Inside front cover --
Comment - BUSINESS AS USUAL
In planning our Newsletter schedule, this issue was earmarked as our 20th anniversary edition. Full of congratulatory messages from waterways luminaries, fireside reflections on the 'early days' and other material of a self indulgent nature to mark the occasion.
But after the initial flush of enthusiasm, the time consuming effort of rounding up reluctant contributors, plus time off for holidays, curtailed the idea of wallowing in the limelight of relative success. Not only because we are so near to a better earned and altogether more worthy year to celebrate (1988 and all that), but also because there is still a great deal of work to be done. Somehow, in spite of reaching a milestone in the Society's existence, this did not seem an appropriate time to look back.
Nevertheless for the historians, or just the mildly curious, we have included an account of how and why the Society was formed.
In this issue we are also featuring another proposed riparian development which will affect the Canal's environment: the grounds of Brookwood Hospital. This land between Hermitage and Brookwood bridges, is so important for two reasons. Firstly, it is rising ground commanding a dominant view over the canal. Secondly, the undeveloped land is currently a valuable rural 'buffer' zone between the urbanised canal through Woking and the residential waterside at Brookwood.
It is vital that these factors are considered in the future planning of the area.
Canal Societies and Waterway Organisations are essentially formed to protect and improve inland navigations. Naturally enough, the main focus of attention is on work achieved, if not always those who do it. But the success of every such group is to a large extent dependent upon the contribution of the administrators, promoters, fund raisers and back room helpers.
Two members representative of many more who help to run the Society, in a variety of ways, are George and Janet Hedger who feature in our 'Pen Portrait'.
Finally, whilst it's business as usual, we hope to see as many old and new members as possible at our Celebration Night on Saturday, 18th October. There will be music for dancing or just listening, an appetising buffet supper and a chance to get together.
Please help to make the Society's special occasion of the year an outstanding success by joining in — and bring your friends too. It will be an enjoyable and, we hope, memorable evening out. So book the date now and send off for your tickets right away.
Remember, Saturday, 18th October, Bisley Village Hall. Come and celebrate the Society's 20th Anniversary.
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KEEPING ACTIVE IN RETIREMENT
Voluntary work on the canal need not be restricted to weekend working parties.
Two Society members, retired from the daily grind, have found a great deal of satisfaction from spending two days a week at the Deepcut Workshop constructing lock gates.
Eddie Pohorely from Ash Vale, formerly a Computer Systems Analyst, and Ken Nevett, a retired Purchasing and Contracts Manager living at Woking, did not know each other before volunteering to work at Deepcut. But both men had a common aim in seeking a complete change of job and scene to fill part of their new found leisure time.
Their other interest is carpentry, although not previously on as large a scale as building lock gate frames, which has proved one of the special attractions of the job.
Ken and Eddie did not hesitate in describing the work as giving 'wonderful satisfaction' and 'most satisfying job I've ever been involved in'. At the same time they find the peace and quiet of the Deepcut woodlands a relaxing atmosphere in which to spend their time actively.
Under the guidance of Frank Jones, they have already built a pair of top gates and are looking forward to tackling a larger set of bottom gates.
Anyone looking for active voluntary work (not limited to carpentry) during weekdays should contact Frank Jones on Deepcut 835711.
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FRONT COVER (Top) Some of this year's Work Camp volunteers who helped support Target 88' with a tremendous input at Lock 7, and at Locks 2,3 and 4 at West Byfleet. (Bottom left) Baptism by mud . . . Julia Norrish, one of the volunteers, emerges from a dip in the black stuff. (Bottom right) Ken Parish and Mike Fellows, organisers of the Camp which took a year's planning (full report and photographs in the next Newsletter).
INSIDE PAGE (Top left) Eddie Pohorely and Ken Nevett, two retired Society members who have found new voluntary jobs and a great deal of satisfaction constructing lock gates at Deepcut (see story above). (Top right) Some of the 12 naval ratings from training establishment HMS 'Dryad' at Gosport who spent five days during June clearing and preparing Woodend Bridge, St John's, for restoration. (Centre left) The boundary of Brookwood Hospital grounds on the banks of the canal ... another tree-lined waterside length destined for development? (See report inside). (Centre right) The newly constructed steps and towpath under Brookwood Bridge with (left to right) Dave Wedd, recently recruited full-time Society employee, and Jim Reid and Martin Smith who built the canalside improvements (see inside). (Bottom left) Janet and George Hedger aboard the John Pinkerton (see Pen Portrait). (Bottom right) Hart Council Chairman, Mrs Mildred Stocks (centre), whose charity appeal raised £7,000 to build an electrically motorised pontoon for the disabled, at the naming ceremony performed by Lady Darcy de Knayth (right) at Colt Hill in August (Report in next issue).
(Photographs by Clive Durley and Dieter Jebens. Processing and prints Clive Durley). The editors wish to thank Eileen Meller for assisting with the production of this issue.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
13th July 1986 Dear Sir,
In response to your request for comment on the use of flails for hedge trimming I offer the following views.
When I bought my property 2 years ago the towpath hedge consisted of holly and hawthorn (you call it May!) The hedge plants were being strangled by the invasion of rhododendrons (a late 19th century immigrant!). The removal of these rhododendrons has left gaps in the hedge, which I am filling with holly saplings.
I would be most upset if my hedge were to be mutilated by the terrible flails. No doubt other canal side residents in Surrey would react to the use of flails? Yours sincerely, David Wilson,
'Noctorum', Horseshoe Lane, Ash Vale, Hampshire GU12 5 LJ P.S. Address is Hampshire — located in Surrey.
THE CANAL THROUGH WOKING
I am shocked, angry and dismayed at the destruction of the old swing bridge — such a nice historic name Step Bridge (Hangdog Bridge).
Of what historic interest is there along the canal besides the locks? Everything else is modern and boring. Hereabouts could have been the comparison between old and new. Now only the new concrete — already in question for people in wheelchairs and for prams which now have long steps to encounter.
Not open yet to the public and the new bridge still under construction, the quick demolition smells of council vandalism.
Without a bit of history to view the canal could become just a boring passageway to connect the Hampshire section to the River Wey. K. Blake
Upper Flat, 12 Lilford Road, London SE5 9HX P.S. The Basingstoke Canal guide is now slightly out of date!
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MORE THOUGHTS ABOUT THE TUNNEL
19th July 1986 Dear Dieter,
Here is a short note about a few canal matters.
I want to let the John Pinkerton team know that the trip that we joined on the evening of 24th June was enjoyed very much. My party consisted of my parents, Mr and Mrs P. Mew (Dad is main newsletter distributor in Farnborough) and my aunt who was up from the Isle of Wight for a holiday, and our dog. The boat travelled the Colt Hill to Barley Mow route taking about 2-1/2 hours. On the way we saw roe deer in Fisk's Fields beyond the Thatch Cottage, whose new occupants turned out to wave us by. On the return run through Lousy Moor the numerous bats flying ahead of us were a sight to see and fascinating for Paddy, our Norfolk Terrier. We arrived back at Colt Hill in the dark, past ten but well satisfied.
Referring to the item on lock 14 in the last newsletter, I have something to add to the official history. Both Frank Jones and Martin Smith may also remember that the boys on the MSC/YOP in 1980/81 were the ones to remove the capping stones on the offside wall and take the wall down to about 4 feet from the bottom. I was a YOP supervisor then, filling in between proper jobs, and Frank sent us out to do it.
Lastly, I expect that by now you have already heard about the two letters in the local 'News' this week, Friday 18th July. One is headed "Arrogance of canal set", by Chris Hall. The other is unheaded, by Mrs S. Lewis. They need a solid answer. The canal society should clearly state that it supports the designation of Butter Wood as a SSSI provided this does not prejudice access to the canal or the canal tunnel. Uninformed as I am, I feel that for bats living in the tunnel the surrounding woodland may be an equally good habitat, particularly if it contains large old hollow trees. From the nature conservationist's point of view, the woodland, the tunnel and the derelict canal are complimentary features, all part of the local ecosystem. If there are bats in the tunnel, then that is an accident of history, since bats must have lived in and around that area long before the tunnel was disused, but now the tunnel is a useful haven for them. Obviously much more needs to be known, and published, about their needs. It may be that the canal society could argue that the woodland is actually their main habitat and the tunnel a subsidiary one. Our
experience on that boat trip showed that they were feeding on insects flying low above the water, in the clearing between the trees provided by the canal, a clear space that would have been much less but for restoration.
In general, the source of the conflict between nature conservation and recreation is the differing ethical base of their proponents. Nature conservationists argue for a proper respect for all forms of life based on its relative value to complete ecosystems. In this view, homo sapiens is just one form of life amongst many, and is emotionally viewed as a particularly pernicious weed, whose spread must be checked and restricted. Recreation in the countryside recognises the importance of treating species as part of an interdependent system but says, essentially, that our loyalty to our own species comes before our respect for other forms of life. This is a view directly descended from that held by the philosophers and pioneers of the late 18th century enlightenment who built the first canals, that the world is there for us to wisely use, not to hold back in awe and wonder at its theoretical magnificence.
So in pressing their case the Society should say this:
1. Emphasise that it supports, in general, moves to preserve natural habitats in town and country.
2. That public access (especially in the form of clean, quiet pleasure boats whose crews don't get off) does not have to harm a wildlife habitat provided it is properly managed (electric tugs?).
3. That the restoration of the tunnel is not development for the sake of it, but an integral and final part of the canal restoration, needed for its historic integrity, its value as a water supply and its wild life interest.
4. The presence (or absence) of bats is not an insuperable objection (despite parliamentary statute) whilst a complimentary habitat exists close by.
5. Restoration of the canal beyond the tunnel will possibly increase the feeding area available for bats. At this stage in my letter, I apologise - I haven't written to the paper myself because I am out of touch with the details of the situation, and these days am only a visitor to the area. I suppose Chris Hall's sarcasm got me riled, and I had to write to someone. Mr Hall's comments on the Fleet bypass present him as a fair, logical, balanced fellow — can this be true?
I do want the Society to win this case, which is one of the most sensitive around. The Society is being seen as a single issue, single cause caucus. It should present itself with competence and thorough knowledge of the situation, promoting higher values - the quality of life of an urban population. Yours faithfully, Robert Mew
33 Hanover Gardens, Farnborough, Hants. GU14 9DU
P.S. When quoting botanical names, it's worth checking them out - it's Alnus Glutinosafor alder. We don't want the mud to stick (reference in July newsletter).
Editor's note: the incorrect botanical name for alder that appeared in Newsletter 128 was due to a typographical error.
BISLEY CAMP RAILWAY
23rd June 1986 Dear Mr Jebens
Robin Higgs and Frank Jones will remember that until I retired as Chief Structural Engineer at Surrey County Council, together with Douglas Brown and John Dixon we provided you with civil engineering assistance and advice. I read my wife's copy of your Newsletter to follow progress.
An excellent book on the Bisley Camp Railway has just been published, and as it ran over and close to the canal, Society members may be interested to know about it. The book is:
Peter A. Harding and John M. Clarke
THE BISLEY CAMP BRANCH LINE Published by Peter A. Harding, "Mossgiel", Bagshot Road, Knaphill, Woking, Surrey GU21 2SG.
There are 32 pp. 43 illustrations, maps and diagrams. Yours sincerely John King
3 Richmond Hill Court, Richmond Hill, Richmond, Surrey, TW106BD
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BOOKS FOR SALE
'Basingstoke Canal Restoration', by Dieter Jebens and David Robinson. Special casebound limited edition. 125 copies, individually numbered and signed by the authors to celebrate the Society's 20th year. It chronicles the history of the canal, the campaign for public ownership and restoration, and the voluntary work in saving the 32-mile canal. 48 pages containing 100 high definition photographs and a detailed map of the canal. A collector's item. £8.95 including post and packing.
'A Guide to the Basingstoke Canal', by Dieter Jebens and Roger Cansdale. 16 pages of detailed maps showing the canal from the Wey junction to Basingstoke. Plus topographical notes and photographs, and names and addresses for boat licences, fishing permits, boat hire etc. An essential guide. £1.75 including post and packing.
Cheques payable to S&HCS Ltd with orders to Aubrey Slaughter, Sales Manager, 37 Fir Tree Way, Fleet, Aldershot, Hants., GU13 9NB.
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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Sunday 28th September
"Medway Double Cruise" — another of the famed outings organised by Rosemary and David Millett. Cruise on a narrow boat on the upper River Medway and on the coal burning steam boat Kingsweir Castle on the lower river. See newsletter 128 for full details or 'phone Rosemary Millett on Fleet 617364.
Saturday 4th October
Autumn Fayre at the Civic Hall, Fleet, 10.30am to 12 noon. See elsewhere for more details.
Monday 13th October
"The Restoration of the Upper Avon". An illustrated talk by David Hutchings,Centre Halls, Woking, 8.00pm. (See Social Jottings).
Saturday 18th October
SHCS 20th Anniversary Dinner — see elsewhere for details on how to book for this historical event.
Sunday 26th October
Dredger Open Day and "Autumn Colours Cruise". See Coming Events for details.
Tuesday 28th October
Members film and slide evening. Fleet Cricket Club, off Reading Road North, Fleet, 8.00pm. (See Social Jottings).
Monday 3rd November
"Backpacking from Land's End to John o' Groats". An illustrated talk by David Collins, Christ Church Hall, Woking, 8.00pm.
Monday 8th December
"British Bats". The Surrey Bat Group presents this talk, Christ Church Hall, Woking, 8.00pm.
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DREDGER OPEN DAY -SUNDAY 26th OCTOBER
The Society's steam dredger Perseverance will again host an Open Day on Sunday 26th October. The event, which proved so popular last year, was postponed at the beginning of the year due to an unexpected extremely cold and snowy spell.
The John Pinkerton will again be in attendance providing 2 special "Autumn Colours" cruises. These will be from the Barley Mow pub at Winchfield to a new destination for the John Pinkerton, Chequers Wharf and winding hole.
Departure times for the cruises will be 10.00am and 1.30pm, returning at 1.00pm and 4.30pm respectively. During the hour or so spent at Chequers Wharf not only can the intricate workings of Perseverance be explained (of particular note as the only steam powered dredger of its type still in use), but the Society's sales stand will be in attendance together with various exhibits, teas, cakes etc.
The fare for the cruises is £2.00 for adults and £1.25 for children. Reservations are open to Society members ONLY until Saturday 11th October - please 'phone Tony Karavis on Farnborough 549037 to book.
Parking will of course be available at Chequers Wharf for those who prefer to arrive by car.
Note the date in your diary now and come and join in the fun at the last outdoor event of the year.
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Fund Raising News
No new projects to report but two reminders for all members:
DID YOU TAKE PART IN OUR SPONSORED WALK?
If so, and you haven't yet collected all your sponsorship money, please make a special effort to collect outstanding sums and send the total amount to: Bert Savill, 3 Rushmoor Close, Fleet, Aldershot, Hants, cheques and P.O.'s made payable to Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Ltd.,
HAVE YOU SOLD YOUR DRAW TICKETS YET?
Again, we want to make this year's Grand Draw a record fund raiser. If you haven't yet sold your tickets then please do so now and return the proceeds to: Bob Humberstone, 11 Tichbourne Close, Frimley, Camberley, Surrey.
AUTUMN FAYRE< - SATURDAY OCTOBER 4th at THE CIVIC HALL, FLEET
10.30am - 12 noon
Bric-a-brac, books, betterwear, cakes, handicrafts, toys, garden & house plants etc.
Can you make a contribution to one or our stalls at the Autumn Fayre on Saturday October 4th at The Civic Hall, Fleet? We are starting to collect, bric-a-brac, books, handicrafts, toys, betterwear and plants, so would welcome any items you can donate as soon as possible, and offers of cakes, flans, scones etc for our large cake stall. If you wish items to be collected or if you can help on the day, please phone Rosemary Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet (Fleet 617364) or Janet Hedger, 7 Gorseway, Fleet (Fleet 617465).
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SOCIETY TO RECEIVE D.O.E. GRANT
Early in July, David Millett, Vice Chairman, received the exciting news that the Society has been successful in its application for aid from the Special Grants Programme established by the Department of the Environment. The original grant application was made by our fund raising expert Derek Truman in October 1985.
Over the next three years the Society will receive grants totalling £45,975 which will make a considerable contribution towards achieving our Target 1988 for completion of the canal. The amounts split over the three years are £13,375 for 1986/87, £17,300 for 1987/88 and £15,300 for 1988/89.
The grants are made as a contribution towards the Society's employee and administrative costs. Increasing the Society's full-time team is one area that is now urgently being examined to see if this is the most effective way of ensuring completion on time. Another possible option is to place further contracts for restoration works following the lead set by the top cill replacement at lock 12 recently completed under a Society contract.
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The Society has received the following donations recently:
Surrey Heath B.C. £2500
Dave Wedd £55
Mr Robert May £100
The Transport Trust 300
Lewis Phillips £24.50
Woking B.C. £2500
Runnymede B.C. £560
Rushmoor D.C. £500
The ways in which we receive these donations are many and varied. For instance the contribution of Dave Wedd's results from sponsorship on the Devizes -Westminster canoe race; the donation from Lewis Phillips is a 50% share in his 200 Club winnings, in effect a double donation.
The Transport Trust kindly awarded the Society first prize in a national competition and cited us as "the most deserving cause in inland waterway preservation in 1985". Next time you're on the John Pinkerton have a look at the most impressive plaque mounted below the galley hatch.
The contributions from the local councils are of enormous help in our achieving our 1988 completion target.
Thank you all for YOUR help.
In addition to the above donations a number of smaller donations were received due to the efforts of various members who form the Society's "Talks Panel". Although the amounts are small the total is not — some £150 in all over the past few months. If you would like to assist in the presentation of the Society and its achievements to interested outside organisations contact Janet Greenfield (our Talks Organiser) who will be only too glad to offer help and get you started. Janet's address is 9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Camberley, Surrey GU17 7DT and her 'phone number is Yateley 873167.
A limited number of "Target 1988" T-shirts have been produced, first seen elegantly modelled by the Work Camp volunteers. The shirts are available in sizes Medium, Large and Extra Large and carry a full-chest copy of the logo that appears on the front cover of this newsletter.
The T-shirts are yellow in colour with black logo and are available now from our Sales Manager, Aubrey Slaughter. Please contact him at 37 Fir Tree Way, Fleet, Aldershot, Hants to order youfs. Price is £4.65 inclusive of postage (also available at £3.95 from the Sales Stand of course).
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WATERWAY WORDSEARCH devised by Edwin Chappell
Find the 33 words, reading up, down, across, diagonally or backwards, with Basingstoke Canal or waterway associations (answers on page 14).
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WORKING PARTIES and Progress - Peter Cooper
A week has been described as a long time in politics, but five years seems like quite a short time in the restoration of the Basingstoke Canal. Five years ago — what were our working parties doing then?
In mid-1981 the Deepcut lock restoration parties had just moved to St Johns to start work on Lock 10; the Lock 11 party had been at work for a few months. The party who are now at Lock 4 were then about half way through the restoration of Lock 5; nearby at Lock 1 there were problems of water table levels, and vandalism, to contend with.The Society's railway group were active, just finishing the job of transporting clay on the Ash Embankment, and the dredger had just passed Chatter Alley Bridge and was entering Dogmersfield cutting. Looking back on that sort of work, at those sort of places, it doesn't seem all that long ago; but five years from now we ought to be able to look back on all these working parties as things of the past.
In the meantime there is more work to be done. Currently operating working parties are listed below. You are advised to contact your working party leader, a few days before attending, in case there is any last minute change of plan.
St Johns Locks Every Weekend
Work continues to progress steadily here, in the months leading up to the Work Camp, which should give things a considerable impetus. The offside wall of Lock 8 is completed and the nearside wall will now be started on. At Lock 7 the bridge has been installed, and the coping stones are back on the flank walls. In addition, some preparatory work has been done at Locks 2 and 3, in readiness for the Work Camp.
The co-ordinator of the work on the St Johns Flight is MIKE FELLOWS on Wokingham 787428, and for further details you should contact him, or one of the working party leaders listed below. The St Johns roster, to work on Locks 7, 8 and 9, is :—
|6/7 Sept||13/14 Oct||20/21 Sept||27/28 Sept|
|4/5 Oct||11/12 Oct||18/19 Oct||25/26 Oct|
|1/2 Nov||8/9 Nov||15/16 Nov||22/23 Nov|
JW - JULES WOOD - Farnborough 515737
PJ - PETER JONES - Aldershot 313076
PR - PETER REDWAY - Woking 21710
KH - KEN HALLS - Woking 23981
EC - EDWIN CHAPPELL - Ashtead 72631
In addition, the party led by ALAN GRIMSTER (Brookwood 6127) will meet on 14 Sept, 28 Sept, 12 Oct,26 Oct, and 9 Nov.
Dredging in Hampshire Every weekend
The dredger has made further good progress beyond Chequers Bridge and is now 200 yards short of Poulters Bridge; being now in Crookham Deeps, a traditionally well-scoured section, their progress is quite rapid. This progress is taking them quite a long way (over 1000 yards) from their tip site, and this may start to slow
things up a bit. New recruits to the team are sought, particularly to train as tug drivers; a commitment to one day's work per month is all that is asked of them. For further details contact ANDY STUMPF on 0923-778231 (work) or Chesham 785720 (home), or BRIAN BANE on Hook 3627.
Lock gate building
This party have now finished the gates for Lock 9, and
have started work on the lower gates for Lock 8. Dates
6/7 Sept, 4/5 Oct, 1/2 Nov - FRANK JONES on
Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367
Towpath work in Surrey
First Sunday of the month - 5 Oct, 2 Nov This party will be starting work again on the first Sunday in October. The work is unskilled and suitable for family parties. Details of working location, etc, from PETER JACKMAN on Woking 72132.
Lock 4 (Woodham)
Second weekend of the month - 13/14 Sept ,11/12 Oct, 8/9 Nov
The bottom cill has been done, and work has started on the upper wing walls. The lower recess walls may also be started soon. Further details from PABLO HAWORTH on Byfleet 42081.
Lock 1 (Woodham)
Third weekend of the month - 20/21 Sept, 18/19 Oct, 15/16 Nov
The flank and return walls are completed to coping stone level. The lower recess walls and bottom hollow posts are the next jobs to do. Further details of this party, which operates under the auspices of the Guildford branch of the IWA, from DICK HARPER-WHITE on Weybridge 42074 or ROY DAVENPORT on 01-979-7075.
Full time work
The new towpath and steps under the bridge at Lock 12, at Brookwood, have been completed, incorporating the rebuilt flank wall. The Society's full time team are now starting on the complete refurbishment of Woodend Bridge at St John's; this will involve complete repointing and some new brickwork, and also a new towpath under the bridge.
The NACRO team at Lock 12 have almost completed a flank wall, and should now be starting on the top cill.
Volunteers helping during the week have made a very valuable contribution, and it is hoped that people will be able to continue to help in this way. So if you can come along and help in the week, please contact FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home) and he will find you work to do.
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WHEN YOU COULD POST A LETTER FOR 4d
..... and buy a new Mini for £524. 7s. 1 Id; when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister, and the new film at the Odeon was "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying , Machines". The year was 1966.
In that same year, the following letter, dated 23rd August, appeared in the Farnham Herald and oiher local newspapers:-
Having spent a few days of my holiday walking the Basingstoke Canal, I am wondering if the local people appreciate what an amenity they have on their doorstep. It would appear that many are apathetic and treat it as a convenient rubbish dump; however I know that several people are interested in its possible restoration - although at the moment, due to vandalism and the Canal Company's lack of finance, it is still deteriorating. I feel that the time is ripe to form a Basingstoke Canal Restoration Society so that a start could be made removing debris and clearing the towpath. Perhaps it might be possible to re-open it for navigation. If any one is interested perhaps they would be kind enough to write (enclosing a stamped addressed envelope) and a possible meeting can be arranged if there is sufficient interest. Yours faithfully,
56 Connaught Crescent, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey
At the time thoughts of restoring the canal were restricted to reports promoted by the Inland Waterways Association. One such proposal, prepared by John Marriage, a Planning Consultant to the Association, latched onto the new town development of Basingstoke as a good reason to restore the Canal even as far as Basing Park, a mile short of the town centre (the M3 was, of course, still only on the drawing board).
A vastly more detailed and strictly confidential 37-page report, requested by Surrey County Council, was compiled by David Cooper and Philip Ogden, both qualified Engineers experienced in waterways, and Tim Dodwell, a Solicitor with a detailed knowledge of the Canal. The document was dated July 1965. It estimated that restoration of ihe Canal from the Wey Junction to Greywell, on a 'willing contractor' basis, would cost £43.000 which could be reduced with the use of voluntary labour. The report also introduced the concept of an autonomous management by a Commission, supported by a Canal Trust to be the 'moving spirit' behind restoration in motivating public support and raising funds for the project. The vital aspect which the report deliberately did not address was the question of a change of ownership which was to prove the key to restoration.
As a member of the IWA, and a canalside householder of Brookwood, Jim Woolgar gazed frustratedly upon the blanket of duck weed at the bottom of his garden. Conscious of the canal's amenity potential, and a radical by nature, he bombarded the IWA's London and Home Counties Branch with demands for more action to stem the increasing rate of deterioration. But the Branch Committee maintained a low profile. Their report
remained top secret', and they were no doubt aware of the delicate situation that lay in the proposal which the Owner was later to condemn as preposterous.
According to Hugh McKnight, a member of the London and Home Counties Branch Committee, Woolgar's persistence became insufferable to a point when he was told to form his own organisation if he wanted more action.
The letter Jim Woolgar wrote to the Press attracted some 50 replies: from these he contacted 'a nucleus of enthusiasts to form a working committee'.
The selected group met together for the first occasion on Friday, 23rd September, at 56 Connaught Crescent, Brookwood, at the time-honoured hour of 8.00pm. There was David Gerry of Fleet who became the Society's first Chairman; Paul Dyson,a Student from Ash; Les Harris of St Johns, a Quantity Surveyor; Robert Harris (no relation), an Architectural Student from Farnham, who cruised 500 miles of the Inland Waterway's system to gain material for his book "Canals and their Architecture", and designed the Society's logotype; Dieter Jebens who was 'something in advertising'; John White of Guildford whose father was a working boatman on the Wey; a Mr W. Robinson who did not pursue active participation after that first meeting; Jim Woolgar an Engineer with Permutit and his wife, now Flo Fleming, who was equally committed, if less vocal, to saving the Canal.
At the first meeting with the Managing Director of the New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd., Mr Sydney Cooke, and his Solicitor, Mr Harry Swailes, in November, Jim Woolgar realised, perhaps, the profound difficulties that lay ahead - even to achieve the agreed short term objectives — 'to seek to enhance the appearance of the Canal, keep water in the pounds and prevent further decay'.
For a start Mr Cooke objected to the name 'Basingstoke Canal Restoration Society'. He also took exception to the aim of achieving full restoration and was vehemently opposed to any form of publicity!
The first meeting of interested members, numbering 50-60 people, was held on 1st November at Brookwood Memorial Hall. In an effort to promote a basis for cooperation with the Owner, reference to the Basingstoke Canal was deleted and the objects of the Society were broadened 'to enhance the appearance of local waterways', and aim 'to seek the co-operation of the Owners. Trusts, Boards and other such official bodies .....'. The name of Society was also changed to avoid any perceived association with the Canal Company.
Newsletter No. 1, a duplicated quarto sheet, came out in January 1967, and so the Society was born.
A brief account of the next seven years, campaigning for public ownership and a policy of restoration, appears in our book 'Basingstoke Canal Restoration', It was a switchback period with depths of depression, when a successful outcome seemed doomed for ever, interspersed with highlights of achievement. A typical 'crest' was the following letter I received from the late David Pumfrett, Chairman of Hampshire's Recreation Committee, who spent many hours listening to us attentively and sympathetically:
29th May 1969
"Dear Mr Jebens,
Many thanks for your letter. Since coming on the
Wey Canal excursion Mr Mart in (Deputy Clerk to H.C.C.)
and I visited Sir Howard Roberts at Kingston and had a
thorough discussion about the Basingstoke Canal with
him and two of the Surrey C.C. Officers. We agreed that
the two counties should examine the future policy on a
joint basis so that as soon as the canal is acquired the minimum amount of time would be taken before action started. At the same time Hampshire C.C. are being asked today to agree to spending an unspecified further sum on a detailed investigation of the Hampshire length of the canal particularly in reference to water sources, repairs of breaches and viability of overflows. In this connection I will pass on Mr Ogden's name to our officers and it may well be that he will be of use.
I am sorry that this project is taking so long to get off the ground. I can only say that, in present financial circumstances it is extremely difficult to launch any new projects particularly when they obviously involve the spending of a considerable, as yet incalculable, sum of money. I feel sure this one is a starter if it can be demonstrated that there is a large and determined public demand. lam myself convinced of this, but democratic procedures require that a majority of individual councillors should be persuaded that this is so.
Yesterday our County Land Agent (Mr Bonsey) went to Kingston with Mr Martin to meet Surrey C.C. Officers for further discussions about the canal. I have not yet heard what took place.
I hope this shows that, though little appears on the surface at the moment, things are in fact in motion and at least the two Committee Chairmen concerned are equally anxious that the canal should be acquired and put to use for recreational purposes.
The Laundry House, Twyford, Hampshire".
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COUNCIL AND HOUSEBOAT OWNERS AGREE TERMS?
Moves to prepare houseboat owners on the canal at Byfleet for restoration work between locks 1 and 3, and for future mooring on the canal, have been made by Surrey County Council. And there appears to be agreement among responsible boat owners that Surrey is offering reasonable terms.
While detailed arrangements for temporary moorings during dredging are still being worked out, the Council is prepared to offer 20-year mooring agreements, confirmed by an annual licence, to boat owners who submit their homes to an annual marine survey to ascertain that the hulls are sound and do not constitute a potential hazard to other boat users.
Initially the Council wants all existing houseboat owners to submit their homes to a survey which will be free of charge. Those that fail will have to be surveyed again within twelve months, and if failed again will not be issued a licence. Advice on necessary repairs to bring failed boats up to standard will also be offered freely.
Houseboat dwellers who wish to leave, or do not get their licences reviewed, will be offered local council accommodation.
Surrey proposes to provide 35 houseboat moorings at Scotland Bridge and an additional four at Hermitage Bridge for existing craft. Bankside protection will be undertaken and mooring bollards and rings provided. And existing essential services will be maintained.
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'Lock Keeper's Daughter' by Pat Warner, published by
Shepperton Swan. Price £5.50.
Designed to appeal equally to waterways enthusiasts and country lovers LOCK KEEPER'S DAUGHTER is an autobiographical account of a childhood spent living by the Worcester & Birmingham Canal during the 1920's and 1930's.
Pat Warner was the late arrival in a large family who had long associations with the Canal. But her brother, most of her sisters and her mother died before she could remember them. She was therefore brought up by her elderly father and adult sister.
It was a hauntingly deprived childhood, lacking many of the everyday things that today's children take for granted. Life had to be largely self-sufficient in the isolated village of Tardebigge. where neighbours included canal narrow boat familes, waterway workers and the family of the Earl of Plymouth at the Big House — Hewell Grange. All are recalled with refreshing clarity and described in a style that is both charming and engaging.
It is remarkable that such very ordinary country people as the Warners were well read — the village school was a model of its kind — and that they should have collected (and retained) a fascinating collection of photographs depicting most aspects of their lives. 89 rare illustrations are included in the book, showing the working of the horseboats, life on neighbouring farms and other village activities.
(Available from booksellers or direct from Shepperton Swan Ltd., The Clock House, Upper ffalliford, Shepperton. Middlesex, TW17 8RU at £5.50 plus 5 9 pence post and packing.
The Natural History of the Basingstoke Canal' — a children's book edited by Anne Pitcher. 16pps. Price £1.00.
This is the second in a series of books writ ten and illustrated by some 50 young patients at the Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot. and edited by their bedside tutor. Anne Pitcher. The book has been compiled over the past twelve months, and follows last year's publication of The Basingstoke Canal' which proved a great success.
The new book is very well written, covering a wide variety of the canal's natural history interest, from plants to bats, and birds to fish. The illustrations are all first class. Clearly a wonderful example of what children can achieve under the right guidance.
In a preface. 11-year old Emma Scanlon writes: "Canal restoration work is hard, dirty work, and initially it can have a damaging effect on the local environment, but the canal is such a potentially fertile habitat, that once it is refreshed by the flow of clean water, the vegetation soon returns."
Anne Pitcher is well known locally for her books on the history of local towns and villages. Her latest is about Dummer in connection with the recent royal wedding.
All proceeds from The Natural History of the Basingstoke Canal' will go towards the next project to be undertaken by the patients in the children's ward at the Cambridge Military Hospital. (DM)
Available from Southern Bookshops, Grosvenor Road, Aldershot, or Fleet Bookshop, Fleet Road, Fleet, ordirect front: Miss A. Pitcher, 50 Rectory Road, Hook, Basingstoke, Hants. Price £1.30 inc. postage and packing.
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THE FUTURE OF THE BASINGSTOKE CANAL - (From 'The Motor Boat' 1905)
The temptation to apply the most modern invention to the most out-of-date object with the idea of resuscitating that which has already served its purpose seems to be irresistible, and so we have had to submit to all sorts of strange proposals in connection with the Basingstoke Canal, a piece of water which has no great width and which has a depth at ordinary times of 3'6", whilst in dry weather the depth may be reduced to 2'6". The proposal that the canal which in some places has almost dried out and which is only available for traffic for the 21 miles between Basingstoke and Ash lock below Aldershot, should be used for motor-boat races and speed trials is almost too funny for words, for if anyone should be foolish enough to make the attempt there would be a dreadful tale of broken propellers, damaged skegs, and bent tail shafts, to which the damage to the banks of the canal would make an excellent complement. As a matter of fact the motor boat may prove an aid to the development of the canal and its resources, but the limitations on speed and size of craft are obvious to anyone conversant with the subject and they will effectually relegate to obscurity any question of racing, let alone speed trials, for which at least twenty feet of water is required, whilst even fifty feet would be necessary if results of any value are desired.
Basingstoke Canal it will be remembered, was put up to auction in the summer and failed to find a purchaser. But since then Mr. William Carter, who is Chairman of Nateley Pottery Co., which has works on the banks of the canal and which uses the waterway occasionally for the transport of its products, has given further thought to the advisability of purchasing the canal and has finally put his project into execution and now owns it, together with its locks, lands, buildings, cottages and general rights and privileges. The canal cost £165,000 to construct and it was opened to traffic 115 years ago — in 1790. It has earned as much as £5,000 in a year, but the advent of the railway did the usual thing, and in recent years the volume of traffic has been exceedingly small. Considering that the South Western Railway crosses the canal in three or four places, and that only a little while ago it paid £5,000 to the Canal Company in respect of some alterations at one place where the two crossed, one wonders that the purchase of the entire property was not considered advisable, especially as the policy of canal purchase by railway undertakings has been considered sound in other districts. But instead the canal has languished for a purchaser for some while now. Mr. Paul Gauntlett, who took over its management about six years ago, has been the only man who in recent times has made any improvement in the revenue of the concern, but it has been recognised that capital and confidence are required for the development of the natural resources, and until Mr. Carter appeared on the scheme the necessary elements to success have been wanting.
Mr. Carter is an energetic man and one who we should judge, from our conversation with him, to be likely to proceed with caution, but to steadily proceed all the time. He candidly confessed to us that he has bought the canal and all its appurtenances simply as a speculation, and that he does not yet know what to do with his purchase. He has received numerous suggestions
and considerable advice, and like the wise man he is, he does not brush an idea lightly aside, rather taking it and considering it in all its bearings, and bringing the light of his sound common sense and wise experience to bear upon it.
For the present no change will be observable in the appearance or conduct of the undertaking, and the only part that will be maintained in navigable condition will be that which is now good for traffic, namely from Ash lock to Basingstoke. This stretch includes Greywell Tunnel, a threequarters of a mile cutting through the chalk hills. There are innumerable springs constantly bubbling up in the tunnel, and in fact this is the main source of the water supply. The difficulty about any extended use of the remainder of the canal to the Wey navigation seems to be the extreme doubt as to whether, if the locks (of which there are 29 between Ash and the junction with the Wey) were put into use, the constant passing of water would drain the upper part of the canal, for it is thought that Greywell would not provide enough for the purpose. If it could be shown that there would be enough water, Mr. Carter would be prepared to consider the advisability of opening up the whole of the Canal. But, for the present, communication with the Wey and the Thames is out of the question, and equally any thought of extension southwards to the old canal which runs inland from Southampton has been put on one side. Even the military authorities, to whom connection by water from Aldershot to the South would be extremely valuable, have dismissed the idea.
The upper part of the canal, which is still in good order, has been continually used by residents for pleasure purposes, and there are quite a number of crafts of all kinds on the water, and for the present Mr. Carter intends to develop the pleasure side of the canal's usefulness. The natural beauty of the scenery through which the waterway passes appeals to all who trouble to go and see it, and Mr. Carter is anxious that its charms should be known as he is prepared to grant every possible facility to those who wish to travel on its surface. Motor Boats of low power and moderate speed will be welcomed and catered for. The utilitarian size of the canal will also be developed under the new regime. As a manufacturer, Mr. Carter has oftentimes regretted the poverty of the facilities for moving goods along the waterway. These facilities will now be thoroughly organised, and the new owner is anxious to install a service of motor tugs and motor passenger boats. Obviously, he has to decide on shallow draught craft and he is making enquiries about stern wheel boats. But it seems to us that he will do well to look into the merits of the tunnel-stern boat as giving the same advantage of light draught with greater efficiency. A service of passenger boats between Aldershot and Basingstoke is contemplated, the boats leaving each town every morning and making the double journey each day, so that a morning and afternoon boat will be provided in each direction. The tugs will be supplemented by a fleet of small barges, and they will conduct the goods traffic of the canal, which, properly worked, and with regular service and prompt execution of orders, should bring back much of the lost traffic, for the cheaper rates possible, as compared with those of the railway, will appeal to the agriculturists and the manufacturers in the district.
Amongst the schemes put forward are (1) to use it as an aqueduct for the drinking water required in some
towns, Greywell being regarded as a suitable source, and (2) to use its bed for a light railway. There is an undertaking of the latter kind projected, and some powers have already been secured, but much water will flow out of Greywell Tunnel before any change is seen in the Basingstoke Canal as we know it to-day.
Editor's Note: Thanks to our member Mr. A.M. Fountain
of Basingstoke who sent us the above article which came
from Mr. Arthur Attwood, a local history correspondent
of the Basingstoke Gazette in which the article was
reprinted in 1906.
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Autumn is fast approaching and with ii the season of talks, film shows and slide evenings. PLEASE SUPPORT THEM as they are laid on for your benefit and it is the only occasion for members to get together during the long winter months. Attendances were poor in Fleet last winter so those of you who live at the western end, please come along, if numbers don't improve the Fleet meetings will have to be discontinued as they lose money.
The Social Secretary positions are vacant at both Fleet and Woking and volunteers are urgently required. This is an opportunity for members wilh perhaps no other Society commiiments to volunteer their services in a very useful and interesting capacity. PLEASE will YOU help. In the first instance please contact either David Millett on Fleet 617364 or Peter Coxhead on Byfleet 44564.
Don't forget that your friends are very welcome at our Social Evenings, so bring them along.
WOKING SOCIAL EVENINGS: At the Christ Church Hall. Town Square, Woking (50 yards from the Centre Halls). Coffee and biscuits available, plus the Sales Stand.
Monday 13th October, CENTRE HALLS, Woking, 8,00pm
Joint meeting with IWA Guildford and Reading branch. An illustrated talk by David Hutchings on 'The Restoration of the Upper Avon". Please note the change of venue for this event only.
Monday 3rd November, 8,00pm
"Backpacking from Land's End to John o' Groats". An illustrated lalk by David Collins.
Monday 8th December, 8.00pm
"British Bats". A talk illustrated with slides given by lan Davies of the Surrey Bat Group.
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FLEET SOCIAL EVENINGS: Last Tuesday of the month at the Fleet Cricket Clubroom, Calthorpe Park, off Reading Road Norlh, Fleet. (1st left about 200 yards from the Oatsheaf pub traffic lights on the A323 Fleet -Hartley Wintney road.) Bar available plus coffee and biscuits.
Tuesday 28th October, 8.00pm
Members Film and Slide Evening. Bring along your films or slides of waterways both at home and abroad. Holiday trips, cruises, boat rallies etc. If possible please 'phone Fleet 617364 to indicate your interest in contributing. Let's have a varied and plentiful selection to make the evening as fascinating as in previous years.
Join in the celebration to mark the Society's 20th Anniversary. Drink, eat. dance or listen to Cuff Billett and the New Europa Jazz Band. An evening of the best of New Orleans music and a special buffet supper with a Creole flavour.
An evening to relax, meet old friends and make some new ones.
Book your tickets now and bring along your friends to help make it a night to remember.
Bisley Village Hall, Saturday 18th October, 8.00 pm - 11.45 pm.
Tickets £9.50 each including buffet supper and a glass
of wine, from:
Mrs Rosemary Millett,
14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Aldershot, Hants,
GU139SW. (Cheques payable to S&HCS Ltd.)
(Local members are offering bed and breakfast for the night to members living too far away to return home).
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THE SOCIETY ON ITS BIRTHDAY - Chris de Wet
Bear wilh me as I reflect briefly on the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society's past and its exciting future, on the occasion of its birthday.
I joined the Society in 1969 (or thereabouts) as a canal mad schoolboy. Why? Because although I lived 40 miles away there was a freshness and certainty of purpose that emanated from the then fledgling group of like-minded people. I visited the canal a few times and recall the almost total desolation along its course. An impossible task to breathe life back into - or so it seemed.
I, and probably most of the local community, had not reckoned with the vision of the Society's founders. The book that was published in the latter part of 1968. "Basingstoke Canal - the case for restoration", made compelling reading. It all made sense.
Twenty years on, and thirteen years into the restoration, what has been achieved may not have been completion within the time scale originally envisaged but the end is in sight. However the certainty of purpose that was there in 1966 has waned somewhat.
We have a target, and une that is achievable. That to me is the excitement that lies in the future. Will we make it? I am convinced that we will.
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TEN YEARS AGO - From newsletter Nos. 69 and 70 ...
* Tony Harmsworth, whose family owned the canal from 1922 to 1949, re-established the family connection by joining Hampshire's canal staff as Senior Ranger.
* Water Nob surd attracted several thousand visitors to the canal at Colt Hill for fun and games on land and in the water.
* The New Inn, Colt Hill, was re-named "The Water Witch" after a commercial narrow boat of that name that once traded on the Basingstoke.
* An appeal was launched to raise £9,500 to build the John Pinkerton which was thought would bring in an income of 'as much as £3,000 a year'.
* Johnson Wax at Frimley donated £1,000 to enable the Society to purchase two 6-1/2 ton Bantam tugs for towing mud barges.
* The Society applied for a grant from the MSC to run a 3-month Job Creation Scheme for lock restoration at Deepcut.
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BRIDGING THE GAP
The condition of North Warnborough lift-bridge, and its operational spasms has been the subject of another complaint by the Society.
In a letter to the County Surveyor, the Society's Secretary has advised the Council that the bridge has failed to operate on at least two occasions this year 'resulting in considerable disappointment to trip boat passengers and embarrassment to the Society'.
Both the Society and Trip Boat Company have previously had reason to complain over the condition of the bridge, which is, apparently, due for replacement. 18 months ago it was stated that preliminary designs for a new bascule type lift-bridge had been prepared. The County Surveyor hoped then to get approval to install the new bridge last Autumn or early this year.
The Society has pointed out that the hydraulic rams, which raise the bridge, are defective and for the past year or more the mechanism has required excessive amounts of hydraulic fluid to operate it.
The Trip Boat Company now sees a replacement bridge as an urgent requirement if the John Pinkerton is to continue operating West of Colt Hill.
News that dredging the North Warnborough winding hole and channel to Greywell will definitely go ahead this Autumn is welcomed. The winding hole is now so badly silted up again that passengers aboard the John Pinkerton have to disembark before the boat can be turned.
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AN APOLOGY TO PERSEVERANCE (AND ALL WHO SERVE ON HER)
Our 50-year old steam dredger was not at Sandy Hill Bridge, Winchfield, ten years ago, as reported in Newsletter No. 128. She was at Swan cutting, North Warnborough, Ian Edwards assures us because that is where he joined the crew. A correction we are happy to make since it accelerates the dredger's progress by at least 400 yards a year.
Reluctant though he is to be quoted, Ian feels confident that, given no major setbacks, Perseverance can reach Fleet in 30 months time and achieve 'Target 88'. And the arithmetic supports him.
Allowing for one hundred yards or more Hampshire C.C. dredged by Hymac below the lift-bridge at North Warnborough, our dredger went on to complete the remaining 700 yards to the Whitewater winding hole.
Returning to Colt Hill, Perseverance had cleared 5-1/2 miles to Chequers Bridge, Crookham, by the Spring of this year. That's a total of 9680 yards in ten years.
Subtracting 12 months held up because of the Dogmersfield slip, and six months for a major overhaul of the steam boiler, working progress amounts to 1140 yards per year.
It's three miles down to Pondtail Bridge, Fleet from Chequers. Allowing for approximately one mile already dredged by Hymac in varying lengths along the route, there's another two miles left to clear. And that works out at precisely three years to completion.
That's a little over the target date so perhaps someone can persuade Hampshire to dry dredge between Reading Road and Pondtail and then we can all celebrate completion in 1988 with satisfaction!
Active readers who would like to help the dredger crew meet the target, and who are interested in steam power, things mechanical and operating tugs and cranes, are always welcome to learn one of the many jobs and join the crew on a rota basis. You 11 currently find the dredger below Chequers Bridge, Crookham Village, so have a look at what's involved and volunteer on the spot. You'll be made welcome.
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NEW TOWPATH UNDER BROOKWOOD BRIDGE
A potentially dangerous road crossing has been eliminated by the Society in constructing a towpath under Brookwood Bridge which walkers previously had to cross. The pedestrian 'underpass' may also help local people cross the busy road in safety which is beside Brookwood crossroads. The towpath changes sides at this point. Walkers coming up the towpath from Woking will now continue under the bridge and climb a flight of steps to emerge on the opposite bank and cross the canal by a new footbridge over the tail of lock 12 to re-join the towpath.
Once the lock, now accessible for the first time in many years, is restored, the addition of the towpath connection will greatly enhance the appearance of this formerly depressing corner of the canal. And towpath walkers will no longer have to leave the canalside to cross the A324 and walk round the back of Connaught Garage before re-joining the towpath. A very practical and environmentally attractive improvement.
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SOCIETY SPEEDS WORK AT LOCK 12
Efforts to accelerate restoration of Lock 12, now the key to introducing water to an additional 1-1/4 miles of the canal down to Kiln Bridge, St Johns, have been made by the Society in signing a £3,000 contract with Earnshaw & Son of Horsell, Woking, to restore the upper cill in Lock 12. The work took 2-1/2 weeks and was completed in July.
Meanwhile NACRO have completed one of the chamber walls, and demolished decayed brickwork in the opposite wall in readiness for rebuilding. Other major jobs include the lower cill, wing recess walls and new gates.
Completion may take as long as another twelve months but, given an increased level of input, the lock
could he fully restored by the end of this year.
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BROOKWOOD HOSPITAL SITE: THE SOCIETY'S VIEW - Vic Trott
I have been asked by the Editor to give an outline o!" the Society's views concerning the Brookwood Hospital land which is to be sold for development. Woking Borough Council have staled that they have to make 'phased provision' for 6,600 new dwellings in the period 1978-1991. As at January 1984. 3,277 still had to be provided but 1,595 could be built on land thai already had planning permission. So that leaves 1.672 for 'phased provision'.
The Council sees Brookwood Hospital as a saviour in providing space for about 25% of the remainder required within the next 5 years.
The canal sociely has a very different and a very strong view about this whole area. We thought the Council had too, when we read, under policy KB 17 in the draft plan, the following - 'The land is attractive long established meadow land stretching up to a small wooded knoll known as The Mount' and is the first significant area of countryside the canal passes through from its confluence with the Thames". Leaving aside the small error, we thought that, wiih other encouraging statements about the canal environment dotted through the various reports, we had an ally in protecting the views and open spaces that are now so rare on the Surrey section of the canal.
But on another page in the- same report, policies KB3 toKB6 and KB! 6 provide for the housing (at A.B.C.D, E), industrial buildings (below D) and a marina (at E), all shown on the map reproduced here. And remember ihe words "stretching up to". That's right, all the land rises up from the canal so anything placed on it will dominate the views.
So how can the Council say such nice things on one hand and propose policies on the other, that seem to me lo be contradictory?
In our submission of comments on the draft plan we have said in essence that we do not want to see any
development on any part of the sile that can be seen from the canal. That we do not want to see a marina with housing/restaurant. We did concede that a mooring basin for 100 boats would be a requirement of the restored canal to overcome unsightly linear moorings. It would be needed somewhere near Woking and it could go in at Brookwood. But we did point out that the site is between two lock flights which could put a strain on water supplies. Further any such basin should be naturally screened from the canal.
I think the difference between the Council and the Society is this: the Council (and the developers) think that so long as a building has pretty dormers, unusual shaped tiles on the roof and a few shrubs at ground level (called landscaping), a contribution to the canal environment has been achieved.
The Society's view is that an open view provided by meadowland. or an overgrown hawthorn hedge full of sparrows, or an informal recreation area like the one at Brook House roundabout is Ihe canal environment and nothing needs to be added.
So we see things differently. Only by stating our views, talking to the councillors and planners, taking them for trips along the canal, showing them what other waterside developments look like (Pyrford Marina on the River Wey, for example), can we hope to influence their thinking. And don't forget, they have a job to do. People do need houses, jobs need to be created, so a balance may have to be struck. Preferably the developments should not be within sight of the canal, unless they are a mile or more away.
I hope I have not been too harsh on Woking Council because, even with my strong views, I have to say that they have supported the restoration to the hilt. They have provided vast amounts of the only commodity that really talks - money. And they like Robin Higgs!
So I am sure that the proverbial British 'compromise' on planning will come — hopefully before the canal in Woking is totally developed. Or should that read enhanced?
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Welcome to New Members
|Mrs M. Parsons||Fleet||
||Ms Lyn McRostie||Bordon|
|Philip Daniell||London||Mr R.J. Darling
|Mr J.R.Hall||Bedford||Mr J.J. Bailey||Fleet|
|Miss M. Evans||Farnborough||Mr P.J. Andrews||Knaphill|
|Mr & Mrs J . Boulcott||Fleet||Mr & Mrs N. Morley||Woking|
|Major A.F. Gardner||Frimley Green||Mr & Mrs J. Tudgey||Farnborough|
|Mr M. Rayner||Woodham||Mr J.E.Fryatt||Camberley|
|Edmund Bland||Frimley||Mr R. Slaney||Farnborough|
|Andrea Castell||Frimley||Roy Beale||St Johns|
|Mr & Mrs P. C. White||Fleet||Alan & Pauline Gregory||Feltham|
|Clifford Hilton||Frimley Green||Mr & Mrs M.J. Bishop||Farnham|
|Mr C. Light||Winchester||Christopher Birks||Camberley|
|Mr B.Roberts||Frimley Green||Mr & Mrs Reeves||Woking|
|Mr & Mrs M.J. Smart||Deepcut||Mr R.J.Hall||Guildford|
|Mr P . Lament||Frimley||Mr P.Munt||Fleet|
|Alan Lewer||Woking||Mr W.M. Franklin||Castle Donnington|
|Mr & Mrs W.H.Stephens||Camberley||Mrs A J. Warner||Camberley|
|Ian & Sue Cox||St Johns||Miss C.E.Ogden||Church Crookham|
|Mr T.J. Smith||Mytchett||Penelope Came||Up Nately|
|Mr R.M. Adams||West Byfleet||Mr V. J.Turner||Stroud|
|Mrs K.Swarbrick||Woking||Henry Frampton-Jones||Carshalton Beeches|
|Mr & Mrs J . Barrass||Aldershot||Mr & Mrs A.J.Tovell||Camberley|
|Mr & Mrs G. Hamilton-Cox||Frimley Green||Mrs E.M. Brightwell||Fleet|
|Mr A. N.Harvey||St Johns||Mr & Mrs K.J.Baldry||West Byfleet|
|Harry Newland||Basingstoke||Jillian & Peter Oglesby||Winchfield|
|Derek Seekings||St Johns||Ann & Ray Powell||High Wycombe|
|Susan Creasey||Woking||Mr & Mrs P.J. Stanbury||Walton on Thames|
|Mr & Mrs R.F.Bell||Woking||Mr & Mrs R.W.Starnes||Winchester|
|Jack Stanford||Reading||Mr & Mrs F.Hewett||Woking|
|Mr & Mrs M.Rendell||Fleet||Miss T.B. Coomber||West Byfleet|
|Mr R.A. Mullender||Church Crookham||Mrs K.D.Bell||Woodham|
|Mr L.V. Neilson||Frimley||Christopher Wynne||Pirbright|
|Mrs R.J.Guilbert||Seale||Mr R.J. Lumsdaine||West Byfleet|
|Mr & Mrs J.Ede||Mytchett||Mr C.J.Davis||
|Stanley Coleman||Ash Vale||LIFE MEMBERS|
|John Simpkins||Farnborough||Andy Warr||Epsom|
|Brian & Yvonne Chappell||Ashtead|
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THE BASING HOUSE TOUR
At the end of June, Stan Metier joined a special tour of the remains of Basing House, organised by David Gerry, under the guidance of the warden, Dennis Jackson who led the party on an unusual exploration:
Leaving the car park we viewed the Tythe Barn on the way to the site of the house. Claimed to be the largest building of its type in the country, it is in extremely good condition being the subject of a restoration programme itself. We then moved on to cross the Basingstoke Canal as we entered the main part of the site. A short length of channel and a familiar looking bridge completed the scene. As David pointed out the bridge is in fact a rarity, since it has differences in the brickwork structure when compared with a "standard" bridge.
The havoc wrought during the civil war by the victorious parliamentarian siege army in 1645, to what was the largest private house in Tudor England, is almost unbelievable. The Cromwellians made a reputation for indulging in extreme damage of Royalist strongholds but at Basing House they excelled themselves, probably because the occupants were so strong in their loyalty to the crown. As a result of almost total destruction there is nothing left of the House but the foundations, and a few cellars open to the sky. Nevertheless Dennis was able to weave an interesting story of the siege, one that involved methods of warfare which are commonly
believed to be "modern" ways of wiping out ones fellow humans.
Towards the end of our tour members of the party were given the opportunity to explore Hampshire's second tunnel, Greywell being the first. This tunnel has no bats, rats, or water, and is much smaller in all respects than Greywell. It is no more than 3'6" high, 2'6" wide, and 100 yds long, and brick lined throughout. Almost immediately on entry one is plunged into total darkness until about 20 yds from the opposite end when the light at the end of the tunnel comes into view. Several of the party accepted the challenge and walked(?), crawled(?), through it, at best in a stooping manner ending up with a weakness in the legs and thigh muscles. It was an interesting experience to negotiate what was originally a drainage tunnel, not for sewage I would add, a credit to mining skills of medieval engineers. There was no cut and cover or construction shafts. To dig that tunnel with the simple tools available, working in stygian gloom in such confined space must have been a task never to be forgotten.
Most appropriate after the exhausting exercise of negotiating the tunnel, we were able to partake of an excellent snack supper prepared by the ladies of the site.
Many thanks to Dennis for his excellent guidance on the tour, and to David Gerry for promoting the event. A very entertaining evening in every way, highly recommended, if there is a repeat don't miss it.
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Every alternate month, for the past twelve years, George and Janet Hedger's living room has become a workshop. Six people sit down for three evenings to collate, staple, fold and insert 1,800 Newsletters into envelopes.
Fortunately, volunteer helpers are not too difficult to recruit, thanks perhaps to the Hedgers' excellent cellar of home-made beers and wines. Many a hard evening's work has been softened by a glass or three of some outstandingly moreish brews.
George and Janet and their son, David, joined the Society at a public meeting at Fleet in 1972. Their interest in the canal having been aroused following a drink at a canalside pub, the Fox and Hounds. Upon leaving, they made their way up the towpath to cross by Coxheath Bridge when they found an unexpected short cut — across the dried up canal bed!
The couple met for the first time in 1964 at a church dance held at Courtmoor School, Fleet, but didn't meet again until exactly a year later. By chance, they went to the same dance once again. A year later they married.
Recently retired from the National Gas Turbine Establishment at Pyestock, George has spent his working life fitting, maintaining and testing aero engines. He was apprenticed to Aerolex during the war and joined the Fleet Air Arm in 1943 as a fitter. After the war he briefly rejoined his old company before moving to the NGTE, a development of jet engine pioneer Frank Whittle's company, Power Jets Ltd.
Now an independent government research establishment, the NGTE set up at Pyestock, across the road from the RAE at Farnborough, and gained a unique position and world wide reputation for its work testing jet engines in all kinds of high altitude conditions. George went on to become an Engineering Manager of the Establishment's engine test cells.
Janet, meanwhile, qualified as a teacher in the mid 1950's after leaving Aldershot County High School. Following a spell teaching in and around Newbury, she returned to her home town and taught in Fleet Infant's School where she had once been a pupil.
Both Janet and George numbered among the first voluntary workers who cleared the towpath at Barley Mow Bridge under the leadership of Frank Jones whose
encouragement, they recall, swelled the numbers. Alan Babister, Tony Jarrett and David Robinson were also leaders of those early working parties.
Later, George remembers with some amusement getting involved with the silt disposal sub-committee in building a corrugated iron mud hopper. The idea was that the dredger would load it on the bankside. But Ian Cripps, the dredger's operator, was not impressed with the contraption and released a heavy load of mud from a great height to flatten it!
While George became a director of the trip boat company and has been largely responsible for keeping the 34 hp Petter marine diesel chugging away — which has involved dropping everything at a moment's notice on several occasions to attend to the boat in distress — Janet has aided local fund raising events. She was one of the organisers who promoted the coveted Marks and Spencer fashion show for the benefit of the Society in 1977 which raised £1,200. She also regularly helps organise the Autumn Fayre at Fleet and local jumble sales which she reckons is the quickest and easiest way to raise money.
Their involvement in the Society has led to regular canal holidays throughout the Country. They enjoy the peace and quiet of waterways which they hope will be preserved on the Basingstoke as part of the pleasure all the differing users will gain from it. Both feel resigned to more canalside development but appeal to the planners to create an acceptable balance between the two — the development and the amenity — by, for instance not building right onto the banks of the canal.
Like all the Society's volunteers, they can recall both alarming and amusing moments. For Janet it was the day 80 Newsletters bound for Camberley mysteriously disappeared from a doorstep in Tavistock Road. The thief was never apprehended but it is thought to have been a passing dustcart! And George recalls leaving the Waterwitch with Peter Fethney one cold January lunchtime. As they walked down the towpath, George accidentally slipped and slid silently into the freezing waters. When he surfaced Peter had walked on some yards and was still talking to him unaware of his sudden disappearance!
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ANOTHER ENTERTAINING RALLY
Good weather for the weekend of our third annual boat rally, held at Ash Lock early in June,helped make it an enjoyable event. A Record number of nearly 50 boats were entered and the rally site was full of visitors for most of the weekend.
Organised jointly by the local branch of the Inland Waterways Association to mark its 40th Anniversary, and the Society in its 20th year, the rally programme was a variety of events and entertainments. There were trips aboard the John Pinkerton, Morris dancing displays, stalls and exhibitions. Mr. Magic kept a large crowd of children spellbound, while others were equally absorbed by some expert canoe handling demonstrations.
For members and boat crews there was a tasty barbecue on Saturday evening.
Next year the canal has been chosen by the IWA as their venue for a National Steam and Small Boat Festival at Frimley Lodge Park.
In the meantime, Vic Trott the Society's rally organiser, sent us the following letter he received from Pat and Roger Rowe ("Wolows 4") of Horsham, which kindly says it all for this year's event:
"Dear Mr. Trott, 17th June 1986
We would like to take this opportunity of thanking all of the people who helped us to enjoy the '20-40' Rally at Ash Lock last week. Like all of these sorts of things, much work obviously went into it.
We are particularly grateful to those who organised the slipping and recovery of boats and the handling of passing through the Lock. The barbecue was thoroughly enjoyable. We hope that we made new friends with people who regularly cruise 'the Basingstoke'and as a River Wey Boat, we look forward to being able to cruise from Shalford to North Warnborough.
The work being carried out is well worthwhile — you have beautiful scenery and interesting wild life.
No doubt we shall meet some of you at the Guildford Festival in July.
Again, thank you very much for a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. Yours sincerely, Pat & Roger Rowe (WOLOWS 4)"
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THE Big Event of 1987 is to be the National Steam and Small Boat Festival at Frimley Lodge Park. A joint SHCS/IWA event that should attract many boats and people. Note the date now - June 13th/14th 1987.
105 new members have joined the Society from March to June. Welcome!
BANK slip at Broad Oak has been dug out. John Pinkerton could barely get through empty let alone with passengers!
GOOD news on the planning front. The proposed warehousing development at Brookwood Lye has been turned down.
JOIN the queue for the garment of 1986. No, no — not Fergie look-alike wedding dresses. T-shirts, Target 1988, what else?
SOCIETY is to launch 20th Anniversary Appeal in September. Any help with suggestions for likely friendly donors to Derek Truman on Fleet 613435 please.
COMMITTEE dinner held recently on theJohn Pinkerton was voted a huge success by all who attended. Sarah Garwood provided magnificent food — your chance to sample these gourmet delights will be at the Society's 20th Anniversary Jazz Buffet — got your ticket yet?
READING Road Wharf has been successfully purchased by Hampshire County Council.
HELP needed in the form of a loan or donation of a portable generator for the Society's use. Details please to the Secretary - address etc. below.
RECENT "Action Line" TV appeal for volunteers produced right result. Over 40 prospective workers have contacted the Society wishing to help meet Target 1988.
ANDERTON Lift - halfway there. BWB has announced plans to repair one tank of the lift - or at least reinstate operation electrically — at a cost of £750,000. A further £500,000 would be needed to restore it fully.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 4th
THE CIVIC HALL, FLEET
10.30am — 12 noon
Bric-a-brac, books, betterwear,
garden & house plants etc.
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COPY DATE FOR NOVEMBER 1986 NEWSLETTER: 15th SEPTEMBER 1986
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: Eileen Meller.
Collation and Distribution: Janet and George. Hedger, Clive Durley and helpers.
Editorial Office: 60 Middlebourne 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 617364)
Hon. Treasurer: Mrs Gwyneth Browne, 102a Aldershot Road, Fleet. (Fleet 621745)
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley, Meadow Vale, Guildford Road, Normandy. (Worplesdon 234776)
Membership Secretary: Edwin Chappell, The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1QR. (Ashtead 72631)
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: Tony Karavis, 12 Loddon Road, Farnborough, Hants. (Farnborough 549037)
Sales Manager: Aubrey Slaughter, 37 Fir Tree Way, Fleet, Aldershot, Hants. GU13 9NB. (Fleet 623102)
Talks Organiser: Mrs Janet Greenfield,9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Camberley. (Yateley 873167)
Exhibitions Manager: Phil Pratt, Flat 5 Fleetwood Court, Madeira Road, West Byfleet. (Byfleet 40281)
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