No. 133 May 1987
THE MARCH OF TIME
Opposition by some local councillors to a plan by two enterprising young businessmen to develop the boat hire facilities at Colt Hill, on the grounds that it might 'erode the visual quality of the area', reminded us of the Society's rough passage in seeking approval to operate the John Pinkerton over ten years ago.
Far from being the menace once envisaged by some elected representatives, most people will agree that the trip boat has enhanced the canal scene, and given pleasure and relaxation to thousands of visitors without disturbance to local residents.
In the intervening years the canalside cricket pitch at Colt Hill has been replaced by a car park. The view of farm and woodland has been interrupted by the new Odiham by-pass. London Road has been urbanised to an astonishing extent. And the woodyard on the former wharf area is now a piecemeal housing development with a particularly bland building overlooking the canal.
At worst this once attractive corner of the canal has been scarred for all time. At best more houses have been built, Odiham centre is relieved of some heavy traffic, and canal visitors provided with car parking space.
Likewise, but without the imagined environmental effects, modest expansion of the boat station will provide a service for boating needs.
BROOKWOOD BOATING BARRIER
Our new season's timetable for John Pinkerton trips lists a short period operating at Brookwood following an inaugural cruise through the 'Brookwood Three' to St. John's.
To achieve the programme the Society paid out £6,000 for contract work to accelerate the completion of Lock 12 beside the Connaught Garage. But it's still not finished. And what was intended to be a highlight of this year's restoration activities has been abandoned.
The reason is a long running dispute between the garage owner and Surrey County Council over some land at Chobham. To force the issue the landowner stopped access to the lock through the backyard of the garage. This has prevented heavy lifting cranes, needed to fit lock gates and balance beams, from reaching the lockside.
We do not know the rights and wrongs of the issue. But we do feel our loss will not be the garage owner's gain. Restoration work is difficult enough without the addition of deliberately created barriers. What's more, the garage owner might reflect on the potential business from passing boaters in the not too distant future - if there's any goodwill left.
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ALL ABOARD FOR THE FRIMLEY FESTIVAL
Waterways commentators have a tendency to criticise boat rallies and water festivals nowadays for lacking the campaigning spirit synonymous with such famous rallies as Market Harborough - the IWA's first national event held in 1950.
Of course the enormous amount of work that goes into organising these events should have a purpose. They are an opportunity to raise funds which the IWA has achieved with increasing success. They should be used to gain support against closures and to promote restoration. And to enrol new members, encourage boating on canals and river navigations and recruit voluntary workers.
But water festivals also have a less quantifiable though equally important function. They are a practical way of demonstrating the amenity and recreational value of our inland waterways to thousands of curious visitors. Even though their interest may never extend further, if they go away with pleasant memories of a canalside afternoon, the waterways movement will have gained more support. Campaigning is not just a matter of persuasion; it is also a question of promoting goodwill.
The National Steam and Small Boat Festival is being held on the Basingstoke to promote use of the 20 navigable miles, already open, and gain more support for the work of completing restoration, in addition to raising money. The Society has a unique opportunity to boost its aims. Every member can help by coming to Frimley Lodge Park with their friends to enjoy the weekend's activities. And we would also welcome your active participation by lending a hand at our sales stand (Martin Bowers — Farnborough 513095), membership/information centre (Edwin Chappell — Ashtead 72631) or the John Pinkerton promotion stand (Grahame Meade — Fleet 629466). And there are any number of other jobs to help the Festival organisers (Tony Davis — Weybridge 44261).
The Festival marks the 25th anniversary of the IWA's last boat rally at Woking in 1962. We wish Festival Director Tony Davis, his committee and all the participants an enjoyable and successful weekend on June 13th — 14th. And we hope to see as many members there as possible.
A wood block engraving, entitled 'Up the River'by H. Caffleri, which appeared in a supplement to the Illustrated News, dated June 21st, 1889. The original reproduction (16" x 11") is available from Printed Page, picture framers and stockists of antique and modem prints at 2-3 Bridge Street, Winchester.
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In the News
CONSERVATIONISTS SEEK CURB ON BOATING
Grave concern was expressed by Society and Inland Waterways Association representatives to a move by nature conservationists, outlined at the March meeting of the Joint Management Committee, seeking to restrict navigation of the restored canal.
Mr Andrew Byfield, an official of the Nature Conservancy Council, described the canal as a 'top quality site for natural history' which was 'bioaquatically rich' in species found.
Following a report commissioned from a local amateur naturalist, which indicated that the waterway met with the NCC's definition of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it was intended to seek an extension of the two existing designated sites (Greywell - plants and Eelmore — dragonflies), to cover 'substantial stretches' of the navigation in Hampshire.
The report acknowledges that, in spite of earlier fears, restoration and especially dredging has not destroyed wildlife. Many aquatic plants have recolonised after dredging.
But having restored the canal, naturalists now want motor boating restricted, and for specified lengths of canal to be 'zoned' for less intensive boating.
In addition to proposed restrictions on navigation, the designation of a larger part of the Canal as an SSSI, giving the Nature Conservancy Council legal powers of enforcement, could challenge the canal authority's ability to manage the waterway as it thinks fit, and even put the legal right of navigation in question.
The Society reacted strongly to the NCC's move. Robin Higgs spoke of the naturalists 'moving the goalposts at the eleventh hour' in wishing to restrict navigation of the canal after so many years of hard work and so near to completion. He pointed out that the Society was not insensitive to the need to protect the Canal's natural history and that we considered ourselves to be in the forefront of the conservation movement. And he reminded members of the JMC that when the Society
campaigned for restoration, the canal was fast disappearing as nature itself was taking over and the canal was being used to dump rubbish.
Robin Higgs also questioned the criteria for SSSI designations when, in the case of the canal's western end, part of it had been included on the basis of two sedges and common alder.
For the IWA Brian Percy, Chairman of the Guildford and Reading Branch, supported the Society in not wishing to see the NCC's proposed designation implemented because he found it 'very restrictive'. "Thousands of hours work and thousands of pounds have been spent to get the canal to a navigable standard", he said and added "Such a good job has been made of restoration it seems the NCC now wants to take the canal over".
He concluded by asking three questions: What had the NCC put in towards the canal's restoration? Why had the County Councils purchased a weed cutter? And would the NCC's designation of further lengths of the canal lead to restrictions?
Replying on behalf of the local authority owners Mr Ray Stedman, Surrey's Countryside Officer, said that the NCC had not contributed towards restoration. The weed cutter had been purchased by the County Councils, he said to keep the canal open for navigation. And he believed that SSSI designation would cause 'severe restrictions' which would have to be a matter of negotiation.
Mr Colin Bonsey, Hampshire's Recreation Officer agreed that the result of further SSSI's would be 'fairly dramatic' and felt that the whole issue should be discussed 'round the table' without resorting to questions of statute.
The JMC's vice-Chairman, Cllr. Ian Parkin, reminded the Committee of its aims which included full restoration of the Canal for navigation and other uses, including conservation of its associated wildlife. But, he believed, that natural history interests could not dictate use of the canal.
It was agreed to set up a sub-committee to discuss the NCC's proposals further.
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ONLY TALENT COUNTS - (from the Engineering News Journal of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, March 1987)
Michael Watson's letter (January) was all good non chauvinistic stuff until his mention of the male dominated boiler room'. Can it be that a mere voluntary society has to point the way?
In 1974 the last steam powered canal grabbing dredger, Perseverance, now 50 years old, owned by the Surrey and Hants Canal Society and operating (still) on the Basingstoke Canal, boasted the only known pregnant stoker.
Furthermore, a lady graduate redesigned the bucket suspension gear at the jib head, in stalwart service 12 years later.
In the canal restoration business only talent counts. That simple rule is too often blurred in the filling of engineering posts. R.I. Jesse, Member, Shaftesbury, Dorset".
Our member Ron Jesse was the author of the above
letter, and he wrote to the B.C. News enclosing the cutting and adding the following comments!
It arose from correspondence about an invitation to "Engineers and their wives", as red a rag in these days of sexual equality (or should I say equality of the sexes?) as you could find. The bit about "... the male dominated boiler room" reminded me of our own stokehold, and I just had to let the world know how we manage our affairs on the Basingstoke.
The pregnant stoker was none other than our very own Penny Gaskill, whose then companion of the stokehold is now James Gaskill, aged 9, I do believe.
The lady graduate mentioned was applying her art at Pyestock, and was delighted to find a need for her skills on the canal. Our real live steamer was "just like the text-books", she said, and proceeded to treat the old-timer with mutual benefit.
The Engineering News has a worldwide readership, and it is a nice thought that eyes from the Andes to the Ganges are reading of our exploits in the recovery of the Basingstoke.
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BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW!
An Evening of Archive Films
As part of the build-up to the IWA National Steam and Small Boat Festival at Frimley in June, the Society is holding another evening of archive films. The earlier very successful presentations by John Huntley are to be continued with another showing of rare films with Mr Huntley in the chair.
The content of the evening hopefully will include historic film of the Basingstoke Canal, steam vessels on the Rivers Thames and Wey, steam propulsion on the railways (and roads) of Surrey and Hampshire, and archive material of Camberley and area.
Make a note of the time, date and venue now — 8.00pm WEDNESDAY, 3rd JUNE at CIVIC HALL, CAMBERLEY. Ticket prices are £3.00 and £2.50, reduced to £2.00 and £1.50 for OAP's and children. 'Phone the Box Office on Camberley 23738 or Peter Coxhead on Byfleet 44564 to reserve your seats for this exciting evening.
VISIT THE BROOKLANDS MUSEUM
An opportunity to visit the famed Brooklands Museum at Weybridge has been arranged by Peter Coxhead. 'Phone Peter on Byfleet 44564 to reserve tickets for the evening of Monday 27th July, at 7.30pm. Price 5Op each.
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BOOK SALES PEOPLE WANTED
The Society has already made a profit of £500 from the sale of 'Basingstoke Canal Restoration' and other books — thanks to members who volunteered to act as salesmen and women.
We've still got good stocks but need more people to call on local retailers (book sellers, newsagents, boat hirers) who sell books.
Book sellers will welcome your call because there is a big demand for titles about local history and topography. And they're a friendly lot, often with an interest in the canal and its restoration.
You don't need to have any experience and there's no hard selling involved. We offer retailers normal Trade discounts and Aubrey Slaughter will be pleased to tell you all you need to know.
Here's a chance to help raise funds, so please give Aubrey a call on Fleet 623102 for more details.
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DUMPING MYSTERY SOLVED
A Fleet member became suspicious of a contractors van which made several visits to the canalside. Each time the driver off-loaded a black container and tipped the contents into the canal.
The worried lady thought it might be industrial waste — oil or even some dangerous toxic liquid. So she alerted canal manager, David Gerry who made inquiries.
It turns out that the proprietor of the Hart Roofing Services has a garden pond overrun with Frogs-spawn. His solution was to transfer the embryo frogs to the canal!
Although a welcome deposit, David is grateful for the tip-off and urges anyone who thinks the canal is being abused to call him. The canal office number is Aldershot 313810 and you can leave a short message on the Ansaphone.
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ALL THE FUN OF THE FRIMLEY FESTIVAL
Over one hundred boats have already been booked in for the first major boating extravaganza on the Canal for 25 years. The last event organised on the Canal by the Inland Waterway Association was a rally of boats at Woking in 1962.
In addition to the trailed and portable boats on the canal at Frimley for the Festival over the weekend June 13th/14th there will be a gathering of larger boats moored on the 880-yard length of the canal from the Wey Navigation junction to Lock 1.
There'll be something of interest for all the family from popular 'bouncy' castles and Mr Magic for children, dancing and army bands to entertain everyone, craft shows and trade exhibitions and the chance to ride in a British Airways hot air balloon - weather conditions allowing.
On the water will be a wide variety of boats with Victorian steam powered craft and boat trips among the main attractions.
For Society members and boat crews there will be a barbecue and jazz band evening on Saturday evening. Tickets £3.50 each from Mrs Rosemary Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Hants.
If you'd like to help at the Festival, the organisers would welcome your call — ring Tony Davis on Weybridge 44261.
Please tell your friends about the Festival - the first big event to be held in the new Frimley Lodge Park - and join in the fun and entertainment.
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GUILDFORD WATER FESTIVAL IN JULY
Plans are now well advanced for this year's Guildford Water Festival which is being held at Millmead (opposite the Jolly Farmer) during the weekend of 11th and 12th July. (See details in the March Issue of BC News). On the evening of Friday 10th from around 7.30pm there will be a pre-Festival 'Boater's get-together' in the Marquee with a Bar, Music etc and also the Day Star Theatre with their latest production — all IWA and Canal Society members are very welcome to come along. Throughout the weekend there will be a full programme of events. The Saturday evening entertainment will include a jazz band, bar and barbecue.
Further details from Dick Harper-White, 25 Jubilee Crescent, Addlestone, Weybridge, Surrey, KT15 2JU. Tel: Weybridge 42074 or Ray Carnell, 23 Scillonian Road, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 5PS. Tel: Guildford 66747. Boat entries to Pat Perry-Barton, Segren Grove Road, Beacon Hill, Hindhead, Surrey, GU26 GPH.Tel: Hindhead 6496.
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NEW HAMPSHIRE RANGER
25-year old Andrew Foster of Aldershot has joined the Hampshire Canal ranger team, replacing John Arnold who left to run The Bluebell' public house at Bruton in Somerset.
Andrew, an experienced forester, will be keeping an eye on the canal through Fleet as part of his general duties.
John and Kathy Arnold will be glad to see West Country lovers and canal enthusiasts at their pub which offers good food and overnight accommodation. Bruton is on the B3081 north of Wincanton (A303). The famous landscaped gardens of Stourhead are not far away.
Galleon Marine Ltd.
NOW THAT THE RESTORATION OF THE CANAL IS ALMOST COMPLETE,
COME AND ENJOY THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOUR. HIRE A QUALITY ROWINGBOAT OR PUNT FROM US AND GENTLY SOAK UP THE BEAUTY OF THE CANAL.
Society Members Only:
WILL RECEIVE 1-1/2 HOURS HIRE FOR THE PRICE OF ONE HOUR
(on production of this advertisement)
Find us opposite the Waterwitch pub, in Odiham
Open weekday evenings, weekends & bankholidays.
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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Sunday 17th May
The Society's Annual "Sponsored Walk and Restoration Trail" - see Fund Raising News. Meet our celebrity guests. Sooty and Matthew Corbett at Ash Lock at 10.00am.
Wednesday 3rd June
Archive Film Evening presented by John Huntley, Civic Hall, Camberley, 8.00pm. Tickets from the Box Office (Camberley 23738) or Peter Coxhead (Byfleet 44564).
WEEKEND 13th/14th JUNE
IWA National Steam and Small Boat Festival at Frimley Lodge Park. It's not too late to enter YOUR boat. Contact Adrian Birtles, 58a High Street, Twyford, Berks, RG10 9AQ enclosing s.a.e.
Weekend 11th/12th July
IWA Guildford Water Festival
Monday 27th July
Visit to Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, 7.30pm. Tickets from Peter Coxhead (Byfleet 44564).
Weekend 29th/31st August
IWA National Rally, Hawkesbury Junction.
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HUMPHRIES' FILM ENTHRALS AUDIENCE
Christ Church Hall in Woking Town Centre was packed to capacity at the Surrey and Hants Canal Society's monthly get-together on February 9th, which was not surprising as John Humphries' annual film presentations are always a highlight of its seasons of social evenings.
Mr Humphries' visit on this occasion was no exception. Indeed, the film which he showed was quite exceptional. Superbly photographed by his talented wife June, it covered five weeks last summer when they, their teenage daughters and friends, teamed up with European waterways expert Hugh McKnight and cruised from Alsace in Eastern France to Strasbourg, where they joined the Rhine and travelled downstream to Basle.
With an extremely strong current behind them, the Humphries returned briskly upstream to explore two of the Rhine's beautiful tributaries which took them into the heart of Germany. Firstly, they ventured down the River Neckar, stopping to see the sights of historic Heidelburg, and finally along the Main through Frankfurt and into Bavaria.
Tunnels, a spectacular descent by an inclined plane, a solitary stork in Strasbourg, numerous robber barons' castles perched high on wooded hillsides and sunny vineyards were all part of the 800 mile journey and of the film which held its audience spellbound and eager to see wherever the Humphries' cruiser and camera took them next.
All in all, a memorable evening. The next such evening is one to be eagerly anticipated. (AR)
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FUND RAISING NEWS - Derek Truman
Three books of draw tickets are enclosed. Please do your best to sell all of them (only 20p each or £1 a book of 5). The prizes are that most acceptable commodity cash-£200, £100 and £50.
Stubs and cheques should be sent to Bob Humberstone, 11 Tichbourne Close, Frimley, Camberley, Surrey, not later than 30 September, 1987. Bob, in exchange for an s.a.e., will be delighted to provide further supplies.
As Arthur Daley might say, the draw is a nice little earner; with your help it can be a major source of funds.
Sponsored Walk - Sunday 17th May 1987
Marshalls as well as walkers are still urgently needed. Please contact Graham Meade, 89 Tavistock Road, Fleet Hants (Fleet 629466) if you can help or need more walk booklets.
With a record of 122 members, the club will make a useful £750 (or so) profit for the Society in 1987. February winners were:
Mr and Mrs Scammell £59; Mr R. Sinclair £29 (to whom we are very grateful for a £10 donation); Mrs D.Jack £15;MrsP.Dike-Nolan£15. Thank you for joining us.
National Steam & Small Boat Festival —June 13 and 14
This will be our first national event on home ground and we intend that the Society should make a real impact on the thousands expected to attend. So we are hiring a large marquee to house the sales, membership and information stands and a video. We will also need helpers to man those stands — not onerous tasks but a couple of hours or so either day would be much appreciated.
Edwin Chappell (Ashtead 72631) or Derek Truman (Fleet 613435) are compiling a roster — the more who can help, the lighter the load.
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A copper coin, dated 1813, has been unearthed by a Hymac excavator in Mill Lane, Dogmersfield. On one side the words 'Navigation and Trade' are inscribed and on the reverse the words 'Pure copper is preferable to paper. One penny'.
But it's history is something of a mystery. Was it a trading token or a coin of the Realm ?Did it have any connection with the Basingstoke Canal?
As there are no records in English coin catalogues, our member and amateur numismaterist, Stan Knight of Crookham, has been investigating further afield and found the coin listed in a Canadian coin catalogue. Apparently it was minted in three years, 1812-1814. It is known to have been imported. So why was one found at Dogmersfield? Was it in fact used in this Country or just lost by an overseas visitor?
If you have any clues we would like to hear from you.
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page 7 --
Top (Frank Jones supervising a busy scene) with volunteer carpeners Eddie Poherly and Ken Nevets constructing a gate frame with the help of Martin Smith while Jim Reid and Dave Wedd plane the planking. That leaves 31 gates to build.
(top) The 81st lock gate for the canal to be built in the workshop at Deepcut. Frank Jones (centre) supervising a busy scene
(bottom left) The mystery copper coin. (bottom right) The changing scene at St Johns - the once derelict Lock 10 and tumbled down Woodend Bridge restored by the Society.
Photos: Geoff Helliwell and Dieter Jebens. Processing and printing: Clive Durley.
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WORKING PARTIES and Progress - Peter Cooper
The period of this newsletter should see a significant change in the working parties restoring locks on the canal, as it is planned and expected that work will be completed on the St Johns Flight, and the work force will be entirely concentrated on the Woodham Flight. Of the 29 locks on the canal, the work remaining is now limited to only four of them (plus gating a few more), and one of these, Lock 1, is expected to be completed before long.
The completion of chamber restoration at the St Johns Flight, almost entirely by volunteers, is an enormous achievement by the Society's working parties and their regular visiting groups. It must rank among the major canal restoration accomplishments in the country.
The working parties operating are listed below. It is usually advisable to contact your working party leader a few days before attending, in case there is a last minute change of plan.
Woodham Locks 2, 3 and 4 Every weekend
The early months of the year saw work starting on Lock 2 at Woodham (after the pioneering at last year's Work Camp), and increasing in its scale as more working parties moved onto this flight; not much has happened lately, though, at Lock 3. At Lock 4 the top cill is now well advanced, and the flank walls are about to be rebuilt. By mid March the main job remaining on the St Johns Flight was the rebuilding of the upper recess walls at Lock 8; this lock's second chamber wall was complete, its coping stones had been putback, and hollow posts had been cast.
The move to Woodham has led to a reorganisation of the working parties; the four week cycle which was followed at St Johns is replaced, starting in June, by each working party operating on a fixed weekend in the month (the old arrangement years ago at Deepcut). The working party already established at Lock 4 now become part of an overall task force to deal with Locks 2, 3 and 4.
The coordinator of the work on these locks is MIKE FELLOWS on Wokingham (0734) 787428, and for further details you should contact him, or one of the working party leaders listed below. Working parties, and the locks they work on, are :—
First weekend of the month - Locks 2 and 3 PETER JONES - Aldershot 313076
16/17 May, 6/7 June, 4/5 July
Second weekend of the month - Lock 4 PABLO HAWORTH - Byfleet (09323) 42081
9/10 May, 13/14 June, 11/12 July
Third weekend of the month — Locks 2 and 3
PETER REDWAY - Woking 21710
9/10 May,23/24 May, 20/21 June, 18/19 July
Fourth weekend of the month - Locks 2 and 3
JULES WOOD - Farnborough 515737
2/3 May, 30/31 May,27/28 June,25/26 July
(Note that the old 4-week cycle applies up to the end of May, and then the new arrangements start. Note also, looking ahead, that there will be no working party on the weekend of 29/30 August).
When working on these locks, volunteers should park their cars in the large car park near West Byfleet station
* DO NOT use the small car park by Lock 2, and DO NOT bring your car down the small lane (Farris Lane) to Lock 3. If in doubt, consult your working party leader.
We again have to report an omission from the ranks of working party leaders. EDWIN CHAPPELL finds that his new duties as Society Membership Secretary mean that he cannot make the commitment to continue as a working party leader as well, and is regretfully stepping down. The Society would like to thank him for his efforts as a working party leader at St Johns.
Dredging in Hampshire Every weekend
The steam dredger "Perseverance" is now moving away from Zephon Common Swing Bridge, and is about 1/4 mile from Malthouse Bridge, which should be reached during the summer. Some maintenance has been carried out lately on the dragline and on one of the tugs. For further details contact ANDY STUMPF on 0923-778231 (work) or Chesham 785720 (home) or BRIAN BANE on Hook 3627.
Lock gate building
As the remaining locks of the St Johns Flight are
completed, work will start on building the gates for
them. Dates are:—
2/3 May, 6/7 June, 4/5 July
For details contact FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711
(workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home).
*** See note below on passes
Woodham Lock 1
Third weekend of the month - 16/17 May, 20/21 June, 18/19 July
This party have been impeded somewhat by the winter weather, but are currently rebuilding the lower recess walls. For further details of this party, which operates under the auspices of the Guildford branch of the IWA, contact DICK HARPER-WHITE on Weybridge (0932) 42074 or ROY DAVENPORT on 01-979-7075.
Surrey Bankside work
This party are still in their summer recess, and will start again in the autumn.
Full time work
At Lock 12 the pill box has now been taken down, but their are complications preventing the completion of the remaining work. At St Johns, Lock 11 is now gated, and the same job is being tackled at Lock 10.
If you are able to 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 some work to do.
***Weekday volunteers also see note below
*** Passes for Deepcut
The road through Pirbright Camp is now no longer a public road, and this includes the access point to the lock gate workshop by Lock 28. If you need to go there, to attend a working party or for some other reason, you will need a pass. If you don't have a pass, then contact FRANK JONES to find out what you need to do.
Work Camp 1987
This is positively the last call for the 1987 Work Camp, almost certainly the last canip there will be on this canal. If you want to attend you should fill in an application form; if you have any problem with this, con tact MIKE FELLOWS for assistance.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
GREYWELL PROBLEMS NEED SOLVING
We were asked to help the Society to 'take a quantum leap into the future'. What future? Without solutions to restoring Greywell Tunnel, 1988 will see the end of volunteer work for people like myself.
The January issue of BCNews has plenty of proposals but few facts. After 20 years existence, the problems of Greywell Tunnel and beyond seem to be as unresolved as ever.
I joined the Society to help as a volunteer — hard work but filling a need to get away from the tedium of city life. Like many others, workwise, we would like to push on towards Basingstoke. Yours faithfully, Mr. K.Blake, 12 Ulford Road, London SE5.
THE VALUE OF VOLUNTARY LABOUR
I must register disagreement with the calculations of the figures you quote in the January BCNews — page 3, Current Restoration Costs.
The total of 28,000 hours of volunteer labour cannot be contested, and indeed is very encouraging, li is the value of £77,000 placed on the work which I find unacceptable. That sum rates an hour of work at £2.75, which is utterly ridiculous. It is not possible to buy an hour of time in this sort of work anywhere for that sum of money. Just try working out what your local builder would charge per hour to do the most simple job, if you are lucky you might get work done for £10 an hour.
The prime cost (i.e. without overheads) of the type of work the volunteers do is worth a minimum of £3.50. That figure assumes the normal input of work into the hour, but as Mrs Frerichs said when she saw how work was done to salvage 'Seagull', "don't the volunteers work hard". If we take that as a standard of input then the prime value of a volunteer hour is nearer to £5, To this must be added an overhead burden. The lowest reasonable figure is 50%, this being acceptable because our Society has low operating costs and capital investment.
Taking these factors into consideration, the cost value of the volunteer work reaches £210,000. If a contractor was quoting for the work, with his overhead and profit, the tender would not be less than £l/4m. May we be told why the value of our volunteers is rated so low?
101 Branksome Hill Road, College Town,Camberley,
JUMBLE SALE SUCCESS
Just to let you know we raised £105 at our Jumble Sale in Ash Vale on March 25th.
Thank you to all the helpers - we had more helpers this time and it certainly made it easier on the day.
Also my thanks to Mrs Deane of Anglia Transformers at Tongham for once again lending us their van for the afternoon, free of charge. She is Andrew's employer and has lent us the van for at least three jumble sales, and we are very grateful for the Company's assistance.
6 Grange Farm Road, Ash, Aldershot, Hants.
LOST IN THE JUNGLE?
Harvey Williams (Letters BCNews 132) is very lucky to have a loyal working party of six to seven members with mixed skills. Unfortunately bricklaying is not my skill — stacking, yes, and the devil mixer producing many textures, plus comments from the Governor.
Having joined the Society working on the St. John's flight I would wish to continue there until the locks are completed before moving down to Woodham.
Instead I am approaching by a different route, clearing the towpath with Peter Jackman's working party. I am approaching Lock 4, so perhaps a Livingstone — Stanley meeting could arise.
The Society's main problem is: membership increases; workload increases but workers decrease. We were down to three workers early in March but achieved the work of six and aching backs!
12 Lilford Road, London SE5.
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VANDALS CAUSE RESTORATION SET-BACK
During half-term school holidays in February, the various mindless acts of vandalism that were carried out on the canal not only cost money, but more importantly, delayed valuable progress on the restoration in Hampshire.
The list of damage to the canal, equipment and environs included removing and burning the fencing around King John's Castle, removal of the hand-rail on Fleet weir, dumping Zephon Common swing bridge in the canal and cutting free our steam dredger Perseverance, (after being broken into and rendered useless by destroying the boiler pressure gauge).
The net result of these acts is that the only swing bridge remaining on the canal may now not be replaced. Further, dredging progress was necessarily abandoned for 3 weekends, pending replacement of the vital instrument.
In an earlier issue of BCNews we asked that members help keep a watchful eye on the canal and all equipment in use on it. It seems that this is now even more vita! — if you see something suspicious occurring, please let the police know.
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Frimhurst Pig Farm Site, Deepcut Bridge Road
As reported in the January B.C. News, Wimpey's have submitted an outline planning application to Surrey Heath Borough Council to develop the Frimhurst Pig Farm site as a large eldery persons' retirement village. The development would include bungalows, blocks of flats plus ancillary facilities, and would overlook the canal in an intrusive manner in this location, with, in one corner, a three storey block only thirty feet from the towpath, the canal being in a cutting at this location.
The site is classified as land adjoining the Green Belt, and the application has been turned down by Surrey Heath. However, it is understood that Wimpey's will go to appeal, and therefore the Society will continue its opposition on the same lines, that the site's prominence and proximity would have an unacceptable impact on the canal.
Freelands Farm, Crookham Village
It has been announced by Martin Grant Homes Ltd. that they are appealing against Hart District Council's refusal of planning permission to develop a number of houses on the redundant farm site off Gally Hill Road, Church Crookham. Development permission given on this site could be the thin end of the wedge for this part of rural canal. We have fought for years to keep the open areas of Freelands Farm and Velmead Farm free of development and will continue to do so. Once the urban area of Fleet and Church Crookham is extended, the floodgates will open.
Benford's Boat Station, Colt Hill, Odiham
A planning application has been submitted to Hart District Council by prospective purchasers of the Benford Boat Hire business, to create a small boat basin for the existing fleet of rowing boats and punts, together with six new small hire cruisers, which would be used for three/four day hire on the canal. Planning permission has been given subject to various conditions including agreement with both Hart District Council and Hampshire County Council.
In addition it is sought to convert the present small workshop into a chandlery. This request has been refused, on the grounds of undue extra traffic and inconvenience to neighbouring residents. The applicants are now considering an appeal.
Britannia Wharf, Monument Road, Woking
This site currently is home to a group of unsightly disused industrial buildings, with Horsell Common on one boundary and the canal on the other. Last year planning approval was given for a new "high-tech" industrial complex, but following the sale of the site, a new application for an office building is to be made by the new owners, Campmoss Limited.
It is pleasant to report that the current developer has approached the Society prior to submission of their application, as did the previous owners. Campmoss Limited have in addition offered to provide assistance with the restoration of the canal in the area of their development.
The Society monitors very closely every planning application affecting the canal, and appropriate comments are made to the planning authorities before the applications are considered and discussed.
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NEWS FROM THE SOCIETY'S EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Members want to know more about the Society's policies, what is happening, what the problems are and the progress being made. These notes, which we hope will become a regular feature in the News, will summarise some of the main issues which your committee has been considering.
How much of the policy of the Society can be made public?
Two points have to be borne in mind. First, the Society is no longer solely a campaigning organisation as it was in the late 1960's. Second, it is now a fair-sized enterprise - civil engineering (lock restoration and dredging; leisure (John Pinkerton); an employer with 4 full-time staff; and a fund raiser to match its £50,000 plus annual turnover.
Matters in general are more complicated than they were in the early days; the Society has to work closely with the two county councils and is very much in the public eye. Other organisations keep a close watch on our activities and are quick to score points in the press or to lobby the councils.
Consequently, the committee believes that there may be some issues which are at such an early stage of consideration or involve difficult and sensitive negotiations with third parties which could not be made public without running the risk of damaging them. But it is not our policy to assume a mantle of secrecy over its deliberations; whenevsr and wherever possible full information is and will be made available.
The Society will have to run a tight budget in 1987 and at present expects a deficit on th6 year's operations of at least £3,000. Every effort will be made to turn this into a surplus.
After very serious consideration of the Marketing Group's investigations and research, the Committee agreed with their conclusions that the appointment of a full-time fund-raiser could not be justified. But this did not mean that fund-raising was any less important; all ideas for increasing funds for the Society should be pursued and help sought from the members.
The Society spends some £1200 a year on these to meet our legal obligations and public liabilities. Peter Redway, on behalf of the committee has shopped around for the best buys but it is still a lot of money. In addition, insurance for the John Pinkerton will cost about £400.
If you have any points on these notes or would like fuller explanations, please ask any member of the main Committee.
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WOODHAM - WEY LENGTH TO OPEN THIS YEAR?
Owners of houseboats on the Canal whose vessels have not passed a marine surveyors inspection have until August to make their floating homes 'canal worthy'.
Any craft which does not pass Surrey's required standards will have their mooring licence extended to December 31st and then be offered an exit channel to leave the canal.
Although restoration of Lock 1 is nearing completion, there is still a great deal to be done on Lock 2 which is unlikely to be operational this year unless contractors are brought in.
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In the News
Since removal of the engine from the NB Seagull, (BC News 128) the Society's Special Projects Group has continued to visit the Brickworks Arm to ensure that the woodwork of the hull remains immersed. This is essential to prolong the life of the hull.
It is intended to block up a small breach in the west bank of the dock to increase the retention of water in both the Arm and the main line of the canal. The effect of this will be to raise the water level another 12 inches, improving the appearance of the canal and providing further insurance against damage to Seagull's hull.
The hull is now destined for the new museum to be opened by British Waterways Board at Llantony Warehouse, Gloucester Docks.
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COMMITTEE BACKS ELECTRIC POWER
Electrically powered boats are being encouraged on the Canal by the Joint Management Committee.
At its meeting in March members agreed that licences for battery powered boats would be 50% of the normal fee.
The Committee also agreed to licence larger craft and fixed an annual licence fee of £55 for a 72ft narrow boat, £45 for 50ft vessels, and boats up to 35ft long £30.
Written authority must be sought for any boat which has to be launched by crane so that the county councils can establish the owners mooring arrangements.
For licence applications, write to: Boat Licence Clerk, H.C .C., Ash Lock Cottage, Government Road, Aldershot, Hants.
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VISIT CANAL DISPLAY AT BASINGSTOKE
An exhibition of photographs showing the inside of Greywell Tunnel and the condition of the canal and its bridges as far as Up Nately will be on show at the Willis Museum now housed in Basingstoke's imposing Old Town Hall.
The exhibition opens on Saturday, April 25th for four weeks, closing on May 21st.
A feature of the display will be a sketch of a proposed canal basin, slipway and museum adjacent to the former Penney Bridge on the Greywell to Mapledurwell Road.
Designed and organised by a small group of Society members, the display is intended to sound out the view of local people to the concept of extending restoration of the canal to within three miles of Basingstoke.
It has always been the Society's aim to promote restoration of the Canal west of Greywell to enhance the amenity value of the canal as a whole.
At the same time visitors can see the permanent exhibition of the town's history, originally sponsored by Willis, the clock and watchmakers, and now re-designed and run by Hampshire County Council.
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MAINTENANCE DREDGER SEEN
Agreement to buy a maintenance dredger (see BC News 131) cannot go ahead until the cost of £65,000 is met.
Hampshire's Canal Manager, David Gerry, reported to the Canal's Joint Management Committee, at its meeting in March, that whilst Hampshire had allocated £20,000 towards the cost, the balance had still to be found.
Surrey County Council will be considering its contribution this month (May), it was reported, but District Councils have yet to be approached.
For the Society, Robin Higgs said that the Society was prepared to contribute but had yet to make a budget allocation.
Meanwhile, David Gerry, reported that he had visited Smalleys, the excavator manufacturer, and discussed the design of a dredging rig successfully used by the Thames Water Authority. This consists of a hopper barge with a Smalley excavator mounted on one end. (See BC News 126).
The dredger could be delivered and in use on the canal this autumn if the funding is completed soon.
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PLANS PREPARED TO PLANT
When four large architect's plans arrived on the editorial desk we thought some major new development was being threatened along the canal. But all the meticulous drawing was to show the proposed planting of the strip of land between the new Goldsworth relief road and the canal.
There's fraximus excelsior, quercus robur (oak), tilia cordata and alnus glutinosa among individual trees along the towpath. Then wildflower seeding and springtime bulbs. And narcissus pseudonarcissus by the armful. Not to mention prunus avium.
Sounds like a landscape to rival Wisley and no doubt it well be welcomed.
But we suspect some canal enthusiasts who enjoy the simplicity of canal architecture, engineering and landscaping perhaps hoped for a more typical treatment of a traditional hawthorn hedge with the oaks. That way some continuity with the canal's rural environment at St. John's would have been established right into Woking.
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TEN YEARS AGO - from Newsletters Nos. 73 and 74
* The first Job Creation Programme grant of £34,633 was made to the Society by the Manpower Services Commission for a 6-month scheme employing 26 people on the Deepcut flight.
* Discussions took place with the Army over the design of a replacement for Curzon Bridge closed to traffic.
* Nearly 1,000 people attended a Marks & Spencer Fashion Show, organised by the Society, at the Army Boxing Centre, which raised £1,210.
* The Trip Boat Appeal reached its target of £10,300 including a donation of £2,100 made by Mr George Jackson, Chairman of Oakleigh Animal Products of Ascot.
* Mike McGrath and his working party 'retired' from canal clearance work in Surrey after seven years work.
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STORM force winds in March brought down 25 trees along the Hampshire length of the canal including an ancient oak at Sandy Hill Bridge, Winchfield.
BR employee Edwin Chappell, our membership secretary, was among the eight finalists in Southern Region's 'Young Person of the Year' contest.
ENJOYED watching Camberley journalist and one time Society Secretary and Newsletter editor, June Sparey take the Treasure Hunt Trail on Channel 4 TV to Stoke Bruerne among other places in Northants.
SALES manager for the Society is sought. Our current manager, Aubrey Slaughter, is intending to retire after many years of generating vital funds for the canal's restoration. Can YOU help - if so contact Aubrey on Fleet (0252) 623102.
HEAR that dredger crew social evening was a great success. Encouraging too that our new volunteers recruited at last year's dredger open day are making a considerable difference to the dredging operation in Hampshire.
RALLY enthusiasts please note. In conjunction with Woking's celebration of 150 years of rail transport next year("Woking 150"), a rally of boats is to be held in the Borough during May 1988 at the Brewery Road car park site.
LANDSLIP at Broad Oak which brought down a fine walnut tree has been cleared by HCC using a Hymac.
COMMUNICATIONS it would appear could be improved. Our member Stan Meller has found a Basingstoke Canal Company board resolution dated 16th July 1789 stating that Mr. Jones should be discharged immediately. 198 years on he is STILL working on the canal!
THANKS are due to Mr. J.C. Dinan of Hillingdon for donating a number of redundant lift cables. These are now in use for mooring Perseverance.
HAVE you considered remembering the Society in your will? The Secretary, Phil Riley, will be glad to advise on the required wording.
WOKING Borough Council have provided a further £2,500 towards the Society's restoration effort. Many thanks - we look forward to the day (not far away now) when boats will once more be seen in Woking.
FURTHER dredger news. The green tug is to receive a new propeller together with other engineering work. The prop, wears very fast due to the 4 feet plus draught!
NORTH Warnborough lift bridge appears now to be due for replacement in October.
EXTRAORDINARY General Meeting held at Woking on 9th March passed unanimously the resolution regarding revised distribution of annual accounts.
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COPY DATE FOR JULY 1987 NEWSLETTER: 15th MAY 1987
Published by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Ltd., a non profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered as a Charity. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Society.
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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