Planning for the future
Society Diary
That Bottle
Committee Notes
Canal and its History
Ramblers' Corner
Sales Talk
Appeal Fund

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No. 46.         President: The Earl of Onslow.         Sept-Oct 1972

It looks as if our appeals - to both county councils to form a joint management structure for the canal are at long last beginning to be heeded. Hampshire accepted the principle some time ago, and we understand that Surrey is now beginning to accept the idea of joint management.

This, however, could lead to a management committee of county councillors, whose interest in the canal may not be 100 per cent and who may not have an adequate knowledge of canal matters. There have been very recent instances of councillors and council officials admitting that they have much to learn about canals and how grateful they have been for the discussions which they have had with society members, and how beneficial the discussions have been.

We have said many times, and both counties have always agreed, that there must be maximum public participation in the project to restore the Basingstoke Canal, and there is now little doubt that this project is getting under way.

Your committee feels strongly that public participation should not just take the form of a cheap labour force to be at the beck and call of a canal manager, but that the public - at least in the form of the society - should play an active part in the actual management of the restoration project and subsequent maintenance - i.e. we must be represented on the joint management committee.

It is also essential that time and money given by our members to this project - even if the money is only the cost of bus fares to a working party or cleaning bills for dirty clothes - is not in effect subsidising the general rate of the county, but can be positively proved to be a donation exclu­sively to the project.

For this reason, we have been talking about a Trust for some time, and there have been counter murmurs from the councils that a Trust would not work or be suitable. Well, there are trusts and trusts - and some kinds of trusts are certainly not suitable. For example, it would not be sensible to have trustees of an hereditary type, where a wealthy donor to the Trust passes on his Trusteeship to his children who may not have the slightest interest in canals.

Your committee feels that a limited company of a non-profit making type Trust is what is required, and in order to find out more about this type of Trust we sought advice from John Dodwell, General Secretary of the Inland Waterways Association. We got excellent advice with considerable speed, proving once again the first-class backing that the IWA can give to societies such as ours, and we take this opportunity of expressing our thanks to John for his efforts.

The result was a draft "Memorandum of Association of the Basingstoke Canal Trust" - all couched in the normal legal phraseology.

Copies of this document were despatched to a number of people, including our own President and Vice-Presidents and county officials. The first reaction, unfortunately, was: "What on earth is this all about?" We then realised that, perhaps, to the layman, a simplified explanation of what we were suggesting was required and such a document has now been circulated.

"What are we saying? It certainly is time that we guve our own members a basic outline of our proposals.

We are suggesting that a non-profit making company (which we will call a trust) be established to restore and maintain the canal, We are suggesting that the company will have eight shareholders or directors, three appointed by Surrey County Council, three by Hampshire County Council, and two appointed by this society. Society shareholders will have full voting rights, but the county councils can obtain the necessary majority under the Companies Act to wind up the trust should this ever arise. One has to be realistic and accept that in 20 or 50 years' time the situation may be such that it would be sensible to wind up the trust, and it is essential that such powers to wind up should rest with the county councils.

Why have a trust? Here are some of the reasons which we are putting forward in support of the idea:

1. It will enable the voice of the public and the canal user to be heard.
2. Our members will not be subsidising the general county rates, bul will be making a generous contribution to a charitable body.
3. The trust can be registered as a charity, thus enabling the management committee to accept cash assistance from other charitable foundations of which the SHCS would be one.
4. Its income and expenditure will be viewed as those of a charity, particularly by the Inland Revenue.
5. A trust would lend itself to amalgamation with the River Wey Neavigation and the Wey & Arun - should the day ever come when this is a practicable proposition.
6. A trust means one management - not two, as might happen if each county council went its own way. Centralisation of management has obvious advantages - not least in ensuring that restoration is co-ordinated and work is not duplicated unnecessarily, whether it be on administration or restoration. It would also help to ensure a uniform standard of restoration and maintenance.

Many other points can be raised for and against a trust, but this is what your committee is currently thinking towards, We would welcome your comments - and your support if you happen to be chatting to your county councillor!

- If you haven't, someone has. On about Aug 7, £1.00 was paid into the society's account at the bank. The treasurer needs to know who paid in this money, so that credit can be given where it is due. If you paid £1.00 to our account at the National Westminster Bank, Camberley, please let Peter Youngs have your name and address. Write to him at The Coppice, Upper Chobham Road, Camberley, or ring him at Camberley 25819.

SPREADING THE WORD - Seen crossing the Corinth Canal - a "Save the Basingstoke" car sticker. One has also been spotted in Venice, This report comes from Farnborough member Peter Walker, currently in Greece. He asks if driving 2,500 miles to look at a canal is a record (he's also seen a few bits of old marble ...).
THANKS - to Mr. R. C. London of Netley Street, Farnborough, who has donated some waders, boots and leggings to the society.

WHAT'S ON - Got any dates of fetes, carnivals etc. at which the society's sales stand could make an appearance? If so, don't keep them to yourself - tell the sales manager, Tony Jarrett, 1 Elms Road, Fleet. Tel. Fleet 5308.
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Sunday. October 8: Open day at Ash Vale Barge Yard (adjacent to Ash Vale Station). Starting with a working party at 10am. See below.
Sunday, October 8: Family ramble, Itchen Valley, meet Winchester Town Hall, 2.30pm. See Page 9.
Wednesday, October 11: Film evening, Standard of England public house, Ash Hill Road, Ash, Films start 8pm, minimum entry fee 10p. See below.
Monday, October 30: Pub evening for informal get-together at the Swan, Hutton Road, Ash Vale.
Tuesday, October 31: Closing date for receipt of motions for the AGM and alterations to the Constitution. Anyone thinking of putting forward a motion at the AGM should contact the secretary, Mrs. Nicholson (address on back page) for advice.
Wednesday, November 8: Film evening, Standard of England, Ash.
Monday, November 27: Pub evening at The Swan, Ash Vale.
Wednesday, December 6: Film evening.
Sunday, December 10: "Hard case" ramble, 16 miles, Alton. More details in next Newsletter.
Friday, December 29: Closing date for nominations for the 1973-74 committee. More information in next Newsletter.
Wednesday, January 10: Film evening - special programme of 65-minute film "Painted Boats" made in 1945, and "A Century of Steam". For tickets in advance write to David Robinson, 14 Brinksway, Fleet, or ring him at Fleet 21376. A charge for tickets will be made on the night.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 27: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING (Provisional date only - to be confirmed in next Newsletter). Brookwood Memorial Hall, off Connaught Road, Brookwood, starting at 7pm.
OPEN DAY: On Sunday, October 8, members will have a chance to see for themselves the machinery we have collected. Ash Vale Barge Yard will be open all day for anyone to come along and have a look at our new Land Rover, four dumper trucks, three autoscythes, crawler tractor, various trailers - and the lock gates. A "tidying up" working party will meet at 10 am to make the place look respectable. Also on view will be two important items of equipment - our pontoon and dinghy. The barge yard is located opposite the boat house at the back of Ash Vale station.

FILM EVENINGS: Venue for the December film evening may change from the Standard of England to the King's Head, Guildford Road, Frimley Green (to be confirmed in the next Newsletter). We are trying to book a room at the King's Head. The film evenings and pub evenings on the last Monday of each month are now regular fixtures - so if you want to come along and meet other members, here's your chance.
Programme: Films to be shown are as follows: October 11: History of Motor Racing Part 2; Discovering Britain (John Betjeman); The Prendergast File; Narrow Boats (silent film). November 8: The Tortoise and the Hare (E-type Jag v articulated truck); The George Saxon Engine - Magnet Mill (a mighty steam engine); History of Motor Racing Part 3; The Jason - Regents Park Canal (silent film). December 6; History of Motor Racing Part 4; Black Fire (the last days of Britain1s steam locomotives); Powerboat '66 (the 1966 Cowes/Torquay offshore powerboat race).

A minimum entry fee of 10p will be charged at film evenings. Films start rolling at 8pm, and finish at about 9.30pm which gives time for a jar in the bar before and after. These film evenings are our first real attempt at holding regular meetings for members, and we hope they will be well supported. If you come along and find you don't know anyone, just introduce yourself.
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In the last Newsletter, we reported the finding of an old-fashioned "pop" bottle in the canal at Broad Oak. The bottle bore the name "Basingstoke Mineral Water Company". Our member Mr. Gilbert Dicker who lives in Alton wrote to say he remembers the Basingstoke Mineral Water Company well - and their lemonade bottles with the glass marble inside them. "They were taken over some years ago by Messrs, Tunbridge Jones, he writes.

And a bit more history...
Mr. Dicker, who owns a grocery and wine merchants in Odiham High Street, enclosed with his letter two old invoices, relating to goods delivered to the business 132 years ago. The firm was then called Chas. Sherborne - Mr. Dicker's grandfather took over the business from them - and the invoices show the varied items which were carried by the canal.

One, dated 1839 is from "Vallis and White, Barge Owners, Carriers and Coal Merchants, Basingstoke. Wharf". It details items sent from Salisbury and London to Odiham. Loads carried included soap, butter, cheese and "two barrels of Petre" at a cost of £1.3s.5d. The invoice carries the note that "fly boats load at Basingstoke, Odiham and Kennet Wharf, London, respectively every Tuesday and Friday".

The date has faded on the other invoice, but it is thought to be of the same period, about 184O. This one is from George Brand & Co., Barge Owners, Basingstoke Wharf. "Barges load regularly at Basingstoke, Odiham and at the Hambro Wharf, London, every Saturday", it adds.

The invoice details the goods sent to Odiham: "1 Chest Soap, 1 Bag, 5 Matts, 2 Boxes ... 1 Puncheon molasses, 1 Cask 1 Bag Glue ... 20 Bags Shot". Other items were sugar, bacon, vinegar, soap, pork, paper - and 14 tons of coal. The total tonnage of the goods apart from the coal was 6 ton. 13 cwt. 0 qtrs, 17 Ibs., carried at a cost of £5.11s.0d. Cost of carrying the 14 tons of coal was £8.1s.0d.

Mr. Dicker explained that when his grandfather took over the firm of Chas. Sherborne, he found they had kept all the old files -and they still exist today. The invoices have been photo-copied for the files, and we are very grateful to Mr. Dicker for his information and the loan of the invoices.

If any other members have any old letters, bills, old postcards or photographs of the canal, the Newsletter Editor (address on back page) would be very interested in seeing them. We promise to take good care of them while they are in our possession.

Another member, Mr. Michael Holroyd of Eversley, has sent the Newsletter an interesting snippet of information about the canal. The information comes from Christopher Isherwood's biography of his parents "Kathleen and Frank" (Methuen, 1971). Christopher Isherwood and his parents lived at Frimley Lodge, Frimley Green, from November 9, 1908 (when Christopher was four) until December 13, 1911, while his father was stationed at Aldershot. The house is on the south side of Guildford Road (A.321) adjoining the canal and opposite the King's Head. Mr. Holroyd relates two references to the canal in the journal kept by Christopher's mother:-

"15 November 1908: Frank and I went along the canal which is quite lovely, with all the bracken and high wooded banks with autumn leaves". And: "3 June 1909: We had tea in the garden early and then all went out in the punt on the canal".

Has any member come across similar references to the canal?
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Lock Gates
Many of you may have wondered when we are going to start building our pair of bottom gates. The delay has been caused because we decided that these gates must be built under cover as our chippies don't want to work in the rain, their spare time is precious, and we want security for our tools and timber. Unfortunately the huts at Ash Vale are not big enough for bottom gates. We hope that negotiations for a short lease on a suitable building in Frimley will soon be completed, and that we can take delivery of the timber and start work.
Land Grabbing
Several members have expressed their concern at the amount of land-grabbing going on along the canal banks. Your committee has passed on these fears to the county councils, who have assured us that they too are concerned and will ensure that when the canal changes hands all land that should be canal company property will become county council property.

Incidentally, it is a bit silly of local residents to grab bits of canal bank, particularly elevated embankments. Even if they were able to prove their title to the land, they could be liable to maintain it and responsible for damage caused if their piece of embankment happens to burst.
Canal- side development
Another item of concern is canal-side development - particularly in the Fleet area which threatens the appearance of the canal. The Fleet and Crookham Amenity Society has been investigating, and has discovered that new houses planned to be some 4Oft. from the edge of canal company land have actually been built about 20 ft. from the boundary.

Obviously this is wrong, and the houses which are incorrectly sited should be pulled down and rebuilt in the right place (at the time of writing they are unoccupied). What was the surveyor doing who marked out the site of these houses? Did the Fleet Council building inspectors check the details on the site with the site plan?

Your committee is pressing for a meeting with representatives of Fleet Council's planning committee to try to ensure that no more mistakes of this nature are made, which could damage the amenities of land about to become public open space.

We've been spending your money
Yes, we've had a spending spree, and invested some of our hard-earned cash in a Land Rover (diesel - long wheelbase - with hard top) and an electric typewriter (Adler - latest model - this is it).

The Land Rover had become necessary because of the increased number of trailers that the society now owns and because it was felt to be unfair to expect members to provide heavy towing services with the family car. The Land Rover has already towed the caravan to the IWA national rally, where the cost of the trip was more than justi­fied in sales takings. (See Page 10) It was also decided to invest in a decent typewriter. For six years, we have relied on our secretaries and their assistants to produce a staggering amount of paperwork on their own typewriters. Cutting stencils for newsletters etc. causes wear in a simple typewriter, and our secretarial volunteers asked for assistance - to which the committee readily agreed.
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Now the committee is appealing to you for donations to help plug the hole in our bank balance caused by our investments. About £230 was spent on the Land Rover, and £177 on the typewriter. Donations large or small will be welcome. Our statisticians have calculated that 25p from every member would cover all the expense.

A donations form is enclosed with the Newsletter - although we have no objection to receiving from donors who wish to remain anonymous. Please make donations payable to THE SURREY AND HAMPSHIRE CANAL SOCIETY and send them, with the form, to Peter Youngs (Hon. Treasurer), The Coppice, Upper Chobham Road, Camberley, Surrey.

The Newsletter Editor thanks all postmen who returned the mini-questionnaire enclosed with their last Newsletter delivery. Any adjustments requested should have been made with this delivery. If any problems should arise in future, please get in touch with the Editor.

We still need a volunteer to take on a round in the Bagshot area. It involves eight deliveries (including two at West End which could be excluded). Area covered is Windlesham, Lightwater, and Bagshot itself. Any offers to take on this round and deliver Newsletters once every two months to the Newsletter Editor please - address on back page.

George Gilder, who is responsible for Newsletter deliveries in Ash Vale, asks if we can find him a volunteer to do the Frimley Road-Stratford Road area. Please write to George direct if you can help - the address is Furzehill, Hutton Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants.

The Newsletter is now published at pretty regular two-monthly intervals. Committee meetings are held on the first Friday of every month so the Newsletter deadline is the second Friday of each alternate month. Deadline for the next issue is Friday, November 10 and the Newsletter will be distributed for delivery during the two weeks following that date.

We try to see that the Newsletter reaches postmen as quickly as possible after publication for early delivery, so that members receive it in time for the "Coming Events" section. But distribution of the Newsletter depends on so many things:- the time it takes to type and duplicate, the availability of labour for stapling etc., the availability of our volunteer postmen - some of whom cover quite large areas - that it may happen that you get your copy after the first coming event mentioned in that section. We apologise if this happens, but the Newsletter is a chain reaction which depends on so many things, and we try to produce it as quickly and economically as we can. This situation should not arise next year if the committee succeeds in bringing out a membership card with all essential "Coming Events" noted on it - members can then put a year's events in their diaries. Reminders will continue to be published in the Newsletter, for those who need them!

The canalscape in Woking has changed since the last Newsletter was published with the demolition of Spantons former timber yard by the Chertsey Road bridge. The yard has not been in use for some time, but the demolition of the old green-painted timber sheds has given the canal a new look where it passes the recreation ground.

At the time of writing we don't know whether there are any plans to build on the site, but this is something which we will obviously look into. Spantons in the old days provided the canal with a lot of traffic, and in fact the last barge delivery - just before the canal was sold in 1949 - consisted of a load of timber for the yard.

The following article is included in this Newsletter for the benefit of our many "newer" members who are not familiar with the back­ground history of the canal. It was written by Mr. B. E. Smith of Farnham and published in a Farnham magazine in 1963. Mr. Smith sent this copy of the article to the Newsletter some time ago - but this is the first occasion to arise with space to print it!

"Childhood environments form impressions which never entirely release one. The Zeps of the First World War had scared my parents out of London and, after a somewhat nomadic existence, we had settled in the town of Basingstoke - that strange little town that couldn't make up its mind whether to be an industrial giant because of Thorneycroft'a factory, or an agricultural centre.

"More important in my estimation than either lorries or cows was the fascinating fact of the Basingstoke Canal, which began in a timber yard at the corner of Wote Street and Brook Street. Here the very buildings had a quayside look about them and the low-ceilinged bars of the Barge Inn (now demolished) conjured up the presence of canal watermen with accents that constrasted strangely with the local Hampshire dialect of the farm workers from the near­by cattle market. Here the canal began, soon leaving the town for farmland and woodland, and carrying the name of Basingstoke miles and miles away to goodness knows where.

"There is a witchery about a man-made waterway, contrived by man and constructed by him through meadow or coppice, through town or village - just where he wants it to go - so that, by his ingenuity, he causes water to be where there was no water before and long narrow boats to glide across the surface of the fields, as unreal as a London bus in some Saharan mirage.

"In a schoolboy's fantasy they passed by, these boats, as silent as the grove they had risen from. For the Basingstoke Canal was a graveyard, a neglected graveyard, a dank, fetid, stagnant graveyard - yet peopled by the imagination with the waterman and their families who had once manned the craft which, during the years between the 1790s and the arrival of that Juggernaut, the railway goods train, had worked the canal and carried on the business of this artificial waterway.

You could walk along its towpath to the village of Basing, or take crayfish from still water that mirrored the green canopy of trees, or find rare plants on the overgrown banks. Further afield you could trace its path through villages with names like Up Nateley and Mapledurwell. At Greywell it ran through a tunnel for nearly a mile and, as if to compensate for this, at North Warnborough near Odiham it was carried on an aqueduct.

You would see stretches of it at the side of the railway as the train passed Brookwood and Byfleet, The rusted mechanism of disused lock gates, the decayed timbers of a quay and, here and there, the rotting hulk of a barge, as idle as a painted ship on a Constable canvas, bore mute testimony to an activity which began in 1792, when the Basingstoke Canal was opened and a thin curving thread of water appeared on the map between Basingstoke and Byfleet, 37 miles away as the barge flies.

At Byfleet, it entered the River Wey shortly before that river's junction with the Thames, thus linking up with the network of England's inland waterways, so that a boat could take Farnham hops to brewers at Burton-on-Trent or Farnham hoggins to gild the paths of Chester.

For though the barrier of hills to the north kept the canal at a distance, it was nevertheless designed to serve Farnham equally with the towns which lay across its banks. Indeed, the town had its own wharf, still known as the Farnham Wharf, at a point some five miles away where the canal ran beneath the Wharf Bridge on the London to Winchester turnpike road, between the then relatively unimportant hamlets of Aldershot and Farnborough.
To dig, without the aid of mechanical excavators, a trench some 38 ft. wide and 5 ft. deep through open country for 37 miles is no mean undertaking. But the company incorporated under the Basingstoke Canal Act of 1777 foresaw the advantages of this alternative to the primitive roads as a means of transport, both to canal users and shareholders in particular. That the latter benefit was disappointing, for the dividend did not reach the scale anticipated is, for the purpose of this story, neither here nor there; what does concern us is that the boats with their cargoes did go here and there across the flat plains.

The project aroused immense interest. Lured by the prospect of a 7 1/2% dividend - for which the canal was expected to carry a yearly tonnage of some 30,000 yielding tolls which would amount to £7,785 - the public subscribed readily to the required sum of £86,000 in £1 shares, the largest shareholders being the Earls of Dartmouth and Portsmouth and the Corporation of Basingstoke.

Surveyed by Joseph Parker, the many engineering problems were either solved or passed on to the Engineer-in-Charge, a Mr. Jessop, or perhaps further down to John Pinkerton, the contractor.

At the beginning of the undertaking labour problems were non­existent, despite the fact that Britain, single-handed, was at war with both America and Europe. What better use for French P0Ws than digging a canal - with a few Dutchmen to show them how to do it? They began their Herculean task in 1778 at the bottom of the hill in Basingstoke and cut their way westward through the chalk, choosing the line of least resistance over the even contour of the Hampshire countryside, some 200 to 400 ft. above sea-level. They crossed the Surrey boundary at the village of Ash with 22 miles of completed trench behind them, and then their troubles set in. If you look at a contour map of Surrey you will see that from Ash to Byfleet the contours change from brown to light green to dark green; in the short distance of 15 miles there is a drop in level which Joseph Parker put at 204 ft. 4 in. It is in this last 15 miles that most of the 29 locks of the canal are to be found.

Brayley's History of Surrey (1841) tells us that the canal was completed under a second Act of Parliament, which suggests a hitch that may have been due to two possibilities, namely that the 1783 Treaty of Versailles had returned the prisoners of war to France, or that the prospect of bending water down 200 ft. in 15 miles was too appalling for words. Whatever happened, the canal was not opened to navigation until 14 years after Basingstoke streets had first echoed to the stirring songs of the Frenchmen.

Constructed to take vessels up to 72 ft. long, with a beam of 13 ft. and a displacement of 50 tons - not big, possibly, compared with the boats that work the waterways of the Midlands - the Basingstoke Canal, for all that, became one of the main arteries of trading in the south, and left the roads free for the increasing passenger traffic and the hurry of His Majesty's Mails. Barges conveyed goods which weren't in a hurry - coal from Newcastle, timber from the dockyards, flour into London, bricks from Nateley, malt from Farnham, tanners' bark to whoever wanted it, earthenware to who knows where. The canal fulfilled, if not its financial objectives, the commercial hopes of its promoters until the coming of the railways in the 1840s - a brief span, less than fifty years, on which so much toil and money had been spent. Yet in its short life it won, in its own special way, a place in the hearts of the people living along its banks.
(To be concluded in next issue)

Editor's note: Mr. Smith writes a lot in the past tense during the early part of this article - although things have not changed very much since the article was written in 1963. As it was written for a magazine, our "experts" may have found some errors in it -please let the Newsletter Ed, know if you spot any, so we can correct them next time.
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Thank you - to my wife Alice and young son Niall who were co-opted to lead the August ramble due to my inability to walk on an injured foot! Our party enjoyed the usual excellent weather associated with society rambles.

The attractive village of Basing provided considerable interest in the variety of its old buildings and in the size of its church, which indicates the importance this village once had for the surrounding country side before the development of Basingstoke. Many traces of the Basingstoke Canal are still apparent in Basing, although gradually disappearing under new development. Unfortunately, Basing House is closed to the public this year, so I must apologise to those who hoped to visit this historic site. The return route to Basingstoke led through the new riverside garden facilities being created alongside the headwaters of the River Loddon where eventually will be pleasant walks, cycle paths, paddling and boating pools constructed from derelict land. A last point of interest was the old group of buildings originally housing the pumping machinery for Basingstoke's water supply. This source had to be closed in 1905 due to the unfortunate fouling of the supply, causing many deaths from typhoid.

Diary Dates
Sunday, October 8: Family ramble. A round trip of approximately six miles tnrough the Itchen Valley. Meet at Winchester Town Hall (opposite King Alfred's statue) at 2.30 pm.
Sunday, December 10: Hard ramble. 16 miles round trip starting and finishing at Alton. Full details in next Newsletter.

In the last Newsletter we reported on a public inquiry held into an application to build 30 houses on land adjoining the Frimley Aqueduct off Wharfenden Way, Frimley Green. The society was represented at the inquiry - and we have just learnt that the appeal has been turned down by the Department of the Environment because of points made in our case.

While not opposing the development as such, our representative did point out that no provision had been made on the lay-out plan for the estate to give access to the canal bank and the stop-gate to the aqueduct which is operated from the appeal site. In his report on the inquiry the Ministry inspector says: "It appears that consideration has not been given to the provision of an access to the stop gate on this side of the canal and to a public walk-way along the canal bank ... In my opinion the provision of a means of access to the stop gate and a canal side walk for local residents would be desirable and would necessitate some amendment of the submitted lay­out". The report goes on: "But for these points of detail I would have allowed the appeal ..."

So the appeal was lost - simply because the developers did not do their homework on the canal and take it into consideration - a bright indication for the future. At the inquiry it was clear that the developers had no idea that the canal might be restored. They brushed it off as "derelict", "unused" etc. etc.

There is little doubt that this 4 1/2 acres of canalside woodland will be developed, since the Inspector agrees it is suitable for housing. But in view of the inquiry, the developers will have to pay more attention to the canal before their lay-out plans are approved. The appeal was dismissed on this one ground only - and it should serve as a warning to other would-be canalside developers.

If you hear of a planning application which could affect the canal, please let the secretary (address back page) know about it. We do keep our ears close to the ground, but would rather be told twice about an application than not at all. Having tasted blood on this occasion and made one developer sit up and take notice, we might be lucky again!
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SALES TALK by Tony Jarrett
This year's Christmas card is now available. It shows in winter with a covering of snow. Produced in black, white and blue it makes a very presentable card - not forgetting that all society sales profits go into the Restoration Fund. Price of the card is 5p with orders of 15 or more sent post free. Sample cards ar available from me at 8p including postage. Last year some members kindly sold our cards through their own retail outlets and this prove very successful. If they are prepared to do the same again this year will they please let me know - or are there any other volunteers?

Christmas Presents: The Festive Season is not far off, so here are some "suggestions" for suitable gifts from our sales list: scatter dish /ash trays - 30p each in honey or green; china decorated narrow boats (make useful posy holders) £1.05p; inland waterways calendars - 21p; Irish linen tea towels - 42p. Fuller details in the sales list sent out last time (write to me if you want another) - and please don't forget to include postage when ordering.

The Design Sub-Committee has produced a design for a society tie and we are now awaiting a third quotation before placing an order. Because of production delays however, the tie will not be on sale before the end of the year.

Author Paul Vine, one of our vice-presidents, has given the society an inscribed copy of his latest book: "The Royal Military Canal" (to be reviewed in the next Newsletter). He suggests the book should be used as a prize at a society function, and the committee has agreed that it should be raffled, with proceeds going to the Lock Gate Fund. Raffle tickets at 5p each will be on sale soon from Tony Jarrett (address above), but the raffle will be confined to members only. The raffle will be drawn at the AGM in January. Paul is, of course, the author of "London's Lost Route to Basingstoke" - and he drove the last "golden" nail into our first pair of lock gates when they were completed three years ago. Our thanks to Paul for his gift. In his letter, he urges us to get on with building a pair of bottom gates.

It is hoped to build a large work-boat at Ash Vale Barge Yard in the near future. This will involve carpentry and metalwork. Several members are keen to start this project, but they cannot complete it alone. Are you willing to give us some time on a regular basis for a few months? Weekends, perhaps - or some evenings too? Please don't think that super-skills are required or that "I!ve-never-done anything-like-that-before" - neither have we! We also need a paint and repairer for our dinghy - an interesting home project for someone. If you haven't room at home, you can use our yard. If either of these projects can fill your spare time, ring Jeff Holman at Brookwood.

LAND ROVER: At a recent committee meeting the decision was made that a Land Rover would be of considerable use to the society - due to difficulties experienced with towing heavy trailers, the caravan etc. The following weekend a long wheelbase diesel model was offered to at a bargain price. Fortunately, a second committee meeting was scheduled for the Wednesday of that week, so the full committee was advised. An instant phone call and it was ours. By 2 am the fol­lowing Wednesday it was ready to attend the National Rally of Boats at Lymm, Cheshire - having had a full brake overhaul, gearbox oil seal changed, wiring sorted out, and a general "going-over". Our thanks to those who "dropped everything" and rallied in order to make our weekend at Lymm possible - Ron and David Jesse; Patrick Maguire; "Boris" Walls; Tony Clarke; Mike Nicholson; Jeff Holman and Bob Humphrey. Thanks too to Dusty Miller for his instant sign-writing and Robin Higgs for facilities too numerous to mention.
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The Society has recently purchased two major items of equipment - a Landrover suitable for towing, and a typewriter. The Landrover was purchased primarily for towing and carrying equipment to working parties, rallies, etc., and the typewriter fulfills a need on the administration side.

Naturally, the two items have left rather a hole in the Society's current account, and we are now faced with a problem common to most charities at some time or other we're almost in the red!

Your committee thought that you might like the opportunity to contribute to a specific item - no matter how little it will be of use.

If you would like to contribute, please complete the attached form and return it the the treasurer. If you do not wish to donate, how about holding a jumble sale for us? If that is more in your line, please contact the secretary (address on the back page of the Newsletter). Thank you for your assistance.

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Last updated April 2005