No 91June 1980
Inside front cover --
COMMENT - WATERWAYS SURVIVAL?
An active Society member recently asked - What is the Inland Waterways Association and what does it do?
Coming from someone with more than a passing interest in canals, the question was somewhat surprising. But it may well be at least part of the answer to a question asked in IWA circles about the relatively small number of their members who take an active part in the Association.
Firstly, many IWA members also belong to a local canal society and, if they are actively involved, do so in the name of the local organisation.
Secondly, there must be many canal enthusiasts who participate in canal restoration work but do not belong to the Association. Perhaps the IWA should do more to recruit such people through societies like our own.
Which is not to say that the Association does not take an active interest in local projects like the Basingstoke. In fact, it formed a Purchase Committee to bid for the canal when it was put up for auction by the Harmsworth family in 1949. And even before the Society was founded in 1966, the Association compiled a detailed report for the two county councils on restoration and management of the canal. Today the Guildford and the Kent and East Sussex branches of the IWA are actively involved in restoration work on the canal.
Even if you are interested solely in seeing the Basingstoke restored for local use, you should consider joining the IWA. For without the Association's national campaign for the retention and improvement of our waterways, and the public support generated, the Society's local campaign would have been that much more difficult if not an impossible task.
You may argue that there is no point in joining if you cannot take an active part. But, like a good proportion of our own supporting members, strength in numbers is an important element in any organisation whose role is persuasion as well as practical wor
The IWA needs your support now more than ever before in its campaign to get the Govern≠ment to spend more money on improving and maintaining our waterways system.
The Fraenkel Report published in 1978 said that there was a maintenance backlog of £60 million (at 1977 prices) on British Waterways Board controlled canals alone. Although £5 million a year for the next five years has been promised, this is only a small step in the right direction.
The IWA recently published a review of our waterways system aptly entitled 'Waterways Survival?'. In it the Association says the system can survive, but only if the Govern≠ment recognises the immense potential value of the network and allocates the funds needed to maintain and develop it.
By joining this Society, you helped secure a future for the Easingstoke. Your support of the IWA can help to secure a future for the whole of the country's 2000 miles of inland navigations.
For details of the Inland Waterways Association, write to: 114 Regents Park Road, London NW1.
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May time on the Basingstoke. Bob Benford's boat station and the John
Pinkerton at Colt Hill, Odiham.
INSIDE PAGE - (top) Society members who went on the weekend trip to Wales.
(centre right) All eyes on the 4-man canoe which took part in the Canal Tourist Trial.
(centre left) Canoeists passing under Poulters Bridge, Crookham.
(bottom left) A party of Society members exploring Greywell Tunnel some years ago.
(bottom right) Jane Morton, Fleet-Carnival Queen elect, who took part in the Oxfam sponsored canal bank clearance at Crookham Deeps.
(photos by: Clive Durley, Dieter Jebens, Monica Merchant and David Robinson)
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A WATERWAYS WEEKEND IN WALES Bill Bristow
Came the dawn, or so it seemed, on May 3rd and at selected spots all over Fleet, muffled figures gathered in the cold morning air awaiting the arrival of Dave, our friendly coach driver, and coach all bound for Wales on a Rosemary and David Millett tour.
Soon, both young and old, all 53 of us, were speeding through the countryside. The sun was shining and we had jast passed through Broadway, a pretty little village in the Cotswolds, when disaster struck ..... an almighty hiss of escaping air and we were all instantly aware that a tyre had failed. Soon Dave, our worthy coach driver, was garbed in overalls and, with the help of some of our members (who could not resist the temptation) the wheel was being changed. As all members of the S & H C S are experts, the rest of the group adopted the stance of the professional Gongoozler and watched the workers until the job was done and we were once more on our way.
Our first stop was Pontcysyllte (and everybody had a shot at pronouncing it) where we boarded a horse drawn boat on the Llangollen canal, then to be drawn across the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a cast iron trough 12O feet above the fast flowing River Dee. It was noticed how some of the ladies took one look over the side of the aqueduct and retired to the side of the boat next to the towpath. The next move was for several husbands, who were taking photographs of the River Dee, to nervously view the ladies behind them and instantly decide to abandon 'ship' and walk on the towpath, probably fearful of a nudge in the back. Anyway, we managed to cross to the other side of the valley without losing a member. We eventually arrived at Llangollen where we disembarked and boarded our coach for Barmouth and the 'Marine Mansion Hotel' where we were to spend the next two nights.
The next day dawned sunny, and energetic members were out on the sands, which were overlooked by our seafront hotel, all vying with each other to look healthy. After a substantial breakfast Dave whisked us off to Porthmadog where, in reserved carriages, we travelled the length of the Ffestiniog Narrow Gauge Railway in a double-headed train puffing its way to the top of the line, reminding the adults of days gone by and enthralling the children of the diesel age with the smell of smoke, steam and hot oil, which is part and parcel of the 'living monster' that is a steam engine.
The following morning, the more energetic members walked the Tollbridge across the Mawddach Estuary, while the others took the coach via Dolgellau and met up with the walkers on the coast road and so on to Towyn where we boarded another narrow-gauge train which deposited us at the beautiful Dolgoch Falls. If I'm not mistaken, this train journey gave Richard Hamilton aged six, one of our younger travellers, his proudest moment, when he stood on the footplate of a hissing steam engine, wearing his cap emblazoned with the words, 'ENGINE DRIVER'. His smile after that was something worth seeing. The Dolgoch Falls of which there are three falling down one cliff face were then attacked by the restless spirits among us. If you ever venture there, it is quite likely you will see the crest of the hill crowned with an S & HCS Badge, because those who returned from the summit spoke of it as if they had joined Hilary on Everest.
After that, it was once again on the road...... a road through the Welsh countryside
planned by those supreme organisers, Rosemary and David Millett, who had really devised a successful weekend which was onjoyed by all.
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POSITION VACANT - SOCIETY SALES MANAGER
David Gay, our present Sales Manager, wishes to give up the post as soon as possible. This vitally important Society position is now open and needs to be filled quickly. The post would suit ideally an energetic husband and wife team, who like meeting and talking to people and promoting the Society and canal-restoration generally. The job entails ordering stocks, dealing with postal sales and attending fetes, shows and other outside events during the summer season with the Society Sales Stand. It is a very interesting and satisfying job which benefits the Society and restoration greatly.
Full details and offers to: The Vice-Chairman, David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet. (Fleet 7364)
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SOCIAL JOTTINGS Joint Social Secretaries:
Hampshire - David Millett - Fleet 7364
Surrey - Michael Grist - Woking
The Winter series of talks ended in April and will recommence in September. Details will be announced in the August Newsletter. Any suggestions, ideas or offers to help in organising social events to either of the above, please.
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MEMBERS' EVENINGS ON THE 'JOHN PINKERTQN' THE SOCIETY'S CRUISE BOAT
Members' evenings will be held every Tuesday on the 'John Pinkerton'. The boat will normally cruise to North Warnborough and return for pumping out on the way and for general cleaning and maintenance together with crew training. THE BAR WILL BE OPEN. It is hoped that occasional trips can be made to the Barley Mow winding hole, Winchfield as soon as the steam dredger 'Perseverance' has reached that point, and depending on pump out requirements.
Departures from Colt Hill, Odiham as follows:
June and July : 19.30 hours
August 19.30 hours
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MIKRON THEATRE COMPANY VISIT TO THE BASINGSTOKE CANAL. THURSDAY 21ST AUGUST, 7.30PM
FOX & HOUNDS, CRQOKHAM ROAD, FLEET
This year we have arranged for the well known Mikron Theatre Company to visit the Basingstoke Canal during their annual tour round the canal and river system in their 44 year old narrowboat, 'Tyseley'.
The Mikron Theatre Company was formed nine years ago by Mike and Sarah Lucas and their performances at pubs all over England have become increasingly popular. They are a registered charity and receive Arts Council financial assistance. The Company have two main aims: to present live entertainment to audiences who are not normally theatregoers and to promote the inland waterways of the country for recreation and commerce and to show that they have an enormous contribution to make to the quality of life, not just for a few, but to everyone.
Each year a new cast of young actors and actresses are recruited and a new show is written.
The performance will be on Thursday 21st August at 7-30pm. in the canal-side garden of the Fox and Hounds public house in Crookham Road, Fleet. Come along with your friends for a wonderful evenings entertainment.
Their new show 'Mud in your Eye' will be performed - a lighthearted musical look at the canal restoration movement.
It is probable that the section of canal alongside the pub will be dry during this time for culvert repair and dry-dredging but if not we would like members and others with dinghies or canoes to come by water to create a colourful scene.
WELSH WEEKEND SPECTACULAR
As the recent coach trip to the Llangollen Canal, Ffestiniog and. Talyllyn Narrow Gauge Railways was heavily oversubscribed, a repeat trip is planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 5th, 6th and 7th September. There are still some seats available, see separate sheet for full details.
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NEW SUBSCRIPTION RATES BY BANKERS ORDER
Only 50% of members who normally pay their subscription by Bankers Order have so far altered their bankers order to the new rate. The Hon. Treasurer urges the importance the Society of members raising their Bankers Order payments promptly and also renewing their covenants for the new rate, A change form is included with this Newsletter for those members who did not return that sent out with the February edition. Please complete it and return as soon as possible to the Hon. Treasurer, 16 Eliss Close, Basingstoke. On receipt of this form the banks will pay the extra subscription for this year so please do not enclose cheques when returning the form to the Treasurer.
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With the arrival of the warmer months, watching the Basingstoke Canal volunteers will once again become a favourite spectator sport. But beware when you go to watch, for there will be people around working party sites this summer whose carefully concealed aim will be to persuade you of the rewards and pleasures of helping on a working party. You could find yourself becoming a volunteer. You have been warned.
The current working parties are given below. It is usually best to contact your working party leader a day or two before attending, just in case of any last minute changes of plan.
Every Weekend Deapcut Flight
Here an important milestone is imminent, for by the time you read this the restoration of Lock 16 should be finished. The Society's working parties will then be moving on to other nearby locks. Exactly when each party will move can't be precisely predicted, but you'll be sure to find your working party on either Lock 19 or 17 if they have left Lock 16.
Lock 19, mostly worked on up to now by visiting groups, continues to make very impressive progress. The second chamber wall is now three-quarters complete, and the top cill is fully excavated. The biggest job now is probably the rebuilding of the top cill, but there's plenty more jobs to be done here. Nearby the full-time Job Creation workers are making rapid progress on Lock 18, and Lock 17 will now, after a long break, start to-receive volunteer attention once more.
The co-ordinator of the volunteer work on this flight is MIKE FELLOWS on Wokingham 787428 and for further information you should contact him or one of the working party leaders listed below.
First Weekend of the month - 31 May/1 Jun, 5/6 July, 2/3 Aug - Lock 19 - TONY GOULD on 01-977-9082
Second Weekend of the month - 7/8 June, 12/13 July, 9/10 Aug - PETER OATES (Southampton Canal Society) on Botley 3844.
Second and fourth Sundays of the month - 8 June, 22 June, 13 July, 27 July, 10 Aug, Lock 17 - ALAN GRIMSTER on Brookwood 6127.
Third Weekend of the month - 14/15 June, 19/20 July, 16/17 Aug - Lock 19 - JULES WOOD on Farnborough 515737.
Fourth Weekend of the month - 21/22 June, 26/27 July, - Lock 19 - CHRIS BRAZIER on Camberley 25132.
Fifth Weekend of the month - 28/29 June - lock 19 - MIKE FELLOWS on Wokingham 787428.
A group from the party previously working on bankside clearance around St. Johns will also be working on the Deepcut locks on 15 June and 13 July. Further details, from KEN HALLS on Woking 23981.
There is also plant to maintain, as the stock of dumpers, pumps etc., is vital to the progress of this work. If you want to help on this front you should contact JIM CHISHOLM on Wokingham 785146 for further details.
Every Weekend Dredging in Hampshire
Progress eastwards is good at the moment, despite some heavy work as Barley Mow Bridge is approached. Fresh participants are always welcome in this long-running show, featuring ono of the finest items of industrial archaeology for miles around, with a supporting cast of tugs and dragline, all needing to be tended and operated.
For further details on this work, contact BRIAN BANE on Hook 3627.
Every Weekend Railway Group
The railway group are well advanced in preparations for their big job this summer at the
Ash Embankment. Tracklaying is now nearly complete and ballasting is now a major task. At the same time the new engine shed is being built, and the group should soon have two locomotives on site.
This work will call for a lot of people this summer. The central activity, the point of the whole exercise, is transporting and tipping clay to line the newly restored embankment and there is a major requirement for large groups of willing people to tip clay. This is fairly hefty but otherwise undemanding work. Smaller groups to assist in ballasting are also wanted, and individual workers who are interested in contributing to various aspects of the group's work will be very welcome.
The railway group operate every Sunday, and hope also to operate as many Saturdays as possible this summer. This is a different sort of work, and will probably be a once-only opportunity on this canal. If you can organise a group to come to help in this importent task, or if you want to join in and require more details, you should contact STAN and DAVID MELLER on Camberley 32096 or JOHN PEART on Farnborough 46554.
Second Weekend of the month Lock 5 - Woodham
7/8 June, 12/13 July, 9/10 Aug.
Demolition of the nearside chamber wall is pretty well complete, so the epic task of
rebuilding it will be starting soon. Bricklayers will be much sought after, and any
living in the Woking/Byfleet/Weybridge area should consider themselves marked men. Further details of this working party from PABLO HAWORTH on By fleet 42081.
Third weekend of the month Lock 1 - Woodham
14/15 June. 19/20 July. 16/17 Aug. With the aid of equipment newly acquired, with the money from their Shell award, this party are making probably their best progress yet. The bottom cill is dug out and partly rebuilt, the chamber walls and recess walls are being pulled down, end the contractor building the new top culverts has finished his work. The new pump too, is helping things greatly as the chamber can now be pumped out in 45 minutes. The immediate job is to finish the bottom cill, and then there's a lot of bricklaying to do. Further details from DICK HARPER-WHITE on Weybridge 420740, or PETER JACKMAN on Woking 72132.
Various _Weekends Broad Oak and Wilderness Weir
Good progress is being made at Lower Wilderness Weir, but there is still a need for
bricklayers to help complete the task.
At Broad Oak Bridge the immediate jobs are mainly demolition of parts of the old temporary footbridge. Both these projects are coordinated by PETER MAYNE on Camberley 24701 who will give you further details.
Bankside work in Hampshire
This party have completed their works at Crookham Deeps, and have now gone into their usual summer recess. Details will be given in the autumn of their work plans for the winter season.
The Ash Railway Saga
An Everyday Story of Clay-tipping Folk
This year the Society has undertaken to deliver clay along the Ash Embankment so the County Councils' restoration of this embankment can be completed by clay puddling over its entire length.
This means we need more helpers than the Society's usual working party sources can provide and must look outside normal canal circles. If you know a likely organisation, perhaps a youth club of some sort, perhaps a unit of the services, who might be able to provide a party of say, 20 able-bodied navvies just one day at one weekend this summer, please contact them. Suggest to them that they come along to help deliver clay along the Ash Embankment. It doesn't require skills, just a bit of muscle and willingness to do a rather different job in the open air for a day.
When you have found your group of willing helpers, you need to put them in touch with the Society's leading railway navvies, whose names and phone numbers are given in the Working Party section of this Newsletter.
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LOAD OF LITTER
Before the Canoe Trials on April 20th local Fleet members and local cub groups completely cleared the 2-mile section of towpath in Fleet together with the canal itself of litter and rubbish. No less than 15 large sacks were collected.
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JUNE 3,10, 17, 24. Members' evening aboard John Pinkerton - 7.30pm. Colt Hill, Odiham.
JULY 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Members' evening aboard John Pinkerton, 7-30 Colt Hill, Odiham.
AUGUST 5, 12 Members' evening on John Pinkerton 7.30, Colt Hill, Odiham.
16/17 IWA National Waterways Festival, River Lee, Walthamstow
19 Members' evening on the John Pinkerton 7.30, Colt Hill, Odiham.
21 Mikron Theatre Company, 'Mud in your Eye' - 7.30pm. at Fox and Hounds, Fleet.
26 Members' evening on the John Pinkerton, 7-30, Colt Hill, Odiham.
36 Kestrel Road,
Kempshott, Basingstoke, Hants.
HOLIDAY DRAW 1980
I am once more organising a major Draw for our Society and as this will be the last year that I shall accept this 'honour' I want this year's to be the most successful. Enclose with this Newsletter single members should find two books and family members three. One or two members have previously expressed a wish not to receive raffle tickets - I trust we have complied with these requests.
As before, there will be prizes of £10 and £5 for the individuals selling the greatest number of tickets. If you want more tickets, and I hope many of you will, please fill in the quantity on the front cover of one book of tickets and return to me - a stamped addressed, envelope would be appreciated.
This year we have a real STAR PRIZE! A weeks holiday on a narrowboat for 4 people. Thi holiday has been kindly donated by DARTLINE CRUISERS of Bunbury in Nantwich, Cheshire. The holiday is for one week commencing October 11th - although if this is really not convenient Dartline will endeavour to accommodate the winner early next year.
Dartline Cruisers are boat builders and operate a hire fleet of 85 boats. They have bases at Dunbury, where the boats are built, and Norbury Junction on the Shropshire Union and at Stourport at the end of the Staffs and Worcs Canal. The Society are most grateful to them for their sponsorship of the draw.
Second prize is a case of whisky donated by the makers of Original Hundred PIPERS and third prize is £50 of petrol from Hook Service Station, Hook, Hants. The tapestry and rug were both hand made by S & HCS member, Alan Flight as he sailed around the world in the Merchant Navy. I am most grateful to Alan and other members who have given prizes.
The draw will take place on Monday September 8th and will form part of the normal Social evening at Woking Centre Halls. Please return tickets to me a few days before.
May I finish where I started? In these inflationary times of potential cut backs we need as much money as possible as soon as possible to keep us moving towards our goal so can I thank you all in advance .for your support.
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CANAL-SIDE CRANE PURCHASE
Last year Fleet member, David Quilley noticed an interesting canal-side crane standing on the site of a disused nursery near Lower Heyford on the Oxford Canal. This site was an old canal wharf many years ago. He made enquiries at the time and recently we were offered this crane for £150 which the committee accepted with alacrity.
It will be dismantled in the near future and brought back to the Basingstoke Canal for re-assembly and restoration. Initially it will go to the Hampshire C.C. maintenance yard at Ash Lock before eventually possibly being installed elsewhere on the canal at a
The crane was originally built by a railway company about 100 years ago and came to the wharf sawmill site in 1912.
A small team will be required to dismantle, renovate and re-assemble it, making a very interesting project. Offers of help, please to David Millett, Fleet 7364.
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SUCCESSFUL CANOE TOURIST TRIAL David Millett
460 canoeists took part in the third annual Canoe Trials held on the Basingstoke Canal on Sunday April 20th, jointly organised by the Society and the Westel Canoe Club with assistance this year from members of the Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club.
This event is now probably the largest event of its kind in the country. It is not a race but entrants select one of four set distances of 6, 12, 20 and 30 miles and then choose one of three set times in the chosen distance. All finishers received an engraved mug together with a very attractive certificate recording their time taken and distance.
The event made a very colourful spectacle all along the Hampshire section of the canal with the starts providing the most interest, with sometimes up to 50 canoes starting together. The most entrants were in the 6 mile, 2-1/4 hour event with 110 single canoes starting. Canoes of all shapes and sizes were used with total starters being around 34 making 400 canoeists on the water as some were in double canoes including some Canadian canoes.
All the starts and finishes were at Reading Road Wharf, Fleet with the whole Hampshire section being used for the 30 mile event. All the canoes finished in a westerly direction from a turning marker near Claycart Bridge, Aldershot.
One of the 30 milers was Ann-Marie Booth, who was the first lady to receive a certificate for finishing the Devizes-Westminster 125 marathon in 1974. To take part in that event she had to disguise herself as a man. Among those helping to run the event this year were Jan Stevenson and Margaret Jackson of the Westel Canoe Club. They competed in this year's Devizes-Westminster but had to retire 7 miles from the finish having paddled for 26 hours.
The star attraction of the day was a demonstration of an International K4 racing canoe brought along by Alan Jones of Whitewater Sports of Woking on behalf of the Wey Kayak Club. This four man international canoe did a 4-1/2- mile demonstration in 37 minutes. There are only about 6 of these canoes in Britain and they are used for International and Olympic canoe sprinting events. To be used on the Basingstoke Canal was quite a sight.
Although it was not a race the fastest times were:
30 miles: David Mannering (Wey Kayak Club) Target: 4-3/4hrs. Actual: 4hrs. 35mins.
20 miles: Alan George (Unattached) Target: 4-3/4hrs. Actual: 4hrs. 22mins.
12 miles: John West (Wey Kayak Club) Target: 2-3/4hrs. Actual 1hr. 56mins.
6 miles: Charles Hicks (Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club)
Target: 1-hrs. Actual: 1hr. 7mins.
Competitors of all ages came from a wide area including entries from 26 youth and scout groups and from 31 different canoe clubs.
Thanks are due to all the members who helped with the organisation and to the Fleet W.R.V.S. for the catering, Fleet St. Johns Ambulance Brigade for first aid and the Combined Cadet Force of Farnborough Sixth Form College for the radio links. The W.R.V.S. served over 30 gallons of soup during the day together with 272 rounds of sandwiches!
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TALES FROM THE TUNNEL
(the following article appeared in the 'DIVER', September 1979 issue and reproduced here by kind permission of the Editor)
The young boy fled from our surfacing shapes. 'Dad!' he shouted, 'There's a monster coming out of that hole!' Derek White's appearance as we scrambled out of the water at the tunnel's entrance could have done nothing to reassure the boy. His wetsuit was draped with weed and a dead bat decorated his shoulder.
With a team of divers, two inflatables and measuring instruments in close attendance, no doubt qualified as some kind of monster as he came into sight after our survey of the Greywell Tunnel on the Basingstoke -Canal; In reality he is Expedition Officer of Southampton Underwater Explorers ES-AC.
Although the 1200 yard tunnel has collapsed in a number of places, the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society, who look after the waterway, think that it could be reopened. It would cost a great deal, but is feasible.
With this in mind we had planned to take a cursory look at the whole of the tunnel, above and below water, as well as a close luck at the 'adits'. These are small tunnels cut into the porous chalk to help increase the water supply.
Already, earlier this year, while there was still snow on the ground, Derek and I had shivered into our suits to make a preliminary recce. Surprise number one as we entered the water: it wasn't freezing cold (the temperature remains fairly constant throughout the year).
Surprise number two: the water was crystal clear.
Surprise number three: the visibility dropped to inches in seconds if the thick layer of silt was disturbed.
Just a few feet up the tunnel the plant life stops but the animal life does not. A large sinister-looking pike hunts small fish which stray into its territory. So sure of himself is he that he can be approached within a foot or so before giving a flick of h tail and disappearing in the murky water.
Further on we came across an amiable roach, so keen on making friends that he actually swam into Derek's hands.
We swam on into the darkness, our torch beams sweeping across the walls. After about five minutes of slow finning we reached the first spring entrance.
Another few minutes and we were at the far end of the tunnel. As this was an initial recce we took only a quick look at the adits, then reluctantly returned to daylight.
The canal we were now involved in 'rescuing' ran originally 37-1/2 miles from Basingstoke to the river Wey, near Weybridge. The advent of the railways forced it into disrepair. In 1914 the last boat to navigate the system arrived at Basingstoke, having taken three months to get there.
In addition to various collapses in Greywell Tunnel, the roofs of its two adits are slowly collapsing and there is a danger that they will block-up, causing the water level to drop drastically. A close examination of their condition was the main objective on succeeding dives by the whole team.
We found that the entrance to the far adit measured 41 inches high and 39 inches wide. Just inside, the floor rose sharply due to a fall of rock, making it a bit of a tight squeeze for a diver wearing a bottle.
On our previous visit we had noticed an air-pocket directly above this pile of rock and wanted to find out the size of it and how stable the roof was. To get at the air pocket I had to enter the adit on my back, groping hand over hand through the water. So much silt was stirred up that I could barely see the light from
my torch when held in front of my face. There was little room, but we had worked out a thorough safety procedure.
For example if I got stuck I was to signal the surface, lie still and await the standby
diver who would enter the adit and ease me back out. Lying still would give the silt a chance to settle and help alleviate any feelings of panic on my part.
In fact all went well. The air pocket proved quite small, and the rock above sound. The adit continues beyond the rockfall for about 25ft, then either ends abruptly or turns sharp right. We're not sure which as at this point it is too narrow for a diver to enter safely. And so I edged my way back.
Derek and his buddy surveyed the other adit. They found that the entrance measured approximately the same as the first but the rockfall inside was larger. Further on the adit became wider and turned to the left.
The colours in this chamber were quite striking. Bright white chalk with larger patches of brown staining, and a few darker areas which, on closer inspection, proved to be the rotting remains of pit props left there by the 'navvies' who built the tunnel nearly 200 years ago.
We dived the canal again the following Sunday, this time to take pictures for the report we were writing for the Canal Society. This ended a most unusual series of dives, for me a truly unforgettable experience.
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'THE THAMES TO THE SOLENT BY CANAL AND SEA' by J.B. Dashwood. £1.95
This is a charming Victorian canal travelogue, which first appeared in 1868. Extremely rare and sought-after, copies of the original edition have been known to fetch up to £50. Now reproduced in a facimile version with an attractive coloured card cover, it will appeal greatly to all inland boating enthusiasts, countryside lovers and everyone interested in the local history of Surrey and Sussex. It records a pleasure voyage, horse-drawn and under sail, in a small open boat from the Thames at Weybridge, via the River Wey Navigation to Guildford and thence through the Wey and Arun Canal and River Arun to the South Coast at Littlehampton. Shortly after Mr. and Mrs. Dashwood made their pioneering journey, the Wey and Arun Canal became derelict, so remaining for a century. But since 1970, members of the Wey and Arun Canal Trust have been attempting to restore this potentially valuable water-link between the Thames and the English Channel. As the bed of the 18-1/2 mile navigation has long been in a variety of private ownerships, the difficulties facing complete reopening for boating, fishing and towpath walking are numerous. But, as Trust Chairman, Peter Beresford explains in his Foreword to the New edition, they are 'well on the way to having achieved five bridges restored, rebuilt or built from scratch, two locks brought into a potentially usable condition and several miles of canal bed cleared and returned to water (although keeping the water is as great a problem now as in Dashwood's day!)'.
The newly-established waterways publishing firm of Shepperton Swan is run by canals writer Hugh McKnight. He is giving a proportion of the book's royalties to the Wey and Arun Canal Trust to help them towards their objective of complete restoration.
Available from bookshops or direct from the publishers, Shepperton Swan, The Clock House, Upper Halliford, Shepperton, Middlesex. TW17 8RU. Price £1.95 plus 20p post and packing.
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VICE PRESIDENT VISITS WORKING PARTY
As part of the Hampshire Offside Bank Working Party on March 30th, Bill Bourlay organised a Sponsored Work-In to raise funds for the Farnborough Oxfam Group. About 20 people took part raising over £100 which will go towards a village project for the needy in India. The party finished the complete clearance of the Off-side bank on Crookham Deeps. During the afternoon, our Vice-President and local M.P. Julian Critchley visited the work site with his family and spoke to all the people taking part.
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REMINISCENCES Christina Butler
Sitting aboard the 'John Pinkcrton' one Tuesday evening last year, it occurred to me that it should only be a comparatively short time before I could be on board that same boat descending the locks below Woking, if present progress continues. To me that would mean the fulfillment of a long-standing ambition which seemed unattainable in the days when I watched sadly the rapid deterioration of Woodham Locks. This thought started me remembering the canal as I have known it at various times in my life.
I was living in Sussex when news came in 1970 that the County Councils might possibly purchase the canal. On a visit to my parents shortly after, I stopped by the Lock Cottage at Woodham to discover the condition of the lock there before continuing my walk up Faris Lane - a route I took nearly every day for several years going to and from my place of work. When I overheard two people discussing the sorry state of the canal and its future, I knew but they didn't that there was a chance the turning-point had come and the canal might be restored to its former glory one day.
That flight of locks seems to have quite a significance in my life. My earliest memories of it are as an exciting place for week-end walks with my parents in the 1950s, when we lived in New Haw. We would walk along the Wey Navigation from New Haw Lock, across the wooden bridge at the junction, along the Basingstoke Canal to Scotland Bridge and then back home along the road. The canal at Scotland Bridge was my favourite place for catching tadpoles and pond-snails.
Alas, the wooden bridge disappeared when the houseboats arrived, in about 1960 or thereabouts. To me it seemed rather rickety with bits of broken planking when I walked over it as a child, and I remember tripping on the slats which had helped the horses' feet to find a grip when they used the bridge. Once I dreamed about it collapsing with me on it.
The barge horses no longer pulled their boats up and down the canal, to and from the saw-mills in Woking, by then of course. However, my Mother-in-law, who spent part of her childhood in a house near Woodham Locks, could remember meeting horses often when she was walking along the tow-path. She used to leave the path and wait by the edge out of the way to let them pass, watching them straining on the ropes as they took the barges in or out of the lock. There used to be stabling beside the flight of locks and the Lock Cottage had stables next to it, where there is now a single-storeyed extension. When I was a child I used to cycle along the tow-path sometimes, with friends. The man who lived in the cottage would come dashing out and shout at us because we were not supposed to be cycling there.
My husband was living in the house near the locks with his Mother, between the canal and West Byfleet Station, when I first met him. As my parents then lived in New Haw, and later in Woodham, we spent our courting days crossing and recrossing the canal either at Scotland Bridge or over the foot-bridge at the bottom of Faris Lane. Evening walks were often along the canal towards Sheerwater. That was in the early nineteen-sixties and the condition of the locks did not appear to be too bad while there was still water in the canal. As soon as the water level was lowered, the deterioration became more obvious and the gates began falling to pieces.
A friend who used to live in Ash owned a rowing boat which he kept in a boat-house at Ash Wharf, from 1959 to 1963. An elderly ex-naval man owned the boat-house then and lived in a wooden hut with lots of cats. The canal was choked with weed but when the friend acquired a small outboard engine for his boat he used it as a means of weed clearance and cruised up and down the stretch to Mytchett Lake keeping a narrow channel reasonably weed free. Canoeists were then able to make use of that section.
The boat was licensed for use on the canal and in 1962 he obtained possibly the last licence ever issued by Mrs. Marshall at Ash Lock Cottage. Unfortunately he
left the licence-plate on the boat when he sold it the following year so now it is lost. He says that he remembers hearing at that time that parts of the canal would be filled in and sold for housing - thank goodness it did not happen.
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PRINCESS MARGARET VISITS SOCIETY EXHIBITION STAND
The Society was one of the local organisations invited by the Rev. Meirion Jones, Vicar of St. Marys, Ash Vale to have an exhibition stand on the occasion of the opening and dedication by Princess Margaret of the new St. Marys Community Centre at. St. Marys Church, Ash Vale on Friday 16th May.
After the official opening ceremony Princess Margaret was shown round the new centre by the Rev. Meirion Jones and stopped at the various stands. At the Society Stand she met the Exhibitions Manager and his wife, Philip and Joyce Pratt and the Vice-Chairman and his wife and daughter, David, Rosemary and Alison Millett.
She showed interest in the Society and the canal restoration and asked some questions about the Society's work. Also present were the Chairman of Surrey County Council, Mr. Malcolm Metcalf M.C., the Bishop of Guildford with their wives together with many other local dignatories.
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MORE POWER TO HIS ELBOW .....
Following the approval of an MSC scheme to last for one year from 1st April 1980, the Society has decided to employ two labourers full time. The MSC scheme authorised is Project Based Work Experience, which involves a considerable training programme to fit young people for the future. A balance is, therefore, required between training young people and the need for the speedy restoration of the canal. The Society has redressed what is seen as an imbalance by providing these two positions until the end of September in the first instance. Their duties will vary from preparation of locks before the main team arrival, assistance with supply of materials and general labouring, plus landscaping and tidying after the main team's departure to another lock. The two positions were filled from the unemployed register by experienced men.
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SOCIETY SALES STAND David Gay. Tel: Egham (0784) 33108
The Society's Summer 1980 price list is enclosed with this Newsletter, the goods being available from sales stands at Society events and a number of local fetes and shows throughout the season, also some of the items are available by post.
The noteable additions to the list are Members Ties at £3.75 and Members Car Badges at £3.4O with postage at 10p and 17p respectively, if you have not already purchased yours please order now.
Although I know of some events that I will be attending I would like to hear from people who would be prepared to take the sales stand to other events, please contact me on the above telephone number.
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POSTMEN urgently required to distribute the Newsletter in Ash Vale and Mytchett areas. Please contact George or Janet Hudger, Fleet 7465.
MANY thanks to Mr. Henry Frampton-Jones of Carshalton for the loan of a Simplex diesel loco for use on the Embankment Railway.
CREWS needed for the John Pinkerton, especially for daytime charters during the week and on Sunday evenings. Please ring Peter or Kaye Fethney, Fleet 5524.
RECENT donations received with thanks from.:
Mr. and Mrs. Batten - £20: Mr. and Mrs. R. Cutler - £4.50
Mrs. I. McKinney - £5.50: A. Lunn - £20:
G. Paterson - £1.50: A.H. White - £4.50.
ASH VALE Boat House, Station Approach is open again for the hire of skiffs and canoes.
HELP still required with providing information for passers-by at Deepcut working parties on Sunday afternoons, in order to recruit more volunteers. Please ring Aldershot 313076.
FEASIBILITY study is being carried out with regard to operating a second trip boat, possibly from Ash Lock.
STOP PRESS. 300 walkers pledge £5,000! Good news from early figures received on the day of the Sponsored Walk. Thanks to all walkers and sponsors for this magnificent effort. Full report in next Newsletter.
COPY DATE FOE AUGUST NEWSLETTER : 1ST JULY 1980
Published by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal 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
Editorial Office: 75 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU10 JNJ. Tel: Farnham 715230.
Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking (Chobham 7314)
Vice-Chairman: David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, FLeet, Hants (Fleet 7364)
Hon. Treasurer: Bryan Jones , 16 Bliss Close, Basingstoke, Hants (Basingstoke 61053)
Hon. Secretary: Mrs. Lise Hamilton, 2 Frome Close, Farnborough,- Hants
Membership Secretary: Alan Babister, 31 Elmsleigh Road, Farnborough, (Farnborough 46147).
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