No. 131 January 1987
Inland waterways are probably unique in the wide range of interests they serve people of all ages: from angling to industrial archaeology and from towpath walking to natural history study - in addition to a variety of boating activities.
And there are more besides.
That's why the Society invited a speaker from the Surrey Bat Group to one of our Woking meetings because many of our members are keen to learn more about that mysterious creature known to frequent a certain canal tunnel.
Unfortunately those who turned up were disappointed because the speaker had cancelled his visit 'in view of the controversy'.
The Committee described the action as pusillanimous. We think it's just plain sad.
But, regrettably, the withdrawal is seen as a sign of the times. Apparently there is a tendency among nature conservationists to distance themselves from debate and discussion. That way they do not feel the need to relate to other interested parties.
More alarmingly, confrontations appear to be increasing, and the threat of legal action under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Take two recent instances. It was reported that the Nature Conservancy Council was considering taking legal action against Winchester College for 'excessive' dredging of part of the Itchen Navigation used for rowing, and for damaging plants by silt deposited on the banks.
On the Basingstoke Canal recent dredging along the Greywell length was halted for three days following a complaint by the NCC that the agreed width of clearance was being exceeded.
Cutter suction dredging is not a precision engineering activity, and some slumping of remaining silt bank was bound to occur.
Hampshire CC therefore challenged the NCC to take formal action. Nothing more was heard, it is believed, and dredging was resumed.
Nobody disputes the need to protect wildlife and to conserve the countryside. Least of all canal restoration groups. Surely, those engaged in nature conservation would achieve more through education, promotion and consideration of other interests than by talk of controversy, threatened legal action and enforced restrictions?
Nature conservationists tend to give the impression that wildlife survives in spite of man's activities; that they would prefer a natural world left to nature.
Whilst recognising the harmful excesses and perhaps unnecessary activities which threaten nature's habitats and feeding grounds, conservationists seldom seem to acknowledge that mankind does a great deal to benefit wildlife too.
Butter Wood, near Greywell, was designated a SSS1 last year for its interesting variety of natural history - thanks to our ancestors who cultivated
the woodland and pastures in which
And canals are a prime example of
commercial enterprise benefiting nature.
Man-made navigations have spread the
flora and fauna to parts where such
wildlife was previously unknown.
And maintenance of inland waterways has en
sured a healthy balance is sustained. Waterways left to fall derelict have turned into marshland and ultimately dried up altogether, having a disastrous effect on the ecological mix.
Canal restoration should, therefore, be welcomed and generally it is but not always logically. Such as a YHA conservation officer who wrote to 'Countryside Commisson News' about the Basingstoke Canal: 'I have no objection to the physical restoration of the canal, indeed the canal society has done an excellent job. What I object to is the reintroduction of boating'.
The objector fails to take account of the fundamental reason canals and other navigable inland waterways were constructed: to support our material needs. First in the development of industry and agriculture. Now for leisure and recreation. And without use of canals for navigation, it would be difficult to justify the cost of maintenance let alone restoration.
Moreover, navigation creates the movement of water which is necessary to keep the channel clear and to prevent the accumulation of silt deposits.
If rare species of wildlife are threatened it is surely not beyond the wit of man and our resources to make provision for their well-being - such as setting flashes aside for nature reserves as witnessed at Eelmore. And more sophisticated solutions abound.
But to tackle nature conservation objectives by banning or restricting the accepted usage of inland navigations is to ignore the material needs of society which is the reason why money, time and effort is being spent on saving the Basingstoke Canal and other waterways.
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(Top) An autumn afternoon on the canal in October. .. John Pinkerton cruising through Coxmoor Wood near Dogmersfield. (Bottom left) A special 20th anniversary celebration cake made by A lison Millett being cut by the Society's founder, Jim Woolgar, with present chairman Robin Higgs (left) and our first chairman and founder member Dave Gerry (right). (Centre) Members and their guests at the anniversary party field at Bisley Village Hall in October. (Bottom right) Mrs B.E. Tomlins and members of her family, whose Trust has made several generous donations towards our restoration funds for the canal, pictured at Mytchett Lake during a special cruise ahoard the John Pinkerton as guests of the Society.
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In the News
Planning proceeds apace for the IWA National Steam and Small Boat Festival to be held on the Basingstoke Canal on 13/14th June next year at Frimley Lodge Park. Boat entries are expected to be flooding in now resultant from approaches being made direct to some 1,200 potential entrants. This is in addition to extensive coverage appearing in 'Waterways World', 'Canal and Riverboat', and IWA and canal society publications throughout the country.
The format of the event is now established. The Festival will commence on Friday night 12th June, when Society members and boat entrants already at the Festival may attend a light supper on site. The Park itself will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday from 11.00am to 6.00pm. On Saturday night Society members and boat entrants are invited to a barbeque with Cuff Billet and his jazz band in attendance for entertainment. (Details of how to apply for tickets to the 2 restricted events will appear in the 'News' nearer the Festival).
The entertainments at the Festival are going to be many and varied. Military bands, bouncing castles, morris dancing, hot air balloons, athletic displays, boat handling displays, traction engines and steam rollers, side shows.... these and many, many more possibilities are being investigated.
There will be a Trade Show too in addition to major exhibits staged by the IWA and the Society. And a bar on hand to help quench your thirst.
It promises to be a great weekend — book the date now and please display the sticker included in this issue to help publicise the Festival. And support 'Canal & Riverboat' who donated the stickers.
PS. Don't forget to tell your friends too!
WEIGHTY PROBLEM RESOLVED
A ban on the use of lead weights for anglers on the Surrey length has got the support of the Joint Management Committee.
This would bring the Council in line with HCC which has already come to an agreement with the HBCAA, and concurs with Government legislation, to ban lead weights, expected this year.
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"RESTORING TO LIFE"
Apologies to our member Arthur Dungate, producer of the Society's Audio-visual slide show "Restoring to Life" for naming it "Re-birth of the Basingstoke" in the last issue.
Members wishing to see the 26-mihute presentation, featuring the Basingstoke Canal, may like to know we have it on VHS cassette, together with a 20 minute 'update' sequel; 'Mad but Enjoyable', a 25 minute show giving the inside story of summer work camps plus an amusing 4-minute eavesdropping on "Life with Marcus", co-starring Frank Jones.
Anyone who has a VHS video cassette player and wishes to see the film (better still if you can show it to a group of people), may borrow the tape from the editorial office (see back page) for the cost of the postage and packing (50p).
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NO FUNDS FOR NEW LIFT BRIDGE
The operators of the John Pinkerton face another season of uncertainty over the operation of the North Warnborough lift-bridge.
The Society expected the 30 year old bridge, which now uses excessive amounts of hydraulic fluid and occasionally fails to operate, would be replaced at the end of 1985 or early in 1986.
A lack of cash has been given as the reason for the delay. Replacement will now be recommended for inclusion in this year's new budget and construction may proceed in the autumn.
In a recent letter to the County Surveyor, the Society's Secretary, Philip Riley, wrote 'the unreliability of the bridge is a serious embarrassment to the Society and threatens the continued operation of our trip boat on the Western section of the canal'.
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CURRENT RESTORATION COSTS
Over £1/4 million is being spent in the current financial year restoring the canal of which half the input is being made in cash or voluntary labour by this Society.
In the past year the Society's voluntary workers put in 28,000 hours labour valued at £77,000. With an additional £50,000 in cash, the Society's £127,000 is an increase of 25% on the previous year and equals Surrey County Council's expenditure on restoration of £130,000 (operating costs amount to an additional £178,600 of which half is shared between the four riparian district councils).
Hampshire County Council is spending a nominal £1,000 on restoration in the current year (operating costs £100,500).
• Four district councils also contributed towards the employing of the Society's full-time team - Woking, Runnymede, Surrey Heath and Rushmoor.
• The Chairman of the JMC praised th e work of restoration volunteers saying that the local authorities were indebted to the Society. "Without the Canal Society the work being done to restore the canal would be almost impossible to achieve", said Comm. T.H. Macnamara.
• The representative for Guildford Borough Council, Mrs J. B. Golding, expressed disappointment that her Council had not agreed to make a contribution towards the Society's employment costs this year but said she would continue to press for financial support.
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GENERAL SIR HUGH STOCKWELL|
General Sir Hugh Stockwell, GCB, KBE, DSO died at the age of 83 on 27th November 1986. As President of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust he was one of the prime movers behind the enormous strides seen in the restoration of the Kennet and Avon, in addition to supporting the wider canal restoration movement.
The Society extends its condolences to his wife and two daughters and of course to the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust who have lost a most worthy President.
He will be sadly missed by all who have a love for canals.
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WORKING PARTIES and Progress - Peter Cooper
The arrival of 1987 means that the Society has just two years left to complete restoration works, if the target of completion in 1988 is to be met, so we will need to get our skates on. The regular workers will undoubtedly press on with increased resolve, as the prospect of completion becomes more real, and if you had always meant to come along and help, now is the time to do so, and help us to see that the target is met.
What is there to do? Locks 7 and 8 aren't quite finished yet, nor is Lock 1 at Woodham nor, by a slightly bigger margin, is Lock 4 at Woodham. Locks 2 and 3 on that flight are hardly started, and will be the focus of most attention in the next two years. Dredging will continue to occupy its particular team for a while yet, but it will be on the Woodham Flight that most of the final battles of the Basingstoke will be fought.
Regular working parties are, as always, there ready and waiting for you to come and join them. They are listed below, and it's usually as well to contact your working party leader, a day or so before attending, in case there's a last minute change of plan.
St Johns (or Goldsworth) Locks Every weekend
This may well be the last time you see this flight of locks featuring at this point, as these working parties hope soon to have finished and to have moved on to Woodham. During the height of winter, bad weather may drive them down there even earlier; the finishing jobs at St Johns will mostly involve mortar or concrete, which won't set in extreme cold, while demolition work at Woodham can go ahead in almost any weather. So it is advisable to check where the work is, before you set off.
Of the St Johns Locks, Lock 9 is now complete, and Lock 7 only has its upper wing walls to be completed, and then it will be into the final touches of bollards, quadrants, etc. Lock 8 has rather more work to be done, with the second chamber wall about one-third of the way up; completing this wall is the biggest job remaining.
The coordinator of this work is MIKE FELLOWS on Wokingham (0734) 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 and 8 (or on Locks 2 and 3 if circumstances dictate) is: —
|(PR, EC)||(JW)||(PR, EC)||(PJ)|
|3/4 Jan||10/11 Jan||17/18 Jan||24/25 Jan|
|31 Jan/1 Feb||7/8 Feb||14/15 Feb||21/22 Feb|
|28Feb/lMar||7/8 Mar||14/15 Mar||21/22 Mar|
JW - JULES WOOD - Farnborough 515737
PJ - PETER JONES - Aldershot 313076
PR - PETER REDWAY -Woking21710
EC - EDWIN CHAPPELL - Ashtead 72631
Two names are missing from the list of working party leaders. Both KEN HALLS and ALAN GR1MSTER find they are no longer able to give the necessary level of commitment to continue as working party leaders, and so they are both bowing out, though continuing to support the restoration in whatever ways they can.
Ken played a leading part in the restoration of Lock 11.
and has put a lot of effort into drumming up local support in the St Johns area. Alan's involvement goes back even further, as he led working parties at Lock 16 at Deepcut and at other places before that. The Society would like to thank both Ken and Alan for all their efforts and commitment.
Lock gate building
The lower gates for Lock 8 are now done, and also the upper gates for Lock 12; the current task is the lower gates for Lock 12. Dates for working are: —
3/4 Jan, 7/8 Feb, 7/8 Mar - FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home).
Towpath work in Surrey
First and third Sundays of the month — 4 Jan, 18th Jan, 1 Feb, 15 Feb, 1 Mar. The current working location is in the Sheerwater area, starting at Monument Bridge and working towards Lock 6, and it is hoped to complete this section during this winter. There have been good turnouts so far, and the party have equipped themselves with more tools. This is unskilled work, suitable for family parties. For further details contact PETER JACKMAN onWoking72132.
Lock 4 (Woodham)
Second weekend of the month - 10/11 Jan, 7/8 Feb, 7/8 Mar.
The lower recess walls are over halfway up, and the top cill has been dug out and is ready for the concrete base and the pipes to go in. Most of the bollards are in, and fitting quadrants has started. Work will continue in all these areas. For further details contact PABLO HAWORTH on Byfleet (09323) 42081.
Lock 1 (Woodham)
Third weekend of the month- 17/18 Jan, 14/15 Feb, 14/15 Mar.
The top stop plank grooves and top hollow posts have been installed, and the bottom hollow posts will follow. After that the bridge and gate recesses have to be done. For further details of this working party, which operates under the auspices of the Guildford branch of the 1WA, contact DICK HARPER-WHITE on Weybridge (0932) 42074, or ROY DAVENPORT on 01-979-7075.
Full time work
The rebuilding of Woodend bridge, at St Johns, by the Society's team of full time workers is coming on well. The parapets are complete, pointing is in progress, and details of the towpath are being sorted out.
Contributions from various quarters, including contractors, mean that at Lock 12 the bottom cill, hollow posts and recess walls are done, and the final fittings remain to be finished. The gates, now being built, will then be fitted. The objective is to take water through Lock 12 by Christmas, and resources are being concentrated towards this aim.
If you can make yourself available for work on the canal during the week, even if only for a few days, you should contact FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home) and he will be happy to find you work to do.
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TEN YEARS AGO - from Newsletter No. 72, February 1977
* The dredger Perseverance started working eastwards from Colt Hill, Odiham — 7 miles from its present location at Poulter's Bridge.
* Volunteers of the Guildford and Reading Branch of the IWA started work on Lock 1 by digging out the accumulated silt.
* 800 hours work culminated in Peter Mayne and his volunteers celebrating the completion of Farn-horough Road let-off weir.
* Vice-Chairman, David Millett gave notice of his wish to relinquish the post of Social Secretary . .. he's still wishing so, someone, please volunteer —it's not an arduous job!
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In the News
COST OF BOATING
Increases averaging 8.4% have been agreed for boat licences on the Canal in 1987. The cost of a single seat canoe goes up from £3.50 to £3.80 and for motorised craft from £12.00 to £13.00. Short term licences (15 days) remain at 50% of the annual rate.
A total of 824 licences were issued last year (1,000 had been allocated) of which 80% were for unpowered craft.
|TYPE||COST 1987||Nos. 1986|
|Single seat unpowered||£3.80||474|
|Motorised up to 14'||£13.00||159|
|Motorised 14' -25'||£19.00||4|
• Application forms and regulations for Basingstoke Canal boat licences are available from: Boat Licence Clerk, Ash Lock Cottage, Government Road, Atdershot, Hants.
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ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Notice is also being given of the Society's 10th AGM to be held on Saturday 25th April at the Canadian International School (formerly Robert Haining School) at Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett.
With plans for a major fund raising campaign to help ensure restoration of the canal is completed in 1988, and the feeling among some members that the Society is somewhat set in its ways, members with fresh ideas and a desire to help us meet the target date, are invited to stand for election. The closing date for nominations is Saturday 14th February 1987.
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MORE CONTROL FOR CANAL COMMITTEE
The concept of running the restored 32-mile Basingstoke Canal as an entity is being actively pursued by two local authority owners.
In a report to the Joint Management Committee,officers of both County Councils proposed that the JMC should be given a budget and greater powers of autonomy in the future management and maintenance of the navigation. It has also been proposed that one canal manager be made responsible for the entire canal once it is restored.
Other possible management structures the officers considered were:
• Direct management by the two County Council owners.
• Creation of a Canal Trust, once favoured by this Society.
• Creation of a Conservancy.
• Involvement of an outside body.
The officers rejected separate management by the two councils as wasteful duplication of resources and to avoid differing management policies.
Management either by a Trust or Conservancy was rejected because of'varying degrees of procedural complexity to establish and operate', and sub-contracting the organisation was dismissed on the grounds that it was unlikely anybody would be 'able or willing to take over the role of the authority . . . .'
The JMC, it is suggested, would be given an annual budget and be 'authorised to manage the canal, dispense the resources allocated to it by the constituent authorities and have overall responsibilities for the staff managing the canal'.
The report envisages the two independent canal staff structures would merge under a newly appointed canal manager. A new structure would then be established to deal with maintenance of the canal and its development of its use as an amenity.
At the same time the two county councils would retain independent ownership, employment of staff and financial control, share costs and future expenditure.
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FULL STEAM TO FLEET
The amount of interest shown in our steam dredger Perseverance on her 'Open Day', held on 26th October, seems to have had a dramatic effect on the 51-year old lady. A member passing by the 70-ton floating dredger a few weekends later saw a hive of activity, not seen for some time, and a rate of dredging which kept the windlass operators busy winding in the hawsers to move the dredger forward.
A constant stream of visitors came down the towpath to inspect the only steam powered dredger of its kind still working regularly, down below Poulters Bridge at Crookham Village. Canal enthusiasts and steam power buffs came considerable distances to hear the sound of hissing steam and clanking chains as each grab-full of the dirty stuff came up from the bottom of the canal. And such was the persuasive sales talk of the crew members, immaculate in freshly laundered boiler suits and overalls, that 29 new recruits were signed up.
Some were there not just for the nostalgic bygone age of steam, but also to recall past working days. Like Penny Gaskill, who used to stoke the boiler and operate the
dredger. Now with two children looking down into the dark interior of the boiler compartment where mother once shovelled coal ten years ago, one was suddenly aware of the passage of time during which a dedicated band of volunteers have worked steadily on.
On the towpath the Society was well represented too, with the sales stand set up by Martin Bowers and his son David. Refreshments served by Vie and Shirley Trott, Rosemary Millett ready to answer questions at an information stand and Edwin Chappell signing up new members. Another attraction was the electric pontoon for the disabled, The Mildred Stocks with David and Judy Gerry ready to take bookings for next year's season.
The John Pinkerton took advantage of the newly dredged length by bringing visitors down from Barley Mow bridge to enjoy the autumn colours of the unspoilt tree-lined stretch to Crookham.
And like so many successful canalside days for the Society the weather was good too.
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GREYWELL LENGTH DREDGED
The 800-yard length of canal from the Whitewater winding hole to Greywell Tunnel has at last been dredged to stop silt spreading down the restored canal and clear the spring heads.
The work was undertaken by the Fleet based firm. Marina and Port Services Ltd, using a cutter suction method of dredging developed by the Company.
The accumulated silt deposits were first pulverised by a horizontal disc cutter and the liquidised mixture pumped along a temporary towpath pipeline to specially prepared lagoons in a nearby field. The water content was then drained back into the canal leaving the residue to dry out.
Hampshire CC negotiated with the Nature Conservancy Council to dredge a 20-ft channel along the stretch of the canal which is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, leaving generous margins of plant growth (and silt) both sides. The depth of dredging is to the original canal bed.
To complete the contract the badly re-silted winding hole is scheduled to be cleared together with the reach down to North Warnborougn lift-bridge.
This additional dredging will be welcomed by the John Pinkerton operators as it has become increasingly difficult to cruise west of the bridge and turn the boat.
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VOLUNTARY WEEKEND DREDGING
The dredger is now fast approaching the Swing Bridge, with both tugs in operation. Following a most successful Open Day, and recruitment drives on other fronts, the team now have about twenty new recruits, who are now being trained. They should help to reduce the pressure on the existing crew. More volunteers would of course be welcome, particularly locals who could light up on Saturdays or Sundays (light the fire on the dredger, that is). For further details contact ANDY STUMPF on 0923-778231 (work) or Chesham 785720 (home), or BRIAN BANE on Hook 3627.
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NEW MAINTENANCE DREDGER SOUGHT
Over three miles of the canal are already in need of dredging again and silt bars building up in a number of places may prevent through navigation to all craft other than canoes within five years.
That is the prediction made in a report from County Council Officers seeking to buy a £60,000 floating dredger for maintenance purposes. It would consist of a Smalley-type excavator mourned on the stern of a purpose-built barge.
The proposal, to be funded by the County Councils, and a substantial contribution promised by the Society's Chairman, was supported by the Joint Management Committee at its recent meeting. Our Vice-Chairman, David Millett, expressed the hope that riparian district councils, especially those who were not currently making a regular contribution towards restoration, would help towards the cost of the new dredger.
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(Top left} Perseverance in action alongside Poulter's Bridge Cottage at Crookham during the 'Open Day 'in October. (Top right) Members of the dredger crew one Sunday afternoon in late summer. (Centre left) Finishing a shift operating the dragline crane used to empty the mud barges, John Bull climbs down from the cab. (Centre) An empty barge returning from the silt deposit site for another load. (Right) Penny Gaskill shows her children James (9) and Rebecca (7) where mum used to stoke the boiler on Perseverance, watched by their father, Paul, who regularly operates the dragline crane. (Bottom) The cutter suction dredger at work on the canal at Greywell.
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page 7 --
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
May I take some space for a response to Robert Mews' letter (more thoughts about the tunnel) in the September Newsletter. The letter is what one has come to expect from Robert, a practical, balanced contribution to the subject. Resisting the temptation to enlarge on his comments about the opponents to the 'extension' scheme, I would like to deal with some of the specific matters that he raised.
1) The suggestion that the Society supports the move to preserve the natural habitat has been proved, for those who wish to see it. A cruise on the John Pinkerton, or a walk along the towing path, particularly in Hampshire, is the introduction to a panorama of wild life which, before the start of restoration, barely existed and certainly could not be seen when the canal comprised an almost dry channel, used mostly as a rubbish dump, and a towing path made almost impassable by undergrowth.
2) Public access certainly does not harm a wildlife habitat. The behaviour of the idiot fringe who, at worst, stone swans to death; and at best tear up wild plants for no apparent reason, does harm the environment that we are all trying to preserve. But abandoning plans for restoration will not prevent them 'doing their thing', indeed the opening up to more public access, and the resultant exposure of them, could be a retarding factor. As to the comment on electric tugs, (Greywell Tunnel), Robert may be interested to know that the 'extensionists' have thought that one through and a proposal has been detailed and costed. Also with the commissioning of the Mildred Stocks, some experience of operating a boat propelled by electricity will be available when the time comes. An electric tug in the tunnel would give the advantage of silent traction and no pollution from exhaust fumes. This is seen as an advantage more for the bats than boat crews.
3) Restoration of the tunnel is necessary, as Robert says, not just because it is there, or indeed because it is a listed structure of industrial archaeological interest, of which Hampshire has very few examples. It is vital to the water supply of the canal. During the recent "cutter suction" dredging between Tunnel East and the Whitewater Winding Hole, the water level was low, probably due to lack of rainfall. In those conditions it was possible to observe the considerable flow of water issuing from the tunnel bore. Previously there had been some doubt expressed as to springs in the tunnel making any significant contribution towards the supply for the canal. This observation dispels that doubt, and strengthens the case for restoration and maintenance.
4) The presence of bats in the tunnel must and can be preserved. Their occupation need not be a total barrier to restoration, and future use by canal craft. From current available information, we believe that the bats have no use for the tunnel in the summer months. It is hoped to make use of this fact when an engineering proposal for the restoration plan is completed.
5) Certainly the addition of a few acres of open water to the West will make a useful breeding place for the bats' food supply of flies.
The gentleman he names riles a lot of people but he has the right of us all to freedom of speech, but he appears to represent a minority. It is very unfortunate that he seems to bear a grudge against our Society and its objectives. He always tries to represent our proposals in the worst possible light, completely ignoring the benefits that thousands of hours volunteer work bring to the community. As Robert says, we are represented as a single cause caucas, interested only in packing the canal with boats. It would be interesting to know how many members of our Society do own boats — not many I'd guess.
Referring to the letter from Chris Musitano in the October NEWS, I would like to point out that if the plans being made do come to fruition, then there will be no out of work navvies yet awhile. All hands will be needed on the "extension" to Penney Bridge.
101 Branksome Hill Road,
CANAL SALE WEST OF GREYWELL
I have been a member of the Society since 1972 and have always taken an active part in working parties. In the past fourteen years I only once felt it necessary to write to the editor of the Newsletter.
Until recently, I have assumed that the Committee were dealing with all the varied and often difficult problems of restoration in a highly efficient way.
However, recently I have had reason to think that the Society is entering a stage in its history characterised by complacency and apathy.
During 1986 a most important situation arose, and yet no member of the Committee has seen fit to inform the membership about it.
The late Mr S.E. Cooke, owner of the Canal until 1974/75, died in the autumn of 1985, and various pieces of land adjoining the Canal have been put up for sale by his executors. Most important of all Mr Cooke still owned the 3/4-mile length of the Canal, west of Greywell Tunnel, up to Penney Bridge to the west of Up Nately village. The County Councils have been negotiating with the executors for the purchase of some of this land. However, it is a complete mystery to me what is taking place with respect to the canal west of the tunnel. Please can we be informed on this matter.
I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the acquisition of this length of canal is vital for three reasons:
1. Without this length of the Canal restoration of the tunnel will never ever be possible.
2. The Canal west of the tunnel is of great intrinsic beauty and interest, being mostly in a wooded cutting with three very fine original bridges, all in good condition.
3. I am personally convinced that this stretch of Canal can be utilised to improve the water supply for the entire canal in various ways.
If the Canal were to be restored as far as Penney Bridge, the navigable length of the Waterway would be extended from the present winding hole adiacent to the Whitewater aqueduct, by two miles. Restoration westwards will be a very long term project which will need much effort, time and money. I am confident that the question of bats in the tunnel and the Site of Special Scientific Interest will eventually be overcome, by building artificial underground bat hibernation chambers, or by closing the tunnel to navigation in the winter.
I believe some members of the Committee are doing all they can to bring this matter to a successful conclusion. But surely they would be helped by the support of all members of the Society.
Since, so far, the membership has not been informed of this matter, I address this letter to all Society members, and would ask them to write to Hampshire County Council to persuade them to buy this length of canal.
The address to write to is: The Clerk and Chief Executive, Hampshire County Council, The Castle, Winchester, Hants, SO23 8UJ.
Finally, let nobody underestimate the amount of work still to be done to complete restoration of the canal east of the tunnel. The opportunity to purchase the canal west of the tunnel has come at an inconvenient time, but this length of the Canal must be acquired.
4 Thames Meadow,
Surrey KT8 9TQ
Editor's note: We believe that Mr Cooke's executors are in contact with HCC over the future of the canal still owned by the New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd. to the west of the tunnel.
In the meantime we hope members will answer David Junkison's appeal to write to HCC urging it to purchase the land. That's the way the two councils were persuaded to buy the canal we're restoring today.
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GRAND DRAW 1986 - Bob Humberstone
The winning numbers were drawn at the Woking Social Evening held at the Centre Halls on 13th October.
1st prize £200 ticket No. 13389 J. FAWKNER-CORBETT
2nd Prize £100 ticket No. 05769 R.W.W. SINCLAIR
3rd Prize £50 ticket No. 31568 R.D.DRYSDALE
The total number of tickets sold was nearly 11,000 to give a profit a little short of £1,600 after expenses. Jeremy Browne was "top salesman" with approaching 300 books.
The winner of the first prize (on surfacing from the shock of his good fortune!) promptly made a donation of £20 to Society funds. Thank you very much.
Apologies to those members who only received 2 instead of 3 books of tickets — must have been computer error!
Finally, a sincere thank you to all who sold tickets, those who bought them, and those who sent donations either by way of substitution or addition.
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FUND RAISING NEWS - Derek Truman
200 Club 1987
For 5 years now the 200 Club has provided a modest but steady income — on average between £500 and £600 a year for the Society. Half a dozen fund raising schemes producing similar incomes would do wonders for our cash flow. In the meantime it would be a real achievement to reach the original target of 200 members. The Society would get £1200 and we could offer first prizes of £100 — all for £12 subscription or just £1 per month.
Many of you have already joined but those who are still hesitating please 'phone Fleet 613435 or better still send a SAF to Derek Truman, Compton Cottage, 11 Connaught Road, Fleet, Hants. GU13 9RA to obtain your membership form.
Mr. D.M. Peacock £50; Mrs. A..Terry £24; Miss V. Spilling £12; Mr. P. Redway £12. Especial thanks are due to Mrs. Terry who has donated £10 of her prize to the Society.
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Sponsored Walk 1987
Planned for Sunday 17th May. Although we're busy trying to think of a new name for it (and some added attractions), the main function will be the same. Offers of help to act as marshalls and to provide any other assistance to Graham Meade, 89 Tavistock Road, Fleet, Hants. (Fleet 629466.)
Award Winners - Sponsored Walk 1986
Subject to confirmation, prize winners for raising the largest sums of money, in four categories, are:
1. SCHOOL ENTRANTS - Pupils of Aldershot Manor School (walk organiser Mrs. M. Thompson, Head of Geography) who raised the outstanding sum of£700.
2. OTHER GROUP ENTRANTS - Dr. I.K. Stanley-Jones (a regular entrant) and his team from St Peter's Hospital, Chertsey who raised £375.
3. INDIVIDUAL ENTRANTS - Mrs. MJ. Colesof Woking who collected £302 (hope she had a security guard with her!).
4. COUPLES or PAIR ENTRANTS - Mr. P. Jordan and his 7-1/2-year old son of New Haw who walked 17-1/4 miles in just over 6 hours to raise £253.96.
To the winners and all entrants the Society extends thanks and best wishes with the hope that we see you again this year.
The Society has received the following donations recently:
Doreen Maynard £17.50 (part of a fee received for an article in 'Canal & Riverboat' about the 1985 Work Camp); J. Fawkner-Corbett £20; Dredger Open Day collection tins £23.44; Talks Panel £57; Surrey County Council £29; use of the Society photocopier £19.95; collection by Edwin Chappell £19.10.
Thanks to all who have contributed in this way to the Society's funds and helped us on our way to 1988 completion.
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Woking —Victoria Hospital site
The South West Thames Regional Health Authority
submitted an application to Woking for demolition of the existing hospital and redevelopment as an hotel, including restaurant, bars, conference facilities and swimming pool together with car park and service area.
The proposal is for a 3-storey building with a fairly steep-pitched roof. The Society has lodged its strong objections to the entire application since the proposed building would be just 13 metres from the canal and could hardly fail to dominate it.
It seems inevitable that the hospital will be sold by the RHA at some stage and even if this current proposal for development of the site is turned down, further proposals will emerge in the future which will require continued vigilance by the Society.
This site is but one of 3 possibilities that have been under discussion for the provision within Woking of a much-needed hotel facility. The earlier proposal for an hotel on the Brook House recreation ground site has apparently been dropped. Another possibility for the siting of an hotel is at Parley Drive, Goldsworth Park — site of an earlier application for development of 38 2-bedroomed flats. This too is very close to the canal and as such is regarded as undesirable by the Society.
Woking — Brewery Road Car Park
Woking Borough Council has drawn up a new brief for the development of this area. It features a widened canal basin for mooring; quayside cafe and restaurant; retail workshop units; a boat trip station; and a museum and exhibition centre. The western half of the site would still be used for car parking, partly on split levels, and screened by trees.
This scheme meets with the Society's approval by and large but it is likely to be some years before the proposals are actioned. It should be remembered that some 5 years ago an earlier plan was mooted — and this has never come to fruition. Let us hope for better things with this new plan.
Deepcut — Frimhurst Farm
The Society has written to Surrey Heath Borough Council objecting to an outline application submitted for the development of the Frimhurst Farm site as a "retirement village". The scale of the proposed development is considerable - 25 single bedroomed bunglows,81 2-bedroomed bungalows, 34 single bedroomed sheltered flats, 62 2-bedroomed sheltered flats and a 60 bedroom nursing home. The planned extent of the development would see an area stretching from Wharfenden Lake in the west to Deepcut Bridge in the east being covered by the village. The Society considers the site entirely unsuitable for such a major scheme and its impact on the canal from a prominent position overlooking the canal is obviously unacceptable.
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SPECIAL GENERAL MEETING
The Society is holding a formal meeting to seek members' approval of a change in which the annual accounts are distributed.
Official notice of the meeting, to be held on Monday 9th March 1987, at Christ Church Hall, Woking, is attached.
The move is being made to reduce the pressure of work on volunteers in preparing the accounts and to save money on distribution costs.
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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Tuesday 20th January
Talk on the Wey and Arun Canal at IWA Basingstoke Section Meeting at The White Hart, London Road, Basingstoke, 7.45pm.
Tuesday 27th January
The National Trust present their properties and gardens in an illustrated talk at the Fleet Cricket Club, Reading Road North, Fleet, 8.00pm.
Monday 9th February
"Into Swiss Waters". A further film episode of John Humphries' cruises on Europe's waterways, Christ Church Hall, Woking. 8.00pm.
Tuesday 17th February
'The Restoration and Operation of Paddle Steamers". A presentation by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society illustrated with slides, covering the operation of the paddle steamers "Waverley', 'Kingswear Castle' and 'Balmoral', Fleet Cricket Club, Reading Road North, Fleet, 8.00pm. (note THIRD Tuesday this month).
Monday 9th March
'The Loch Ness Wellington". An audio-visual presentation by the Brooklands Museum, Christ Church Hall, 7.45pm — please note the time.
Tuesday 24th March
An illustrated talk by the Council for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE), Fleet Cricket Club, Reading Road North, Fleet, 8.00pm.
Monday 13th April
Canadian waterways on film presented by the Canadian
High Commission, Christ Church Hall, Woking, 8.00pm.
Saturday 25th April
Society Annual General Meeting at the Canadian School
(ex Robert Haining) Frimley.
Sunday 17th May
The Society's annual Sponsored Walk.
WEEKEND 13th/14th JUNE 1987
IWA National Steam and Small Boat Festival at Frimley Lodge Park, Book the date now!
Please note that your friends are especially welcome at all our events, so bring them along.
WOKING SOCIAL EVENINGS are held at the Christ Church Hall, Town Square, Woking (50 yards from the Centre Halls). Coffee and biscuits available, plus the Sales Stand.
FLEET SOCIAL EVENINGS are held at the Fleet Cricket Clubroom, 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.
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WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS
|Mr. & Mrs. M.J. Page||West Byfleet||Captain & Mrs. B. Sperring||Hazeley Heath|
|Mr. R. Thompson||Woodham||Mr. R.J. Walters||East Molesey|
|Mrs. E. Bell||New Haw||David Wilson||Hartley Wintney|
|Mr. M. Barker||Woodham||Mr. S.P. Brown||Kempshott|
|Mr. F.W. Smith||Woodham||Mr. A.V. Holbrook||Camberley|
|Mr. A.W. Jones||Woodham||Peter Phillips||Hartley Wintney|
|Mr. & Mrs. C.H. Patrick||West Byfleet||Mr. G.V. Stephenson||London|
|Mr. & Mrs. G. Williams||West Bytleet||Mrs. R. Rikard||Ash Vale|
|Mr. P.J. Partington||St. Johns||Laura Morris||Fleet|
|Mr. A.W. Shilling||West Byfleet||Mr. G.A. Marshall||Farnborough|
|Mr. L.C. Deverson||Addlestone||Mr. & Mrs. N.J. Percival||Wandsworth|
|Mr. & Mrs. G.W. Hills||Knaphill||Mr. J.D. Wright||Bookham|
|Miss A.E. Roberts||Ash Vale||Mr. R.D. Hoyle||Camberley|
|Mr. & Mrs. L.S. Leisk||Woodham||Mr. & Mrs. S.F. Bradbury||Farnham|
|Mr. F. Rahmatallah||Woodham||Mr. & Mrs. C.E.J. Parker||Fleet|
|Mr. C.E. Duke||New Haw||Mr. J.A. Cheatham||Woking|
|Mr. S.B. Carlyle||West Byfleet||Mr. P.E. Pilford||Mytchett|
|Mr. C.P. Williams||Alresford||Mr. A.J. Soden||Romsey|
|Brian Baasi||Potters Bar|
|Kirsty Bennett||Odiham||LIFE MEMBER|
|Mr. G. Grinter||Odiham||Mr. G.A. Pople||West Bytleet|
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THE TIME HAS COME ...
Yes, it is nearly time to renew your membership subscription again. On 1st March 1987 I shall look forward to receiving vour money. Those with Banker's Orders need not worry but those of you who still pay by cash should embed this date firmly in your minds so as not to forget. The rates are listed below:—
ADULT £6.50; FAMILY £7.50; O.A.P.E2.00; 2 x O.A.P. £4.00; JUNIOR £2.00; GROUP £10.00; LIFE £80.00
Cheques should be made payable to "Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society". Please pay up promptly as we depend on this money to pay wages, bills and undertake further restoration work. Please send monies to Edwin Chappell, Membership Secretary, at The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1OR.
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HELP MAKE A SHOW OF OURSELVES!
Last year, the Society attended a number of events with a Membership/Information Stand to spread the good word. Typical events included our own Ash Lock rally, the National rally at Brentford in August and most recently the Dredger Open Day. The stand provides a valuable source of information to the general public as well as gaining new members and selling Society publications.
We are keen to carry on the good work during 1987 and this is where you can help! We would like ideas for venues during the year where the Society can publicise itself. Also, anyone who can help behind the stall will be very welcome. If you have any ideas/brainwaves please contact Edwin Chappell, Membership Secretary, at The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1QR or on Ashtead (037221 72631.
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THE CLASSROOM CANAL
Whether the subject is history, geography, natural history, sports or even mathematics (if it takes an hour and a half to fill a lock and a half, how long ...), the canal provides a practical basis for learning.
Now Hampshire's Recreation Department has produced a pack full of booklets, copies of historic documents and even a set of 19 slides to help teachers prepare a variety of lessons or study projects using the canal.
The pack contains the Society's booklets: The Natural History of the Basingstoke Canal' by Jutta Manser, and The History of the Basingstoke Canal' by Glenys Crocker. There's also a special booklet of walks suitable for children, and an updated edition of Tony Harmsworth's 'Boats from the Basingstoke's Past'
originally published by the Society. The new edition contains details about boats currently working on the canal as well as the few remains of former working boats. It's a pity, though, the size has reverted to A4 and the original attractive cover by Dusty Miller has been crudely adapted. The publisher might also reflect that the Society holds the copyright.
There's certainly plenty of food for thought in the pack which organiser Dave Morton sees as a way of introducing the canal to children, not only for learning purposes, but also to appreciate its historic interest and recreational value. Cost £10. Available from Mr. D.C. Morton. North East Hampshire Teachers' Centre, St. Alban's Hall, Lynchford Road, Farnborough, Hants.
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WORK camp 1987 will run for 2 weeks from 18th July. Yet another "last" work camp? See you there.
DREDGER Open Day enabled the Society to recruit 7 new members. However the dredging team is still seeking an early morning lighter-upper. This would increase dredging efficiency greatly. If you can help please contact Andy Stumpf (see below).
MODIFICATIONS are to be carried out on the Deepcut flight. Nosing boards are to be fitted to the top gates throughout the flight.
RECRUITS to help with dredging operations appeared in droves at the Open Day - 29 in all.
COVENANTS are an easy and painless way for you to make your subscription to the Society work harder. Please read the enclosed letter on the subject - then fill the form in!
JOHNSONS Wax have most generously agreed to sponsor the entertainments at the Frimley Festival next year to the tune of £800. Many thanks.
FOOTBRIDGE news - Runnymede Borough Council has allocated £25,000 to build the Wey Navigation link footbridge this year.
SORRY about the wrong date on the first issue of the Basingstoke Canal News. Should have been November of course.
MEMBERSHIP leaflets are always available from Edwin Chappell (address etc. below) for distribution to all those friends and colleagues of yours who are just dying to join the Society.
HELP always wanted in the delivery of the 'News'. A large number of members already help save the Society postage by hand delivery. If you can help contact Janet Hedger at 7 Gorseway, Fleet, Hants. GUIS 9NA or 'phone her on Fleet 617465.
IS your address on this issue correct? If not please let Edwin Chappell know (see address below).
SAD to report that the King's Head pub at Frimley is soon to be no more. A famed venue for a halt on the sponsored walk, it is soon to become one of those ritzy steakhouses that seem to be invading our fair land.
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FIRST NARROW BOATS ON CANAL?
Enquiries for canal narrow boat licences caused consternation at a recent meeting of the Joint Management Committee.
Uncertain of the dimensions of narrow boats, JMC members voiced their concern that the boats might be used as houseboats. And Mr. Colin Bonsey, Hampshire's Countryside Officer, has worries about mooring facilities. "We don't want on-street parking", he said, referring to the Council's proposed ban on linear mooring.
Mr. Bonsey asked for the question to be referred to Council Officers before a decision was taken.
But the Society's Chairman, Robin Higgs, pointed out that granting licences for narrow boats was not a policy decision but simply a matter of management. There should be no cause for concern if the owners complied with the regulations.
It was finally agreed to put a decision off until the next meeting in March or April.
The Committee heard that Planning Permission was being sought to develop Benford's Boat Station at Colt Hill, Odiham and provide facilities for six small hire cruisers.
The application was being made by Mr. S.P. Wells of Windlesham who was considering purchasing the existing boat hire business for the purpose.
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COPY DATE FOR MARCH 1987 NEWSLETTER: 15th JANUARY 1987
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 Lodden Road, Farnborough, Hants. (Farnborough 549037)
Sales Manager: Aubrey Slaughter, 37 Fir Tree Way, Fleet, Aldershot, Hants. GU13 9NB.
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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