No. 130 November 1986
Comment - NEW STYLE NEWSLETTER
Yes. this is still the Newsletter but under a different name. The change was prompted by a member who suggested that the folded format would be easier to handle, and read, than loose sheets stapled together.
Our printer told us that folded pages would not cost any more to produce, so we have adopted the new format, and there is at least one advantage in a greater flexibility of layout.
For the present the style remains much the same as the Newsletter. The main change is in the new name which we thought was more appropriate. It also has a practical advantage in promoting the contents at public libraries where copies are often displayed.
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In its current Local Plan, Woking Borough Council stated "uncontrolled development would be likely to destroy the existing and potential character and charm of the canal".
A very laudable sentiment, but we have to add that planned riparian development can be equally destructive.
The length of the canal that now runs less than 20 yards from the new Goldsworth relief road, for half a mile or so, is a case in point.
Admittedly this was never a particularly attractive stretch of the waterway. Nevertheless it was secluded and quiet and not without character.
Now it lies exposed to an almost constant stream of traffic, separated only by an open, ranch-style wooden fence.
In place of Step Bridge, a pre-fabricated concrete footbridge, of the kind associated with motorway architecture, now spans both canal and roadway. And the towpath has a covering of loose, sharp granite stones making walking awkward and even painful in anything less than thick soled shoes or boots.
It may be too early to make a final judgement, for the derelict looking canal bed does nothing to improve the desolate scene, and the promised landscaping of the margin of land that separates canal and road has, we hope, still to come. But first impressions do not indicate a co-ordinated or creative redevelopment.
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BRENTFORD BEST EVER?
The thought of spending a Bank Holiday weekend in the shadow of the elevated section of the M4 motorway at Brentford seemed to us an odd way to spend a carefree, pleasant break 'away from it all'.
But Brentford's Boston Park turned out to be an excellent venue for an enjoyable National Waterway Festival organised by the Inland Waterways Association, and sponsored by the British Waterways Board. As a trade stand exhibitor, a visitor and part-time boat dweller during the Festival, every interest was catered for extremely well.
Perhaps the only disappointment was the Souvenir Brochure — especially at 50p a copy. While the IWA now successfully makes use of this annual event to raise money, the campaigning element seemed to have been lost along the towpath - at least as far as the Brochure was concerned.
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THE FESTIVAL NEEDS YOU!
1987 sees a most prestigious event on the Basingstoke Canal. On 13/14th June next year the canal plays host to the first IWA National event to be held on the canal. The National Steam and Small Boat Festival aims to attract 100 boats and 10,000 people. Its aimsare to focus attention on the canal and its uses, Frimley Lodge Park where the event is being held, and of course on our completion target of 1988.
The Festival Committee has now been formed and the Society as co-organiser of the event is well represented on this Committee. Frank Jones is Site Services Manager. Chris de Wet is Publicity Officer, Dieter Jebens is Press Officer, Vic Trott is Entertainments Officer (with David Millett as his deputy) and Rosemary Millett is Catering Manager (with Sonia Jebens as her deputy),
Each and every one will be looking for help with the running of the event. Please volunteer your help to make this THE event of 1987 and THE fund-raising event for the Society. In particular Chris de Wet is looking now
for volunteers to help with distribution of posters and the like for the event. If you can help with this activity please 'phone him on Aldershot (0252) 850311 in the evening. Contact numbers for the other activities are Frank Jones on Camberley (0276) 28367 (home) or Deepcut (0252) 835711 (work); Vic Trott on 01-323-3222 (work) or Woking (04862) 68607 (home); Rosemary Millett on Fleet (0252) 617364 (home). Please help if you can - we have worked hard to ensure that the Basingstoke Canal won this prestigious event. Now its your turn to ensure total success.
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FRONT COVER PHOTOGRAPHS
The Society's 70-ton steam powered dredger 'Perseverance' reaches Crookham.. . seen at work just above Poulter's Bridge. (Dieter Jebens) Local boaters at a lunchtime barbecue at the Fox & Hounds, Fleet, in September (Clive Durley).
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
26th September 1986
NORTH WARNBOROUGH LIFT-BRIDGE
I am a new member having 'joined up' following your Ash Lock event. In my first Newsletter of recent date I was rather intrigued by the little item (Newsletter 129, page 10) concerning North Warnborough lift-bridge. The line 'due for replacement' shows how vulnerable to time everything (and everybody) is.
I am retired now, of five years standing, from my work as a social history conservator with Hampshire County Museum Service with whom I served for ten years or so. Before that, from 1947,1 worked with Roads and Bridges Department of the County Council. Over the years I carried out many repairs to the wooden swing bridge which was in place before this 'new' hydraulic lift-bridge.
Following the erection of the current bridge, for some years I had the onerous task of testing and operating the mechanism on a regular basis which required first emptying the permanently flooded ram chamber, frequently on my own using a bucket to remove 500 gallons of fluid! It had to be brought up some iron steps and lifted through an iron covered inspection hole. Then, of course, there was the wearisome task of pumping the bridge up by hand, involving pushing a lever to and fro for thirty minutes, to raise it. It was quite a sentence of hard labour! I shouldn't think it was ever raised for a boat as there were too many weeds then. I think it cost £3,000 when it was built in the mid 1950's.
I was engaged on many bridge jobs on the canal over the years. I built Zephon Common swing-bridge in the early 1950's, I think was the date. This was another considerable display of hard labour since our material handling and equipment was entirely manual. The main trouble was encountered with vandals removing the ball bearings when it was in use. I remember turning wooden balls just to swing the bridge when the funeral barge of old Mark Hicks was drawn down the canal by hand. Mark was a marvellous old character, active right up to the time he died in his mid 90's.
Now I must apologise for rambling on but as a water lover I am immensely pleased that life has returned to the canal. Yours faithfully, R. Starkes, 30 Bar End Road, Winchester, Hants.
1st October 1986
STEP BRIDGE, HORSELL
While I agree with the sentiments expressed by K. Blake in the September newsletter it should be pointed out that the recently demolished swing bridge at Horsell only dates back 26 years, having been opened on the 17th May 1960. The demolished bridge did replace an earlier (non opening) foot bridge.
More than enough has been written elsewhere about the replacement bridge and the problems faced by the elderly, infirm and mothers with prams but what about the re-made towpath in this area? This has been made up
(made good?) using large stone chipping (rather like railway ballast). This provides good drainage, discourages cyclists and the most important plus feature — makes walking uncomfortable as can be witnessed by the newly trodden tracks on either side! I sincerely hope that this style of "footpath" will not be built elsewhere. Yours faithfully, Nigel Searle, 113 St Johns Road, Woking, Surrey
WORKING PARTY APATHY
I attend a working party at least once per month, unfortunately not knowing which weekend until the Friday preceding. It is the reason for joining that I may help and not just contribute a fee, and to meet other persons of similar purpose from all sections of life. Alas we are thin on the ground on the day. The same faces whatever group I join for the day, my last attendance down to three in number.
A morning was wasted on lock 8, the mixer had to use equipment from lock 7 and then after erecting scaffolding the brick layer started but did not return after a late lunch. Now just two left, the leader left by van leaving singular one to work on the lock — so much for companionship.
Apathy seems to be gaining the upper hand so employing another full time worker will not improve weekend working days. The costs will be very high without paying overtime rates at time-and-a-half on Saturdays or double-time rates for Sunday.
Come along even for half a day. You have paid your membership and you are entitled to bend your back for the common cause and be part of the team.
Upper Flat, 12 Lilford Road, London SE5 9HX.
GREEN BELT OR NOT-SO-GREEN BELT? BROOKWOOD HOSPITAL SITE
There are areas marked on the map as 'Green Belt' but remember the present government took a lot of land out of the green belt category about 3 years ago — so in fact what value does 'Green Belt' land have if future governments can revoke this status? Yours sincerely, David Junkison 4 Thames Meadow, West Molesey, Surrey
Editor's note: The map in question appeared in Newsletter 129.
HANTS & BERKS REVIVAL?
As the date of completion approaches, I foresee unemployment for many hard working navvies unless they are prepared to travel long distances to other canal restoration projects.
Many years ago there was a survey done to link the
Basingstoke with the Kennet & Avon Canal twelve miles away. How about a campaign to build this very useful link - with local authority help, voluntary input and some professional workers, it could prove a great asset.
I would be prepared to put up £100 and sign a covenant for a start. Anyone interested? Yours faithfully, Chris Musitano 35 Eaton Rise, London, W5.
In 1825 the Hants and Berks Canal was proposed linking the Basingstoke Canal at Old Basing with the Kennet & Avon Canal at Midgham, a distance of 13 miles with a '/2-mile long tunnel at Tadley Hill, up to 13 locks, three aqueducts, 38 bridges and an inclined plane at Sherborne. (London's Lost Route to Basingstoke, by Paul Vine).
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FUND RAISING NEWS - Derek Truman
The fact that the Department of the Environment have accepted our application from its special grants programme (Newsletter 129), means that our need for money is now pressing but not critical. So we still want ideas about how to raise funds and, more importantly, people to implement them or give a hand with fund raising.
Previous issues of the Newsletter had mentioned ideas about approaching firms at senior levels with the hope of obtaining donations. A few useful contacts at senior level have been suggested and we will be following these up. We have not moved immediately because we are hoping to prepare a well thought out and researched campaign. More information on this will be given later, but in the meantime anyone who has a few hours to spare for research or follow-up work should contact Derek Truman — see below.
200 Club 1987
During its existence, the club has raised more than £2,500 for the Society. If you are already a member, please rejoin. Remember that membership is not automatic and you should send in a new application form — enclosed with this newsletter.
Newcomers will want to know what's in it for them. The SHCS gets 50p in every £ contributed and the rest is redistributed as prize money in six 2-monthly draws. We strongly recommend membership of the Club as a way of helping the Society if, for any reason, you cannot play a more active role. But we will take money from anybody. Each subscription is £12 — there is no limit on numbers — payable in a lump sum or by a monthly standing order. Forms should be sent to Derek Truman, Compton Cottage, 11 Connaught Road, Fleet,Hants, GU139RA (Fleet 613435). June winners:
Mr Coaker £50; Major Pullen £24; Mr Spencer £12; Mrs Milsum £12.
Mr Holley £50; Miss Adams £24; Mrs Casson £12; Miss Maynard £12.
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If you have not already done so, please send your sponsorship forms and money to Bert Savill, 3 Rushmoor Close, Fleet, Hants.
Incidentally, Bert was pleased to hear from our member Doreen Maynard who may not get the prize f the biggest amount raised (although £70 is a tremendous effort), but must take first place for the walker who travelled the longest distance (all the way from Gosforth in Cumberland) to take part. Doreen wrote, 'I am enclosing herewith a cheque for my sponsor money for the very enjoyable walk last May. I am sorry I have taken so long, but due to holidays, and some of my sponsors being on shifts, it has taken rather a long time to collect.
I thought I had collected £70, but after I had completed the walk, I raised a little more — the friend of a friend thought I had walked at least 25 miles (I think) that was counting to the start, and from the finish) and gave me an extra £1.25. As I have been so long in sending the money, I am adding another £1.25, making a total of £72.50.
I hope the Society thinks it was worth coming 350 miles to do - I most certainly did, as, with the trip on John Pinkerton the day before, it was a wonder weekend to remember.
Thanks to all concerned'.
1987: the date to watch is Sunday 17th May. Ideas on how to make this go with a bang, or preliminary offers of help, should be sent to Graham Meade, 89 Tavistock Road, Fleet, Hants (Fleet 629466).
The Society has received the following donations recently:
Mrs B.E. Tomlins £1,000, The Talks'Panel £95, Rushmoor DC Councillors £47.94, Proceeds from garden clearing £75, Pauline Hadlow's Sale - another £57.
Especial thanks must go to Mrs Barbara Tomlins fo her donation which is the latest of a number of very sizeable donations made by both Mrs Tomlins and the Tomlins Charitable Trust. It was the Society's pleasure to host Mrs Tomlins and her family aboard the John Pinkerton early in October for a buffet lunch and late in the day to conduct a guided tour of the canal to shoq the results of her earlier financial input.
Thanks are due to all the above donors for aiding the progress of the Society towards completion of the canal's restoration in 1988.
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1987 WATERWAYS CALENDAR
As a long time admirer of the British Waterway Boa calendar, the 1987 edition is perhaps the best yet.
No fancy artwork, just lots of superb, well printed photographs in a crisp, modern layout. With an easy to view strip calendar down one side, each page has one large colour photograph supported by three small ones showing lock cottages, locks, aqueducts, cargo vessels and waterside pubs.
A kaleidoscope of waterways scenes to brighten up the home or office. Size 15-1/2" x 14", price £3.25 each plus 75p postage, delivered neatly rolled in a tube fron Information Centre, British Waterways Board, Melbury House, Melbury Terrace, London, NW1 6JX.
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Autumn and winter are here and with it 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.
The Social Secretary positions are vacant at both Fleet and Woking and volunteers are urgently required. This is an opportunity for members with perhaps no other Society commitments 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 8th December, 8.00pm
"British Bats". A talk illustrated with slides given by lan Da vies of the Surrey Bat Group.
Monday 12th January 1987, 8.00pm
"Waterside Plants". A talk illustrated with slides presented by David Mitchell.
Monday 9th February, 8.00pm
"Into Swiss Waters". A further film episode of John Humphries' cruises on Europe's waterways.
Monday 9th March, 7.45pm
"The Loch Ness Wellington". An audio-visual presentation by the Brooklands Museum. Please note this meeting will start at 7.45pm.
FLEET SOCIAL EVENINGS: Last Tuesday of the month at the Fleet Cricket Club room, Calthorpe Park, off Reading Road North, 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 25th November, 8.00pm
Mike Philpott of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds will give an illustrated talk entitled "Birds of the Local Countryside and Waterways".
Tuesday 16th December, 8.00pm
Note 3rd Tuesday this month. John Page of the Transport and Road Research Laboratory at Crowthorne will present a video illustrated talk entitled "Investigating the Load Carrying Capacity of Old Bridges". This includes discussion of problems related to canal bridges.
Tuesday 27th January 1987, 8.00pm
"The Properties and Gardens of the National Trust (Southern Region)". This illustrated talk will be given by Stella Straffen of the North Hampshire branch of the National Trust.
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THE PLEASURES AND VALUE OF TOWPATH CLEARING
'Volunteer Post' a newsletter for working party volunteers, edited by our membership secretary, Edwin Chappell, carried the following letter in the last edition which we thought warranted a wider readership, and may tempt other members to join a towpath working party.
"Your recent issue of the Volunteer Post did not reach one section of the volunteer workforce, i.e. the bank clearers. I make this point, not in criticism, but to illustrate the fact that this job seems to be the Cinderella of work on our canal, and yet it can be both useful and enjoyable. Despite the very bad weather we have had this past winter, our band have all enjoyed their working parties — well dressed up and keeping busy, with a large fire to lunch by, it can make a very pleasant day out, with time for a chat to fellow workers and passers-by. This is one of the uncharted benefits of bank clearing — the contact with other Society members and the general public. It is far easier to pass on your knowledge, enthusiasm and love of canals to the interested when hacking at brambles or leaning on a rake (the only sensible use recommended for our notorious rakes) than it is for someone working X feet down in a lock, concentrating on getting a line of brickwork straight (fishing line nothwithstanding), or balancing a large wheelbarrow slopping mortar up a 1 in 9 incline.
The views that "it is not worth clearing until the canal is almost complete" or that "the Council should do it" seem to have gained an unmerited credibility of late.
We must always foster interest (and thereby support) in our canal; keeping the towpaths a pleasant place to walk is an excellent way of achieving this. People are delighted to see their "bit" being "restored". They are more ready to believe water and boats will follow when their previously impenetrable jungle is transformed into accessible countryside. We also achieve less of the "hacked about" look so often created by a more mechanistic approach.
There is an undeniable feeling of achievement in rebuilding a chamber wall or shaping a large piece of timber into a top gate, you put a little of yourself into the very fabric of the Canal. However, there is also great satisfaction to be gained from revealing a sweep of waterway curving into the distance, where before there was a rubbish-strewn, overgrown ditch. And, after all, most of us started as bank clearers.
Remember (or imagine) after the day's work, wandering back along the cleared section now recognisable as a canal and towpath, the haze from the dying fires and the smell of cut vegetation flavouring the fine evening air ......it's still there, waiting for you.
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PLANNING OPERATION WORK CAMP
There was an atmosphere of efficiency and teamwork among the volunteers at the West Byfleet Work Camp, a credit to all those who attended and worked long and hard — up to 12 hours in one day. At one stage, towards the end of the camp, the organisers were concerned that some might exhaust themselves. At the end they had completed a demanding work schedule and more.
The key to their enthusiasm and success was the organisation by Mike Fellows and Ken Parish, and the meticulous planning that went into the camp.
"Preparation is vital, you can't do without it", said Mike Fellows, when we asked him what was involved.
In fact Mike took the best part of a year to prepare for the fortnight's work. The experience of three previous camps helped him,but there were no short cuts to the detailed planning.
"First you need a big enough project to make a camp worthwhile" said Mike, "I had to identify sufficiently big jobs to employ 50 people for fourteen days and to establish a sequence of tasks which would keep that number fully occupied".
Mike then spent three weeks of continuous work, in his lunch breaks and evenings, compiling a detailed job sheet for each of fifty tasks selected at five sites. Items quantified included materials, plant, tools and labour requirements.
A separate plant list was then drawn up itemising all the plant and materials needed, from Hymac excavators down to the number of nuts and bolts. There were also a host of ancilliary items required, such as first aid kits, padlocks for security, accident record books — the list went on for several pages.
Fortunately Mike was able to pass on his 'shopping list' to our full time project manager, Frank Jones, for acquisition during normal working hours.
Preparation of the work sites also helped to ensure that the camp volunteers got off to a productive start on arrival. At St John's, weekend working parties set aside specific jobs in advance while at West Byfleet preliminary work was done at locks 2 and 3. A site office and services were established, ramps built for vehicle access to locks, dams constructed and the towpath levelled.
Then more paper work to ensure that all the jobs identified would have sufficient workers. This Mike called his Job Flow Analysis which, as he put it, 'It lets me know if the logic of my work plan hangs together'.
By Day One, Mike reckoned his job was done. The priorities had been set and a plan of action carefully compiled. The job sheets now became work schedules given to each working party leader so he knew precisely what was required and the equipment, materials and manpower allocated to do it.
The actual running of the camp, particularly the labour force recruited by Waterway Recovery Group, was the responsibility of Ken Parish assisted by fellow members of the Kent and East Sussex Canal Restoration Group.
Ken was also responsible for the self-catering organisation, a job in itself when you consider he spent £1,500 on food during the fortnight! And there was a full social programme to organise which has become an attractive — and the organisers consider essential — part of the work camp.
A radio telephone link also helped communications and speeded up problem solving on site.
The camp was, of course, well supported by Surrey County Council, in the person of Gerrard Brierley,who provided plant and materials and worked closely with the organisers to ensure the maximum benefit was derived from the camp. One estimate put the value of the work done, in commercial terms, at over £25.000.
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WORK CAMP BOOSTS RESTORATION PROGRESS - by Catherine Watson
For a fortnight over July and August an odd looking bunch of people descended on the Basingstoke canal. Yes, it was Work Camp time again. The Camp was again led by Ken Parish of Kent & East Sussex Canal Restoration Group and Mike Fellows, the Society's working party organiser. As usual, Ken brought with him a good following from KESCRG. This core of volunteers was further supplemented by many 'new' navvies, and the usual regulars who crawl out of the woodwork every year for the Work Camp.
In addition to work on the St Johns flight, this year's Camp was largely based on locks 2, 3 & 4, at West Byfleet. Before the Work Camp, locks 2 & 3 were the only two chambers still untouched on the canal. By the end or the fortnight both had definitely been 'touched'.
The accommodation this year was the Queen Elizabeth II school in Maybury, Woking. This 5 star, deluxe Navvy residence sported individual rooms with carpets and even washbasins. Thus, if necessary, we could have separate rooms for snorers, smokers, snorers and smokers, snorers but not smokers .... etc, etc. Being a vacated school we also had a variety of other facilities at our disposal. The huge kitchen was an obvious bonus, as was the large dining/living area (especially as numbers reached 50 at times). The big gym was good too (when we had the energy to use it). The showers were a strange and welcome bonus too — although their presence just down the corridor rather dampened the usual enthusiasm for the regular trips to Woking swimming pool.
Besides swimming a variety of other evening entertainments ensured that the campers enjoyed themselves. There was a barbeque each week in the school grounds, and Tuesday evenings found us on the John Pinkerton. On the 'social' front, our thanks must go to Arthur Dungate for his various film shows.
Several of us played 'starring' roles in the one about last year's Work Camp.
Apart from the set entertainments, the usual Work Camp sillies caused hilarity both on and off site. For instance, there was the mutiny of the troops on lock 3 against Mike Palmer. Mike got a bit of a shock when he went down into the chamber to help with the bucketing of the remaining slurry. The 'dirty team' decided that the 'boss' should also get dirty for once. Mike didn't really stand much of a chance against 6 of them. Julia Norris can also tell you that Basingstoke slurry is good stuff. After a lunchtime photo call of us all in our new yellow 'target' T-shirts, Jools provided some added entertainment for the photographers. She was 'assisted' to pose in a dumper full of muck. We did take the precaution of removing her precious T-shirt first. Copies of the picture can be obtained for a small fee!
On the same theme of Work Camp personalities, none would be the same without Marcus (how did we ever
manage before he came for the first time in 1985?). For those of you who have not actually had the pleasure of meeting Marcus in the flesh, all I can suggest is that you watch Arthur Dungate's film of that title. Suffice it to say that Marcus is unique (fortunately). This year we managed to lose Marcus. After a quick panic and hasty search of all sites he was eventually found asleep buried underneath his bedding back at the accommodation.
After a few early gremlins things ran fairly smoothly on site, get ting better as the Camp progressed and people began to find their way around the new site and compound at Byfleet. The two Hymacs at this site were undoubtedly a great aid. Once on 'Deep.Dig' mode, they made a quick job of the clearances of locks 2 and 3. One of the Hymacs was also successfully used to help lay the new invert on lock 2,by placing the Readymix straight from the lorry into the chamber. The Hymacs were also used to lower the pipes into place for the new bypass channels around locks 2 and 4. Both of these channels, including all the fancy brickwork al each end, were completed in full during the Camp.
Thus, a number of major jobs were done over the Work Camp. The chambers were cleared on locks 2 and 3, and new inverts were laid. Bypass channels were laid around locks 2 and 4, and the old recess walls were removed on locks 2 and 3. In addition to this, numerous other jobs on lock 7 and the rest of the St John's flight advanced restoration there, too.
Another very successful Work Camp.
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This year's summer work camp. (Top left) Lock 3 at We Byfleet being cleared out following the removal of the old lock gates and excavation of several feet of mud. (Top right) A Hymac at Lock 2 helps in concreting the invert. (Centre left) Laying pipes for the new culverted let-off weir at Lock 2. (Centre) Demolishing decayed brickwork in Lock 3. (Centre right) Steel piling the lower cill at Lock 2. (Bottom left) Chamber wall repairs and other finishing jobs being done at Lock 7 at StJohn 's. (Bottom right) The end of the day . . . Soo Duffin prepares a barbecue for hungry workers and thei guests, including local councillor Mrs Pat Bohling, in tht grounds of the Queen Elizabeth 2 School at Maybury. (Dieter Jebens).
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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Tuesday 25th November
RSPB illustrated talk on "Birds of the Local Countryside and Waterways", Fleet Cricket Club, Reading Road North, Fleet.8.00pm.
Monday 8th December
"British Bats". The Surrey Bat Group presents this talk. Christ Church Hall. Woking,8.00pm.
Tuesday 16th December
Transport and Road Research Laboratory present an illustrated talk about load carrying capacities of bridges, including canal bridges, al the Fleet Cricket Club, Reading Road North, Fleet,8.00pm, Note the changed date.
Monday 12th January, 1987
"Waterside Plants". Illustrated talk by David Mitehell, at Christchurch Hall, Woking, 8.00pm.
Tuesday 20th January
Talk on the Wey and Arun Canal at 1WA Basingstoke Section Meeting at The White Hart, London Road, Basingstoke, 7.45 pm.
Tuesday 27th January
The National Trust present their properties and gardens in an illustrated talk al the Fleet Cricket Club, Reading Road North. Fleet,8.00pm.
WEEKEND l3/14th JUNE
!WA National Steam and Small Boat Festival at Frimley Lodge Park. Book the date now!
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CALLING JOHN PINKERTON CREWS - Allan Prince
Many thanks to all those who have helped crew the John Pinkerton. At the time of writing the boat has sailed 228 private charters and public trips, with another 12 sailings arranged before the season ends.
Our call for new crew members this season brought the largest response ever, with 41 people "signing-on" after the two crew training days in March and April. Unfortunately this large influx of new crew members highlighted a short-corning elsewhere - a shortage of trained captains. Methods are currently being devised to rectify this problem next season.
One of the changes taking place is that from the start of the 1987 season, I will no longer be responsible for crew arranging, but will take on the reintroduced and expanded post of Crew Training Manager. This job has lain vacant since Roger Cansdale took over as Chairman of the Trip Boat Company.
Taking over the reins as Crew Administrator will be Elaine Manship. Elaine and her husband. Alan, moved to Blackwater just over a year ago from Burgess Hill. We all wish Elaine the best of luck in what is probably the most demanding job associated with the trip boat. Elaine's telephone number is Yateley 879413.
Maintenance volunteers needed
Once again a substantial amount of work has been planned for the John Pinkerton aver this winter, to clean, renovate and repaint her before next Easter. Anyone interested in lending a hand for the odd day at a weekend please contact Dick Abbott on Fleet 617183. Chairman of the Society, Robin Higgs, has kindly donated a framework and cover which will hopefully be installed over the dry dock at Deepcut. With the trip boat safely installed inside the maintenance programme will no longer be subject to the vagaries of the weather.
My thanks to all those crews who have done such sterling work for me over the last three years. A special thank you to those people who came to my rescue on receiving the phone call that started "I've just had a late booking come through . . . .".
To those who I still only know as a voice at the other end of the phone I hope to meet you next season.
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VOLUNTARY LENGTHSMAN WANTED FOR WOKING
The Society's thanks to Dave Price for patrolling the length of canal from Chobham Road Bridge to Step Bridge. Since Dave is no longer able to walk this stretch regularly we are looking for another voluntary lengthsman to take over. Offers please to the Schemes organiser. Hugh Bird. All you have to do is walk the length regularly, noting changes and any maintenance work that you think needs doing, and reporting to the County Council. Further information and offers to take on this small but valuable job to: Hugh Bird, Bramdean, Westwood Lane, Normandy ,Guildford, Surrey, GU3 2ES. (Telephone: Guildford 811069).
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WORKING PARTIES and Progress - Peter Cooper
A significant milestone in the restoration has just been passed; it is now true, for the first time, to say that every lock on the canal is either restored or is being actively worked on. The recent work camp saw the first works performed on Locks 2 and 3 at Woodham, so we now have 17 locks completed and gated, 4 completed and not gated, and the remaining 8 being worked on, with several of them well advanced. This is convincing evidence that the job is nearing the end, but of course it still needs plenty of volunteers to come forward to bring it to actual completion.
The working parties active are listed below. It is usually advisable to contact your working party leader before attending, in case there is a last minute change of plan.
St Johns (or Goldsworth) Locks Every weekend
As the Society expects to complete chamber restoration of this flight in the next few months, we are approaching the time when these working parties will move to Woodham. For the moment the working venue remains St Johns, but by the end of the year, and particularly if the weather is very cold, prospective workers should check the working location before setting off. Very cold weather, in particular, could make the final jobs at St Johns impracticable for the moment, mainly because mortar wouldn't set, and so workers could be diverted to demolition work on Locks 2 and 3, which can continue in very cold conditions.
At Lock 7 the pointing of the chamber walls is just about complete, the top hollow posts have been cast,the towpath wall under the bridge has been rebuilt, and the recess walls are well advanced; much of this work was done during the work camp. At the same time, at Lock 8, the coping stones have gone back on the new offside chamber wall, the adjoining bottom recess wall is complete, and the top cill has been cast. Work has now started on the nearside wall at this lock, and this is now the biggest job remaining on this flight.
The coordinator of this work is MIKE FELLOWS on Wokingham 787428,and for further details you should contact him, or one of the working party leaders listed below. It is, of course, advisable to check nearer the time to find out the exact working arrangements around Christmas and the New Year.The''St Johns roster, to work on Locks 7,8 and 9, is: —
|1/2 Nov||8/9 Nov||15/16 Nov||22/23 Nov|
|29/30 Nov||6/7 Dec||13/14 Dec||20/21 Dec|
|27/28 Dec||3/4 Jan||10/11 Jan||17/18 Jan|
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 9 Nov, 23 Nov, 14 Dec and 28 Dec.
Dredging in Hampshire Every weekend
The steam dredger "Perseverance" continues to make good progress, and has now passed Poulters Bridge; so that's one bridge nearer to Fleet. They have been using the ring grab lately, to work through the bridge, and are now putting the steam grab back on. As always they are looking for more helpers, and have a particular need for tug drivers, as they are now far enough from their tip site to operate two tugs. For further details contact ANDY STUMPF on 0923-778231 (work) or Chesham 785720 (home), or BRIAN BANE on Hook 3627.
Lock gate building
Work is now in progress on the bottom gates for Lock 8.
Dates are: —
1/2 Nov, 6/7 Dec, 3/4 Jan - FRANK JONES on
Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367
Towpath work in Surrey
First and third Sundays of the month - 2 Nov, 16 Nov, 7 Dec, 21 Dec, 4 Jan.
This party will be operating somewhere in the Woking area during the winter, but the exact working location is not yet known. The work is unskilled and suitable for family parties. For more details, including place of work, contact PETER JACKMAN on Woking 72132.
Lock 4 (Woodham)
Second weekend of the month — 8/9 Nov, 13/14 Dec, 10/11 Jan.
This party have been rebuilding the lower recess walls, and finishing the upper wing walls; they are now about to start on the top cill. The bywash channel at this lock was installed during the work camp. For more details of this party,contact PABLO HAWORTHonByfleet 42081
Lock 1 (Woodham)
Third weekend of the month - 15/16 Nov, 20/21 Dec,
Progress continues here, and the only jobs now remaining
are the hollow posts, gate recesses, bollards and bridge.
Further details from DICK HARPER-WHITE on
Weybridge 42074 or ROY DAVENPORT on
Full time work
The Society's full time team are continuing the refurbishment of Woodend Bridge, at St Johns. They have installed new services within the bridge, and have built a new towpath under the bridge.
At Lock 12 (Brookwood) contractors have made a big contribution by rebuilding the offside chamber wall. Other jobs done here include the upper cill, and some work on the bridge. The wing walls, lower cill and bywash channel have still to be done.
A number of volunteers continue to make themselves available for work in the week, and their contribution has been most worthwhile. Anyone who can help in this way, even for only a few days, should contact FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home) and he will be happy to find them work to do.
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COMPLAINTS OVER CANAL CROSSING IN WOKING
They're not happy down Woking way with the new concrete footbridge in place of Step Bridge, that spans both the canal and the recently opened Goldsworth relief road.
The county council has received complaints that the stepped ramps, which lead up to the bridge, make crossing a Herculean task for women with prams and the elderly with shopping trollies.
And canalside walkers are none too pleased with the loose granite chippings on the towpath between Arthur's Bridge and the new road bridge leading to Victoria Way. It's like walking on a shingle beach with the added discomfort and damage to footwear caused by the sharp edges of the stones.
Then there's the lack of screening along the towpath to separate the canal from the new road running parallel less than 20 yards away. But perhaps that's an autumn job to come, unless the ranch-style fencing is the reality of the promised landscaping.
Granted, the derelict looking water channel leaves a lot to be desired as yet, but what was once at least a secluded length of the canal, is now open to all the pollutions an urban environment can create.
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WINCHFIELD HOUSES REFUSED
An application to build four detached houses on 1.8 acres of land owned by the Fisk Family Trust at Barley Mow Farm has been refused by Hart District Council.
The owners planned to demolish outbuildings to make way for the housing development. But council officers told councillors that the development would be incongruous in an area of high landscape value, as well as being contrary to planning policy. Moreover, it was pointed out that the plan would harm the appearance of the canal.
Editor's note: The farmhouse overlooking the canal beside Barley Mow Bridge, Winchfield is separately owned. This has always been an attractive location along the canal which we hope will be enhanced by the sensitive renovation of the farmhouse. It is gratifying to learn that the effect of the proposed housing on the canal and its environment was specifically considered and planning permission turned down.
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SUNNY DAY HONOURS RON KETTLE'S 20th ANNIVERSARY
It's amazing how the Society manages it but both boat rallies this year (and indeed earlier years' rallies) have been blessed with hot sunny weather. The occasion this time was the celebration by Ron Kettle of 20 years at the 'Fox and Hounds' pub in Fleet.
At Ron's suggestion a boat gathering on September 20th was organised by Clive Durley with an award to be presented to the best turned out boat. The attendance was good, some 10 boats, and the weather and bonhomie excellent. The barbeque at lunch time that followed a cruise by most of the boats from the Farnborough Road slipway was accompanied by some excellent pints of ale from the 'Fox and Hounds'.
After much debate by the judge for the event the winner of the shield was deemed to be Slaintheva owned jointly by Roy Mullender and Robin Greaves.
The award is to be a floating award and Ron is keen that the event become an annual one.
The afternoon saw a cruise by the participating boats to the west of Fleet and an unusual view of the dredger from the water. The dredger crew did not miss the opportunity to hand an expenses claim over to our treasurer who was waterborne at the time!
A suggestion of forming a 'Fox and Hounds' Boat Club has been made by Ron Kettle and he asks that anybody interested in joining such a club should contact him at the pub. The address is The Fox and Hounds', Crookham Road, Fleet and the 'phone number is Fleet (0252)615980.
Thanks, Ron, for a most successful day.
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COLLECTING CANAL POSTCARDS
Collecting old postcards has become a popular hobby, with dealers at fairs and sales offering cards covering every conceivable subject. Waterway cards are of particular interest because they show scenes and boats which have greatly changed or disappeared altogether.
Interest is such that the Canal Card Collectors Circle was founded in 1978,it publishes a regular newsletter 'Gongoozlers' and organises an annual 'Cardmeet' exhibition and gathering.
Membership costs £3.50 per year and applications will be welcomed by: Mr David Clough, 12 Wellstead Gardens, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex SSO OAY.
'Waterways Postcards' by Hugh McKnight illustrates a collection of 271 cards. Price £5.50 post paid from Shepperton Swan, The Clock House, Upper Halliford, Shepperton, Middlesex TW17 8RU.
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BOAT HIRE BUSINESS FOR SALE
One of the first canalside businesses to be established following restoration of the canal in Hampshire is up for sale. Owing to other commitments Bob Benford of Colt Hill, Odiham has put his boat hire station on the market.
The fleet of rowing boats and punts is for sale, along with outboard motors, log cabin, boat sheds, portaloo, motor mower and other equipment. Mr Benford started operating the boat station from the bottom of his garden at his home beside Colt Hill Bridge. As the business expanded he moved the station to an adjacent riparian field. The land is not for sale but will be leased for the prospective purchaser to continue the hire boat business and develop it.
Anyone wanting more details should contact Bob Benford on Odiham 2895.
LOCAL BOAT WINS NATIONAL AWARD
Winner of the 'Waterways World' award for the best amateur fitted out boat at the Inland Waterways Association's Brentford Festival this year went to David Robinson of Fleet, for his work on building and fitting out his steel hulled narrow boat Caldon now moored on the Wey Navigation.
David was a leading member of the committee which designed and set out the specification for the John Pinkerton, an experience which helped him go on to build his own boat, starting from a basic hull delivered to a field in Dogmersfield.
A feature article on how he did the job appears in the current (November) issue of 'Waterways World'.
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In the News
A TRIP BOAT WITH A DIFFERENCE - Stan Meller
When Mrs Stocks became Chairman of Hart District Council, she looked round for a charity to promote during her term of office. Her choice was to sponsor a trip boat on the Basingstoke Canal which could be used by the disabled. At a ceremony to launch the boat in August, she gave special mention to David Gerry, who, as a result of information gained by his visit to North America on his Winston Churchill Scholarship, contributed many of the ideas in the design of the new boat of a kind seen in Canada, and built by apprentices and trainees at the R.A.E. Farnborough. It was their excellent work that enabled the naming ceremony to be performed exactly 11 months from the day the idea was proposed.
The boat establishes several firsts. It is believed to be the first trip boat in the U.K. to be built primarily to accommodate disabled persons. It is the first trip boat to be operated by the customer, since it can be controlled by a person seated in a wheelchair. And it's the first electrically powered trip boat on the Basingstoke Canal.
With comprehensive weather protection, a capacity for about 6 wheelchairs and several seated passengers it is expected to be very popular. In the first week of operation it had already been booked for 2 days.
The appeal fund which paid the costs of the boat reached nearly £7,000 and after paying for this boat there is a surplus towards the next venture on the canal for disabled people.
Contributions to the fund were started by members of the Canal Society and Mrs Stocks also mentioned groups of scouts and guides, the inevitable jumble sales, and such unlikely sources as the Gurkha Regiment who were represented at the ceremony. Members of the Basingstoke Sea Scouts were busily employed "piping aboard" the many V.LP's in attendance.
A charity association has been formed to support the enterprise, and after the naming was over Judy Gerry recruited over 20 people. New members are needed and enquiries should be made to Fleet 622520.
The name of the boat? 'The Mildred Stocks'. For the technically minded the outboard mounted electric motor is rated 2 Kw at 48 volts and propels the boat at 34 knots on the middle notch of the 3-notch control, the hull is a catamaran, constructed in light alloy.
Altogether a most worthy enterprise for which Mrs Stocks and Judy and David Gerry must be congratulated.
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SALES MANAGER(S) WANTED
Aubrey Slaughter and Martin Bowers have decided it's time to hand over the management of the Society's sales.
They are seeking a volunteer or two. At present the job of Sales Manager is split in two parts: mail order sales and overall book keeping, and 'field' sales through the Society's portable sales stands visiting shows and fetes during the summer months.
These important and interesting jobs can be handled by one person but, as indicated, also make two distinct jobs, ideal for a family to operate of two people who can work together.
There's also the interest to be gained from buying new items.
Here is your chance to try your hand at running an essential fund raising business for the Society. Aubrey Slaughter (Fleet 623102) or Martin Bowers (Farnborough 513095) will be pleased to tell you more about what's involved.
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'Substantial progress made on improvements to the fabric of the waterways' is claimed by the British Waterways Board in publishing its Annual Report and Accounts for 1985/6.
The Board highlighted a 70% reduction, down to £359,000, in the loss made by its Freight Division.
The development of land through joint ventures with private companies has increased, both in freight transport facilities such as a new ship terminal established on the Aire and Calder Navigation at Goole, and in leisure developments. The Board received Government approval to establish a National Waterways Museum at Llanthony Warehouse, part of the Gloucester Docks redevelopment scheme for shops, offices, housing and a marina in Victoria Dock.
The go-ahead was also given to restore the 32-mile Montgomery Canal for pleasure boating and general recreation.
Overall the Board met its target to break even on a total revenue of just under £60.5 million of which a little over £4 million came from leisure uses.
But how the Board has substantially improved 'the fabric of the waterways', the Press Release did not reveal.
TEN YEARS AGO - from Newsletter Nos 70 and 71, October and December 1976.
* The Society launched an appeal to raise £9,500 needed to build the trip boat 'John Pinkerton' built by Hancock and Lane of Daventry.
* £1,000 was donated by Johnson Wax of Frimley to the Society for the purchase of two 6^-ton Bantam tugs from the St Albans Sand and Gravel Co. Ltd.
* Farnborough Road let-off weir re-built by Peter Mayne and his working party was officially 'opened' on 12th December.
* Surrey County Council started dredging the pounds along the Deepcut 14 flight of locks. A good deal of the work was done by Dragon plant hire operator Fred Hill after whom Fred's Ait was named below Lock 26.
* 70 people paid a total of £500 for 650 tons of silt dredged from the canal at Fleet which paid for the hire of lorries to carry off a total of 2,000 tons.
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DREDGER is suffering increased levels of vandalism now as it approaches the Fleet urban area. Vigilance by Society members may help keep it in check. Please bear this in mind and save the Society unnecessary repair bills.
PHOTCOPIER has been purchased by the Society for a very reasonable fee and will prove invaluable in providing low cost copies for our use.
SAD to report injury to dredger crew member Bill Jones. Get well soon, Bill.
SOCIETY has a new employee, Dave Wedd, who replaces Ron Wheeler who left us recently. Welcome!
SURPLUS boat licence recently donated to the Society by Roger Nichols — thanks.
PROFIT from our Ash Lock Rally this year was £478.41 not including profits made by the John Pinkerton and the Sales Stand. A great effort.
SCOOP for 1987! June is likely to be the month when the John Pinkerton visits St Johns for the first time. Lock 12's imminent completion resulting from the contracts placed by the Society should make this exciting prospect a reality.
AUTUMN Fayre on October 4th at Fleet raised £145 for Society funds. Thanks to all who helped on the day, or contributed items for the stalls.
COLLATING machine (A4) going for a song. Warble your interest down Stan Meller's phone on Camberley 32096.
KINGFISHERS once more enjoying fishing along restored lengths of canal at Crookham, Broad Oak and Dogmersfield.
MEMBERSHIP is still on the up. 8 members signed at the Brentford Rally and 24 as a result of a leaflet drop in the Woodham area during the Work Camp.
SEEMS that locks 7 and 12 will be completed by year end and lock 8 is on schedule for completion in the Spring. Target 88 here we come!
SIXTY cubic metres of ready mix were used during the Work Camp it is said. We have concrete proof too!
BOB Potter, Society member and owner of "Potters" and "The Lakeside Club" has extended an invitation to all boat owners to visit Wharfenden Lake by boat at any time.
AUDIO video expert Arthur Dungate, who produced 'Rebirth of the Basingstoke' has agreed to produce a number of presentations for the IWA.
PLANNING group is currently looking at plans by Sainsbury's to build a supermarket adjacent to the canal in Woking.
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COPY DATE FOR JANUARY 1987 NEWSLETTER: 15th NOVEMBER 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: Jo Evans.
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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