No. 115May 1984
Inside front cover --
THE NEW LOOK NEWSLETTER
After a rather hurried move from duplicating the Newsletter to litho printing the last issue, we hope you like this, our new format. Duplicating 1,800 copies was not the ideal method of reproduction. Printing not only makes the Newsletter more legible, it also gives it a more professional appearance.
While taking this opportunity to thank all those who contribute, especially our regulars like Peter Cooper and David Millett, and occasional contributors such as David Gerry, we would welcome a few words from you. Letters, points of view, your questions and, of course, short topical articles will be appreciated. Why wait for the AGM to have your say?
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PROTECTING THE CANAL - A NEW CAMPAIGN?
In this issue David Millett reports on the latest situation as regards planning applications along the canal.
One of the special attractions of the waterway is its rural environment and an abundance of trees along its banks. Even through urban areas such as Woodham, Woking and Fleet, the canal has not been completely exposed to the urban landscape. But for how much longer? And more importantly, will the rural lengths be protected?
The open space alongside the canal below Kiln Bridge at St John's is all but gone — whatever we may 'save' in having the proposed development restricted, this precious piece of open ground will be built upon. Two farmland
areas on the banks of the canal at Church Crookham and Odiham are threatened. And there is even a plan for putting up houses in one of the flashes!
The bricks and mortar of the builders constitute a far greater threat to the future amenity value of the canal than neglect and decay ever did.
It is not difficult to see, or even justify turning a field of grass into an estate of houses. The landowner makes a fortune, the developer collects a healthy profit and the apparently insatiable appetite for new homes is partially relieved.
It takes an altogether greater degree of objectivity in planning for future demands, which will need to cater for a far heavier depen-dance on leisure pursuits, to do other than take the easy option and satisfy the pressures of today. The canal's environment is extremely vulnerable. Although Hampshire County Council has designated their length a Conservation Area, and Surrey is in the process of doing likewise with the eastern end, the control has only a limited application in protecting the character of the canal.
The canal's owners - the two County Councils — along with the Joint Management Committee, this Society, the Inland Waterways Association and other caring organisations must educate and persuade local government planners to the amenity value of the canal and the effects of turning its banks into yet more back gardens. Otherwise irrevocable damage may be done which could greatly reduce the attractions and use of the canal in the future.
Some people believe the campaign to save the Basingstoke Canal has only just begun.
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(1) A passing motorist's expression of concern as the 'John Pinkerton' just clears Reading Road Bridge, Fleet with only inches to spare on her trial 13%-mile cruise from Colt Hill to Ash Wharf in March.
(inset pictures top to bottom, left to right)
(2) The swing bridge at Zephon Common, Church Crookham — the only one of its kind on the canal - operational again after being vandalised last year.
(3) Tony Harmsworth lifts the paddles of Ash Lock — a member of his family may well have been the last person to lock a boat of this size through in 1922 when barge loads of aircraft parts made the final commercial trip from Aldershot.
(4) 'John Pinkerton' leaving Ash Lock.
(5) All eyes on the newly completed water let-off weir built by Martin Smith and Deepcut MSC workers on Ash Embankment (see overleaf for the weir in action).
(6) Ash Wharf: journey's end or an unscheduled stop? — either way Tony Harmsworth was on hand to give the trip boat a tow.
(2) Bert and Betty Scammell's working party clearing the towpath opposite Wharfenden Lake at Deepcut.
(1) Kennet and Avon Canal Trust volunteers laying some of the gravel to level three miles of towpath at Ash Vale (the Harmsworth's former barge-building shed and boathouse in the background).
(3) Club owner Bob Potter's new canal-side pub/restaurant dubbed 'Potters Bar' at Mytchett.
(4) The new water control weir on Ash Embankment in action for trial purposes.
(5) Andy Stumpf shows Chris Blackman, a Fleet welder, repair work to be done on one of the Society's two tugs on the banks of the canal at Barley Mow Bridge.
(6) HCC's workboat 'Mudlark', built by Tony Harmsworth, getting a lift back on the canal at Ash Lock depot after a winter refit.
(Photos: Clive Durley and Dieter Jebens)
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THE SAGA OF JOHN PINKERTON
The Journey Into the Unknown!
by Clive Durley
8 am on a Monday morning — cold, overcast weather — bare branches — and everything dripping with a damp, clinging chill. Not a very propitious start to an adventure into the unknown you might think but there was an air of expectancy about the crew as we set out on our odyssey to Surrey. Well we hoped to get to Surrey but it was by no means certain that we would even reach Fleet.
Passing the dredger just west of Double Bridge marked the point where no trip boat had gone before and we were all happy to see Tony Harmsworth with his mini-tractor standing by. However, apart from the odd clunk of a branch being decimated by the propeller, we met no real obstacles and we arrived at Crookham Wharf in good order and greatly appreciated the coffee and cake laid on by Charles and Katie Hicks.
Before setting off again for Fleet we attempted to wind the JP in the winding hole just east of the bridge. Here we had to enlist the aid of Tony and his tractor to pull the stern around but having done it once it would probably be possible to turn under the IP's steam now.
Under way eastwards again we had only one moment of doubt as we approached Malthouse Bridge. JP seemed to come to a stop against a very soft spring. However backing off and having another run at it solved the problem and we slowly made our way under the bridge and on into Fleet for lunch at the "Fox and Hounds".
After lunch we went up to Reading Road Bridge to see if it was possible to get under it. At first sight it looked impossible but as we neared it became apparent that the JP would go under — provided nobody jumped up and down! We then returned to our temporary moorings at the bottom of a Member's garden.
On Saturday the dam beneath Reading Road Bridge had been removed and our way to Surrey was open — we hoped! Setting off at 9 am we shrugged our way under the bridge and through Fleet, causing many people to leave their breakfasts and come and watch us pass. At Pondtail we attempted to turn in the basin between the old and new bridges but it would require about three
feet of bank to be removed to make it possible.
Leaving Fleet we proceeded past Farnborough Airfield and crept under the Farnborough Road Bridges. The going was easy here as the weed which plagued the stretch last summer has died off - but is still lurking there for unwary boaters! We arrived at Ash Lock and checked out the winding hole above it — no problems here. Then came the great moment as we locked down. The first lock "John Pinkerton" had been in — the first commercial boat through Ash Lock for about 60 years — the first time many of us had seen a Basingstoke Canal lock in use — and no doubt a lot of other firsts as well.
Safely through we set off across the embankment towards Surrey. As we approached the new weir, which marks the boundary, we could see what looked like an island in the Canal but which turned out to be large clumps of floating weed which we pushed through without much trouble before arriving at Ash Wharf. The basin had a fair amount of rubbish in it — we removed a car wheel and tyre and another tyre not to mention several cartons, orange boxes and the inevitable polythene bags. Why do people think because their rubbish sinks beneath the surface it no longer exists!?!
With lunch in mind it was decided to see if we could press on to the "Swan" at Heathvale but we had hardly left the basin before we stuck firm. So, thanks to Tony and his tractor, we turned and moored in the basin and there followed a mass exodus in the direction of the "Standard of England".
We returned to Fleet in the afternoon and carried on to Odiham the next day with work being carried out in preparation for the new season en route.
In summary the going was not as hard as we had feared but we were disappointed that we could not get to Heathvale Bridge. However whilst we were at Ash Wharf I met an elderly lady who once ran the boathouse at Ash — the expression of delight on her face at seeing the Canal coming back to life made the trip really worthwhile.
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"JOHN PINKERTON" SEASON 1984 - Allan Prince
Our sixth season operating the "John Pinkerton" starts on Easter Sunday (22nd April) and looks like being just as busy as 1983. Operations are the same as last season with trips morning, afternoon and evening, Wednesday to Sunday until October 14th. Public trips are again on Sunday afternoons starting at 2 30 pm with the direction of travel alternating each week. Advance reservations can be made for these trips by contacting the Bookings Manager - Ron Hursey on Farnborough 519619.
If you are interested in crewing and missed our training day (14th April) why not come to one of our Members' evenings? These start on May 1 st and will be held every Tuesday evening at 7.30 pm starting at Colt Hill, Odiham. These members trips are specifically held for training volunteers in all aspects of crewing the "John Pinkerton" and enable minor maintenance and cleansing tasks to be carried out. But, of course, you are welcome to come along just for the trip. Further information from the Crew Training Manager — Roger Cansdale (Fleet 6964) or Crewing Manager Allan Prince (Alton 86538).
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CIVIL ENGINEERS DONATE £100
The Costain Group of Civil Engineers has donated £100 to our restoration funds. Our grateful thanks to the Company and without in any way diminishing our appreciation, the donation was not exactly unsolicited.
We believe many more companies, especially local firms would be prepared to support restoration of the Basingstoke because of the valuable leisure facilities it will provide for all kinds of pursuits. A chance to unwind, revitalise and return invigorated for another week's work.
But we have to encourage those firms to aid the project, and first we need to know who makes such decisions. Half the problem is knowing the right person to approach.
So, if you are an employee, let us know if you think your Company might be amenable and whether it's the Managing Director, personnel manager, public relations officer or marketing director who answers "appeals". Derek Truman will then make an approach. Ring him on Fleet 3435 or write to him at 91 Tavistock Road, Fleet, Hants.
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Working Parties and Progress - Peter Cooper
To help make the Ash-Deepcut section ready for reopening on 9th June, Society working parties have been helping to complete the remaining jobs. Visiting groups who expected to be working on the St Johns flight have found themselves helping to raise the level of the towpath along the sections to be reopened, and a regular working party has been driving in piles along the same stretch. After the reopening the St Johns flight will be receiving some recompense for the labour it's been losing, as the Summer Work Camp, from 28th July to 11th August, will bring a concentrated work effort by visiting navvies (and, we hope, by the Society's own navvies, too).
The working parties currently operating are listed below. It's usually as well to contact your working party leader a few days before attending, just in case of any last minute change of plan.
St Johns (or Goldsworth) Locks Every weekend
Lock 11 is now into the final stages of restoration, with the lower recess walls well on the way up, the bridge installed, and several quadrants laid. This lock may, if all goes well, be completed during the period covered by this newsletter. In that case, there will be some changes of working location around the flight, but there will still be a working party on the flight every weekend.
At Lock 9 most of the effort has been concentrated around the bottom end. The major job of rebuilding the extended offside lower wing wall, to accommodate an existing water outflow, is now largely complete. Lock 8 hasn't received much attention lately, as the visiting groups have mostly been on the Ash-Deepcut section.
The Society's co-ordinator of this work is MIKE FELLOWS on Wokingham 787428, and for further details you should contact him, or one of the working party leaders listed below.
(JW & TG) (AG) (PJ)
5/6 May, 13 May, 19/20 May, 2/3 June, 10 June, 16/17 June,,30 June/1 July, 8 July, 14/15 July.
Lock 11 - (KH & PR) - 28/29 April, 12/13 May, 26/27 May, 9/10 June, 23/24 June, 7/8 July, 21/22 July.
(JW) Jules Wood - Farnborough 515737 (AG) Alan Grimster - Brookwood 6127 (KH) Ken Halls - Woking 23981 (TG) Tony Gould - 01 941 3014 (PJ) Peter Jones - Aldershot 313076 (PR) Peter Redway - Woking 21710
Dredging in Hampshire Every weekend
The Society's steam dredger "Perseverance" is working
well following overhaul, though some minor work
remains to be done on the tugs. Progress is good, and the
dredger has passed Double Bridge, though things would
go faster given deeper water levels. The dragline has at
long last moved to a new site, between Blacksmiths
Bridge and Double Bridge, as previously the mudboat
trip from dredger to dragline had reached 2500 yards
each way, the longest ever. The team have had some new
recruits lately, but are still looking for more; details
from ANDY STUMPF on Watford 37278 or BRIAN
BANE on Hook 3627. The dredger team would also like
to remind you that 1984 is the dredger's 50th birthday
Lock gate building Various weekends
The party building the bottom gates for Lock 11 are
now well into this task, and progressing well. They could
still do with a few more helpers. They normally meet on
the first weekend of the month:—
5/6 May, 2/3 June, 7/8 July - details from FRANK
JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley
The party building the top gates for Lock 10 are now
ready to start assembling the gates. They meet on the
fourth Sunday of the month:—
27 May, 24 June, 22 July - details from ALAN
GRIMSTER on Brookwood 6127.
Lock 4 (Woodham)
Second weekend of the month - 12/13 May, 9/10 June, 7/8 July.
The nearside chamber wall is about halfway demolished, and a ramp is being built into the chamber, St Johns style, to allow dumpers to drive in. Demolition will continue on the other chamber wall. The shed formerly at Lock 5 has been moved to the new site, and Lock 4 has shown itself to have a very high frog population. Further details (and maybe further natural history lessons) from PABLO HOWARTH on Byfleet 42081. Note -you should now park at the end of Woodlands Avenue, for this working party.
Lock 1 (Woodham)
Third weekend of the month - 19/20 May, 16/17 June, 14/15 July
The new chamber walls are now about halfway up, so bricklaying will continue as the main activity for a while yet. The only other activity has been a spot of towpath clearance. Further details from DICK HARPER-WHITE on Weybridge 42074 or ROY DAVENPORT on 01-979-7075.
The Surrey towpath clearance party, led by BERT and BETTY SCAMMELL, have now gone into their summer recess, to leave the banksides to the local flora and fauna, in all their forms, for the summer. The working party will resume operations in the autumn.
May we remind you again that the Summer Work Camp will take place from 28th July to 11th August on the St Johns flight. Indeed, so much progress has been made that this will be the last work camp on the canal — by next year there won't be enough suitable work left for another camp.
This is your last opportunity .... you have been reminded ....
Surrey Full-time Team
One part of this team is now well over half way to completion of restoration of Lock 14 on the Brookwood flight. Nearby on the Deepcut flight, the finishing touches are being applied. Training continues to be a big part of the operation, and has included, as an exercise, building a temporary bridge at the Swan, Ash Vale, to help the completion of towpath preparation on the Ash-Deepcut section.
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BOATING ON THE BASINGSTOKE - 1916 STYLE
The following is an extract from a book entitled "My Holidays on Inland Waterways "by P. Bonthron, published in London by ThomasMurby and Co. in 1916: THROUGH HANTS AND SURREY BY THE WOKING, ALDERSHOT AND BASINGSTOKE CANAL.
After our canal trip through the Midland and Home Counties we decided to extend our experience by exploring the Woking, Aldershot, and Basingstoke Canal. Our intention had been to use our petrol launch, but this we were told would be impossible, owing to the condition of the canal, although we were given to understand that it would be developed. We, therefore, had our skiff sent on from Henley-on-Thames to Basingstoke (Hants) by rail, and on our arrival there we found the boat afloat, all ready for us. Our crew consisted of "Three men in a Boat," with a youth to assist generally. The Basingstoke Canal is 38% miles to the Wey navigation, and has 29 locks. These latter, however, are not reached until nearly two-thirds of the journey have been completed, so that one gets a good level run of about 20 miles before approaching them. The first few miles down were in such a condition owing to the weeds that we found sculling impossible, and had to be towed down by horse as far as Odiham (Hants). Five and a half miles from the start we came to the Grey well Tunnel, three-quarters of a mile long, and the bargemen, in navigating their craft through, have to lie on their backs and "tread" their way from the ceiling.
The water here is as clear as crystal, the tunnel being full of natural springs. This is one of the chief sources from which the canal derives its water supply. The time taken in paddling through was exactly 20 minutes, and it was a bit of work which our party appreciated thoroughly.
Odiham being duly reached, we hied to the village, some half-mile or so from the waterside, and found it a quaint interesting old place. The George Hotel, which we visited for afternoon tea, has some ancient oak panelling brought from an old Bishop's palace in the vicinity. On our way down from here we came through some fine wooded reaches, which in some cases quite came up to what we were led to expect. Below Odiham the canal was comparatively clear of weeds, and we quite enjoyed our scull down to Fleet (Hants), where we had engaged rooms at the Oaksheaf Hotel for the night. The distance covered was some sixteen miles, of which we sculled about ten. Proceeding the following day, we pulled down to Aldershot (Hants), four miles, where we landed, and made a detour round the camp and town, an interesting sight.
Below this our first lock was encountered — Ash — after which we passed through Laffan's Plain, where the military reviews are held, and afterwards reached Frimley Lock, where we again passed some finely-wooded parts. At this place our boat was left in charge of the lock-keeper, to be conveyed to St. John's Lock, six miles lower down, as the 22 locks along that stretch were not at that time in working order.
We stayed for the night at the Brookwood Hotel (Surrey), walking there via Pirbright, a pretty rural country walk along the canal side. Thereafter we came through a series of six locks, passing some attractive scenery, with rich foliage, and duly reached the Wey navigation, thus completing our voyage of exploration of the Basingstoke Canal, and finishing up what had been a pleasant three days' holiday under exceptionally favourable weather conditions.
From a business point of view, it struck us that if such a canal as this could only be deepened it would make a fine through waterway from London, via the Thames.
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CLUB HOUSE RECIPE - Pablo Haworth
(serves any number in working party) When faced with the problem of moving their club house (fancy name for site shed) from Lock 5 to Lock 4, chef de cuisine Pablo Haworth, leader of the Woodham Workers came up with the following recipe:
1 3/4 ton 10ft Long Container (7' x 7')
2 Second Hand mini wheels (1 radial 1 cross-ply) 2 Mini stub-axles with wheel spacers
1 Home made tow-bar A La Shepherds Crook
2 Off Metal/Plywood spacing blocks
1 Clapped out Tractor called Betsy (B Reg Austin A60)
Jack up the container and drill holes into Chassis box section, .06 inch thick metal.
Bolt stub-axles to box section through metal/plywood spacing blocks and bolt wheels on through wheel spacers. All spacers were needed to keep tyres away from container sides.
Open doors and bolt/clamp tow-bar to container floor, partially close doors with rope. Lower Container onto tow-path, heart in mouth. Pump up tyres to 34 p.s.i., and they still look flat. Reverse Tractor and hook shepherds crook on to SOmm Tow-Ball, tie down with rope. Foot on forward accelerator, and amazingly the duo moves forward smoothly, except for banging in the tow-ball/shepherds crook area.
Look of amazement from Lock 4 audience, but not from crew. They accept that Betsy can do anything. Thinks! Next time I get a container from Dagenham, I will not hire a Transit Truck, just take Betsy and Two Mini-Wheels and say "Walk".
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WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS
|Mr. J.C. Taylor||Harefiled, Middx.|
|Mr. J. Wade||Frimley|
|Mr. G. Foster||Woodham|
|Mr. R.E. Kilsby||Guildford|
|Mr. G. Truelove||Guildford|
|Mr. P.A. Kirkup||Woking|
|Bentley Family||Hartley Wintney|
|Tapling Family||Woking (rejoined)|
|Mr. W. Fox||West Byfleet|
|Mr. K. Whatley||Crowthorne|
|Mr P. Tanner (Life)||Bray, Berks.|
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BANDS, BUNTING AND BOATS ON JUNE 9th
Preparations are well advanced for a weekend of celebrations to mark the completion of the 12-mile centre length of the Basingstoke from Fleet to Brookwood Bridge. The length includes Ash Embankment and the Deepcut 14 flight of locks which were major restoration tasks.
Highlight of the celebrations will be a cruise aboard the "John Pinkerton" with a flotilla of craft, including some elegant steam powered launches, over the 5^ mile route from Ash Lock to Deepcut.
The first ceremony takes place at Lock 29 Ash Lock at 11 am. The excellent prize winning Stoughton Scouts Marching Band, will be entertaining prior to the Chairmen of H.C.C. and S.C.C. cutting the tape from the bow of 'John Pinkerton'. The Society trip boat with all the V.I.P. guests on board will then lock down to the Ash Embankment where it will be joined by the flotilla of other boats including many from the Steam Boat Association and a floating band. The boats will pause to view the new weir and then continue to Ash Wharf arriving at approx. 11.55 am. Youth group demonstrations and the Cup Hill Morris men will entertain here until approx 12.10pm.
There will be further Morris dancing by the Mayflower ladies at the Swan Inn, Ash Vale, as the flotilla passes, to arrive at Ash Vale Primary School, Frimley Road, Ash Vale at approx. 12.45 p.m. This will be a major site for the event with exhibitions by many related groups. The marching band will be joined by the 1st Ash Vale Scouts Concert Band, further Morris Dancing and the major reopening ceremony by the Chairmen.
The flotilla will not depart from here until approx. 2.15 pm, when it will slowly cruise on through Mytchett
Lake, past the new 'Potters' development at Mytchett Place Road where a superb slipway allowed all the smaller boats to enter the canal (and to which they will return later in the day) then slowly on to Lock 28 at Deepcut arriving at approx. 3.30 pm. Here there will be further musical entertainment and a conducted tour of the workshop complex.
Join in the celebration
The John Pinkerton will turn here, the guests will depart at about 4.15 pm by road to return to Ash Lock and the Trip Boat will then take on board those members and friends who wish to be part of the inaugural return cruise to Ash Lock. The flotilla will accompany the trip boat as far as 'Potters' Restaurant which will be the focal point for boat crews that evening. When the trip boat reaches Ash Lock return coach transport will be waiting to take passengers back to their cars at Lock 28. Tickets for this historic trip are available: price £3.00 each from Ron Hursey, 119 Keith Lucas Road, Farnborough, Hants. Tel: Farnborough 519619.
Trips will also be run on Sunday 10th June starting from Bob Potter's new canal-side pub/restaurant adjacent to Mytchett Place Bridge at 11.00 am and 2.30 pm at normal cruise prices.
Reminder to boat owners
If you own a boat you are invited to join the celebration cruise. A special short-term licence will be available to owners of boats up to 25' in length. A unique brass plaque will be cast to commemorate the event. Requests for application forms for boat owners to join the flotilla should be sent to Vie Trott, 21 Lime Grove, Westfield, Woking, Surrey GU22 9PW (enclose a SAE please).
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GREEN LIGHT FOR SLIPWAYS
The construction of a boat launching slipway has been approved by Rushmoor Borough Council on a site opposite the towpath above Wharf Bridge (A325 Farnham — Farnborough Road). Hampshire's canal manager David Gerry expects work to start immediately and hopes it will be ready for use by 9th June.
Choice of sites
At the canal's western end, Hart District Council has raised no objections to Hampshire's applications for slipways on three proposed sites, at Barley Mow Bridge, Winchfield; adjacent to the new bridge over Odiham bypass at Broad Oak and at Colt Hill, Odiham.
In fact Hampshire will construct only one slipway and is seeking to purchase a piece of land for the Broad Oak site. This has easy access from Broad Oak Lane and the A287. It is also conveniently placed opposite the towpath and near to Colt Hill where eventually it is planned to provide a water point and sanitary station.
Hampshire's second choice is the Barley Mow site where the Council already owns land on which to lay the slipway.
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MOVE TO SALVAGE "SEAGULL" -Stan Meller
AS ANNOUNCED IN Newsletter No. 114, we hope to salvage some, or hopefully all, of the wooden hull of the 90 year old steam powered narrow boat "Seagull" from Brickworks Arms at Up Nately, during 1984. Some members of the "Railway Group" have rallied round to help but we shall need a lot of support to achieve a worthwhile result.
We would like to hear from any members not engaged in reconstruction work, and would like to be involved in this archaeological project. The task involves a lot of work with shovels, wheelbarrows, pumps, and other machinery. It will also be a bit muddy! But the results could be a useful contribution to canal boat history.
The project site, which is on private ground, is very convenient for members living to the West of the Odiham/Greywell area. If you are interested please contact:
Stan Meller on Camberley 32096 or
John Peart on Farnborough 546445
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CANAL-SIDE PLANNING APPLICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS - David Millett
The environment of the canal is still continuously under threat both in the Woking area and at the western end in the Crookham Village and Odiham areas. The Society's executive committee is constantly monitoring the situation and submits comments to the District Council in whose area the applications are made. Members in the areas involved are asked to write individual letters. In addition the Basingstoke Canal Joint Management Committee makes its views known to the appropriate District or Borough Planning Committee, Unless we are vigilant, the restored canal in a few years time, will have a much more urban appearance than it has now.
BREWERY ROAD CAR PARK SITE, WOKING
This site would be ideal for a Town Quay, trip boat station and a small canal basin. Recent proposals, however, have included a hotel, pub/restaurant and luxury flats, and, being a valuable site, the environmental aspects seem to take second place to full development potential where a lot of money is at. stake for the prospective developers. Although Woking Borough Council have drawn up a development brief for the site, the tentative plans we have seen so far seem much too intrusive for the canal in this location.
THE GOLDSWORTH RELIEF ROAD, WOKING
This will have a dramatic effect on the north side of the canal west of the Centre Swimming Pool and we shall be making representations regarding the design of the bridge, rather like we did a few years ago when we were successful in getting the Odiham By-Pass Bridge faced with brick.
TOWN CENTRE, WOKING "COTAC" PROPOSALS
If these proposals were ever implemented, the canal environment would be improved in the centre of Woking by getting rid of Victoria Way between the swimming pool and the Wheatsheaf bridge and would put a relief road on the north side of the canal following a line which is now Brewery Road. But these proposals would equally decimate the canal east of the Wheatsheaf Bridge and west of Chertsey Road Bridge.
KILN BRIDGE LAND ADJOINING ST. JOHNS LOCK, WOKING
This is where the Society has its work site for the voluntary work on the Goldsworth Flight (St. Johns) and where a battle has and is being fought to prevent development overwhelming the site. The site was zoned for residential use many years ago, well before the canal restoration really got under way.
An application for 40 units on one acre was submitted, but pressure from the Society and local residents who raised a 726 signature petition, and bombarded the council with letters, was abortive. Our only 'victory' was to get the density reduced to 12 units and a small piece of public open grass near the canal. However, even that is not secure as the developers have submitted a new application to increase the height from two storeys to three, which, if granted, will dominate the lock. Needless to say, we shall be fighting this application tooth and nail. It seems incredible that Woking, which needs access to the canal, systematically allows potentially pleasant canal side access sites in the town to be developed. Such is development pressure these days that the environment is ruined for future generations to enjoy.
THE CANAL FLASH SITE OFF ARTHUR'S BRIDGE ROAD, WOKING
This site which has been partially filled in and overgrown, was originally a turning place for barges. An application to build three houses on the site has recently been turned down by Woking Planning Committee, but the owners will probably appeal against the decision. The site will be an integral part of the future canal restoration plans in Woking and in due course it could be returned to its original use as a turning point for the longer length boats before they reached the Woking flight of locks.
BROOKWOOD LYE FACTORY SITE AND THE BROOKWOOD HOSPITAL SITE
Both these sites affect the canal, the former due to possible road schemes to serve the site and the latter because it is a fitting backdrop to the canal from Hermitage Bridge to Connaught Bridge, the first really rural stretch of canal west of the River Wey junction, a distance of 9H miles. The Society will watch development proposals closely in the future.
THE BOB POTTER CANAL SIDE DEVELOPMENT AT MYTCHETT
Construction work here is due to be completed in time for the opening of the centre section of the canal on June 9th, and facilities will include a slipway (free use for boat owners), car park and a sewerage disposal point. The main building will house a bar, snack bar and a restaurant. Overnight mooring facilities will be available.
FREELANDS FARM/VELMEAD FARM/LITTLE ANSTICE, CROOKHAM VILLAGE
In spite of the Secretary of State dismissing appeals to build on these attractive rural sites south of Malthouse Bridge, Crookham Village, Hart District Council have recently put forward a modification to their proposed District Plan to allow between 500 and 1000 houses to be built on the land. The Society and the Joint Management Committee plus other local action groups together with the Crookham Village Parish Council and Village Association are vigorously opposing this modification: a local Inquiry is being heard at the beginning of April. Thanks are due to all the local Fleet and Crookham members who wrote at the request of the Society in January supporting our views which would ruin the first rural part of the canal after it leaves the urban parts of Fleet and Church Crookham.
HATCHWOOD FARM, ODIHAM
In spite of the rejection of a planning application to build houses on this land, which is on the non-towpath side between the Odiham By-pass Bridge and Colt Hill a couple of years ago, a new application for 130 houses has now been submitted by Charles Church Developments. As the land is not included in the draft Hart District plan, permission has recently been refused but it is likely to go to appeal.
Dates for your Diary
Sunday April 22 (Easter Sunday) "John Pinkerton" season begins. See elsewhere in Newsletter for details.
Small boat cruise organised by the IWA. Starts at North Warnborough at 10 am. Please 'phone Tony Davies on Weybridge 44261 to enter or for details.
Tuesday May 1
"John Pinkerton" Members' Evening 7.30 pm. Thereafter every Tuesday evening.
Saturday May 5
Annual General Meeting at St John's Memorial Hall, St John's Lye, Woking, at 7.00 pm.
Sunday May 6
Coach trip to the Black Country Museum. Contact Rosemary Millett on Fleet 7364 for details or see Newsletter 114.
Sunday May 20
Sponsored walk between Woking and Fleet. Contact Derek Truman on Fleet 3435 for details or see Newsletter 114.
Saturday June 9
Grand Re-opening Ceremony of Centre Section. See elsewhere for details.
Thursday July 12
Woking Arts Festival "Vintage Film Evening". Venue Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking Centre Halls, Woking. Time 8.00 pm.
VINTAGE FILM EVENING
Woking's New Cinema Club is participating in the Woking Arts Festival by presenting, in conjunction with the Borough Council, an evening with John Huntley, a specialist in vintage film clips. Mr Huntley will be introducing inland waterways and railway film clips from the archives with the spotlight on Woking and the surrounding area. Items will include legging through Blisworth Tunnel, ice breakers clearing the cut in 1911 and barges on the Basingstoke in 1913 and 1948.
The show is booked for Thursday, 12th July, at 8pm in the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking Centre Halls, and the presentation will be on the big 35mm film screen.
Woking Cine Club will also be participating by showing film taken by their members of the Basingstoke Canal and Wey Navigation.
Tickets will be available, price £1.50 and £2.00 from the Woking Civic Hall Box Office.
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CANAL'S CONDITION: HAMPSHIRE REPLIES
In our "Comment" column (Newsletter 114) we expressed our concern about the condition of the Canal's western end last summer. Weed growth was prolific and silt deposits at Broad Oak and North Warnborough became an increasing hindrance to navigation by the "John Pinkerton".
Both the Boat Company and the Society wrote to Hampshire's Recreation Officer, Mr. Colin Bonsey. His reply was encouraging and we look forward to a considerable improvement this year:
* Silt shoals at Broad Oak, caused by discharge from two adjoining streams which enter the canal, will be dredged by bankside excavator. The problem will be alleviated by constructing silt traps which filter the water as it enters the canal.
* Increasing silt which is building up in the Whitewater winding hole will be dredged by the backacter. This some -what makeshift arrangement of an excavator mounted on the stern of a barge has had a checkered operation history. We can only hope that it can be made to work and is put into service at North Warnborough.
* The Counties new jointly owned weed cutting boat is ready to go into action this year and Hampshire plan to put it into use at the Western End. Looking at Maintenance in the longer term, Mr. Bonsey stated that the problem of dredging is being investigated by both Counties. Contact is also being made with the British Waterways Board.
Hampshire intend to build some new mud barges believing that whatever the best solution to dredging, silt movement will be most economically transported in barges.
Mr. Bonsey acknowedged "the effort your volunteers have put into the dredging so far" and expressed the hope that the Society would assist with solving the maintenance dredging problems.
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TEN YEARS AGO ..... FROM NEWSLETTER NO. 57 MAY/JUNE 1974
* Since work started in November 1973 following Hampshire's acquisition of the 15 mile western end of the canal, the entire towpath from Greywell to Ash Lock had been cleared.
* Organisers of the Society's first sponsored towpath walk set a target of £1,000.
* Proposals for building a by-pass road to take traffic away from Odiham centre were published.
* A new footbridge was being installed over Fleet weir. The bridge — once a ships gangway — was obtained by Society Vice-President Sir John Verney.
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CHURCHILL FOUNDATION AWARD
Hampshire Canal Manager, David Gerry, has been awarded a prestigious Churchill Foundation Scholarship. He applied for a scholarship to study how national park and outdoor leisure facilities, especially connected with canals and waterways, are made accessible to disabled people. David has chosen to visit North America and Canada, with his wife Judy, to seek information on how they help the disabled.
David, who was the Society's first Chairman, from 1967-1973, plans to put some of the ideas he finds into practice on the Basingstoke Canal. He is particularly keen to see a holiday boat designed for disabled people on the canal.
The fact finding trip is scheduled for late summer and will take four to five weeks.
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Letters to the Editor
The new look Newsletter is undoubtedly a considerable improvement over its predecessors and it would be surprising if further changes in layout were not made in future.
It would be nice (but probably optimistic) to think that the quality and liveliness of the contributions might be improved also. That the Newsletter's primary function is to convey information to the members is beyond contention. But it would be very helpful to those who take a more active part in the Society (in a greater or lesser degree) to know whether our Members are generally content with current policies and progress and if not, whether any of them are prepared to do anything about them.
For a start, why has membership income dropped by £1,000 over the last two years? Why is there so little Society activity in Aldershot and Farnborough? Why is the attendance at the Fleet social evenings so much lower than at the Woking meetings? Ought we to consider again the notion, long since frowned upon, of changing the Society into a "federation" of town- based groups or would that really be a recipe for dissension? And do we really want a second trip boat? Yours faithfully, DEREK TRUMAN, Tavistock Road, Fleet.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We'd welcome your views on the questions Derek Truman has raised, or on any other matter relating to the canal or the Society.
Since Derek mentioned the "new-look" Newsletter, the improvement i.e. printing it off-set litho rather than duplicating the text pages, will make it clearer to read and altogether a more professional presentation. But surprisingly, at little extra cost - less than 39p extra per member per year.
I was very interested to read in issue number 114 the "Welcome to New Members" included Lt. Cdr. Caesley.
He is of course not a new member but our old friend Roger Caesley who put in so many hours of work at bankside support to the dredger nearly 10 years ago when we were working at Lodge Copse and North Warn-borough.
Many readers may have missed it, but in the honours list published after the Falklands campaign Roger picked up a "gong". If he worked as hard in the Falklands as he did on our Canal, he earned the honour.
May I say belated congratulations and welcome back to our "new Member".
STAN MELLER, Branksome Hill Road, College Town, Camberley.
Surrey Lengthsman Scheme
Thank you for your excellent coverage in the March Newsletter, following my letter of 3rd January and our conversation.
I am sure you will like to know that there was a very good response to the appeal for volunteers. (Indeed I was almost overwhelmed by the number of enquiries about Length 15!) If you are short of copy for the next edition it would be nice if you could thank all those who offered and, in particular, welcome the following:-
Length 1 Mr D. Banton of Weybridge
Length 5 Mr Dave Price of Horsell
Length 15 Mr and Mrs Watts of Ash Vale
Many thanks again.
HUGH BIRD, Westwood Lane, Normandy.
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WHAT KEEPS THE SOCIETY GOING?
Volunteers, yes. A determination that we have to get the Basingstoke open again come what may. And money. This is not a popular topic but a necessary one. The wages of our staff, the maintenance of our equipment, the dredger, tugs and barges, the repairs for dumpers, tools and especially at present, our Transit van which is nearly at the end of its useful life, the purchase of materials and the sheer administrative effort of keeping going this civil engineering-cum-pleasure-boating conglomerate we call the SHCS, cost over £39,000 in 1983. This was £5,000 more than we earned. We could cope with that for one year but it is not something we can easily repeat. So we need to recruit more members, a lot more, and raise as much money as possible.
Easily said, but how? Well you can all try to recruit at least one friend or neighbour — that would boost membership and increase our subscription income. Fundraising is another matter. It is as important as lock-restoration or dredging and sometimes can give as much pleasure (but without the backache). But to raise money on any scale we need to organise events and these need people. If you would be willing to join the FUND-RAISING GROUP (or just have some bright ideas on how we might get more money), please contact Derek Truman, 91 Tavistock Road, Fleet, Hants (Fleet 3435).
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PORTRAITS TO AID PROJECTS '84
June Sparey, an SHCS member of long standing, has uncovered a talent she never knew she had, an ability to do portraits of DOGS in pastels (only dogs, not cats, budgies, hamsters etc). She works from photographs, the bigger the better, in colour, with at least 1-1/2 inches of the dog's face on the print.
Having immortalised all her friends' pets, she is now looking for new subjects, and would be pleased to hear from any SHCS member who would like a portrait done of their doggy pal (would make an ideal gift for birthdays/ Christmas). The size of the finished product depends on the size of the original print supplied, but they are usually about 10 in. x 8 in. June can arrange for them to be supplied in a photographic frame, with an oval mount.
Being an amateur she does not charge directly for her work, but if customers are pleased with the finished product she asks for the cost of the frame, usually £2 to £3, plus a minimum £5 donation to one of the four SHCS special projects for 1984 listed in Newsletter 114.
So far she has done about 40 portraits of all breeds, ranging from a Shin Tzu to a Chow, and is particularly fond of mongrels.
If anyone is interested, ring June at Camberley 62093 after 6pm.
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Fund Raising News
URGENT - SPONSORED WALK - URGENT
Please note that all monies collected for the Sponsored Walk on Sunday May 20 are now to be sent to:
Bert Saville, 3 Rushmoor Close, Fleet, Hants.
Phone: Fleet 6730 and NOT to Bob Humberstone.
Would all walkers please amend the Sponsored Walk Booklet to this effect.
URGENT - SPONSORED WALK - URGENT
SPONSORED WALK: SUNDAY 20th MAY
The towpath needs to be used (if only to keep the weeds down); you (may) need the exercise; the SHCS most certainly needs the money. So please fill your booklets with your sponsors' names and bring as many of your families and friends as possible. If you know any other organisations which will join in, so much the better — last year 18 of these raised over £2100 for themselves and the same amount for us. It is not essential to walk the full 18 miles from Woking to Fleet (or vice versa) — where you start or finish is entirely up to you. But we do need a great deal of support and you have not stinted this in the past. Remember there are challenge cups for the individual and couple who raise the most money. If you can't walk, please offer to help as a marshal — we need plenty.
Should you need more information or booklets or want to offer help, please contact Derek Truman, 91 Tavistock Road, Fleet (Fleet 3435) or Vie Trott, 21 Lime Grove, Westfield, Woking (Woking 68607).
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Many thanks to all who have joined or renewed their subscriptions. February winners were: Mr D.S. Hitchins £34, Mrs E.N. Sandberg £16, Mr A.C. Marchant £9, Mr and Mrs P. Samson £9.
PRIZE WINNING WALKERS
1983 Sponsored Walk — and still the money keeps on rolling in. Fleet Lions raised £142 and St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey, £552 for the SHCS and the same for themselves. This means that we will have grossed about £5500 while 18 other organisations will have shared some £2100. Winners of the various awards were: Cup for best effort by an individual - Vie Trott (£150) Cup for best effort by a couple — Mr and Mrs Masters
(£142.50p) Free trip on the John Pinkerton for the best effort by a
school - Court Moor, Fleet (£131) Best effort by an organisation - free trip on the JP —
St Peter's Hospital (£552) Most meritorious effort — Laslett voucher - Fleet Leos
LICENCES for 1984 are unchanged from 1983. They
are as follows:
Motorised craft up to 25 ft. £ 15.00
Motorised craft up to 14 ft. £ 10.00
Unpowered craft with 2 or more seats £5.00
Unpowered craft with 1 seat £3.00
Licences may be obtained from HCC, Canal Office, Ash
Lock Cottage, Government Road, Aldershot.
1983 LICENCES issued were a total of 763 of which 624 were for unpowered craft and 139 for powered craft under 14 feet.
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We were extremely sorry to learn that JOHN MORTON, District Careers Officer at Camberley Job Centre died suddenly last November. John was instrumental in helping the Society apply for its first training scheme on the canal at Deepcut under the MSC's original Job Creation Programme. In 1977 the Society was made a grant to train jobless school-leavers for six months.
John Morton selected the trainees and through his keen interest and support, the Society successfully applied for a continuation of that first trial scheme and many others to this day, exactly seven years on.
John became interested in the canal itself and spent several holidays exploring our inland waterways with his wife Elizabeth. The couple lived at Cheam.
It is with very great regret that we record the death at the age of 42 of COLIN HAMILTON on 24th January.
As a railway enthusiast, Colin was very welcome when he offered his services to the Railway Group. He first started working with us in Autumn 1977 and he soon became a familiar figure on the footplate of the Society loco driving on the "Deepcut Railway", along with his son Richard who he trained as an excellent "second man". His name is logged many times in the record books for posterity as duty driver and the Society owes him permanent gratitude for the hours of volunteer work he has given, both at Deepcut and later at Ash Embankment.
Even when working at Deepcut he was subject to occasional short bouts of ill-health, but with great courage Colin fought on for four years and maintained the ever cheerful attitude to life that we all experienced from him.
Although perhaps to the majority of members he was a background figure he gave great support to Lisa during the turbulent years when she held the job of Secretary to the Executive Committee, Society and the Railway Group have lost an enthusiastic volunteer. Those of us who were privileged to know him well have lost a valued friend. Lisa and the children have lost a devoted family man.
What else can one say about a thoroughly nice bloke? Among those of us who were close to him, he will be remembered for a long time. (S.M.)
Sadly we learned of the death of ALEXANDER THOMAS HARMSWORTH aged 91 years at his home at Send on 19th March.
Mr A.T. Harmsworth was the second son of Alec Harmsworth owner of the Basingstoke canal from 1922 until he died in 1947.
"Young Alec" as he was known was responsible for the lighterage, lorries and the wharfage side of the family's haulage business. Mr A.T. Harmsworth was born aboard the family's houseboat at Ash Vale. He was the last person to work a boat through Grey well Tunnel. One of his brothers, Mr W.H. Harmsworth, still lives by the canal at Ash Vale — his son Tony Harmsworth works on the canal today as Senior Canal Ranger for Hampshire County Council.
Mr A.T. Harmsworth leaves his wife, May.
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POSTMAN required for the Frimley Green area. Only about 8 Newsletters to deliver. Volunteer please 'phone George or Janet Hedger on Fleet 7465.
BOAT for sale. Weston Avenger 15' 6" 2 Berth GRP cruiser complete with trailer, winch, toilet, cooker, Morse remote controls, navigation lights, windscreen, anchor and 6 HP Evinrude. Storage possible. £750. 'Phone Janet Greenfield on Yateley 873167.
THE SOCIETY has been offered an R-Registration Honda Pick-up FREE. Needless to say the offer has been gratefully received. Thanks for this most generous gift go to Michael Wright of West End, Woking.
MANY THANKS are due to Dick Abbott for his steadfast services in duplicating the Newsletter. Hope you like the new format!
AFTER Stan Knight's article in Newsletter 114 the Thames barge seemed not to fancy disturbing the assorted wraiths by returning whence she came. She resisted many efforts to get her back into the cut, disappointed many onlookers and froze those that stayed to witness the inevitable.
THE POST OFFICE has many critics but a letter addressed to 'The Booking Office, Pemberton Barges Ltd., Onedium, Fleet, Hants." dropped onto Clive Durley's doormat just 12 hours after being posted in Portsmouth!!
JMC reports that "Boatmen complained bitterly that conditions for the use of boats deteriorated during the year" due to weed growth and "It is expected that all of these deficiencies in the waterway will be made good during the coming year".
DURING 1983/1984 HCC's expenditure is estimated at £97,100 (£98,600 1984/85) and income at £3,000! By comparison SCC's figures are £129,300 (£139,500 1984/85) and £13,100.
DID YOU KNOW? Volunteers worked 25,206 hours on the Canal during 1983. Add on the time spent operating the "John Pinkerton" and the total becomes 30,000 hours. Multiplied by, say, £3 per hour and the total value for the year's voluntary work was £93,000!!
UNLUCKY for some "13" includes the Newsletter! As Peter Cooper pointed out No. 113 never appeared. Our apologies for jumping from 112 to 114.
NEWCOMER to Surrey's Canal staff, Tony Beecher. He joins Rangers George Coppin and Les Foster as Senior Canal Ranger. We wish him every success in his new job.
INDIGNANT Dredger team volunteers wish it to be known it wasn't their dragline that damaged the mud barge as was suggested by Stan Knight in his article (issue 114) but a HCC contracted Hymac ...
'NARROW BOAT' a new monthly magazine hits the newsagents counters with the May issue (published 20th April) and will cost 85 pence.
ADVERTISEMENT manager wanted for this Newsletter. Now that it's printed using offset litho we want to take some advertising to cover the extra costs and maybe make a little money too! Kindly apply to the Editorial Office. (P.S. If your company would like to advertise or if you know of someone that might be interested please 'phone Chris de Wet on Aldershot (0252) 850311 evenings so that he may take it further.)
GLAD to see sign 'NO MOTORCYCLES OR HORSES PLEASE. HCC' has appeared to deter both kinds of unwelcome visitors from using the towpath at Chatter Alley.
OUR THANKS AGAIN GO TO THE TOMLIN CHARITABLE TRUST. After a previous donation of £800 the Trust has most generously donated a further £1000 to the Society.
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COPY DATE FOR JULY NEWSLETTER : 15th MAY 1984
Published by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Ltd., a non profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered as a Charity.
Editors: Dieter Jebens, Chris de Wet. Production: Jo Evans.
Collation and Distribution: Janet and George Hedger, Clive Durley and Helpers.
Editorial office: 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU10 3NJ. (Farnham 715230).
Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking. (Chobham 7314).
Vice-Chairman: David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet. (Fleet 7364).
Hon. Treasurer: Peter Fethney, 5 Longdown, Courtmoor, Fleet (Fleet 5524)
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley, Meadow Vale, Guildford Road, Normandy. (Worplesdon 234776)
Membership Secretary: Bob Trott, 24 The Greenwood, Guildford, Surrey GUI 2ND. (Guildford 570082).
Working Party Information: Peter Jones, Aldershot 313076 and Peter Cooper, 01-993 1105
Trip Boat: Ron Hursey, 119 Keith Lucas Road, Farnborough (Farnborough 519619)
Sales Manager: Aubrey Slaughter, 37 Fir Tree Way, Fleet (Fleet 23102)
Talks Organiser: Pauline Hadlow, Beaulah, Parkstone Drive, Camberley (Camberley 28367)
Exhibitions Manager: Phil Pratt, 26 Fleetwood Court, Madeira Road, West Byfleet (West Byfleet 40281)
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