August 1982

Front pictures
Looking for Publicity
Cover pictures info
Toiling Bunfights
A Volunteer's View
Canal-side Collapse
Cruising on the
  Basingstoke - 21 Yrs

Social Jottings
Ash Lock Cruise
Forth & Clyde Marathon
The Heavy Mob
Ten Years Ago
Tales of the Unexpected
Gongoozlers' Gossip

Contact the Society


    bcnmsthd50 (12K)

No 104August 1982

front pic1 (xK)1
front pic2 (xK) front pic3 (xK) front pic4 (xK)2,3,4

Inside front cover --
inside front pic1 (xK)1
inside front pic2 (xK) inside front pic3 (xK) inside front pic4 (xK) inside front pic5 (xK)4,5
Apologies for the above, but I couldn't get the pics to fit into the spaces. Anone know how?

It is a pity that the recent cruise to publicise the lack of slip- ways on the canal ended up as little more than a good weekend out. In the Society's campaigning days such an event would have been seized upon as a major publicity opportunity. Members would have been encouraged to turn out, local councillors, dignitaries and perhaps a nationally known personality would have been invited, and much would have been made of the occasion.

For good reason, too. It is nearly twenty years since the paddle gear on Ash lock was last operated and boats were raised and lowered in the chamber. More than that, when the Canal Company built a concrete dam across the head of the lock, it became a focal point and symbolic of permanent closure which the Society was fighting against. In defiance, the Society built the two pairs of lock gates which are fitted in the chamber today.

Admittedly, the cruise organisers deliberately took a low-profile approach to the event because of doubts about low water levels in Ash Embankment. Nevertheless, like the AGM, it is a lost opportunity,

There is no doubt that the heavy, regular media exposure the Society sought and achieved for its public ownership and restoration campaign played a vital role in educating and motivating public support. That support is just as important to the Society's active participation in restoring the canal today. We need to keep the canal, our restoration efforts, and the benefits of the restored waterway in front of the community. That way it remains a high priority for local government expenditure, and private sector support in cash and kind. It is also a way of recruiting new members which keeps the Society strong and influencial.

Once again - and this year we think he surpassed all others - Roy Tree, and friends created a prize winning float entered in Fleet Carnival which was admired and drew attention to the Society. Phil Pratt's exhibitions and films have done a great deal to show people what we are doing. Martin Bower's new sales stand makes an impact wherever it goes and the Society's panel of speakers does a valuable educational job.

But the wider field of promoting the Society's activities, and new ideas to take advantage of the growing number of visitors to the canal - such as canal-side information centres - should be undertaken by the elected administration.
[back to top]

(top) Penny Tree 'steers' the Society's float through Fleet in the annual carnival, to win third prize.
(centre left) The collapsed earthworks at Deepcut lock 26 - now repaired.
(Bottom left and right) Boats using Ash Lock for the first time since 1963. INSIDE COVER
(top) The scene at Ash lock during the cruise in June.
(Bottom left) Canal ranger David James operates the paddle gear. (Bottom centre) Senior Canal Ranger, Tony Harmsworth (centre) with his 5 year old son Matthew and Charles Cobb whose father was a Basingstoke Canal bargeman, approaching Ash lock aboard Rambler III.
(Bottom right top) Ash lock with the concrete dam built after Ash embankment breached in 1968.
(bottom right) Vic Trott, cruise organiser, presents Tim Dodwell with a commemorative plaque.
(Photos: Clive Durley and Dieter Jebens).
[back to top]

On the assumption that only the committed (or those who should be) read this article when it is headed Working Parties, I have decided to attempt to capture your attention in another way. As the exhortations of your normal reporter, Peter Cooper (who is working in the North) to come and help us have been to no avail it must be assumed that no further assistance is available from within the Society and, therefore, we must now reluctartly turn our attention elsewhere to boost numbers and to maintain the morale of the few.

To this end at a meeting held recently of all St. Johns' workers, ideas were sought as to how this might be achieved and these are now being sifted.

One such idea that has already been implimented is the intermittent employment of a bricklaying team to, as a first step, rebuild the upper wing wall of lock 11. Whether this pilot scheme is extended depends to some extent on its cost to the Society, So, as you can see, if the number of volunteers does not increase and money has to be spent to maintain progress, attention will then have to turn to fund raising on a larger scale than at present.

As usual, listed below me details of all the working parties that take place with telephone numbers of the leaders who will be over­joyed to hear from you.

Every Weekend St. Johns (or Goldsworth) locks
The co-ordiriator of volunteer work on this flight is MIKE FELLOWS on Wokingham 787428 and either him or one of the following working party leaders should be contacted for further details.

Lock 11 Every other weekend - 7/8 Aug, 21/22 Aug, 4/5 Sept., 18/19 Sept., 2/3 Oct., KEN HALLS (Woking 23981) or PETER REDWAY (Woking 21710).
Locks 10 & 9 First weekend of every month - 31 July/1 Aug., 4/5 Sept. 2/3 Oct. TONY GOULD (01-941-3014).
Second weekend of the momth - 7/8 Aug., 11/12 Sept., 9/10 Oct., PETER OATES (Southampton Canal Society ) (0703 463188).
Second and Fourth Sundays - 8th Aug., 22nd Aug., 12 Sept., 26 Sept., 10 and 24 Oct., - ALAN GRIMSTER (Brookwood 6127).
Third weekend of every month - 14/15 Aug., 18/19 Sept., 16/17 Oct. JULSS WOOD (Farnborough 515737).
Fourth weekend of every month - 21/22 Aug., 25/26 Sept., PETER JONES (Aldershot 313076).
Fifth weekend of the month - there may be a working party on 28/29

August if anybody wishes to work. Contact MIKE FPJLLOWS (Wokingham 787428)
Every Weekend Dredging in Hampshire
With still no solution to rectify the landslip in Dogmersfield cutting, 'Perseverance' is slowly working her way westwards carrying out much needed maintenance dredging. To find out her present position and to offer your assistance contact BRIAN BANE (Hook 3627) or ANDY STUMPF (Watford 37278).

First weekend of the month Lock gate fitting
4/5 September 2/3 October. Precise fitting of the top gates of lock 16 is still the main task following which attention will turn to other locks on the Deepcut flight. FRANK JONES on Deepcut 5711 (Canal Workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home) is the man to contact for further details.
Second weekend of the month Lock 5 (Woodham)
14/15 August, 11/12 September, 9/10 October. Completion of the top cill and the rebuilding of the lower flank walls are the main tasks here. PABLO HAWORTH (Byfleet 42081 ) should be contacted for further information.
Third weekend of the month Lock 1 (Woodham)
21/22 August, 18/19 September, 16/17 October, With the decision that all lock floors (the invert) should be concreted, preparatory clearing out followed by the laying of the concrete itself are the jobs in hand. For further details contact either Dick HARPER-WHITE (Weybridge 42074) or ROY DAVENPORT (01-979-7075).

24th John Pinkerton Members Evening, Colt Hill, Odiham 7.30pm.
29th Coach Trip to IWA National Rally, Depart Fleet 8.00pm.
31st John Pinkerton Members Evening, Colt Hill, Odiham 7.30pm.

7th John Pinkerton Members Ewening, Colt Hill, Odiham 7.00pm.
12th Coach trp to Stoke Bruerne, Depart Fleet Library 7-45am.
14/21 John Pinkferton Members Evenings, Colt Hill, Odiham 7.00pm. 23rd Fleet Pond Slide Show,, Prince of Wales, Fleet 7.45pm.
26th Informal Boat Cruise to Fleet and return from Ash Lock.
28th John Pinkerton. Members evening, Colt Hill, Odiham 7.00pm.

1st Autumn Barn Dance, Fleet Civic Hall 8.00pm.
3rd Gourmet Railway Trip & Canal Cruise, Depart Fleet
11th General Social Evening, Woking Centre Halls, 7.45pm.
23rd Official Re-opening of Cowshott Manor Bridge 2.30pm.
27th Members Slide Evening, Prince of Wales, Fleet 7.45pm.
[back to top]

Following the succers of the weekend boat cruise in July and by popular demand it hao been decided to hold a repeat performance this time it will be a one day informal cruise to Fleet and back on Sunday 26th September. Starting place will be the same - Ash Lock Depot - where the slipway facility will again be available. For those of you boat owning members who missed out on this unique event in July don't miss this chance - contact Vic Trott (Woking 68607) or Peter Coxhead. (Byfleet 44564) as soon as possible to reserve your place.
[back to top]

My name is Andy. I was born partially hearing (aged 28). I am going to tell you how I joined a working party because I used to be rather shy and nervous but that was years ago.

In January 1977 my parents encouraged me to go to a working party (bank clearance) at Dogmersfield where we met a working party leader named David Millett. He was friendly, cheerful and a family man, his wife Rosemary, daughter Alison was working with him. I enjoyed working with him. It was hard work and a dirty job, but I did not complain!! My parents were enjoying themselves!!

A year later in 1978 we moved on to Ash Embankment; luckily placed because our home was only a few hundred yards away.

A few months later, first time, I went solo, at Ash Embankment with a different working party leader named Martin Bowers. He was friendly like David Millett. That was no problem for me. I became no longer shyest person. I became a regular worker. Year later in 1979/80 I decided to go to different work so I got involved with the railway group. Working party leader named Stan Meller. He was a good leader, always encouraged me, taught me how to work with railway work and repuddling with clay. That was very hard work and helped me get good muscles!! Also helped me lose weight (I was rather overweight but not now). Now I'm a healthy person. When the railway group was disbanded in 1982, I moved on to Lock 11 at St. Johns, Woking. This work very much different than railway group or bank clearance group. This time there were two party leaders named Ken Halls and Peter Redway; of course they were family men, friendly etc. This is my story to date. My advice to other young people is go and join a working party for friendly and rewarding spare time occupation.
Editors Note: Thanks Andy, and we hope your words of encouragement will tempt other people out to gain more than just muddy jeans from joining a working party.
[back to top]

CANAL-SIDE COLLAPSE Frank Jones (WEP Project Manager)
One day recently a party of school children were visiting the canal, examining the wild flowers and sketching the locks. One of the children noticed a small hole in the towpath at Lock 26. Whilst the children were near, the hole appeared to get bigger and then much bigger. The teacher shepherded her flock away from the hole, which rapidly increased in size becoming a full scale collapse, revealing brickwork down to below the bottom of the lock. To add to the drama, water, which had causal the collapse by breaking through the bottom of the lock chamber, roared through into the lower reach emptying the subsiding material into the canal lower down; something of the order of 150-200 tons of sand and silt together with bricks and stone were washed away.

The police were called promptly by the teacher, the right thing to do, who informed the County Council and I was able to make an inspection within half an hour of the incident occuring.

The necessary remedial work took 7-1/2 working days, returning the canal in that area to its usual sleepy tranquil self.
[back to top]

The following article was written in 1961 following my first trip on the canal in a motor-cruiser. It was intended for publication in the IWA local branch journal ' Windlass', but it never appeared because of the need for extreme tact when dealing with the Canal Company and their dislike of publicity. It was because of this that there was no mention of the very real encouragement we received from the then General Manager, Mrs. Joan Marshall (later to become my mother-in-law) or of the problems at lock 12 at Brookwood, where the bottom gate paddles were in a very poor state and we had to improvise reinforce­ment with a discarded door and part of a crate found in the canal. Altogether it took about 2 hours to get through the lock.

This was the year before the 1962 Woking Rally and we made two more trips up the canal with motor cruisers in 1963 and 1964. The publicity cruise in July this year is the first time I have had a cruiser on the canal since, although I kept a dinghy or canoe licensed right up to the time when the County Councils took over. Even if the amount of propeller de-weeding needed on this year's trip was in places a little reminiscent of the past, the section beyond the landslip at Dogmersfield left no doubt what a marvellous waterway we shall have when restoration is complete.

This was my account 21 years ago.
Over last Easter and the previous weekend three cruisers were at various times on the move on the Basingstoke Canal, finally descend­ing the six locks of the Woodham flight in company on Easter Sunday.

The venture was principally organised by Mr. Charles Poulter whose converted lifeboat 'Mary Toft' had engine trouble on the first Saturday and remained at the lock-keeper's cottage by Arthur's Bridge at Woking until the return journey. However, C.B. Carter's 2-berth outboard cruiser 'Wagtail' with a crew from the Cambridge University Shipping Club, went on through the locks at St. John's and the first lock at Brookwood before being halted by a lock-gate which needed collaring back at lock no. 13! These two had been intended to pioneer the way for a larger party of craft from the from the Wey Cruising Club over the Easter holiday. Unfortunately, for various reasons, only Mr. R. Ritchings' 'Althea' arrived - a smart motor yacht 35ft long and drawing 3ft. 6ins. She came as far as Woking, winding by the Gasworks, on Easter Saturday. In the meanwhile lock 13 had been repaired and, the previous Thursday, 'Wagtail' had gone on through that and the next lock to the tail of Davidson's lock (no. 15). Here lack of water due to a stoppage further up the canal end the time available for the tip prevented any attempt being made on the 'Fourteen', though shortly afterwards locks 15 and 16 were used by the canal staff for locking through a maintenance pontoon. Next day we returned to Woking to join the other boats, for the return to the Wey.

During the course of the trip it became clear that the scepticism we had met in various quarters concerning our chances of success was ill-founded, and it was pleasing to show the numerous curious spectators that the locks were workable, for all they thought they were not. Certainly it was not like cruising on the Thames, as at all but three locks the bottom gates had to be 'sheeted' with tarpaulins, and at two the absence of upper balance beams required the use of rope and tackle, while two pounds, one at Sheerwater, the other at St. John's, required filling before we could go on and some paddle gear was missing. These, and the fact that some locks were slow in filling were only a challenge to us and the lock-keepers to press on, and if necessary improvise. To the lock-keepers especially high praise is due for their determination and resourcefulness. In fact so well did things go that, when offered two more men to help on the first Sunday, they turned down the offer.

This is undoubtedly a very attractive canal to navigate, passing as it does through a great deal of woodland and heath, with the trees in places meeting overhead above the locks. It is to be hoped that as many people as possible will take the chance to come on it to the rally that is to be held at Woking next Easter. Soon, I hope I shall be able to go back and navigate the canal right through to Greywell where the tunnel fell in in the 1930's. From what I have seen from various points on the towpath it will be well worth the effort.

SOCIAL JOTTINGS Joint Social Secretaries:
Hampshire: Vacant
Surrey: Mike Grist, Woking 71681
The evenings are now drawing in again so the autumn and winter season of talks, films, slide shows etc., are about to commence again. No one has yet volunteered for the position of Hampshire Social Secretary, so come on, there must be someone who can do the job.

Hampshire meetings will again be at the Prince of Wales (Baronial Room), Reading Road South, Fleet on the 4th Wednesday of the month and the Woking Centre Halls will be the venue for the Surrey meetings on the 2nd Monday of the month.

[back to top]

FLEET SOCIAL EVENINGS All at the 'Prince of Wales' (Baronial Room)
Reading Road South, Fleet. Bar, Sales Stand, coffee available.
THURSDAY 23rd September 7.45pm.(NOTE - 1 DAY LATER THAN USUAL)
It is hoped to have a slide show about Fleet Pond by a member of the Fleet Pond Society, Much has been done to improve the pond and its surrounds in recent years and this will be an opportunity to hear about the work that has been done.
WEDNESDAY 27th October 7.45pm. Members film and slide evening. Bring along your films and slides of waterways at home and abroad, both the usual and unusual. Holiday trips, towpath walks, rallies and boat cruises, the more the merrier. Preferably telephone Fleet 7364 first if you have some slides or film you wish to show.

WOKING SOCIAL EVENINGS All at Woking Centre Halls, bar coffee, Sales Stand. Monday 11th October, 7.45pm. General social evening, including an update on Basingstoke Canal Restoration Progress.
Monday 22nd November, 7.45pm. NOTE - 4th MONDAY THIS MONTH Joint meeting with the Inland Waterways Association (Guildford and Reading Branch). Ma1com Braine, the well known Midlands boatbuilder will give a slide show entitled 'Canals and canal boatbuilding on the Birmingham Canals Navigation'.
AUTUMN EARN DANCE Friday October 1st. Fleet Civic Hall 8pm. Tickets £2.50 inc. supper. See separate sheet for full details.

Full details of this day trip appear on a separate sheet.
[back to top]

An assortment of twenty small boats made history on a glorious third of July at Ash Lock. The boats were the first to lock through and navigate Ash embankment since restoration was completed. And the occasion was the first time for nearly 20 years that the paddles were drawn at Ash Lock.

Among the intrepid boaters were Liz and Tim Dodwell. Tim was probably one of the last people to navigate Ash lock aboard a horse drawn dredging punt in July 1963. For Tony Harmsworth, whose family has been connected with the Basingstoke Canal probably since it was built nearly 200 years ago, it must also have been something of an occasion. His Grandfather, the late Mr. A.J. Harmsworth owned the canal from 1921 to 1949 one of his barges was the last commercial boat to pass through the lock in 1941. Today, Tony is maintaining the family connection through his job as Senior Ranger on HCC's Canal staff.

One of the largest boats to join the cruise which was intended to publicise the lack of slipways on the canal, was Malcoln Bates' 15ft Caracruiser 'Touchwood'. Malcolm not only travelled the farthest from Hornchurch, Essex, to reach the canal but also cruised all the way to Greywell.

Most unusual boat of the weekend was a replica steam launch 'Meteoril' owned by Adrian Birtles of Farnborough, which recaptured, the grace and charm of the age of small steam boats.

Several boats moored overnight on the canal to return to Ash lock on Sunday. Apart from weed growth, the boats had to avoid sunken oil drums, shallow waters and negotiation of the land slip at Dogmersfield where the water depth is currently 6 - 9"!

A successful event organised by Vic Trott with the cooperation of Hampshire's canal staff and the one and only slipway on the canal at Ash lock - and even that is not available for public use at any time.

While Hampshire owns its length of the canal, it has to seek local council approval and planning permission to construct slipways. An application has been made for one as part of the Colt Hill recreat­ional development on the banks of the canal, but it was refused by Hart District Council.
[back to top]

Winners in the June draw were:
1. Mr. B.C. Smith, Byfleet (£53) 3. Mrs.M.Redway,St. Johns,Woking(£1)
2. Mr. R. Cobley, Woking (£2?) 4. Mr.F.W.P.Radford,Crookham (£13)..

The official opening ceremony of Cowshott Manor Bridge is to take place on Saturday 23rd October at 2.30pm.

This particularly attractive bridge spans the tail of lock 17 on the Deepcut flight and the materials used were paid for out of contributions from members and charitable bodies.

Further details will appear in the next Newsletter.
[back to top]

The Forth and Clyde Canal Marathon is not so much a race as a time trial set on the Forth and Clyde Canal between Glasgow and Grangemouth and Edinburgh. The whole idea, over the Saturday and Sunday, is to maintain a constant 4mph on the Forth and Clyde Canal and a constant 3.5mph on the Union Canal. A penalty point is awarded for each 15 sees, late or two penalty points for being early, the winning 2-man boat having the least number of points. All this seems fine, assuming you have a reliable outboard (max 6 hp.) powered inflatable dinghy, until you realise that neither canal is totally navigable. Both canals have many lowered or culverted bridges, prolific weed growth in some places, minimal water depth in others and, of course, the usual propeller-loving objets d'art such as bicycles, prams, supermarket trolleys, plastic bags and mattresses. The Marathon was organised by the Linlithgow Union Canal Society helped by the Forth and Clyde Canal Society and the Falkirk Union Canal Society, and sponsored by the Drambuie Liquor Company.

My part in all this was relatively simple - to drive the 'back up' car, with outboard spares, fuel, food and clothing along the Marathon route to meet our boat at set places. Our boat, and the other in our team, called 'Camberley Cruisers', were fortunate in being sponsored by Tobatsu (UK) Ltd., who lent us an outboard each, thus giving us a head start. The two main things to win the Marathon seem to be to have a reliable outboard and to have meticulously planned the timing for the route. Here was where our boat had gained fame in that our crew had walked the whole route from Glasgow to Edinburgh with a surveyor's wheel in order to make sure their planning was accurate.

On the Friday morning before the start, we drove up to Scotland with the deflated boat and equipment so that the afternoon was spent checking all the equipment and trying it out on a weedy stretch of the Union Canal. Here the technique of clearing the propeller of weed was practised - tilting the propeller out of the water, giving the throttle a quick brst to send weed flying over the whole boat and then dipping the propeller back into the water until the engine revs, dropped again, due to weed fouling and then the whole process was repeated again. Unfortunately we broke the double ended paddle which was essential in case of shallows or motor failure. Friday evening was spent checking figures and trying to remember to buy a new paddle the next morning!

Saturday dawned with ideal weather - slightly overcast but not chilly. After buying new paddles, we joined the other thirty eight boats and their crews at Temple Lock on the Forth and Clyde Canal, just north of central Glasgow, for the briefing for the day. This year, instead of having a stretch where the use of the outboard was prohibited, an envelope with secret instructions was given :to each crew at the start to be opened later.

At nine o'clock and then every fifteen seconds, a crew was sent off with its surprise envelope. The first three hundred yards was round two disused locks and was therefore the first of many portages. It also sorted out the men from the boys! As the 4mph average speed still had to be maintained on portages, the crews had to carry the boat, outboards and equipment at a fast jog-trot - no mean feat considering the total weight carried. Most crews walked, but the serious minded went faster and were, therefore, exhausted well before the boat went back into the water.

At my first check of our boat, it appeared several minutes late. The surprise envelope had contained instructions for a one kilometre deviation down the Glasgow arm of the canal, and back, so making their estimated time of arrival at our position several minutes later.

Lunch-time was our first chance to help the boat crew in any way. In fact, there were no problems and, to our delight, the first provisional points score for the morning put our boat well up in the top ten.

After a thirty minute break, our boat set off for Falkirk where we met them for the first of three 'assisted portages'. The boat was lifted out of the water, all removable equipment, such as outboard, remote fuel tank etc., were put into the car and the boat tied to the roof rack. We then drove the half mile between the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal to re-launch the boat and see it on its way.

The gap between the two canals used to be spanned by a flight of eleven locks. Now sadly, they have disappeared with not even an obvious line joining the disused navigation.

Just east of Falkirk, the Marathon finished for the first day. All non-local crews were billeted in Linlithgow for the night where a ceilidh (Scottish song and dance evening) had been organised. Here we found to our delight that our boat was placed fourth after the first day. The evening proved to be a splendid success with plenty of beer and Drambuie (not to be recommended together!) and friendly people. I spent most of the evening chatting to the local Canal Societies members about the 'John Pinkerton'. They greatly admired our trip boat.

Sunday morning's weather proved just as good, as all the boats were sent off - in reverse order this time. Here we had our only mechanical set back. Just after the boat started, the outboard cut out and refused to run for more than 20 seconds at a time and so I saw the boat off into the distance with Colin at the front paddling furiously and Simon at the back stripping the outboard's carburettor. I drove round to the next bridge and things were worse - a shear pin had broken as well. However, an hour later, another check found the outboard was at least running continuously, if not perfectly.

Over the lunch break, the carburettor was dismantled again and cleared which improved its performance immensely. It was suspected that weed had got into the fuel line where it plugged into the engine. At this time we discovered that, despite the morning's setback, our boat had crept into second place.

The Sunday afternoon brought two more 'assisted portages', one round the M8 which had been built right through the canal, reminiscent of the M3 near Broxburn, and the other round a housing estate built over the canal at Sighthill just outside Edinburgh. Thankfully, there were no more problems on the final run into the centre of Edinburgh where a crowd of local people had gathered at the canal basin to watch the boats finish. It wasn't until the prizegiving that we discovered that we had drawn for first place with the other half of the 'Camberley Cruisers' team. However, the rules stated that, in the event of a draw, the highest placed boat on the first day would take the first place and so, finally our boat was placed second, nevertheless very satisfying. In addition to this 'Camberley Cruisers' won the team prize and our boat won the Long Distance prize for the crew that had travelled the furthest to compete.

All in all, it was a marvellous weekend - a completely new canal experience for me - and so thanks must go to the Brambuie Liquor Co., and the three Scottish Canal Societies for organising such a well run and popular event.
[back to top]

Two of the Society's mud barges were hauled out of the canal at Barley Mow Bridge, Winchfield, early in June for inspection.

The job was done by the Recovery Training Section of Vehicle Engineering Wing. S.E.M.E. at Bordon. A team of instructors set up camp, in the newly acquired car park land adjacent to the canal, for the weekend and used their heavy recovery equipment to haul out the barges. One has since been condemned. The S.E.M.E, has now undertaken to repair the second barge. Our grateful thanks to them.

Descaling work is being done by Youth Opportunities Programme workers organised, by H.C.C, and the Society has provided £600 worth of steel plates needed to repair the barge.
[back to top]

TEN YEARS AGO..... (from the Newsletter No. 45 July - August 1972)
* It was reported that the Committee had reluctantly turned down an offer to have the steam dredger owned by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, on loan. Transport had proved a prohibitive cost...
* The Basingstoke Canal monster, created by Les Harris of St. John's, made its appearance at several local carnivals.
* The Society published 'The Natural History of the Basingstoke Canal' by our member Jutta Manser.
* It was reported that Hampshire C.C. was hopeful of a negotiated settlement with the New Basingstoke Canal Co., over purchase of the canal.

Invitation to all Members
Boat cruise.....bring your own boat for another opportunity to cruise the Hampshire length of the canal on Sunday 26th September
Lock through Ash Lock and cross Ash Embankment. Ash Lock Cottage (Government Road), Slipway facilities will be available from 9.00am. All types of boat welcome up to 26ft. 25p special day licence fee and 25p for use of slipway. Spectators welcome. Sales and Exhibition Stands at lock side. For boat entries contact Vic Trott, 21 Lime Grove, Westfield, Woking, Surrey. Telephone, Woking 68607.


Peter Fraser of Frimley has vowed never to go out on the Basingstoke Canal again without taking his camera. For everytime he ventures forth it seems that he cannot believe his eyes.

Peter regularly takes his dinghy, powered by a small outboard motor, on the canal between Fleet and Aldershot. Often as not the unexpected happens. Take the day he was cruising along when he suddenly spotted a man's head bobbing about in the middle of the canal some distance away. Imagine Peter's astonishment when the head started rising up, a body emerged and then the legs, like a creature from the deep. At the same time Peter saw a motor bike being ridden along the towpath and realised that the man in the water was on water skis towed by the motor cyclist!

On another occasion Peter was enjoying the deserted waters when a professional looking coxed four came sculling towards him. Had they lost their way to Henley, Peter wondered, or was he just dreaming?

The third incident was definitely Over-The-Top. While out on the canal again. Peter was intrigued to spot a rowing boat being steered towards him in an erratic manner. As the boat came closer Peter realised that the reason for the zig-zagging course was because the boatman was navigating with the aid of twin bladed canoe paddle. Peter's greeting, as they passed, was ignored as the mystery boatman paddled on. It was then that Peter noticed a green parrot pershed on the man's shoulder!

Pieces of eight or one-over-the-eight? I shall never know. But if you have ever had an unusual experience on the canal, or seen something amusing, drop us a line. If we get more than three entries the best one, chosen by the editors, will get a mug with the original canal company's seal on it - now on sale aboard the 'John Pinkerton'.

If you went on the Sponsored Walk this year and have not yet sent your sponsorship money in, please do so immediately please and help achieve our aim to raise £5,500.

Send your money to Bob Humberstone, 11 Titchbourne Close, Frimley, Camberley, Surrey. Cheques should be made out to: The Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society Ltd. £1,800 has been sent in to date. 250 people walked from the Society and a further 120 from other organisations. Margaret Boyce of Fleet walked with 16 others. £183 was raised between 10 of them and the Kings Head was kept busy pulling pints!

Oldest walker? Sir Irving Golding of Woking, who at 72 walked all the way. Youngest? 4-year old James Gaskell whose mother used to stoke the Perseverance boiler and whose father operates a drag­line crane - assuming we have the right Gaskell! And walkers came from as far away as Bognor, Chatham and Tunbridge Wells.
[back to top]

CONGRATULATIONS to the Scammell family and Ginny Millard who took up the challenge to organise a jumble sale in their own locality and made a profit of over £100. Now you've seen it can be done contact Rosemary Millett (Fleet -7364) for help and advice.
DELIGHTED to learn that the Robert Aikman Memorial Fund (a founder of the IWA) has grossed £24,000 - more than double the original target.
NATIONAL tree Campaign needs helpers to collect funds during its National Tree Week (20 to 28 November 1982) in the Woking area. Chris Brazier (Aldershot 25460) has details.
IMPROVED seals fitted to North Warnborough lift bridge have made it operational once more. Perhaps it will last the rest of the season this time!
A PRIZE is offered to the seller of the largest number of Grand Draw Tickets. Your initial supply is enclosed and further books are available from the organiser - Jean Scott on Guildford 66683.
SORRY to have missed the annual canal dunking of our Chairman, Robin Higgs when he reportedly let go of his coracle at the Fun and Frolics evening on June 18th!
IMBIBERS - Have you thought of asking the landlord of your local if he would be prepared to have membership forms on display?
NEWSPAPERS can now be deposited any weekend in the new garage at St. Johns locks (next to lock 11). Please keep glossy magazines separate and tie bundles with string (not wire) or place in a cardboard box.
MR. P. FORD on Basingstoke 214l5 wants to sell a metal barge hull 19' x 6'6" (ex Reed Cutter).
[back to top]


Published by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Limited, a non­profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered as a charity.
Editors: Dieter Jebens, Janet & Chris Brazier, production Diana Snov and Cecil Eynon.
Collation & distribution: Janet & George Hedger, Clive Durley and helpers.
Editorial Office; 75 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GV10 3NJ (Farnham 715230)
Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking (Chobham 7314)
Vice-Chairman: David Millett, 14 Dinorbcn Close, Fleet (7364)
Hon. Treasurer: Bryan Jones, 16 Bliss Close, Basingstoke (61053)
Hon. Sec: Philip Riley, Meadow Vale, Guildford Road, Normandy, Guildford (Worplesdon 234776)
Membership Sec: Ted Williams, 36 Kestrel Rd., Basingstoke (61579)
Working Party: Peter Jones on Aldershot 313076 and Informations Peter Cooper, 01-993-1105
Trip Boat: Clive Durley, 15 Kenilworth Rd., Fleet (5694)
Sales Manager: Aubrey Slaughter, 36 Fir Tree Way., Fleet (23102)
Talks Organiser: Pauline Hadlow, Beaulah, Parkstone Drive, Camberley (28367)
Exhibitions Manager: Phil Pratt, 26 Fleetwood Court, Madeira Road, West Byfleet (40281).

[back to top]


Last updated April 2005