July - August 1974

Cover pictures
Ramblers' Corner
Money Matters
Odiham bypass
Other canals
Events since our last issue

Contact the Society


      bcnmsthd50 (12K)

       NO. 57JULY - AUGUST 1974

front page pic (59K)1

front page pic (34K)2

front page pic (20K)3

Newsletter Editor: Mrs. M. Holmes, 75 Tavistock Rd., Fleet - 3297
CHAIRMAN: Robin Higgs, Chobham - 7314
HON. SEC: Mrs. F. Creasey, 108 Union St., Farnborough - 43114
WORKING PARTY ORGANISER: Frank Jones, Farnborough - 45032

Cover pictures:
1. Ash Lock Dig - see below [clearing Ash Lock - April 1974]
2. Lady Verney opening footbridge at Fleet Weir
3. Society's narrow boat at Fleet carnival

Newsletter No. 58July/August 1974
[NB: this issue is actually No. 57....]

Ramblers' cornerby John Peart, Farnborough 46554
16 June will have to go on record as the first time since October 1971, when I started this series of rambles, that rain actually fell on the party. Sadly Ted Tanner with his magic pac-a-mac couldn't make it, and with only half a mile to go the heavens opened. We were soaked. Despite this sting in the tail, the ramble was greatly enjoyed. Unfortunately demands on my spare time have prevented me from surveying the route around Winchfield which should have been the venue for the next ramble, so I am running an 'action replay' of the walk in October 1971. Children, dogs and push chair pilots should find this fairly easy going.

On Sunday 11 August meet at 2.00pm at Ash Vale boat house, 100 yards from Ash Vale station. An easy 5 mile round trip to Deepcut using the Basingstoke canal towpath, returning to Ash Vale on public footpaths.

What we dig up by Alan Fenton
On the Ash Lock dig on 5 May I found a .22 Browning automatic pistol in the lock chamber. I was hoping to hang it, suitably disabled, on my living room wall as a canal trophy but unfortunately the police refused to allow me to keep it. At least I have the consolation of knowing that it will go to the police training school to be used in teaching self-defence to cadets.

Boating this summer?
Lucky soon-to-be-owner of narrow boat is looking for an appreciative home for his present boat, where it will be maintained in the condition to which it has been accustomed. Steel hull 40ft by 6ft 10in. Fore and aft decks. Very solid sides and roof. Lister SR2 engine, just run in. Tiller steering. Capacity 75 gallons water, 40 gallons diesel fuel. Toilet space 5 ft by 5 ft. Full equipment. £3,200 o.n.o. Sunday to Thursday evenings, 8.00 to 10.00pm 01-892 3034.
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Canal enthusiast, early 20's, would like to join a holiday group touring the canals this summer. Any time between mid-July and mid-September. Contact Miss F Read, 97 Worcester Road, Cheam, Surrey.

Sales - postal rates by Paul Aston
As from 24 June 1974 postal rates were increased. Please note the new correct rates when ordering from the Society's sales list: Not over 2oz - 3 1/2p 4oz - 5p 6oz - 7p 8oz - 9p 10oz - 11p 12oz - 13p 14oz - 15p 1lb - 17p 1 lb 8oz - 22 1/2-p
I should like to stress that any book may be obtained from me and any order will benefit the Society's funds.

Sales - wanted
Coin collector and canal enthusiast would like to purchase a Basingstoke canal token. Contact Miss F Read, 97 Worcester Road, Cheam, Surrey.
Sales - new book The British Waterways Board has published the story of the Leeds-Liverpool canal, called 'It lends itself naturally'. Price £1.50.
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Money matters - the jumble sale
The jumble sale held in Farnham on 22 June was very successful, benefitting the Society's funds by £65. Many thanks are due to the organisers, Mr. and Mrs. Sanders of Lindford, and their band of helpers, for their hard work. Not only were they congratulated on the quality of the jumble, but also on the helpful manner and happy atmosphere in which the sale was conducted.

Money matters - donations
Our thanks to the Farnborough wine making circle and the National Housewife's Register for their kind donations following talks given by members of the Committee. Money matters - increased postal rates

The recent increase in postage rates is going to have a marked effect on the Society's running costs. To assist in keeping these to a minimum may I appeal to the generosity of all members to include return postage when writing to members of the Committee. Who knows - savings made in postage could pay for another pair of lock gates.

COPY DATE for next Newsletter - 1 September 1974.

Money matters - life membership by Alan Babister

I have enquiries from time to time regarding the possibility of taking out life membership of the Society. The most recent enquiry prompted me to put the question to the executive committee again. It has been decided that life membership should be established and that the next AGM should decide the necessary subscription.
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Our canal - Odiham by-pass success by Peter Youngs
As a result of our representations and those of other objectors to the proposals for the Odiham by-pass (see last two Newsletters) Hampshire County Council appointed a viewing sub-committee to inspect the proposals on the ground. This met on 31 May and included a member of the SHCS committee.

The outcome is that the County Council has authorised amendments to the scheme and the submission of a new planning application. The revised proposals will provide for the closure of the B3016 just north of the canal, the northern section of that road being diverted into the proposed Broad Oak roundabout and the southern section becoming a cul-de-sac. This meets the committee's objections by removing the threat of a new bridge and extensive earthworks at the Colt Hill crossing of the canal as well as providing substantial environmental benefits for the residents of the adjoining area.

Our canal - dam the bridgeholes by Stan Googe
When brawn and brain get together surprising things can happen. An unusually successful example of this combination came about over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend on the Basingstoke Canal. The object of the exercise was to clear the mud and debris from under­neath Reading Road Bridge,

The brawn was provided by members of the Society, who undertook to do the 'muck and bullets' stuff. The brains came from the technical staff of John Hudson (Birmingham) Ltd Flexible Structures Division. Nick Hardacre, one of the development engineers of the Company, kindly loaned his brainchild, an inflatable dam especially designed for canal applications, together with a more conventional rib dam.

The inflatable dam, made of heavy gauge nylon and pvc was laid on the ground, the two 'sausages' zipped together, and the whole structure drawn across the canal in the required position - this operation resulted in a couple of duckings. Water depth at the deepest point was about 3ft 6in on top of 2ft of silt and sludge. Then the pumps of the Hampshire Fire Brigade burst into song and pumped around 30,000 gallons from between the two dams and into the 'sausages' - total weight of water pressing on the silt of the canal bed, 140 tons, and Hey Presto, the waters were held back. Then the navvies moved in! 20tons of mud were moved in two eight-hour sessions, whilst the tractor buckets worked overtime moVing further mud from the approaches to the bridge.

John Hudsons also provided a 3,500 gallon tanker which pumped out mud and larger debris, then separated the water, which was pumped into the canal between the two 'sausages' of the dam. There is more interesting work to be done, so contact Frank Jones on Farnborough 45032.
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Money matters - subscriptions
A number of subscriptions appear to have been paid twice. If anyone feels they have done this and wants a refund please contact Alan Babister, membership secretary, on Farnborough 46l47. Otherwise this additional revenue will be regarded as a donation to the Society funds.

Other canals - Regent's canal by P Stevenson
Mr P Stevenson of Holloway, London, has written with the following information after seeing Jon Talbot's comments on the Regent's canal (see last Newsletter).

The Cumberland (Market) arm of the Regent's canal - where the canal turns left out of Regent's Park into Camden Town - has not been completely eradicated but only cut off within the stretch inside the Park. Between the original basin, where the Cumberland Estate now is, but where the grain wharf used to be, the channel is still in evidence where it passes through Park Village East/West, behind Albany Street, after the splendid bridge that carries Parkway from Camden Town into the Park at Cumberland Gate. The filled-in sector has been made a parking bay for the coaches bringing school children to the Zoo, while beyond the bridge the bed of the channel is grassed over and a good number of trees and bushes now grow there. Probably the use that could be made of it, now that the old market has gone, is too limited, and the cost too high for such a small Arm - it was only about 500 yards long -but it must have been an attractive length, extending the cutting through the Park and Zoo. About 30 yards of canal is still there and is colonised by the resident craft that have gravitated to this attractive area. There is a floating restaurant there too.
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Other canals - two restorations by F.W. Simmonds
'Country Life' for 7 March contained an illustrated article on the restoration of the 200 years, old Droitwich canal, joining that town with the Severn. In its 6 1/2 miles it. has eight locks 64ft by 14ft 6in and the water is (or was) salty. Droitwich Junction Canal, l 3/4- miles with seven locks, joins it to the Worcester and Birmingham canal. The Droitwich was abandoned in 1938 and rapidly decayed, but more than 500 volunteers worked like the original navvies when restoration started last October. The Ministry of Defence provided a camp and the Waterways Recovery Group assisted with three mini-excavators.

A larger example is of course the Royal Navy's enormous task in clearing the Suez canal.
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Social jottings by David Millett, Social Secretary (Fleet 7364)
With the dredger about to be transported from Reading to Colt Hill, Odiham, it is proposed to hold a Barbecue type function to celebrate the first official steaming after the preparation work has been completed. Full details will appear in the next Newsletter but the date should be late September or early October.

A cruise on the Kennet and Avon canal from Newbury is also being planned for the Autumn and details of this will also appear in the next issue.

An informal cruise from Guildford to Godalming on the River Wey Navigation is provisionally planned for Monday 12 August at 7pm. The cost (excluding transport) will be 55p per head and members interested should contact David Millett (Fleet 7364) as soon as possible.

Will any member interested in taking over the position of Social Secretary please contact David Millett (Fleet 7364) or any member of the Committee. The position should appeal to someone who is perhaps unable to actively take part in the restoration work but feels he/she would like to get involved in working for the Society.
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Stan (Bill) Bailey
It was with extreme sorrow that we learned last month of the death of Bill Bailey. Bill was one of our staunchest working party.members and he will be yery much missed on the cut. On behalf of the Executive Committee and his friends in the Society we send our deepest sympathy to his family.

Since our last issue
On 9 June Lady Verney officially opened the canal towpath in Hampshire when she cut a tape across the bridge which the Society had restored and placed over the Weir at Fleet. Some 80-odd people turned out and heard Lady Verney relate how she and Sir John had been instrumental in the acquisition of the bridge, formerly a ship's gangplank. In his reply the Society's Chairman, Robin Higgs, praised the vast amount of work which had been done on the bridge by the team under Bert Saunders. He also said how gratifying it was to see so many members of Hart District Council present.

The restoration of the dredger has gone ahead so smoothly that one is perhaps inclined to overlook the magnitude of the task and the problems involved. Last month, as part of the preparations to move the dredger to the canal, a team tackled the problem of detaching the two pontoons from the main hull. The operation involved flooding the centre section so as to lower the entire structure, releasing the two pontoons and then pumping the hull out. The first part of the operation went according to plan, but as the hull was being pumped out it suddenly lurched end, had it not become wedged against the quay, would have turned over. The pontoons were quickly lashed to the hull while plans were made to recover the position. A few days later a team lead by George Welsh and Ian Cripps set about the delicate operation of bolting the pontoons back on, which was achieved without mishap. Before the dredger can be moved, however, the pontoons will need to be removed again, and the dredger team is now evaluating the problems. Once the dredger is working on the canal there will be the question of disposing of thousands of tons of silt. To consider the possible methods to be used the Executive Committee has set up a new sub committee under the chairmanship of Ron Jesse, who is consultant engineer to the dredger project.
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It is with mixed feelings that we have learned of the appointment of Dave Gerry, our former Chairman, as Canal Manager for Hampshire County Council. David has fought for some 7 years to persuade the Counties to acquire the canal, and presumably Hampshire have decided that if you can't beat him, let him join you! His departure from the Executive Committee will leave a void which it will be impossible to fill, but it is not everyone who can turn his hobby into his career. We wish him every success and happiness in what we are sure will be a challenging but rewarding job.

Hon. Sec. Mrs. E. Nicholson, 1 Kielder Walk, Heatherside, Camberley, Tel. Camberley 29468.
Newsletter Editor: Miss June Sparey, 8 Beaufort Road, Maybury Estate, Woking, Surrey. Tel. Camberley 29463 (weekday evenings); Woking 63095 (weekends only).
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Last updated April 2005