February 1980

Front cover pictures
Comment - Business Matters
Taking up the Challenge
Picture info
Special Gen. Meeting report
Social Jottings
Fund Rasing
Bob Harlech obit.
Working Parties
Bas Can Canoe Club
10 Years Hard
Youth Employment Grant
Colt Hill Recreation Centre
Gongoozlers' Gossip

Contact the Society


    bcnmsthd50 (12K)

No. 89February 1980

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Inside Front Cover --
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At the Society's Special General Meeting held last November, the Committee got full support for their plan to employ four of the Job Creation supervisors, and a Motion to increase subscription rates received unanimous approval. But the motion to increase the Executive from nine to twelve elected members got less than full support.

As our member Mike Tomlinson observed, the administration of Society affairs might be run more effectively by decreasing the number to four or five rather than increasing the size of the Committee, For, as anyone knows who has served on committees, weight of numbers does not necessarily lighten the workload. Another member pointed out that a good deal of the Society's work is undertaken by ordinary members, and that more sub-committees might be a more practical answer. And the wife of a Committee member hoped that the move would not lead to her husband returning home even later after meetings!

While the motion was finally carried the message was clear; whether the Committee numbers two or twenty, its effectiveness is only as good as its individual members. There was a time when the Society was run relatively informally. But today the administration is much more sophisticated, our responsibilities towards restoration have increased and as a registered company we have to comply with more formal proceedings. The answer to spreading the workload may lie in increasing the size of the Committee. But in the final analysis its ability to manage effectively rests with the members elected to it.
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We are pleased to hear that one local company has already responded to the Society's appeal for funds to keep the Job Creation Supervisors employed permanently. The Woking firm of James Walker & Co. Ltd., manufacturers of packing, seals and gaskets, has contributed the sum of £500 for which the Society is extremely grateful. We are glad to know that this long established, locally based company recognises the value of restoring the canal for recreational use by its employees and the community at large. And we hope other companies will follow James Walker's example.

Support has also been coming in from our members. The Trustees Savings Bank at North Camp Road, Farnborough has offered us their window space for display purposes and several lady members in Fleet are busy compiling lists of firms for the Appeal Fund Committee to approach. As we said in the last Newsletter, there are many ways most of our members can help. So please do not hesitate to contact Derek Truman at 91 Tavistock Road, Fleet, Hants Tel. No. Fleet 3435; OR Philip Riley, Meadow Vale, Guildford Road, Normandy, Guildford, Surrey. Tel. No. Normandy 2776 with your fund raising ideas or offer to help.
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FRONT COVER (David Robinson)
The two pairs of lock gates built by Society volunteers in 1969 and 1972, being installed in Ash Lock during December.

Ash Lock, February 1974, before the derelict lock gates were removed.
Note the concrete dam above the top gates constructed after Ash Embankment was breached in 1968 (David Robinson) (Top Left)
(Top Right) Volunteers building the Ash lock gates at the former barge building yard at Ash Vale (David Robinson)
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At the Special General Meeting held at the Teachers' Centre, Farnborough on 28th November, members of the Society gave their full support for a plan to employ four of the Job Creation supervisors for at least six months in the event that no further grants were forthcoming from the Manpower Services Commission.

The Chairman, Robin Higgs, explained that the Society had received over £300,000 in grants to provide jobs and training for unemployed young people on restoring the Deepcut Flight of Locks during the last three years. Now, under the present Government, the Special Temporary Employment Programme grants would only be available to depressed areas of the country. And, although the Society had applied for a renewal of their Work Experience Programme grant, the application had not yet been approved and even if it were, the Committee had doubts as to whether the low rates of pay would attract sufficient recruits.

It was against such an uncertain background, Robin Higgs said, that the Committee's plan to launch an Appeal Fund to retain the services of the four Job Creation Supervisors had evolved. Without retaining their full-time working input, it was widely felt that the restoration schedule would fall behind and the canal would not be re-opened until the 1990's rather than the early 1980's as scheduled.

Commenting on the cost of enploying the four supervisors, Robin estimated that the Society needed £30,000.00 a year excluding materials which it was hoped Surrey County Council would continue to supply. The Society's Treasurer, Bryan Jones, assured the meeting that the Society had sufficient funds to finance an immediate six months period of employment. Thereafter it was hoped that Surrey County Council would support the team for a further six months employment.

Asked what the team might achieve in six months, Frank Jones, Job Creation Co-ordinator, replied that the four men could make and fit four pairs of lock gates and so complete two more lock chambers in that period.

In the long term, it was reported, the Society needed to raise money to continue employing the Job Creation team and so an Appeal Fund Committee had been formed under Derek Truman and Philip Riley. One of their main aims, it was explained, would be to approach local companies for financial donations on the basis of the recreational amenity value of the restored canal for the benefit of the local community. From the initial contacts made, Robin Higgs said that there had been a good reaction and he felt that support would be forthcoming.

Increased Membership Subscriptions
A Motion to increase subscriptions was also approved by the meeting. The Treasurer, Bryan Jones, explained that the rates had not increased for four years during which period inflation had increased by 65%.
The new rates are: £1.75 Junior (under 18); £1.75 (O.A.P.); £4.50 (Adult)- £5.50 (Family); £7,00 (Group) and £.60,00 (Life).

Committee number increased
The meeting also approved a Motion increasing the size of the Executive Committee from nine to twelve members. The Chairman said the Motion was being put to members because of the increased administrative work the Society had to undertake and the need to spread the workload.
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SOCIAL JOTTINGS Hampshire - David Millett, Fleet 7364
Surrey - Michael Grist, Woking 71581
Please remember that the FEBRUARY meeting is at the Railway Enthusiasts Club, situated immediately on the South side of the M3 Motorway bridge over the A32 Farnborough-Reading Road. Licensed bar, sales stand, coffee and biscuits.
The MARCH and APRIL social evenings return to the usual venue at the Teachers' Centre, St. Alban's Hall, Lynchford Road, Farnborough (opp. Lloyd's Bank). Licensed bar, sales stand, coffee and biscuits.
Thursday 28th February 7.45pm. - Railway Enthusiasts Club
A SLIDE EVENING featuring mainly slides taken prior to the start of restoration in 1973, and during the first two years or so of restoration i.e., Hampshire towpath clearance and the steam dredger move by road from Reading to Odiham.
Wednesday 26th March 7.45pm. - Teachers Centre
Illustrated talk by TONY DAVIS entitled 'WATERWAYS OF THE WEY VALLEY'. The slides will feature all the upper reaches and tributaries of the River Wey, together with the more familiar lower sections.
Wednesday 23rd April 7.45pm. - Teachers Centre
'LONDON'S WATERWAYS' - an illustrated talk by CHRIS COVE-SMITH of the Inland Waterways Association, featuring familiar and more unusual aspects of London's canals and rivers.

All at the Woking Centre Halls, Coffee and biscuits, sales stand. Monday 10th March 7.45pm.
An illustrated talk entitled 'WATERWAYS OF BURGUNDY' by JOHN HUMPHRIES, an ex-chairman of the Inland Waterways Association and present Chairman of the Water Space Amenity Commission.
Monday 14th April 7.45pm.
'RIPARIAN-INSIGHT, or THE LOW-DOWN ON WATERSIDE CONSTRUCTION WORK' - an illustrated talk by TOM CHAPLIN of the well-known firm T. Harrison Chaplin Ltd., who are specialists in waterside construction work and who provide a comprehensive riparian owners service by arranging moorings, campshedding and dredging and landscaping of canal and river banks. Members are welcome to bring friends to any of the above meetings.
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February 11th 'Wey & Arun, the vital link' by Peter Beresford, Woking Centre Halls 7.45pm.
February 18th Pub Evening, The Bounty, Basingstoke
February 23rd Jumble Sale
February 28th Slide Evening - 'Early days of restoration' - Railway Enthusiasts Club 7.45pm.
March 8th Annual General Meeting and Social, St. Andrew's Hall, Frimley Green 6.15pm. March 10th 'Waterways of Burgundy' by John Humphries, : Woking Centre Halls 7.45pm.
March I7th Pub Evening, The Bounty, Basingstoke.
March 26th. 'Waterways of the Wey Valley' by Tony Davis, Teachers' Centre, Farnborough 7.45pm.
March 30th Grand Chandlery Auction, Guildford Waterside Centre, (Stoke Bridge) 12noon.

April 14th 'Riparian insight, the: low-down on waterside construction work' by Tom Chaplin. Woking Centre Halls 7-45pm.
April 21st Pub Evening, The Bounty, Basingstoke April 23rd 'London's Waterways' by Chris Cove-Smith at Teachers' Centre, Farnborough 7-45pm.
April 26th 'John Pinkerton' cruising season commences travelling eastwards
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The Members of the Society hfve agreed to employ four supervisors on a full-time basis when the Manpower Services Scheme ends. This will require a lot of hard work by a greater number of people than ever before. At present the requirements is for:-

1. Representatives/Salesmen - to approach local firms after a letter and information has been sent.
2. A Person to organise newspaper collection - organising ability a priority. Storage and transport supplied.
3. Any other fund raising ideas are very welcome. For all enquiries, contact Derek Truman: Fleet 3435 OR Philip Riley: Normandy 2776
4. Grand Draw Organiser to help Ted Williams with the 1980 Draw. The Net Profit from the 1979 Draw was £1,697.00 - a magnificent effort. With help, we hope this will be twice as much this year. Contact: Ted Williams 36 Kestrel Road, Kempshott, Basingtoke - Tel. No. Basingstoke 61579.

A GRAND JUMBLE SALE will be held by the Society on SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY, 1980 at ST PETERS'S HALL, FRIMLEY 10.30am. Start Anticipate the advent of Spring and have a clear out NOW!!! Jumble always welcome at:
11 Tichbourne Close, Frimley (Kay Humberstone) Camberley 22883
33 Fern Close, Old Bisley Road, Frimley (Claire Ainger) Camberley 24882
'Barranca' 87 Old Bisley Road, Frimley (Helen Andrews) Camberley 25594
Please telephone for collection.
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1980 SALES DRIVE David Gay Egham (0784) 33108
Last year's sales achieved a gross turnover of £2,267 of which £2,113 was sales after allow for stock transferred to the Trip Boat. I would like to express my thanks to all those members who have made this possible by suggesting sites for the sales stand at various fetes and other events, also to those who helped man the large number attended. To maintain and improve on this in 1980, the Society's sales stand will need to attend more events and to achieve this, I want members from the following areas to organise sales: Basingstoke, Odiham, Fleet, Farnborough, Farnham, Aldershot, Ash Vale, Frimley, Camberley, Brookwood, St. John's Woking, Woodham and Byfleet. You will be responsible for finding suitable sites, or other outlets for the sales, and manning the stands. I would anticipate that this may entail attending perhaps half a dozen events a year, or more for the very enthusaistic, and will mean storing a small quantity of stock, probably a couple of boxes. If you are interested in helping, please contact me on the above telephone number.

We have only just learned with deep regret, of the death of Bob Harlech last October. Bob was an active member of the Society and was responsible for the duplication of the Newsletter for some time. We extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Kath.
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The Basingstoke Canal is certainly not short of well-wishers and supporter: and quite a lot of them continue to turn out to help, enabling some current working parties to achieve impressive and satisfying attendances. The newly established bankside clearance party working near St. John's Woking, for instance, has attracted large numbers of workers on several recent occasions.

But some other working parties don't do quite so well, particularly at Deepcut. Remember that the Basingstoke Canal will not be fully restored until all 29 locks are restored (and 28 of those locks are in Surrey). And remember that we are very far from certain that we will receive any government support for the Job Creation team beyond the end of March. So a lot depends on volunteers, but for a Society of 2000 members, this Society does manage some distressingly low turnouts to help restore the Deepcut Flight. If the whole job has to be left to these few, mostly regulars, the years being needed to complete the restoration will indeed come true. Next time, don't just go along to watch the canal navvies, come along and be one!

The full list of working parties operating is given below. It is advisable to phone your working partly leader a few days before attend­ing, in case of any last minute alterations.

Every Weekend. Deepcut Flight
The Basngstoke Canal offers lock-restoring navvies an opportunity not equalled for many miles around. Here you can play a significant part in restoring a sizeable flight of locks (with other smaller flights to follow) and hope to see real results, in the form of restored through navigation, in a few years time. Though to do it in a 'few' years will require 'many' navvies now.

Recent progress on Lock 16, the main Society Deepcut Lock, continues to be encouraging and rewarding to those involved. The top cill concrete is laid, the top hollow-posts are in place, and the off side chamber brickwork is all but complete. The new recess walls, top and bottom are still only part built, a lot of coping stones have to be replaced, and a number of variegated small jobs remain.

At Lock 19 - which this Society works on jointly with visiting groups, another 'first' is in prospect, as this will be the first lock to have both chamber walls completely rebuilt by volunteers.

Lock restoration work is not really suitable for family parties, as it is often heavy and dirty and requires patience and, preferably, some skills. The work is likely, at various times, to include demolition (much of it with Kango hammers or the like), bricklaying, mixing and.pouring concrete (mixing machines provided) and labouring jobs like chamber clearance and moving coping stones and other bulky objects. And, to be quite fair, only bricklaying among that list really calls for a real skill, the rest mainly call for willingness.

The co-ordinator of volunteer work on this flight is MIKE FELLOWS, on Wokingham 787428, and if you require further details you should contact him or one of the working party leaders.

1st Weekend of the month - 2/3 Feb, 1/2 Mar, 5/6 April - Lock 16 TONY GOULD on 01-977-8092
2nd Weekend of the month - 9/10 Feb, 8/9 Mar, 12/13 April - Lock 19 PETER OATES (Southampton Canal Society) on Botley 3844
2nd and 4th Sunday's of the month - 10 Feb, 24 Feb, 9 Mar, 23 Mar, 6 April - Lock 16 - ALAN GRIMSTER - Brookwood 6127
3rd Weekend of the month - 16/17 Feb, 15/16 Mar, 19/20 Apr - Lock 16 JULES WOOD on Farnborough 515737.
4th Weekend of the month - 23/24 Feb, 22/23 Mar - Lock 19 CHRIS BRAZIER on Camberley 25132.
5th Weekend of the month - 29/30 Mar - Lock 19 MIKE FELLOWS on Wokingham 787428 The plant used on this flight is maintained by JIM CHISHOLM (Wokingham 785146), assisted by ALASTAIR YULE, and helpers on this work would be welcome. <{> Every Weekend Dredging in Hampshire
The dredger has been a long time stopped 500 yards short of Barley Mow Bridge, while boiler repairs and retubing have been carried out, but early in the New Year she should be back at work. The regular team of workers have had something of a break during this period of repair (but some of them have been helping with the repairs), and will now be hard at it again and would certainly welcome newcomers to share and spread the load. For further details contact BRIAN BANE on Hook 3627.

Every other Sunday Towpath clearance in Surrey
27 Jan, 10 Feb, 24 Feb, 9 Mar, 23 Mar, 6 April
The large turnouts at these working parties have meant that a lot of progress has been made, and work over this period should be approaching, and maybe reaching Hermitage Bridge. The work does not require any special skills and is suitable for family parties. For exact work location and further details you should contact MARTIN BOWERS (Farnborough 513095), ADRIAN BIRTLES (Camberley 29897) or KEN HALLS (Woking 23981).

2nd Weekend of the month Lock 5 - Woodham
Further impressive progress has been made on the wing walls, and three are now complete and the fourth well advanced. The chamber itself and the top cill are the two major jobs yet to be tackled. For further details contact PABLO HAWORTH on Byfleet 42081.

3rd Weekend of the month Lock 1 - Woodham
Fresh from their receipt of a Shell award for their work here, this party have been doing preparatory work ready for fitting the paddle gear, and have been attending to various other ancilliary tasks. The bottom cill will now be the centre of activity, and it is hoped to obtain a bigger pump shortly to speed up the regularly recurring job of pumping out the chamber at the start of each work session. For further details contact DICK HARPER-WHITE on Weybridge 42074 or PETER JACKMAN on Woking 72132.

Last Sunday of the month Towpath work in Hampshire.
24 Feb, 30 Mar.
This party will be continuing to do further towpath clearance, probably in the Fleet area. The work is definitely suitable for family parties as it is not too heavy and requires no special skills. For further details and exact locations, contact DAVID MILLETT on Fleet 7364.

Various Weekends Lower Wilderness Weir
Here is another recent recipient of a Shell award, laying bricks in a setting of real canal between the restored Locks 28 and 27, with the water level almost up to its full restored level. For further details contact PETER MAYNE on Camberley 24701.

Every Weekend Railway Group
Volunteers are now required for Saturdays as well as Sundays. These working parties will be for levelling and ballasting the track, which is now being laid, and is half-way across the Embankment. Contact The Mellers, 101 Branksome Road, College Town, Camberley - Camberley 32096.

But wait, what is this omission from the ranks of the working party leaders? Yes, sadly it is true. Peter Jones is no longer leading a working party on the Deepcut Flight. Peter has been involved in volunteer work on the canal almost as long as there has been any such work, and when restoration work started on the Deepcut Flight he led the party which restored the chamber of Lock 25 at Curzon Bridge, the first lock chamber on the canal to be restored. At that time we were all on the steepest part of the lock restoration learning curve, and Peter played a big part in finding out what Basingstoke Canal locks were made of and how they should be restored. He put all this into practice on Lock 25, and since then has continued to play a major part in restoration work on the lower Deepcut locks. He has become one of the small band of experienced regulars on whom so much has depended on the Deepcut Flight, and his absence from working parties there will be a great loss.

Peter will continue to be actively involved in canal matters, including the production of this Newsletter.
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Following the note in the August Newsletter, 30 families or individuals expressed an interest in the formation of a canal based canoe club. Twenty-six representatives attended a meeting on the 22nd November when it was agreed that the Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club (BCCC) should be formed affiliated to the Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society. The membership will initially be limited to adults or families.

The Club had its first 'meet' on the 25th November at Crondall, about 40 members/prospective members attended a 'try a canoe' session in blustery conditions. It is planned to have formal 'meets' on the canal or 'away' waters at least once a month with ad hoc meetings/ practices in between. The Club has managed to obtain the use of an indoor heated pool for capsize drill, stroke and rolling training and practice. The help of qualified instructors is being sought.

Charles Hicks and Paul Garrett were nominated as the steering committe Chairman and Treasurer. Further details can be obtained from Dick Abbott, Secretary on Fleet 7183.

The 1980 event will be held on Sunday 20th April and will again be organised jointly by the Society and the Westel Canoe Club. It will be based at Reading Road Bridge, Fleet and will consist of 6, 12 20 and 30 - mile events, with various time options in each distance category. For further information and entry forms, contact Rosemary Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Hants after March 1st - Tel. Fleet 7364. A -foolscap SAE must be enclosed.
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".... God save Daddy, God save Mummy and • God save the Basingstoke Canal". - 5 year old Robert's Prayer, 1967
At the beginning of the Seventies, it seemed that even the Almighty had only a better than average chance of saving the Basingstoke Canal. For four years, the Society had fought a determined and sophisticated campaign to achieve public ownership of the Canal and to restore the full length. It had gained a thousand members, tremendous support from local authorities and the goodwill of the public. What it didn't have, and indeed, never got was permission from the canal owners to actually carry out restoration work on the Canal.

The owners didn't want the Canal restored for their own reasons and on more than one occasion, police were called to disperse a few private individuals who thought a little towpath clearance might be appreciated. Unable to work on the Basingstoke, our members were able to satisfy their restoration fervour by working on other canal projects or helping to develop the huge effort which went into the campaign.

"Save the Basingstoke Canal" stickers were everywhere (including the bumper of a car seen in a traffic jam in Australia), endless meetings were held to involve the public and a monster Petition was in hand. Any publicity was good publicity - even the 'Daily Mail' feature extolling the delights of living in a houseboat on the Canal at St. Johns which unfortunately sank prior to publication.

It took four years of incredibly hard work before Hampshire and Surrey County Councils agreed to open talks with the canal owners to discuss terms for an early purchase. It was 1970 and it would be another four years before the purchase was completed.

The following year, the Earl of Onslow became the Society's first President and even with his substantial help, the negotiations dragged on throughout the year. A major problem was valuation, the owners indicating that the Canal was worth £100,000 whilst many other people considered 35 pence a more realistic figure. After a further year, agreement had still not been reached and the Society urged both County Councils to end the impasse and seek a Compulsory Purchase Order. Whilst this was being considered, the Society was pleased to record its gratitude to someone who had daringly and anonymously mowed a mile of towpath near Odiham.

In 1973 both Councils issued C.P.O.s and a Public Enquiry was held. No one objected to the Hampshire C.C. Order but 140 objections were lodged against Surrey County Council. An incredible amount of nonsense was voiced :by objectors (" must not be permitted to use the Canal and spoil it..") but to the enormous satisfaction of almost everyone, the Orders were confirmed and in November, Hampshire County Council acquired its length. The very first official working party reported for duty - towpath clearance, what else?

The cannabis plants flourishing along one stretch of the towpath were officially explained as the result of boatmen cleaning out the old seed in the bottom of their bird cages along the bank. It seems as good a story as any.

1974 was all go. The equipment obtained by the Society could at last be put to effective use. The steam dredger had been restored and started work at Colt Hill. The first sponsored walk was held and raised an amazing £4,000 for Society funds. Other firsts that year were the draft proposal for the Odiham By-pass, the Society's T-shirt and a photograph in the 'Newsletter'. This showed bridge hole clearance at Barley Mow and must have put hundreds of potential helpers off for life!

In 1975, members were asked to buy a brick for 20p. Nearly 5,000 bricks were 'sold' and seven bridge parapets neatly capped as a result. The major achievement of the year was the agreement between the owners and Surrey County Council and it was a truly memborable moment when the entire length of the Canal came entirely into public ownership. It had taken nine years.

A major traffic survey was undertaken by the Society to quantify use of the North Warnborough Lifting Bridge. After exhaustive research it was found that average daily traffic amounted to 4 cars, 2 bikes and 9 pedestrians. Heartened (?) by this report, the Society held a weekend of sheer fun at Colt Hill when 10,000 people enjoyed a 'Nobsurd' two days. The Society entertained this huge number free of charge and even made a small profit. An appeal to raise funds for a Trip Boat excited a great number of generous people and the following year a hull was purchased and fitting out began.

The first lock was fully restored in 1977. The 'Deepcut Dig' brought 600 volunteer navvies to the flight. They got through an amazing amount of work and 1,400 pints of beer. Work on the Canal was increased significantly when finances were made available under the Job Creation Programme. The maiden voyage of the 'John Pinkerton' was an occasion not easily forgotten and the boat has proved to be a runaway success. Book now for 1980 and avoid disappointment.

Everyone knows what was achieved in 1979 - nobody knows what will be achieved in the Eighties. I'd be surprised if the tour operators didn't offer two week cruises on the beautiful Basingstoke Canal by 1985, but if I were you I'd start saving for the first trip. With inflation, the cost is likely to be £8,500 each!
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Fears that work on restoring the Deepcut Flight of locks on the Basingstoke Canal may finish at the end of this year have been temporarily averted. The Manpower Services Commission has approved a further application by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society for a new grant under the Work Experience Scheme to provide employment for twelve young people and the five existing supervisors. Providing the young workers can be recruited, the grant of £15,000 will enable restoration work to continue for eleven weeks from January 14th.

Recruitment will be handled by the Careers Officer and Job Centre at Camberley. Commenting on the successful application, Mr. Frank Jones, the Project Co-ordinator, said "The scheme will not only provide employ­ment for young people in the area looking for a job but it will also present an excellent opportunity for industrial training and to learn something about the construction and building trades. In fact, many of the young people we have had on the scheme in the past have gone on to get permanent work with local building firms".

Since 1977 the Canal Society has been granted more than £300,000 by the Manpower Services Commission to provide employment and training in building lock gates and repairing lock chambers on the Basingstoke Canal.

But the Society's recently launched appeal to local firms and industry for funds to employ four of the experienced Job Creation supervisors will continue. Derek Truman, one of the Appeal Fund organisers, has welcomed the new grant but said that the Society was still seeking the support of local firms. "The grant is much smaller than any previous allocation and while it will tide us over the immediate future, it will not affect our Appeal and the need for funds to ensure the long-term full time employment of the supervisors so that restoration work will continue at the present pace. This is vitally important if the canal is to be re-opened as a recreational amenity within the next few years and not delayed for a decade or more".
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A car park for 60 cars and three coaches, together with toilets, an information kiosk and picnic site on the towpath side of the Basingstoke Canal immediately east of Colt Hill Bridge is planned once the new by-pass is built across the existing cricket pitch. The proposals are made in a draft report published last August by a working party of Hampshire County Council Officers, for recreational facilities at Colt Hill which is seen as one of the centres of leisure activity on the canal because of its easy access. The report also acknowledges the value of having a boat-hire station at Colt Hill and confirms the suitability of Bob Benford's established sits on the canal's south bank east of the bridge.

The success of the 'John Pinkerton' is mentioned both in terms of a money raising venture and as a worthwhile service to 'the public'. The proposed kiosk is seen not only as an information centre but also for the sale of angling and trip boat tickets. A slipway for launching small boats is also proposed and some form of bank protection where the John Pinkerton is moored and passengers embark.

Access to the site will be from Odiham only down London Road across Colt Hill Bridge but not from the by-pass although there will be a junction at Colt Hill to Winchfield. The report also discusses various mooring basins which have been considered to avoid linear mooring on the canal. Of the possible 33 sites considered, only five were thought to be at all suitable - east of Pondtail Bridge, Coxmoor Wood, Broad Oak and just west of Colt Hill on both the south and north sides of the canal.

The report concludes that the most suitable site, in terms of easy access, relative simplicity of construction, environmentally and because it is centrally situated, is at Pondtail Bridge on the outskirts of Fleet. The second or additional choice would be on the north bank of the canal Immediately west of Colt Hill Bridge between the towpath and the new by-pass. The whole strip of land between the canal and the by-pass will, in any event, be a canal conservation area.

Whatever decision is finally taken, the report points out that, in the present economic climate, any mooring basins will have to be developed by private enterprise, and would need to accommodate around 100 boats to make them a viable proposition.

A heartening note is the importance the report places on retaining the Odiham Wharf site (particular reference is made to the original Tally Office which still stands against Colt Hill Bridge) and that it should be managed in sympathy with the area. The report recommends that the County Council should purchase the site in order to protect it should the opportunity arise.
Editor's Notes: At the time of reviewing the report, it was announced that a Public Meeting will be held on January 17th at the Church Centre, Odiham to discuss the proposals, A report on the meeting will be published in the next Newsletter.

More Early Waterway Excursions E.G. Hammond
I read with great interest Denys Hutchings' account (Newsletter 83) of early water trips in a camping skiff, this reminding me of my own pre-war excursions. The first of many journeys on the Wey and elsewhere was in 1932, and we always hired a camping punt, a much more comfortable craft than a skiff, as for sleeping one could take the back rests out and lie in sleeping bags at full length on the cushions.

I always felt the Romans showed sound sense in making their galley slaves do their rowing, for them, but propelling a punt is a much more leisurely business. When we felt like a change frpm poling (quite an art, this) we would sit on the back with a couple of paddies; or, if proceeding upstream against the current the punt would mostly be towed, one of us on a line and the other sitting on the back steering with a paddle. This had the further advantage that, as a towed boat moves foward at a slight angle, if it was raining the steerer could retire under the canvas, opening a flap on the nearside and getting a reasonably unobstructed view forwards.

At this time there was much barge traffic on the Wey, and if one of these monsters hove in sight it was advisable to hold very firmly to the bank while 60 or 70 tons of timber or grain swept past with a tremendous eddy.

We also took a punt from Reading to Newbury, from Weybridge to Woking and from Oxford to Banbury, our appearance in this town being evidently a considerable surprise to the inhabitants, judging by the numbers who congregated on the bridge to watch. Cooking arrangements were two primus stoves and a methylated spirit picnic stove; we fed like fighting cooks and felt we were enjoying the ultimate in comfort at an extremely modest cost.

A punt will not travel as fast as a skiff, but what's the hurry anyway?
Editor's Note: If anyone has reminiscences of the earlier days of the Basingstoke, we would like to hear from you.
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GRATEFUL thanks to the Baring Foundation for a donation of £1,000.
CONGRATULATIONS to Peter Oates. (Captain), Clive Durley, Chris Brajzier and Peter Jones, who beat the IWA Guildford and Reading Branch in the final round of the Inter Canal Society Quiz on 10th December. Many thanks to Tony Clayton for organising the competition.
SURREY County Council have won a commendation from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and Times Newspapers Conservation Award for 1979 for the restoration of Deepcut.
NET profit from the 1979 Grand Draw was £1,697 - thanks are due to Ted Williams for all his work in the organisation of the Draw for the last tvo years.
HAMPSHIRE County Council have proposed the construction of a marina to the east of Pondtail Bridge, Fleet on the south side of the Canal.
THANKS to new member Mrs. Theaker of St. John's Lye, Woking who raisied £23 for the Society by holding a Bring-and-Buy sale for her friends.
TYPISTS needed by the Fund-raising Group for letters and occasional reports. Please contact Derek Truman, Fleet 3435 or Philip Riley, Normandy 2776.


Pub1ished by the Surrey and Hampshire Cana1 Society Limited, a non-profit making distributing company.- limited by guarantee.
Editor: Dieter Jebens, Assistant Editors: Natalie and Peter Jones.
Production: Diana Snow and David Wimpenny. Collation and Distribution: Janet and George Hedger and helpers.
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Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking (Chobham 73174)
Vice -Chairman: Davd Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Hants (Tel. Fleet 7364).
Hon. Treasurer: Bryan Jones, 16 Bliss Close, Basingstoke, Hants (Tel. Basirigstoke 61053)
Hon. Secretary: Mrs. Lise Hamilton, 2 Frome Close, Farnborough, Hants, (Tel. Farnborough 49651)
Membership Secretary: Alan Babister, 31 Elmsleigh Road, Farnborough, Hants, (Tel. Farnborough 46147)

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Last updated April 2005