straight. It would also be helpful to have someone who lives at a central point along the canal. We need to find someone to take the job on at the beginning of May. Any volunteers who want to know more without comitting themselves please contact Peter Walker, 6 Carlyon Close, Farnborough, Hants, tel. Farnborough 42438.

Stiff printed covers are being prepared for our duplicated booklets on walks, boats and pubs. They have been designed by member "Dusty" Miller of St. John's, The new covers should be available soon, but the price will have to go up to 15p for each book (plus 3p if ordered by post).

The proposed maintenance work at Barley Mow Bridge, Crookham, has been delayed. Until the ownership and obligations of maintenance have been carefully examined we cannot start this interesting job. The working party is therefore provisionally put off until Sunday, April 9 - date subject to confirmation in the next newsletter.

STRATFORD CANAL 12-15 February:
Our contribution towards this volunteer maintained canal is to be this weekend. The National Trust provides all tools and a village hall for overnight accommodation. You just need to bring:
Sleeping bag (or equivalent) Wellington boots and gloves Waterproofs and a change of clothes.
Lifts should be available for those of us without cars. Names please to me. Jeff Holman, 22 Willow Green, West End, Woking, Surrey (tel. Brookwood 3034) if you want to come, need, or can offer transport.

MARCH 25-26:
The IWA and Waterways Recovery Group are to hold the biggest "big dig" yet during this weekend. It will take place at Dukinfield Junction near Manchester. The site is at the junction of three canals - the Peak Forest, Ashton, and Huddersfield Narrow. The task is to clear bridge holes and narrow places of rubbish and silt to improve the water supply and give a navigable depth. It is expected that as many as 1,000 volunteers will attend, including a good number of SHCS members. British Waterways are co-operating most willingly with the organisers and much mechanical equipment is being hired. A tremendous amount of canal publicity will arise from this dig - publicity that the Basingstoke Canal can share. Accommodation and meals are being provided and some transport is available. Names to me please (address above) if you are coming, and whether you want or can offer transport.

Our apologies to those members who couldn't find us there. Due to a misunderstanding between ourselves and Hampshire County Council - and outright hostility from the New Basingstoke Canal Co, - the working party had to be cancelled at the last ninute. We trust this has not deterred anyone, and look forward to seeing you at future projects. Apologies especially to Mr. and Mrs. Bill Taylor, who travelled up from Gosport for the working party that never was.

To Miss Gourlay, of Brackendale Road, Canberley, for a useful contribution of tools and an excellent wheelbarrow. Have you got any tools for us - or do you know of any possible sources? Please let me know if you do.

We have started informal gatherings for all members in The Swan public house at Hutton Road, Aah Vale (near the canal). We meet on the last Monday of each month at 8 pm. Come and have a jar and a jaw.

We have been offered a supply of surplus building materials in Camberley. This can only be collected on Saturday nornings. Is anyone with a towing hitch able to assist by taking the society's small trailer, about once a month, to collect these materials and deliver then to Ash Vale Barge Yard? Offers to Jeff Holman please.

Our mobile site hut (the caravan) is somewhat scruffy but a paint-up would revive it. It is currently docked at Chobham and can be painted there. Can someone oblige?

Our third Alien Autoscythe would also benefit fron a coat of paint. This can be delivered to you for painting. Any offers?

We are still looking for replacenent tyres for the low loader and dunper truck - sizes 560 x 15 and 600 x 16 (tractor type). Offers, or if you know where there are any going, to Bob Humphrey at Chobham 8822.

Where are they? (They were sent out with the last newsletter). Those returned so far do not represent more than 2-3 per cent of the number sent to members. Please send yours in today - or write to Jeff Holman for a spare copy.


Alan Babister, 31 Elmsleigh Road, Cove, Farnborough, Hampshire
Alan is a 51-year old radio technician, who joined the society at the Guildford Rally in 1970 and became our Membership Secretary, being elected to the committee at the last AGM. As Membership Secretary, he has planned a series of public meetings during the year which have resulted in a rapid increase in membership. He is married with a daughter. Committee attendances: 9 out of 9.

Mrs. Glenys Crocker, 6 Burwood Close, Marrow, Guildford, Surrey
Glenys is a 35-year old housewife with a young son. She joined the society in 1970 and became a committee member at the last AGM. She and her husband are interested in industrial archaeology, conservation and natural history. She is a former librarian and has a degree in Geography. She has been active on the "artistic" side of the society's work as a member of the design sub-committee. Attendances: 8 out of 9.

John Dodwell, 11a Hale Gardens, London W.3.
A committee member since tha 1970 AGM, John recently became General Secretary of the Inland Waterways Association. He has been actively connected with the IWA for many years, particularly as its assistant treasurer and the Hon. Appeals Secretary for the National Waterways Restoration Fund, An accountant formerly, he supports working parties all over the country. John is 26 and single. Attendances: 5 out of 9.

John Edmondson, School House, School Lanef Bagshot, Surrey.
Our youngest candidate, John is a senior grammar school student. Also an IWA member, he joined the society two years ago. He is a keen supporter of working parties, and is busy making eight paddle boards for the society. He likes walking the canal towpath, and last Easter completely navigated the summit pound from Ash Lock to Greywell in a dinghy - a journey fraught with weeds and silt. He wants the canal to retain as much of its original character as possible.

David Gerry. 10 Fairland
Dave has been chairman of the society since its formation in 1966. He is a 36-year old production engineer, married with two sons. Dave has been active in all aspects of the society's work - as public speaker, ramble leader, working party supporter, author (of the rambles book). He was a founder member of the Fleet and Crookham Amenity Society. Attendances: 7 out of 9.

Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking, Surrey
Robin is a 41-year old nurseryman, who joined the society nearly three years ago, became a committee member at the 1970 AGM, and has been vice-chairman for the past year. Married, with two children, he was site organiser for the Guildford Rally and is very active on the working party/machinery side. He is a member of the Surrey Naturalists Trust. Attendances: 7 out of 9.

Jeff Holman, 22 Willow Green, West End, Woking, Surrey
Jeff joined the committee at the last AGM and became our working party organiser -a thankless task in view of the current situation but nevertheless he has kept both himself and many members busy. He originated the lengthsnan scheme and has succeeded in increasing attendances at those working parties we are able to hold. Jeff is 25, married, and a self -employed engineer. Attendances: 8 out of 9.

Mrs. Elizabeth Nicholson, 1 Kielder Walk, Heatherside, Camberley, Surrey
Liz moved to Camberley a year ago and joined the society in April this year. Since September, she has been a co-opted committee member - since she took on the all-important job of society secretary. She is married, with a family expected in early February. She was formerly a secretary with IBM and has been interested in canals since taking a couple of cruising holidays. Attendances: 5 out of 5 possible (September-January 1972).

David Robinson, 14 Brinksway, Fleet, Hampshire
Seeking election to the committee for the first tine, David is a 33-year old photographer who has been a society member almost since the society started. He is married with a daughter and works for a civil engineering firm. He has supported working parties, and is "head lengthsnan" for the western end of the canal. David also belongs to the IWA and Kennet and Avon Canal Irust.

Phillip Youngs, The Coppice, Chobham Road, Camberley, Surrey
Phillip just missed standing for the committee last year, when his nomination was just too late to catch the ballot. He is aged 49, and a town planning officer - having advised the committee on planning matters during the past year. He joined the society three years ago, although his interest in the canal goes back to his boyhood days when he lived at Crookham and the canal was his playground. Apart from giving the society his advice, he has helped out on the society stand at shows during the summer.

Because of the ballot, this newsletter is going out by post to all members - so our volunteer postmen can have a rest this time, Ihe Newsletter Editor thanks all members who have offered to do hand deliveries - almost every member in Frimley, for example, volunteered.

Most areas are now well covered, with the following exceptions. We need a volun­teer for the Yateley/Hawley/Blackwater area (eight deliveries), and extra help for our hard—pressed postmen in Ash Vale and Aldershot, where a public meeting has boosted membership. The newsletter comes out every two months, and you have to make five deliveries a year (the AGM newsletter always goes by post).

Statistics compiled during distribution of the last newsletter show that out of a total of 1,162 envelopes, 247 went via the GPO and 915 were hand-delivered by members. Our postage bill for the last newsletter was £7.54 1/2. This represents a vast saving on postage which goes into the society's funds.


What was happening at Basingstoke Station on Sunday, December 12? Astonished tra­vellers stared as a crowd gathered in the forecourt dressed in varied garb from full all-weather clothing to sports jacket and slacks. It was, of course, the start of the Basingstoke-Alton railway ramble. No less than 31 people set off, despite a threatening sky. Their optimism was rewarded, however, with a dry day for this strenuous but enjoyable walk.

The old railway line was joined at Winslade, some 3 miles from Basingstoke after a brisk walk through Hackwood Park. From the bridge at Winslade to Herriard Station the line was easily traced through the woods and even where ploughed into fields a discolouration of the soil clearly marked the line. After lunch at the New Inn, where the landlady had kindly provided extra hot pies etc. 2 or 3 miles of road work had to be suffered due to the intensive farm activity in this area which had totally obliterated the track.

The site of a train crash, staged for the film "The Wrecker" in 1928 was visited. A Foden steam lorry had been placed over the railway line and a train was driven into it, the driver jumping clear some distance before the impact. To ensure a spectacular scene the lorry was primed with ballast and dynamite and the track undermined on one side to tip the train over. No traces now remain of this spectacular crash, although our ramblers searched diligently. All that was discovered were some old level crossing gates. Lasham Station is still well-preserved even to the original platform waiting room constructed in 1901 of corrugated iron. The station is now a coal merchant's yard who no doubt finds the platform a convenient loading bay.

After passing a water punping station a fine stretch of well preserved track was traversed for some 4 miles, finally ending on the embankment of the now demolished bridge over the Basingstoke Road at Alton, where we dispersed.

I hope all who cane enjoyed the walk and my thanks go to those drivers who gave lifts and did excellent ferrying work between Alton and Basingstoke. For those who would like to learn more about this line, a booklet entitled "The Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway" is available fron the author, Mr. E. C. Griffith, of 8 Mavin's Road, Farnham, price 75p (post 5p). This booklet contains many interesting period photographs.

Our next two rambles (for details see under "Coming Events") are on Sunday, February 15 - Winchfield to Basingstoke via towpath; and Sunday, April 9, River Wey Navigation, New Haw to Guildford.

*Ed's Note: I an sure thanks should be expressed to John for streamlining our rambles, preparing then so thoroughly and making then so interesting. The number of people who attend them has surprised everybody - proof that they are good.

Hon. Secretary: Mrs, Elizabeth Nicholson, 1 Kielder Walk, Heatherside, Camberley, Surrey. Tel: Camberley 29468.
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