No. 123September 1985
Inside front cover --
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE GREEN BELT?
The seriousness of the Government's pressure on local authorities to increase building developments on open spaces and green fields, so precious in the already overcrowded region we live in, has been highlighted in the local and national media and by 34 protesting Tory MP's, among them our vice-presidents Julian Critchley (Aldershot) and Michael Grylls (North West Surrey). As Paul Johnson put it, writing in the Daily Mail, "All over Southern England, the earth-movers and bulldozers are at work, transforming green fields into housing estates and factories. To Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet colleagues the thud of pile-drivers and the roar of concrete mixers are the joyful notes of Britain recovering from recession". But as he and other commentators are asking: what of the effects on the existing communities and the consequences on their environment?
While district and county councils recognise the problems and seek to reduce the current growth of housing development because existing communications and public services are inadequate for the increasing population, the Government is demanding increased building. And because re-development may take a little longer and can be somewhat more costly, so rural land becomes increasingly vulnerable — such as canal-side sites at Crookham and Odiham.
What makes the situation even worse is that, having exerted pressure, Margaret Thatcher turns her back on the critics by saying that it is not Government policy to direct where people choose to live or where developers wish to expand. "Market forces must reign", we're told.
Fortunately it is the people, like you and I, who have the final say. Let us hope we have the opportunity to express our view before irrevocable damage is done to the environment and leisure facilities, like the Basingstoke Canal which is so much in demand and for which many people have given up countless hours and, increasingly, a good proportion of their working lifetime to re-establish.
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BOOK NOW FOR A HISTORIC TRIP
They said the Deepcut flight could never be restored: that the expense would be prohibitive. That is why the Society tackled Lock 25, one of the fourteen Deepcut locks, as the first restoration project in Surrey even before the County Council had bought the eastern length of the canal. Because restoration of the flight of locks constituted the major challenge of the entire restoration project. And without its restoration the Society would have failed in its intention to bring the canal back to full navigation.
Today the seemingly impossible task has been successfully completed. All fourteen locks, which raise the canal 94ft, over a distance of two miles, onto the Great Heath, have been extensively re-built (and improved with built-in ladders and footbridges), and fitted with newly constructed lock gates throughout. Thanks to the tenacity of voluntary workers organised by the Canal Society; the opportunity afforded by job creation schemes and the support and backing of the County Council.
To celebrate the completion of this major restoration task, two special inaugural trips will be made on Sunday, 6th October — the first working boat to navigate through the Deepcut flight for over 30 years — aboard the John Pinkerton,
You can join this historic cruise at a cost of £3.50 per person. The first 3-hour trip will start at Lock 28, starting at 10.00am. Parking is available at the Lock Cottage which is down a track off the Deepcut-Brookwood (via Pirbright Camp) military road. The trip ends at Lock 15 (Pirbright Bridge) and transport will be provided back to the Lock Cottage. Passengers booked for the return trip up the flight, starting from Lock 15 at 2.30pm should also park at the Lock Cottage for transport down at 2.00pm.
All seats are bookable but remember the trip boat seats a maximum of 56 passengers, so book at once. It should prove to be the highlight of the Society's year. Phone Ron Hursey, Bookings Manager, Tel: Farnborough 519619.
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FRONT COVER. (Top) 'John Pinkerton leaving Ash Lock for Farnborough Road Wharf during the Society's rally of boats in June. (Bottom) A flotilla of small boats prepares to cross Ash Embankment during the rally. INSIDE PAGE. (Top) Dick Abbott demonstrates a coracle during a canoe handling display at the rally, while (top right) 'Mr Magic' keeps a crowd of youngsters spellbound. (Centre left) Boats of all descriptions enhanced the naturally attractive setting of the River Wey Navigation at Mfllmead, Guildford, for a rally in July. (Centre right) Two of a group of four students
from the Crowthorne area who volunteered to spend two weeks of their summer vacation painting lock gates along the Deepcut flight. (Bottom left) Chris Brazier, membership secretary, introduces Post(man?) Pat to the Society's new book at our Information Centre at the Guildford Water Festival. (Bottom right) Ray and Peter Fethney with the painting presented to them by fellow directors of the trip boat company at this year's AGM.
Photographs by Dieter Jebens and Clive Durley. Processing by Clive Durley and David Robinson.
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WORKING PARTIES and Progress - Peter Cooper
Progress has continued to be good in most areas of restoration on the canal; lock rebuilding, lock gate construction and dredging are all coming along well. It only remains for everyone involved to continue to support this effort as they have done up to now, there is no reason why the target dates that have been quoted, for reopening, should not be met.
The range of available working parties is listed below. You are advised 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) Flight Every weekend
Restoration of this flight of locks has been, and continues to be, almost entirely a volunteer undertaking, and recent progress has been most encouraging.
At Lock 9 the offside chamber wall is approaching completion, while the wing walls, and flank and return walls at Lock 8 are largely done. Demolition continues at Lock 7, including the lower wing walls, flank walls and top cill, and the ladder recess has been cut.
The coordinator of the Society's work on this flight is MIKE FELLOWS, on Wokingham 787428, and for further details you should contact him, or one of the leaders listed below;
|21/22 September||7/8 September||8 September|
|19/20 October||5/6 October||13 October|
|16/17 November||2/3 November||10 November|
|14/15 September||28/29 September|
|12/13 October||26/27 October|
JW - JulesWood - Famborough 515737
PJ - Peter Jones - Aldershot 313076
AG - Alan Grimster - Brookwood 6127
PR - Peter Redway - Woking 21710
KH - Ken Halls - Woking 23981
EC - Edwin Chappell - Ashtead 72631
As before, volunteers who wish to share accommodation with a visiting group are welcome to do so, and should contact MIKE FELLOWS to make arrangements. Dates of visiting groups are 7/8 Sept, 5/6 Oct, 12/13 Oct, 2/3Nov,9/10Nov.
Dredging in Hampshire Every weekend
The steam dredger Perseverance is now at the Hart Embankment, a quarter of a mile beyond Coxmoor Bridge. The present tip site is rapidly filling up, and a new one on the Hart Embankment will soon be brought into use. The dredger crew are glad to see more and more passing boats these days, and apologise for any delays they may occasionally cause some of these boats. The team always welcome new recruits, who should contact ANDY STUMPF on Chesham 785720 or BRIAN BANE on Hook 3627 for further details.
Lock 4 (Woodham)
Second weekend of the month - 7/8 Sept, 12/13 Oct, 9/10 Nov.
The first chamber wall has now been completed at this lock, and the party will be moving on to rebuilding the second wall. Further details from PABLO HAWORTH on Byfleet 42081.
Lock 1 (Woodham)
Third weekend of the month - 14/15 Sept, 19/20 Oct, 16/17 Nov.
The coping stones have now been replaced on the first chamber wall, and only three courses of bricks have still to be laid on the second wall. The footings have been cast for the flank and return walls, and for the bottom recess walls, and rebuilding of these will start soon. Further details from DICK HARPER-WHITE on Weybridge 42074 or ROY DAVENPORT on 01-979-7075
Lock gate building
These parties have finished the bottom gates for Lock 9,
and plan to start on the upper gates shortly. Leaders and
7/8 September, 5/6 October, 2/3 November - FRANK
JONES on Deepcut 835 711 (workshop) or Camberley
22 September, 27 October - ALAN GRIMSTER on
Surrey Towpath Work
Towpath and bankside clearance is an important part of the restoration, and ideally we would like to see such working parties operating regularly in both Surrey and Hampshire. Unfortunately the leaders of the only recent working party of this kind, BERT and BETTY SCAMMELL, now find they cannot continue to lead this party. The Society would like to thank them for their efforts in this department, and there now becomes an urgent need for leaders of bankside working parties; will any volunteers to take on this job please contact any . member of the Society's committee.
If you are available, even only for a few days, to work on the canal during the week, then you should contact • FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home) and he will be glad to put you to work.
The Society's full-time restoration team have now completed the restoration of the Deepcut Flight, arid ahead of schedule, too! Their next immediate task is to perform all the necessary jobs to support the Work Camp; after that they will be addressing completion work on Locks 13 and 14 at Brookwood.
A separate, SCC-sponsored, full-time team of workers is expected to start work on Lock 12 before the end of July.
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When we introduced this new column in the March issue this year, the title was intended to have vigilance connotations as opposed to that of a bystander.
Not that the Society is at all inactive but the current Government pressures to increase housing development and its laissez-faire attitude to developers plans is frightening, not only to our members whose concern is for the environment of the canal, but also local communities as a whole.
The effect of existing proposals at Odfliam, Fleet and Brookwood will radically alter the face of the canal noted for its wooded surroundings, rural charm and peaceful setting. What value the restored waterway if these qualities are being eroded and lost?
We should like to see this column become the Committee's public platform not just the editors' reporting base ...
Brookwood Lye and Hospital Grounds
The public enquiry into the development of Brookwood Lye by Arundel House Securities for industrial use took a new turn with the plans by the South West Thames Regional Health Authority to seD off a large part of the hospital grounds on the opposite side (northern) of the canal for industrial development.
Coupled with both Surrey County Council and Woking Borough now opposing development of the Brookwood Lye, our member Les Harris represented the Society at the Inquiry. He made it clear that we are strongly opposed to any development of either sites.
The Society commented officially earlier this year on development along the canal's environment as part of the Draft Woking Local Plan. Vic Trott, a committee
member and one of our planning application officers in Surrey, reports that the Society has expressed concern at the prospect of any development of the Brookwood Hospital grounds comprising of open, rising land on the north bank of the canal between Brookwood and Hermitage bridges.
Whilst an associated plan for providing a marina was acknowledged, the Society considered that no more than 100 boats should be considered as the maximum capacity in view of the length of the pound in respect of water usage in operating locks 11 and 12.
Velmead Farm Inquiry
The inquiry imo an appeal against Hart District Council's refusal to allow Martin Grant Homes to develop Velmead Farm got under way in July. Both the Society and the trip boat Company reiterated their opposition to the development of rural land close to the canal at Crookham. We are especially concerned that Development approval would open the way for surrounding farmland to be developed into Housing Estates.
At the time of going to press, the inquiry had been adjourned until later in August.
Hatch wood Farm, Odiham
An inquiry into the appeal lodged by Charles Church against planning permission to develop Hatchwood Farm opens in September.
The Society is strongly opposed to housing on this open land which rises away from the canal's south bank.
(For sketch maps of the sites see Newsletter 120, March 1985).
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SURREY LENGTHMAN VOLUNTEER WANTED
Hugh Bird, organiser of the Voluntary lengthsman scheme in Surrey, is looking for a volunteer to keep an eye on Length No. 1 (Wey Navigation junction to Lock No. 3). The present encumbent, David Banton, is expecting to move away and will no longer be able to patrol the length after the end of the year.
So, Hugh would welcome a call from anyone, preferably living in the vicinity, willing to walk the length frequently, looking out for anything untoward. The job would suit a regular walker, such as a dog owner or
someone else going to or from work in the locality. Full details from Hugh Bird, Tel: Guildford 811069.
The lengthsman scheme operates the entire 32 miles of the canal and is recognised by the County Councils as a valuable source of intelligence. The Hampshire length is organised by Fleet member Laz Hawker.
Our thanks to David Banton for looking after 'his patch' and our good wishes to him for a happy future in his new home.
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In the News
FANCY THE LIMELIGHT - Dieter Jebens
A weakness for wine tempted me to join the Society's Speakers Panel, organised by Pauline Hadlow, and give a slide show and talk about the canal to a wine circle at Long Sutton, near Odiham, and again at a gathering of the Brookwood Winemakers. And very good wine they made — from what I can remember.
But even if recollections of the evening are slightly blurred at the edges, I can recall clearly the interest both audiences took in our Society's work and how impressed they were with the restoration work we're doing.
The evening at Brookwood became quite nostalgic as well as convivial, taking place in the Memorial Hall hired by our embryonic Society, and close to Connaught Crescent where the inaugural meeting was held at the house of Jim Woolgar in September 1966.
The evening with the Brookwood Winemakers ended with an appreciative club treasurer presenting the Society with a £10 donation for which we thank their members; some Society book sales; a prospective member or two and lots of goodwill generated.
The Society owes much to all those who give lectures and slide shows about the Canal, and I hope other speakers get as much enjoyment from being tonight's guest' as I did.
Pauline Hadlow would like to hear from anyone who would like to join the panel, especially volunteers available for daytime engagements. Slides are provided and we can help you with the preparation of notes. This is one way in which those wishing to assist, but who are not able to join working parties, can help the Society, and get a lot of satisfaction from the contribution they make.
Ring Pauline Hadlow on Camberley 28367 and she'll tell you more.
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THE CANAL WORLD OUTSIDE
Reporting on a 15-month period ending 31st March 1985 (extended so that future annual reports cover fiscal years from 1 st April), British Waterways Board achieved its operating objective to break even.
Total revenue from all sources was £71,025,000 — including a £49,690,000 Government grant-in-aid.
The total cost of operating and maintaining the 2,000 miles of navigable waterways was £59,273,000.
BWB welcomed the Government's 'continued commitment to the making of grants for the maintaining of the
waterways' and supporting BWB in its aim to overcome most of the current arrears of maintenance in the next ten years.
MSC Community Programme scheme helped 50 waterways projects to progress, employing 1,300 young people and adults. Work for a further 450 people is planned.
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WHAT THE PAPERS SAY . . .
The Society's new book "Basingstoke Canal Restoration" by Dieter Jebens and David Robinson continues to sell well, especially through local bookshops, many of which have re-ordered more than once. Since publication, the Society has sold nearly 2,000 copies but that is only break-even point. So, if you haven't read the book yet or have friends who might like a copy, ask at your local bookseller if you live somewhere near the canal, or order copies from the Society's Sales Manager.
Here's what the reviewers say: "Once again congratulations to you on a wonderful book, it is certainty the finest book of its type we have had since 1946 ..." L.A. Edwards, author of Inland Waterways of Great Britain.
"This exceptionally well produced booklet pieces together the many facets that have been instrumental in bringing the Basingstoke Canal from its slumbers" Dr. Roger Squires, Waterways World.
"This book is a revelation ... the authors have presented the history and restoration of the canal in an exciting and enthralling way". Canal and Riverboat.
"You have to know your subject to begin to tell others, we would recommend everyone to have a copy . ..", Farnham Herald.
"Typical of the delightful snippets of information which the books contains is the explanation for this unusual looking lock . .." Surrey and Hants News.
'The book 'Basingstoke Canal Restoration' provides a simple, factual account, beautifully illustrated with lavish photographs, of the story so far".
June Sparey, Aldershot News.
"Basingstoke Canal Restoration" by Dieter Jebens and David Robinson is published by Fulltone (Graphics) Ltd. for the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society. ISBN 0 900945 044 Size 9%" x 8" 48pps. 100 photographs. Price £2.95 from bookshops or £3.50 including p & p from Aubrey Slaughter, Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society, 37 Fir Tree Way, Fleet, Aldershot, Hants. GU139NB.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
SURREY SOUNDS RADIO ROADSHOW|
(SPECIALISTS IN MOBILE DISCOS)
Catering for private parties of all ages and tastes, with excellent Audio and full lightshow. Co-Presenters Rob James and Martin Hill are sure to please — be it a private party, wedding or just a good knees up.
For full details phone:
MARTIN (0932) 225883
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FUN AND INTEREST FOR ALL
AT GUILDFORD WATER FESTIVAL
More than 10,000 visitors enjoyed a day out at the Guildford Water Festival held at Waverley Mead, Guildford, on the River Wey Navigation in July.
A sunny weekend, stalls and stands offering interest and entertainment, demonstrations on and off the water and an impressive rally of boats, splendidly decorated for the occasion, made the event, organised by the IWA's Guildford and Reading branch, a tremendous success.
One of the aims of the rally was to highlight local restoration projects — the Basingstoke and the Wey & Arun canals.
The Society fielded both our sales stand, run by Martin Bowers and his son David, and an experimental information centre set up by membership secretary, Chris Brazier with the help of Dieter Jebens, exhibitions organiser Phil Pratt and David Robinson. Apart from answering a variety of questions about the canal and restoration progress, the centre helped Jeremy Browne sell £100 worth of Grand Draw tickets; sold 34 copies of 'Basingstoke Canal Restoration' and signed up seven new members.
Some 80 boats attended the rally and the Festival is expected to make a profit in the region of £1,200.
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Editor's note: We would welcome volunteers prepared to set up temporary information centres along the canal at weekends, selling Society booklets, signing up new members and answering questions. More and more people are being attracted to the canal and many of them may be potential members and certainly want to know more about restoration progress and facilities on the canal. If you would like to help, Chris Brazier will gladly tell you how to go about it. Ring him on Aldershot 25460.
INTEREST FOR ALL AGES AT BOAT RALLY
Apart from the threat of bad weather, the Society's second boat rally at Ash Lock on 8th-9th June attracted as much interest as last year's gathering which was salvaged from the postponed civic re-opening of the centre length of the canal.
Featured on the local radio news bulletin on County Sound throughout Saturday morning, and with the advance publicity in the Famham Herald, Surrey Advertiser and Woking News and Mail, the event attracted hundreds of curious visitors, thanks to a free bus service provided by Alder Valley from Aldershot station who brought those without their own transport.
Thirty-eight trail boats took part, coming from as far away as Poole and Worksop. On Saturday morning TVS recorded the sight and sound of John Pinkerton leading a flotilla, including some elegant steam powered launches, across Ash Embankment. The private boats went on to cruise down to Deepcut top-lock for a picnic lunch.
Ash lock, with boats locking up and down, became the centre of attention. In the adjacent Ash Lock Cottage, headquarters of Hampshire's Canal rangers, much work
had been done by the staff to clear the site for exhibitions, and to provide space for performances by Yew Tree Garland dancers, the Fleur de Lys ladies Morris dance team, and members of the Cup Hill Morris Men.
Mr. Magic cast his spell on a large crowd of attentive children of all ages (and a good many parents too). Around the site the Greenfield family organised daytime refreshments, Stuart Browning displayed the work of the Narrow Boat Trust, Martin Bowers sold a range of canal souvenirs on the Society's sales stand alongside the lock and the Kent and East Sussex Canal Restoration Group had a hot line in Uncle Joe's Mint Ball, fresh from Wigan. And demonstrations of artistic talents were given by Dick Harper-White and Nancy Larcombe.
On the water canal ranger Tony Beecher demonstrated the County Council's weed cutter, and members of the Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club gave a very professional display of techniques and showed a variety of craft in action.
When the visitors had gone home, the John Pinkerton settled in the lock chamber to provide beer and other drinks while Chris and Janet Brazier, together with numerous helpers, cooked and served an excellent Bar-B-Que. Folk music was provided by 'The Great Bottom Flashers".
The first rate organisation was once more handled by Vie Trott aided by his wife Shirley. Catering for cultural needs was Phil Pratt with his exhibition of restoration photographs. Many others including Anne Proudfoot, Joan Green, Dorothy Brace well, the Millett family and Peter Coxhead helped run the rally and stalls.
Thanks also to the John Pinkerton crews; Colin Bonsey,Hampshire's Countryside Officer, without whose permission the event could not have been held on this ideal site; canal manager David Gerry and the Canal Rangers who helped prepare the site, especially Senior Ranger, Tony HarmSworth who worked beyond the call of duty to help the organisers and the boaters throughout the three days.
The rally made a profit of £262 with a turnover of £480 on the sales stand and £600 from trips aboard the John Pinkerton.
Dear Mr. Trott and Colleagues,
Just a line to express our appreciation of your splendid efforts to publicise the Basingstoke Canal and to welcome boaters last weekend. The arrangements were very successful and were tremendously appreciated by boaters such as ourselves. Thank you again all very much indeed. Daffy Major sailed to the Deepcut locks on Saturday. The barbeque on Saturday evening was delicious and very satisfying (thanks again to all concerned) — and wonderful value for money! On Sunday Daffy Major successfully navigated all three low bridges; it seemed to us that Wharf and Reading Road were the lowest. We turned round just beyond 'Fox & Hounds'. Yours appreciatively, C. Lunnon, Claverton, Sparken Hill, Worksop, Notts.
P.S. Rather to my surprise, I found the Basingstoke one of the loveliest canals that I've been on - and I've been
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The popular image of a canal restorer is the weekend voluntary worker covered in mud, laying bricks or woodworking. But there are the 'back-room' workers, too, who help progress restoration work and often put in as many if not more hours. Fund raisers, publicists, photographers, bookkeepers, administrators and many others.
Two such members, whose digging is strictly confined to the garden, have contributed as much as anyone to promote the re-opening of the Basingstoke: Peter Fethney and his wife Ray, who live in Fleet.
Born in Yorkshire 61 years ago, the son of a textile designer and engineer, Peter was educated at Huddersfield Grammar School. He went on to prepare for a scientific career at the University of Leeds, graduating with a physics degree. His move south came in 1944 when he joined the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough to work on wind tunnel instrumentation.
It was during a two year spell working for the Rocket Projectiles Establishment near Bicester that Peter met Ray.
The daughter of a Royal Army Veterinary Corps surgeon, Ray spent her teenage years in China where her father was posted. The family returned to England in 1938. With the outbreak of war the following year, Ray had the choice of nursing, farm work or factory employment. In her pragmatic way, Ray says of the choice "I was not strong enough to become a nurse; I was scared of animals and so I opted for Factory work". Unlikely as it may sound, she became an inspector of tanks (yes, the kind with caterpillar tracks), by learning how they are put together from the working drawings.
Happily married for 28 years, Ray still puzzles over how Peter entered her life at a time when eligible bachelors, enhanced by military uniforms abounded. "He was certainly different", Ray concludes, reminding Peter of their first meeting at a dance in Bicester. Approaching Ray, sitting alone at a table, Peter moved on hastily when he caught the less than friendly eye of a burly sergeant returning to the table.
Married in 1947 they settled in Farnborough and Peter re-joined the RAE which he describes as a challenging and fascinating place at the time. He became involved in the subjective effects of sonic bangs during the 1950s and went on to work on the development of Concorde in the early 1970s. An acknowledged authority on aircraft noise, Peter ran the field tests conducted by the RAE's noise division, and has written a number of papers on the subject.
After bringing up their two sons, Anthony and Paul both now married, Ray joined the RAE in 1970 and retired last year.
Peter who retired in 1983 describes his interest in the canal simply as "wishing to see it restored". His introduction to waterways came through his active pursuit as a genealogist. To this end he is currently working on tracing the life and ancestors of the canal's engineer, John Pinkerton. The historical context led him to join the Yorkshire Archaeological Society which naturally led to canals.
Peter and Ray joined the Society in 1973 as a result of a membership form through the door. At that time David Millett lived quite close, and taking a leaf out of the 18th century press gangs, used to scour the neighbourhood for likely recruits. That was how Peter became organiser of the 'Speaker's Panel' and, within a week, Sales Manager. He joined the Committee and is currently in his second term as Treasurer.
Together with a former Treasurer, Peter Youngs, he persuaded the Committee on the merits of the trip boat and led the sub-committee comprising Jeff Holm an, Howard Diamond, David Robinson and John Hulbert, to steer the project towards a successful reality. And Ray gave the project her support by becoming Sales Manager, and often helping in the galley.
His genealogy not forgotten, Peter is tracing his ancestors, many of whom lived in Yorkshire and around Grassington near Skipton where he clearly feels his roots lie.
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DOWN MEMORY LANE . . .
Among the Society's stalwarts, one who rises to the occasion, whenever we need a microphone and amplification equipment, is Rod Smith of North Warnborough. He emerged, once again, at the Ash Lock rally.
In passing Rod gave us a musty file which turned the clock back a good many years - to 3rd February 1973. On a sheet of mud-stained paper headed "14th VOLUNTARY & 1st OFFICIAL WORKING PARTY - ASH EMBANKMENT" are the names of the 29 volunteers who booked in for Rod's working party. Among the members were: Sir John Verney.a Vice President of the Society who came with his son Sebastian and three friends. Also attending were Jill Oakley who later became the Society's Secretary, Robert Mew who turned professional when he joined Hampshire's canal rangers. Other members who appear on the lists are Peter Youngs, the Society's Treasurer at the time, Peter Chadwick, and Peter Canger who still works on the canal, now as a member of the dredger crew, Andrew Cook of Farnborough, Jim Chisholm, Clive Cook, John Peart and Tony Harmsworth, now Hampshire's Senior Canal Ranger.
Rod Smith's working parties were unusual because, when he started them, they were officially authorised by Mrs. Swan, Secretary to the New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd. In common with a few other voluntary working parties who were allowed on the canal. Rod Smith had to give an undertaking that "the working party must not contain any members of the Committee of the Surrey & Hants Canal Society, and the entire project must in no way be associated with that Society either directly or indirectly".
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Welcome to New Members
DRAMATIC INCREASE IN NEW MEMBERS!
Chris Brazier has certainly brought about a dramatic increase in the rate at which we are recruiting new members. The list in this issue contains no fewer than 51 new names (and some old friends too). New applications are currently flowing in at an average of one per day.
The level of Covenants is also rising fast — at least 50 new Covenants are in place. Remember that if your subscription is paid under Covenant for every £1.00 that you pay, the Society is able to make this up to £1.43 by reclaiming tax from the Inland Revenue. (Chris should know since he works for the same!) There is no commitment required from you — please contact Chris for a form (his number is on the back page).
All this having been said there is every reason why we should increase the flow of new members to a flood. Our completion of the restoration by 1988 (remember the "lighthouse" in Newsletter 121) depends on not only the extra money from subscriptions but also the extra talents that we recruit into the Society.
Starting with this Newsletter each issue will contain a Membership Application Form. Please use it and bring us one step closer to that magic day in 1988!
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Mrs Dike-Nolan - Netherlands|
M.R. Millar & family - Camberley
Mr J.M. Thomas - Fleet
Mr & Mrs C. Seymour - Ascot
G. Deavin & family - Yateley
Mr G. Geater - Ottershaw
J.R. Crook - Grayshott
Mr T. Eflman - London SW13
Miss E. Hollis - Woodham
Mr & Mrs J.S.Richbell - Winchester
M. Ledger & family - Lightwater
Mr J.W. Gray & family - Woking
Mr & Mrs O'Callaghan - Ash Vale
Mr and Mrs BP. Cooper - Lightwater
J. Skipsey & family - Farnborough
The Makepeace Family - Fleet
Mr & Mrs P. Neilson - Ash Vale
Mr D. Rowe - Bracknell
Mr & Mrs C. Fuller - Alton
Mr B. Goodburn - Fleet
Mr & Mrs I. Granlund - Basingstoke
Major L.C. Bendall - Fleet
Mr G.A. Porter - New Haw
MrA.C.Hildred - Frensham
Mr T.G. Martin - St. Johns
Mr G. Spencer - Weybridge
P. Jordan & family - New Haw
Mr & Mrs Morley - Woking|
Mr & Mrs T.J. Collins - Woking
Mr G J.Lewis - Weybridge
Mrs M. Rowe & family - Fleet
Mr M J. Mathewson - Bexhill-on Sea
Mr B.C. Clapson - Bracknell
Mr CM. Spencer - Wimbledon
Mr & Mrs Manship - Blackwater
Mr C. Pugh - Guildford
Mr T.W. Blunt - Crowthorne
Mr & Mrs A. McCormack - Brookwood
Mr M. Morris - Fleet
Mr R. Hogg - Twickenham
Miss E. Maclauchlan - Aldershot
Mr R.A. Boys - Godalming
Mr J.G. Sawdy - Godalming
Mr P. Walker - U.S.A.
Mr A.N. Porter - Ash Vale
Mrs Y. Jeffrey - Guildford
Dr J.D.S. Scott - Fleet
Mr M. Shepperd - Lancing
Mr & Mrs D. Stoker - Aldershot
Mr P. Kilby - Odiham
New Life Member
Mr. B. Barthorpe - Sunbury
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RAMBLE - NEXT TIME OUT - Paul Garrett
Nearly 40 people came on my last ramble in March and so, encouraged by such a large turnout, I am prepared to organise another walk.
This one will start at Odiham, meeting in the square (known as 'The Bury') in front of Odiham Church, on Sunday 27th October, starting at 10.45 ajn. (MR 169/ 743508).
The walk will take us over the Downs to Greywell Village and the Mill. Greywell is a very attractive village and has won the county prize for the best kept Hampshire
village more than once.
The lunchtime stop will be at the 'Fox and Goose' at Greywell which is close to the eastern portal of Greywell Tunnel which we shall see along with the remote and less well known western end in Dark Wood.
The route back will be via King John's Castle and across the fields to Odiham. Distance about 7 miles. Any queries, please ring me on Byfleet 41993.1 look forward to seeing regular walkers and new faces. You'll be welcome.
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Towpaths of England by Brian Bearshaw - published by Robert Hale, 193 pps. £8.95.
This new book, by Brian Bearshaw, who is cricket correspondent of the Manchester Evening News, is a personal account of various walks over the years on selected towpaths throughout England. It is not a tow-path guide as such but a 'country' book and appears to have been written in his spare time between visiting various cricket grounds, when he set out to walk the local canals.
The book covers a nationwide selection of canals, from navigable waterways to those undergoing restoration. The Basingstoke Canal has a whole chapter and his description of our canal in summer with its leafy wooded tunnels and flowering rhododendrons, coupled with its peaceful seclusion between Fleet and Greywell, comes over very well.
This book is for the armchair reader to savour during the long winter evenings by the fireside and then to place on the bookshelf. Encounters with local characters are described and his impressions of various places visited is his own commentary on the locality through which the canals pass.
In all twenty six canals and navigations are covered and each chapter has its own selection of attractive line drawings by David Chesworth.
All in all, good reading, and is to be recommended.
'The Basingstoke Canal" — a children's book. 16pps AS size. Price £1.00)
A new children's book was launched on the 16th July at the Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot, by the Society's President, Lord Onslow. The venue for this event has significance, for this little book. 'The Basingstoke Canal", was written and illustrated by children while patients in the hospital, under the guidance and editorship of Anne Pitcher, their bedside tutor. It is dedicated to one of their number Daemian Wiltshire who, judging by his drawings in the book, was an accomplished young artist but who, sadly, died in May.
In his address Lord Onslow pointed out that the book illustrated the way in which the modern generation of children surpassed the old. 'The Book", he said, "was inspired — something very special".
It truly is a delight. It contains a little of history, something of restoration, and a description of the sights, animals, and flowers to be discovered along the waterway. Researched, written and illustrated by the children, it is an example of what can be achieved by the young with the right guidance and a well-defined project.
All proceeds from the book will go towards the
furtherance of another project in the future — please
buy it if you can.
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Date: Saturday November 2nd at 10.30am
Venue: Victoria Hall, Ash
All offers of help and jumble are most welcome. Please contact Bert or Betty Scammell on Aldershot 23215.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Thank you for your letter enclosed with the Society's Newsletter.
This letter is to say that I have cancelled my standing order as a small protest against the Society's intention of opening the section of canal at Greywell and the tunnel — this section is alive with wildlife, including one of the best areas for 'Little Grebe' and one would have thought the boats would have enough canal without encroachment of this small section. Yours
F. H. HAYWARD Rose Villa, Mattingley, Basingstoke RG27 8JZ
Editor's Note: Sorry to lose a member since the Society represents all interests, whose universal aim is to see the Canal restored as a navigation. Incidentally, a number of observers have noted the increasing number of Little Grebes seen on the restored length of Canal between Colt Hill and North Warnborough this year in spite of the boating activity.
I joined the Surrey and Hampshire only a few months ago, mainly to gain a better understanding of, and deeper involvement in our waterways.
This interest is one that I've developed over the years I've spent here, and although publications like the Newsletter do indeed give me a lot of interesting news, I have the frustration of no direct personal experience of the canals (or canal folk). Please can you ask other members, via the Newsletter, if any of them could spare the time to get in touch with me. I am particularly interested in the restoration side of things. Yours faithfully, T. W. BLUNT
6536, Wd. 3, Somerset House, Broadmoor Hospital, Crowthorne, Berks. RG11 7EG.
Your correspondent Mr M.G. Tomlinson is absolutely correct in his assessment of the challenges facing the Society (Issue No 122). This is indeed a critical period for the Society, and all those who strive for Waterway restoration, as the Basingstoke Canal approaches the goal of full restoration.
I am not clear however how Mr Tomlinson's analysis of organisational changes would enable us to meet the challenge more efficiently. Unfortunately, he does not explain why he feels the present structure is inadequate, nor does he explain how the reduced committee proposed would lead to greater efficiency. It is of course true that there is a well known empirical Law of Meetings, which states that the amount of business transacted is inversely proportional to the number of people present. But we must not lose sight of the fact that all the Officers of the Society are volunteers, who give up a large amount of free time to the service of the Society. By reducing the Committee as proposed would throw a substantial additional workload on to the few. Indeed, the perpetual problem for all voluntary societies is to get more people involved in their running, not fewer.
So until Mr Tomlinson or anyone else can give a convincing account of any inadequacy in the present administrative structure of the Society, with concrete proposals for a change with reasons why such change would be an improvement, let the present committee as constituted remain, and all power to them.
Yours faithfully, L. H. PHILLIPS Hendrick Villa, 44 Hendrick Avenue, London SW12 8TL
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The evenings are now getting shorter and the season for talks, film and slide shows is fast approaching, and your full support will be appreciated once again. This winter the Hampshire meetings are at a new venue at the Fleet Cricket Clubroom, Calthorpe Park, Reading Road North, Fleet and will be on the LAST TUESDAY of the month. The Woking meetings will continue to be at the Christ Church Hall, Town Square, Woking (50 yards from the Centre Halls) on the 2nd MONDAY of the month. PLEASE SUPPORT THESE EVENINGS and bring along your friends as well.
WOKING SOCIAL EVENINGS: At the Christ Church Hall, Town Square, Woking (50 yards from the Centre Halls). Coffee and Biscuits available, plus Sales Stand.
Monday 14th October, 8.00pm
Joint meeting with IWA GuUdford and Reading Branch. An illustrated talk by John Morgan, Secretary of Kent & East Sussex Waterways Association. The subject is "Kent & East Sussex Waterways" and includes the Royal Military Canal and the Rivers Rother and Arun. The Society's Grand Draw will be drawn too.
Monday llth November, 8.00pm
A talk on Industrial Archaeology by John Denton.
Monday 9th December, 8.00pm
Speaker to be arranged.
FLEET SOCIAL EVENINGS: At the Fleet Cricket Club-room, Calthorpe Park, off Reading Road North, Fleet. (1st left about 200 yards from the Oatsheaf Traffic Lights on the A323 Fleet-Hartley Wintney road.) Bar available, plus coffee and biscuits.
Tuesday, 24th September, 7.45pm.
NATIONAL PARKS - A slide show from the Ramblers' Association featuring a tour of all ten National Parks with some of the finest scenery of England and Wales. Romantic Dartmoor, rugged peaks of Snowdonia, and the Lake District, beauty in the Derbyshire Peaks and the Yorkshire Dales . .. holiday ideas galore. But problems are shown too. Visitor pressures, intrusion of quarrying, forestry, firing ranges... this talk will set you thinking.
Tuesday, 29th October
Members film and slide evening. Bring along your films or slides of waterways at home and abroad. Holiday trips, cruises, boat rallies, etc. etc. If possible please telephone Fleet 7364 to indicate that you would like to show some slides or films. Last year we were short of material so please volunteer your slides or film to make a varied evening.
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AUTUMN BARN DANCE - SATURDAY, 9th NOVEMBER, CRONDALL VILLAGE
The Autumn Barn Dance this year will be run in conjunction with the Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club and will take place in the Crondall Village Hall (opposite the Church). Tickets will be £230 per head. This year it will take the form of an American Supper (bring as much food as you would like for yourself and it will be pooled for all to share). Please also bring your own drinks and glasses. Tickets will be available from October 1st, from
Rosemary Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet (Fleet 7364) and will be limited, so please apply early. (See enclosed booking form for full details.)
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PRESERVING OLD CANAL WORKING BOATS — Stuart Browning
The Narrow Boat Trust was set up in 1971 as a Registere d Charity, with the aim "to restore and preserve canal narrow boats and barges of all descriptions and exhibit them for the benefit of the Public generally. Where possible to promote the use of such boats in commercial canal carrying".
In 1983 for financial and practical reasons the Narrow Boat Trust Ltd. was incorporated as a Company limited by guarantee with the same aims as the original Trust and registered as a Charity.
At present the Trust owns two all-steel Town Class motor boats built for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company in 1936 and later operated by British Waterways and Willow Wren. Both boats have Petter PD2 engines.
Alton has been and continues to be used for coal retailing and camping. Camping is under contract to Union Canal Carriers of Braunston. The coaling is carried out by members of the Trust. Volunteers for this work are always needed, September through to December. Captains of the narrow boat must be experienced, crew members just hard working!
Nuneaton was built by W.J. Yarwoods of Northwich. Nuneaton was brought to Paps Court Lock a few years ago for restoration to begin. During 1983 the major part of her bottom and footings were replaced. A replacement PD2 engine was acquired and fitted.
Now Nuneaton is at Uxbridge having the engine controls fitted and it is expected that she will move under her own power to the National Rally at Milton Keynes, to return later with a load of Coal — if crews can be found. The Trust will then have two working boats to look after.
Roll on 1988 and the National Rally on the Basingstoke. The Narrow Boat Trust will be there. We have already written to the two councils asking them to note our intentions to apply for a carrier licence!
Anybody interested in learning more about the Trust or being considered for a crew on coaling trips should apply to the Hon. Sec., Miss Wendy Brown of 32 Parvis Road, West Byfleet, Surrey KT14 6HA. Membership is reasonable:
£150 Junior under 18
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BOAT FOR SALE
Island plastics G.R.P. clinker stem dinghy 9'6" l.oa. 4'6" beam plus 2.5hp outboard with spare prop and sheer-pins. Oars and launching trolley all in good condition £150. Peter Lattey, 38a Elms Road, Fleet, Hants. (02514)21295.
* As a result of reading a newspaper report of the Society's AGM, Mr. Roy Willis, a local NACRO manager offered to organise an MSC Community Programme scheme to restore Brookwood Lock 12.
The project, funded by the Manpower Services Commission, sponsored by Surrey County Council and supported by the Society will provide work for ten unemployed adults.
Work was expected to start on 5th August and commencement represents a major breakthrough in a long standing dispute over ownership of the lockside which has become a vehicle park by the adjacent garage owner.
Delivery of Boats
Both Surrey and Hampshire have recently taken
delivery of two working boats built by apprentices at British Shipbuilders Training School at Porchester.
Launched at Reading Road South wharf at the end of July, Hampshire had a 55ft steel hopper barge delivered which is being used by the Society's dredger crew. At the same time Surrey received a 35ft steel work boat designed by Society's dredger manager, Andy Stumpf, a naval architect who works for British Waterways Board. The boat will be painted in red and green which were the colours Alec Harmsworth painted his barges.
Another Barge for Surrey and a similar work punt for Hampshire on order are expected in four months time.
It is hoped that more mud barges may follow, and perhaps the hull for a dredger in the longer term.
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PULLING THE PLUG OUT
Apart from stop planks and let-off weirs to isolate and drain water from selected lengths of a canal, drains, fitted with a plug on the end of a chain, were also built into the bed of canals. Many of these were subsequently filled over and 'lost'. A few years ago a canal lengthsman reported to have found a rusty chain lying in the undergrowth on the bank of a canal. Finding it was secured, but not understanding how or where, he attached it to the back of his Landrover and pulled. Imagine the man's horrified look when the canal's water level started dropping rapidly and the canal emptied!
One such drain — or at least the associated wooden culvert — was found by canal manager David Gerry when constructing a let-off weir at North Warnborough. Two others, which have not been found, are believed to be in the vicinity of Eelmore Flash and at Great Bottom Flash.
One such 'plug' was found recently during the partial excavation of Brickworks Arm at Up Nateley whilst NB Seagull was being uncovered. The discovery proved to be extremely useful as a means of draining the arm as opposed to being laboriously pumped out.
The water was drained into a culvert which carries a stream under the arm.
[Drawn: David Meller)
LEISURE LEARNING WEEKEND
The Basingstoke Canal featured in the itinerary for the participants on a Leisure Learning Weekend organised by Embassy Hotels at the Hogs Back Hotel at the end of June.
On the Friday evening a slide show on the Wey and Arun Canal was given followed by a visit to the canal on the Saturday. On the Saturday evening, Robin Higgs, our chairman gave a talk on the Basingstoke Canal, followed by a presentation of our new audio-visual production by Arthur Dungate. On the Sunday the party visited our steam dredger Perseverance, Andy Stumpf having to make an early arrival to get steam up and be fully operational by 9.30am. Later the group visited the lockgate workshops and were given a guided tour by Kyle Bullus followed by a visit in the afternoon to the St. John's flight of locks.
A collection on the Saturday evening raised £60 which was donated to our restoration funds.
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SIGHTSEEING FLIGHTS - BASINGSTOKE CANAL, WEY & THAMES
Another opportunity to see local waterways from the air. Following last year's successful flights IWA Guildford & Reading Branch will be arranging another series of trips from Fairoaks Airport near Chobham, using a five-passenger Partenavia aircraft, which has a high wing and is ideal for sightseeing.
A choice of flights is again offered: Basingstoke Canal from Woodham Junction to Greywell tunnel then across country to Godalming and return to Fairoaks via the Wey Navigation, or River Thames to the Thames Barrier and return, passing over central London en route.
The flights, of 30 to 40 minutes duration, will be on Sunday 20 October, and are expected to cost between £25 and £30 per person, including VAT. All SHCS members and their friends are welcome; to book, or for further details, please send SAE to IWA Flights, Silcroft, Mill Lane, Yateley, Camberley, Surrey GU17 7TE.
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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Tuesday 24th September
Illustrated talk on our National Parks presented by the Ramblers' Association. Fleet Cricket Club, Calthorpe Park, Reading Road North, Fleet, 7.45pm.
Sunday 6th October
John Pinkerton trip down Deepcut — see elsewhere for full details.
Monday 14th October
Illustrated talk on "Kent & East Sussex Waterways" by John Morgan. Draw of SHCS 1985 Grand Draw. Christ Church Hall, Woking, 8.00pm
Tuesday 29th October
Members' slide and film evening. Fleet Cricket Club, Calthorpe Park, Reading Road North, Fleet, 7.45pm
Saturday 2nd November
Jumble Sale at Victoria Hall, Ash at 10.30am.
Saturday 9th November
Autumn Barn Dance, Crondall Village Hall, 7.30pm
Monday llth November
Talk on "Industrial Archaeology" by John Denton. Christ Church Hall, Woking, 8.00pm
Monday 9th December
Speaker being arranged for Christ Church Hall, Woking, 8.00pm.
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SOCIETY TREASURER WANTED
The Society is seeking a volunteer to take over the important post of Treasurer. The job would suit a retired accountant or bookkeeper. The Treasurer's responsibilities cover:
* Keeping the Society's accounts
* To present a monthly balance sheet to the executive committee
* To handle the Society's insurances
* To deal with wages, tax and national insurance for the Society's four full-time employees
* Administer Deeds of Covenant
* Presentation of accounts to audit and preparation of
For further details contact Peter Fethney, Treasurer, on Fleet 5524 or Secretary, Philip Riley (see back page).
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If you have an interest in the canal's history and have loft space spare, why not apply for this voluntary job?
The job entails little work for someone keen to delve into the Basingstoke Canal's past and wishing to build up the Society's archives, there is plenty of scope.
The only qualification needed is a natural ability to keep things safe and tidy and able to maintain an already well organised index.
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SOCIETY STRONGLY OPPOSED TO GREYWELL TUNNEL BARRIER
In a letter to the Nature Conservancy Council, the Society's chairman, Robin Higgs, has expressed strong opposition to the Council's proposed barrier, immediately inside the eastern portal of the 1,200 yard long Greywell Tunnel, to prevent navigation.
The NCC claims that the tunnel is a premier habitat for at least five species of bats, and have had the tunnel designated a site of special scientific interest (SSSI). Backed by Government legislation, SSSI's cannot be disturbed or, in cases such as the tunnel, be used for the purpose intended.
In writing to the Council, Robin Higgs has pointed out that the Society regards Greywell Tunnel as an important industrial archaeological feature which should be repaired and preserved. It is stated that although the Society is not contemplating an immediate move to restore the tunnel, blocked by a roof fall in the 1930s, an engineering feasibility study is currently being undertaken.
The letter gives the following reasons for opposing a permanent barrier across the tunnel mouth:
* an existing statutory right of navigation under the 1777 Act of Parliament which authorised the Basingstoke Canal
* a common law right of navigation
* access is required for regular inspection of the tunnel, maintenance and clearance of the spring heads which provide the canal with water. The Society points out the danger of further roof falls if maintenance work is not carried out in the foreseeable future, threatening the water supply. Wild life, including bats, could also suffer, not only inside the tunnel, but also in the cutting leading up to the eastern portal without an adequate water supply.
The letter makes it clear that the Society does not intend to frustrate the important work of the NCC ... to protect the nation's dwindling fauna and flora.
But the Society urges the Council to make more widespread enquiries and have consultations to consider the full implications of applying an SSSI to the tunnel.
The Society does not believe that the possible alternatives have been considered, such as building an alternative habitat or introducing a 'time-zone' during which the tunnel would not be navigated.
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BIGGEST EVER WORK CAMP
Up to 100 volunteers booked in for the annual work camp on the canal, based at St. John's organised jointly by the Society and the Kent and East Sussex Canal Restoration Group, with the support of SCC; the camp is being described as the 'largest work camp ever held on the waterways'.
Up to 50 volunteers, coming from as far afield as Humberside, Manchester, Norfolk and even as far away as France, were expected to be working every day. Although centred on lock restoration and piling work at St. Johns, volunteers were also expected to be building lock gates at Deepcut.
Accommodation was being provided at the local Winston Churchill School and a full programme of recreation activities were planned.
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FORMER CANAL OWNER DIES
Mr. Sydney Edward Cooke, Managing Director of the New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd. which took the waterway over in 1950 (see Newsletter No. 121) died on Thursday 11 July aged 78.
Little is known about Mr. Cooke's life: he is popularly described as an engineer and inventor of a patented fishing reel. It is believed that he worked in the aircraft industry, particularly for Napier and Fairey, and that he was involved in the development of the Rotodyne.
Even as owner of the canal Mr. Cooke was an enigma and reticent, preferring to make pronouncements about the canal through his Solicitor, Mr. Harry D. Swales of Manchester Square, London W.I.
The passing of Mr. Cooke marks the end of an era in the history of the Basingstoke Canal. His determination to pour scorn on the Society's proposed restoration of the waterway, set out in our book "Basingstoke Canal: the Case for Restoration" edited by Dieter Jebens and published in 1968, fuelled the founding members' resolve to activate the County Councils and bring about public ownership.
Apart from a few meetings Mr. Cooke conducted with Society officials, all correspondence and public utterances, during the campaign period, were made through his London solicitor. Domestic matters were dealt with by the Canal Company's secretary, Mrs. Swann, from an office at Edgware.
The New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd. still owns approximately IVi miles of the canal from the western end of Greywell Tunnel to Penney Bridge, and other parcels of land, such as Reading Road Wharf at Fleet.
There has been no official contact between the Canal Company and the Society since public acquisition, although Robin Higgs did call on Mr. Cooke at his Ellisfield home a few years ago in the hope a reconciliation might be made. After all, Mr. Cooke stated in 1950, that he was buying the canal with the intention of retaining it as a navigation at a time when the future use of the waterway was a matter of conjecture. All credit to him for that.
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THE NEXT MEETING ON PLATFORM TWO ...
Meeting Les Harris, one of the Society's founder members, at the Ash Lock Rally, reminded us of his association with the canal even before the Society was formed. Les was an 'honorary bailiff in the 1950s when Mrs Joan Marshall was responsible for running the canal as General Manager for the New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd.
Mrs. Marshall devised an original solution to the problem of where to hold committee meetings, both in the terms of location and travelling. The answer lay in that time-honoured rival and arch-enemy: the railway.
Living at Winchfield, Mrs. Marshall would organise committee meetings in station waiting rooms along the line — often at Brookwood or Woking. She would arrive on the up-train from Winchfield while the members of the water bailiff scheme travelle d down the line. Meetings would be timed precisely, with heat and light laid on. Although generally devoid of passengers during the evening hours, Les recalls that the odd straggler, waiting for a connection, would often listen attentively and even give the meeting the benefit of his advice!
Presumably, when meetings were held at Woking Station, members enjoyed the added benefit of refreshments laid on at the buffet bar!
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'S.O.S." - SAVE OUR SWANS
At a time when extensive publicity has been given to the plight of that most elegant of birds, the Mute Swan, and when the government is considering legislation to control the biggest threat to their welfare, it seems appropriate to support the campaign to save the bird through this Newsletter.
Of the bird itself a few details are of interest. Its length is typically 4-5 feet, the wing span can reach 7 feet and the Mute Swan can fly at speeds up to 55 mph although an average speed of 30 mph is typical. The cob (male) weighs 2644 pounds and the pen (female) slightly less. The life span can be as long as 15 years but the average is 6-7 years.
The swan's long neck is used to feed beneath the water on plants and pondweed. To aid digestion the swan swallows grit — say an egg cup full per day.
The population of the Mute Swan on the Thames is rapidly declining. In 1956 the count at the Swan Upping was 1,311. In 1983 this figure had reduced to less than 200 — an 80% decrease. Without due care there may be none at all to count in future years.
It has been proven that the biggest single cause of mortality is lead poisoning and the remaining swans on the Thames all have a high lead content in their bodies. The problem arises from the swans mistaking spilt lead shot for the grit that they require for digestion. Unfortunately, unlike grit, lead shot lodges in the swan's gizzard and it takes but 7 pieces of shot to kill the bird.
There are several ways in which you can help in saving our swans.
First and foremost of these is to discourage the use of lead shot for angling — there are alternatives available which though different in character can be substituted to good effect.
Secondly watch out for signs of an ailing swan. The following indications appear when lead poisoning has occurred:
Eyes — narrow and sleepy looking rather than bright and alert.
Neck — feathers appear fluffy rather than sleek.
Neck — marked kink beginning at base of neck rather than usual graceful curve or held straight. As condition worsens neck rests on back.
Wings — begin to droop down the sides of the body rather than being held up close to the body.
Tail — begins to curve upwards rather than pointing out straight behind.
Feeding — eventually stops and drinks incessantly. Becomes isolated from other swans and may gape continuously. Constant head shaking and weak walk on land.
Techniques have been developed for the treatment of lead poisoning and details of an ailing swan can be given by 'phoning Windsor (07535) 51750 (answer'phone at times).
Thirdly your direct assistance will be welcomed by Save Our Swans. Contact them on the same number.
Finally, to quote from Save Our Swans:
"The Mute Swan cannot speak for itself but its grace and beauty are part of our heritage and with your help it can remain so".
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FUND RAISING NEWS
Annual Draw: You should all have received 3 books, each of 5 tickets, with the last Newsletter. Please send your stubs and cheques as soon as possible to Gwynneth Browne, 102A Aldershot Road, Fleet, Hants. And if you can sell extra books, Gwynneth will be delighted - it would be nice if we had to print more tickets this year.
200 Club: June winners were:
Mr.P.Redway, £41. Mr.SJ.Clarke,£20. Mr.P.Fethney, £ll. Mr.A.H. Emden, £ll.
Sponsored Walk: Please keep the money rolling in to Bert Savill, 3 Rushmoor Close, Fleet, Hants. Prompt payments mean that the Society can get the benefit of the interest on the deposit account. They also save him chasing you up!
Special thanks to Aldershot Manor School, who have raised £400 for restoration work from the 1985 walk (£300 in 1984) - a marvellous effort.
And to Mr and Mrs Sharpe of the Ealing National Trust Association, who raised £155 for the Trust and the same for the SHCS.
And Mr. J. J. Michaelis and S.M. Benjamin - £135 for us and the same for Woking District Scouts.
Four girls from NB Timbers, Weybridge, who raised over £129 between them.
Miss J.B. Cosemore who collected £100 from the staff of Nithans, Old Woking.
Mr A.G. Morgan who made a donation equal to the amount he raised in 1984.
The suggestion in the last Newsletter that we should think whether we should have a sponsored walk in 1986 brought at least one pleading for a non-sponsored fund-raising event next year. But £5,000 is a lot of money, and we simply cannot afford to give this up even for one year.
Any ideas would be welcome (and volunteers to help with fundraising of any description). Please contact Derek Truman, 91 Tavistock Road, Fleet, Hants. (Fleet 3435)
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THOUGHTS ON A SPONSORED WALK -Andrew Scammell
On Sunday May 19th I drove to Ash Vale station; then having put on my walking boots I began my sponsored towpath walk.
My parents were marshals at Ash Vale and I left at 9.35 am, the weather being cloudy and drizzly but good for walking.
I saw plenty of moorhens and their chicks and at Mytchett Lake there were grebe, swans, mallards and coots, really nice to see them making a home on the canal.
On past Potters restaurant to the 2nd Marshal point, then passing Frimley Aqueduct I was sad to see six big metal drums about 4' long floating in the water, between the Aqueduct and Deepcut Bridge, it was quite an eyesore for me, I hope they were soon removed.
Walking further along I came to a sign which said "Towpath closed" I said to myself "Blimey, who put that b—- daft notice up" but I carried on and ignored it!!
Along the towpath of the Deepcut flight I saw Mike Fellows driving a dumper truck and some other drivers, working to raise the level of the towpath.
At Lock 23 I saw water leaking at the wing wall and another leak at Lock 20; I hope it is not serious.
After the 3rd Marshal point at Pirbright Bridge I saw another eyesore, this time a Volkswagen "Beetle" sunk in the middle of the canal, quite funny really.
At the 4th marshal point the towpath was almost blocked by a lot of cars belonging to Connaught Garage then on to St. John's Flight where I used to work on Lock 11 with Peter Redway and Ken Hall's group; now I
help on Lock 8. There were voluntary working parties on Lock 9,8 & 7 as I passed on my way. At the next marshal point, passing the houseboats and at last reaching Brewery Road Marshal point at Woking — there I met my good friend, Mr. Ted Hammond, who works with my parents clearing the towpaths and banks, a regular worker in all weathers. Still heading towards the River Wey, past Monument Bridge and Lock 3, more friends to sign my sponsor forms, Phil and Joyce Pratt, then to my halfway marshal point the Wey-Basingstoke Canal junction but another snag, the marshal point is on the other side of the River Wey!! Someone rowed across to fetch me and signed my form on the boat so I never set foot on River Wey towpath.
Now I had to retrace my steps back to my starting points, stopping at Pirbright Bridge I saw my parents who were checking on my progress, my feet were getting hotter and hotter!
Dad told me that Chris Brazier had put money on me but said if I didn't make it I owed him double the money instead! I was determined I wouldn't give it back to him; that I would complete the job.
4 miles to go, I am now alone on the towpath and it is 5.15pm. My mum met me at Deepcut Bridge and walked along with me to give me company and strength. At last Ash Vale station is in sight and there were Stan Meller and his wife and Chris de Wet — quite a reception from them and congratulations. It was just 5.55pm.
Well, that is what a sponsored walk is all about!
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ADVANCE NOTICE - FUND RAISING
Spring 1986 will see a fund raising event to be held in Camberley town centre. As a part of this venture the Society will be running a stall on which will be sold plants, books, bric-a-brac etc.
Please help make this event a success by growing plants for the stall — take your cuttings now! Save your unwanted bric-a-brac and books or make something to sell.
For further information on the event contact Pauline Hadlow on Camberley 28367.
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FOLLOWING request in Navvies during 1984 for baulks of timber a large supply has been donated by Mr. Pledger of Selsey. The wood proved to be Jarrah, a very hard timber from Australia, and had been intended for sea defence work at Selsey Bill. Some 110 cubic feet of timber comprised the first load and a second load has since been obtained.
EIGHT new members (including a Life Member) were recruited at the Ash Lock Rally in June. Looking at the impressive list of new members elsewhere in this issue our new Membership Secretary has been mighty busy! £600 in subs received during June. Have you helped by recruiting a new member yet!
NEW set of safety notes for volunteers has been prepared by Mike Fellows covering all the various do's and don'ts. Especially interesting reading are the notes about dumper safety.
IWA Trail Boat Rally is on offer for 1987. SHCS has put in a bid for it to be held on the Basingstoke.
LAUNCH of new mud boat and work boat at Odiham during July did not proceed to plan. The heavy rains made it impossible to position the crane on the soft ground by the canal to lift in the boats. Contingency plans had to be made fast and permission sought to move the abnormal load to Reading Road South Wharf in the hope of firmer ground. All went well and the boats are now in service — the mud boat serving the dredger and the work boat being used for general work at Frimley.
TALKING of the dredger Perserverance it now boasts a new grab. Delivered by water of course! (The last part of the journey at any rate.)
WASTE paper. Wanted a volunteer to coordinate fund raising in this area. Contact our Secretary Phil Riley please.
SOCIETY has won contract to build a landing stage and associated facilities at "The Swan" public house at Ash Vale. Should be both profitable to the Society and provide a much needed facility on the canal.
DONATION has been made by the Society to the Derwent Trust in Yorkshire. The Trust is fighting an action by local landowners, anglers and associated bodies to remove the right of public navigation on the River Derwent. It is crucial that this test case is not lost — if it is the future restoration prospects of derelict or semi-derelict navigations will be severely prejudiced. If you can spare a few bob to help (or better still a few quid!) send your donation to Yorkshire Derwent Trust, 25 Cloverley Drive, Altrincham, Cheshire.
PROFIT of £120 made on ex-MSC van sold by the Society.
DON'T forget the trip by the John Pinkerton down Deepcut on Sunday 6th October — further details elsewhere.
POSSIBLE that the farm-house opposite the Barley Mow Wharf at Winchfield will be converted to a restaurant and as a future boat hire base.
WORK on a new land slip at Broad Oak may soon be necessary. The movement is apparently quite rapid but hopefully can be rectified without closing the canal.
REPORTED that the Chairman of Hart District Council is funding a boat for the disabled as her charity for the year.
THANKS to RADIO RENTALS of Woking for the loan of a VTR and TV to show audio visual presentation at St. John's work camp site.
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COPY DATE FOR NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER: 15thSEPTEMBER 1985
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: Chris Brazier, Heathlands, Hutton Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants GU12 5EJ.(Aldershot 25460).
Working Party Organiser: Mike Fellows, 30 Reynards Close, Winnersh, Wokingham, Berks. (Wokingham 787428).
Dredger Manager: Andy Stumpf, 37 Higham Road, Chesham, Bucks. (0494 785720). 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, Aldershot, Hants. GU13 9NB. (Fleet 23102).
Mobile Safes Stand: Martin Bowers, 162 West Heath Road, Cove. (Farnborough 513095).
Talks Organiser: Pauline Hadlow, Beaulah, Parkstone Drive, Camberley. (Camberley 28367).
Exhibitions Manager: Phil Pratt, Flat 5 Fleetwood Court, Madeira Road, West Byfleet. (Byfleet 40281).
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