November 1987

Comment - Year of

Killer Weed on Canal?
Working Parties
Basingstoke Canal that
  Never Was

Christmas Gifts
Fox & Hounds
Army to Fence off flash
Navigation Autumn

Houseboat Owners
  clash with Council

Centre pictures info
Waterside Watch
Fund Raising
Ten Years Ago
New Members
Join Speakers Panel
Surrey's Spotlight on

County Valuer retires
Clive's Canal Calendar
Don't get bitten by a Bat
Gongoozler's Gossip

Contact the Society

    bcnmsthd130 (13K)
No. 136 November 1987

front pic1 (71K)

THIS COLUMN does not usually indulge in end of year reviews: that is done at the AGM. But with the start of what could be the last full year of essential restoration work to re-open the canal, this is an appropriate time for reflection.

This year has proved to be an odd mixture of contrasts. At the western end the Nature Conservancy Council emerged to lay claim on the newly restored canal as a nature reserve and call for boat cruising to be restricted to a minimum. While at the eastern end locks are being completed at a rate of knots in readiness for navigation.

A good deal of frustration has been caused and valuable time wasted refuting the accusations of a Fleet naturalist that the Society is a boating lobby and does not care about the canal's wildlife.

Much more satisfying time has been spent admiring the constructive efforts of those who work in the name of the Society and canal conservation.

For example, park the car at Chequer's Wharf, Crookham Village, which looks better than ever, and take a walk (or boat) down the canal to Poulters Bridge and beyond as far as restoration has progressed. The canal itself, once weeded over and filled with silt, is clear, deep and navigable again. The towpath and banks are neatly trimmed, leaving a margin of reeds along the water's edge. It's a pleasure to see.

Further east, our cover picture shows another picturesque length of the canal, newly created by the Society's volunteers and full-time workers, with the help of Surrey County Council. Not so long ago this view was not worth looking at: in fact it was positively depressing. Now look at it. The lock is restored and in working order again. The canal bed has been cleared and filled with water, curving round to Woodend Bridge delightfully restored to its former graceful lines. What an attractive scene.

Reflection is not only about looking back but also forward, to the end of restoration and beyond. This is something the Society's elected Committee has started to consider, but clearly the future role of the Society is a matter for all members to discuss and help formulate. To open the debate, Committee member Derek Truman writes:

'At the end of 1988 the fruits of 22 years campaigning and — more to the point — sheer hard work by members and friends of the Society will be (almost) to hand. So where will that leave the Society? It's main job done (nature conservationists permitting), should it just fade away? In short, should we get out while we are winning?

Or should the Society, perhaps, continue to run the John Pinkerton and use the funds to help out as a sort of Basingstoke Canal Supporters Club? There are plenty of relatively minor jobs to be done and money raised can provide amenities which the local authorities may not be prepared to finance.

Should the Society be a proselytizing body, campaigning for the restoration of other canals? We are well placed to help raise money and organise voluntary working parties to assist other similar projects.

Or should we renew our campaigning vigour, provided we can reach a reasonable agreement • with the naturalist over the protection of wildlife, and aim to re-open Greywell Tunnel and restore the canal to Up Nateley? That would be another big undertaking, utilising all our existing resources, which was one of the Society's original objectives.

These are some ideas for consideration. When so much time and effort has been spent by so many people to build up what is, by any standards, an efficient voluntary organisation with a very considerable expertise in a unique branch of civil engineering, as well as in the leisure industry, can we really let all this fade away? We need to start a constructive debate on the future of the Society, at the next AGM. In the meantime please let us have your views'.

Wishing all our readers an enjoyable Christmas and a Happy New Year.

FRONT COVER: Frank Jones admires the attractive, rural scene at St John's looking towards Woodend Bridge from Lock 9. (Photograph by Dieter Jebens and Clive Durley).
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NATURE'S own menace, an uncontrollable water weed, is reported to be invading local waterways, including the Kennet and Avon and the Basingstoke canals.

Like something out of 'Dr Who', the weed blankets the water, defying pesticides and weed-eating carp to control it, killing off other plants. According to a report which appeared in the Reading Evening Post, the weed, known as Australian Swamp Stone Crop CrassulaHelmsii, can grow up to two feet above the water and four feet below the surface.

It has already appeared on eight other British waterways and spreads quickly, choking less resilient plants and preventing light from reaching underwater species which die off as a result.

Freshwater biologists say it is a serious threat to Britain's waterways. The only way known to destroy the swamp weed is by covering it with black sheeting and starving it of light.
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WORKING PARTIES and Progress - Peter Cooper
WE ARE now nearly into 1988, the year which should see the completion of our work on the canal, and the working party dates listed here do indeed extend into 1988. So it is just as well that the focus of the work continues to move steadily eastwards — work has now finished on the Brookwood flight of locks, and most of the activity on the St John's flight is at the bottom end. So if enough people play their parts, we should be able to reach our target.

Working parties are listed below; it is usually as well to contact your working party leader a few days before attending, in case there should be a last minute change of plan.

Woodham Locks 2,3 and 4 Every weekend
A lot of work was done on Locks 2 and 3 during the work camp. Both the off-side chamber wall and the top cill of Lock 2 were rebuilt during the camp, and the lower hollow posts were cast and the bottom end walls completed. The nearside chamber wall is now being demolished.

At Lock 3 the bywash channel was laid, and the bottom cill was rebuilt — both incidentally were "lasts" on the canal — no more of these to do. The existing footbridge over this lock has since been removed, and the flank and return walls now have to be rebuilt by December, when a new footbridge is to be installed.

The flank and return walls of Lock 4 are almost complete, after which the top recess walls will be rebuilt.

The coordinator of the work on this flight is MIKE FELLOWS on Wokingham 787428, and for further details you should contact him, or one of the working party leaders listed below. Working parties, with the locks they work on, are:-

First weekend of the month — Locks 2 and 3
31 October/1 November, 5/6 December, 2/3 January
PETER JONES on Aldershot 313076

Second weekend of the month — Lock 4
7/8 November, 12/13 December, 9/10 January
PABLO HAWORTH on Byfleet 42081

Third weekend of the month — Locks 2 and 3
14/15 November, 19/20 December, 16/17 January
PETER REDWAY on Woking 21710, who also does fifth weekend - 28/29 November

Fourth weekend of the month - Locks 2 and 3
21/22 November, 23/24 January
JULES WOOD on Farnborough 515737 (NOTE: no working party on 26/27 December)

When working at these locks, volunteers are asked to park their cars in the large car park near West Byfleet station. Please do not use the small car park by Lock 2, and please do not bring your car down the small lane (Paris Lane) leading to Lock 3.

Dredging in Hampshire Every weekend
Dredging restarted in September, after a longer stoppage than had been expected, owing to a series of equipment problems involving tugs and dragline. The kingpost on the dredger has been refitted, and the boiler has passed its inspection. Progress towards Malthouse Bridge continues, but the dragline has not yet moved to its new tip site. Existing dredger crew should contact the crew organiser ROGER FLITTER on Fleet 622956; other details from ANDY STUMPF on 0923-778231 (work) or Chesham 785720 (home) or from BRIAN BANE on Hook 3627.

Lock gate building
This party continue to work in conjunction with the full time team, and are currently working on the gates for Lock 7. Dates are:-
7/8 November, 5/6 December, 2/3 January
Details from FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home).

Woodham Lock 1
Third weekend of the month — 14/15 November, 19/20 December
This team are aiming to complete structural work by the end of November. The top recess walls are still to be completed, the mitre to be fitted, a few coping stones to be reset, and the footbridge to be finished. Further details from DICK HARPER-WHITE on Weybridge 842074 or ROY DAVENPORT on 01-979-7075.

Surrey bankside work
First and third Sundays of the month - 1 November, 15 November, 6 December, 20 December, 3 January, 17 January.
There has been a change of plan since the last newsletter, and this party are now going to work in the Woking area in connection with the Woking 150 celebrations next year. They will be starting work at Arthurs Bridge. This is unskilled work suitable for family parties. Details from PETER JACKMAN on Woking 72132.

Full time work
Work on Lock 12 has now been completed, and water is now in the pound between Locks 11 and 12, though not to full depth. The houseboats have been moved to a new position, back in the main channel but not obstructing it. The towpath is now being raised between Hermitage Bridge and Lock 11, and further work on the Cowshot stream is planned.

At St John's, Lock 9 is now gated, the top gates at Lock 8 are fitted and the bottom gates are being worked on. There has been more dredging around Goldsworth, up to Lock 7.

Weekday volunteering
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 very happy to find you some work to do.
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Dear Sir,
I frequently read, with dismay, of the wrangle between our society and the conservationists over the bats in Greywell tunnel. Surely by now it's time to stop recriminations and develop some sensible joint plan to deal with the problem.

I don't know a great deal about tunnel construction or bats, and my position here is very isolated. I'm not able to actually go and look at the situation or meet the people concerned — which is probably just as well, because sometimes I feel I'd like to bang a few heads together — but even so there are one or two points that seem fairly obvious to me.

The cave effect that the bats seem to like was produced by a partial collapse of the tunnel roof. I can see absolutely no reason to doubt that the tunnel continues to deteriorate and that this in itself, will put the bat's habitat at risk. It will of course, be argued that this can be prevented by maintenance work. Surely that will also disturb the bats. It would seem then that the matter at issue is not whether the bats can be disturbed, but rather; What amount of inevitable disturbance can they tolerate?

To my mind there is an elegant, but fairly simple solution that causes the minimum of disturbance, and yet paves the way for the bats to move out altogether if they so wish, but to be effective it needs to be put into effect as soon as possible. Like everything worth doing it costs money, but in a true spirit of co-operation it would be reasonable to expect both the conservationists and the canal enthusiasts to share the cost, bearing in mind that with no solution, there is no future for the tunnel or the bats.

I suggest that a new tunnel be cut as close to the existing one as possible. No concessions to appearance should be made at all. Internally, keep it as rough as possible, just concrete lining. This should actually help keep the cost down. Also, I doubt it would need to be anything like as large as the real tunnel. The end of this new bore could be made as similar to the original as possible, its bottom slightly below the canal waterline so that it has a similar humidity etc. even to the point of dumping some broken masonry in it. How about some bat droppings for real authenticity?

Up to this point the bats wouldn't have been disturbed in the slightest, and the next step would be to bore a narrow connecting 'pipe' from the new construction to the old tunnel. Only at this point might the bats be disturbed, but even then, no more than by a small masonry fall within the existing tunnel. The whole system should then be left well alone for as long as possible.

I would expect that the bats will quickly become accustomed to their free 'home improvement' and eventually will start to use it — particularly if some way can be found to encourage a small population rise. Once this happens, even if only a few bats take to the new habitat, an established place exists for the other bats should they find the repair work and eventual re­instatement of the tunnel too disturbing for them.

Obviously there will be problems, but can't we all look at this as a challenge and not an impasse? As I said I'm no expert, but if it is to have a chance of success I really believe that work must start as soon as possible. I've read that very little is really known about bat behaviour. Well isn't this a golden opportunity to find out more? I'm sure the conservationists could find some way to monitor the bats as they explore their new territory. Knowledge gained might be of great interest to all concerned.
Yours faithfully,
T.W. Blunt, Broadmoor Hospital, Crowthorne, Berks.

Dear Sir,
There would be very little flow of water without something to cause it to happen i.e. boats. For what reason have I and many others spent long back breaking hours restoring locks? A nature reserve would result in the canal quickly returning to the state prior to restoration, wasting our efforts.

The Society must resist any take-over bid since the whole aim of restoration is the passage of boats. Nature and boats can and do live together. Both are subject to some limitations or the two might clash.

Woking area is lacking water spaces such as ponds as housing has been developed on the former damp ground, and it would seem that the NCC wants to have the Canal.

The towpath may be barred to horse riders, but how do we keep motor bikes out? Low barriers would prevent them passing with access to walkers and gates to maintenance vehicles.

There are various places where pipes are draining into the canal. Recently I saw thick suds pouring into the canal at Brookwood.
Yours faithfully,
Upper Flat, 12 Lilford Road, London, SE5 9HX.

Dear Sir,
This is to notify you of our change of address. We read and look forward to our copy of the magazine with continued interest.

We wish everyone connected with the project the very best for the remainder of this year and throughout 1988.

I, for one, can recall rowing on the canal in my teenage years by the old timber wharf near Horsell if my memory doesn't let me down! Such a long time ago!

We had hoped to come over to the UK this year. Unfortunately this is not to be. Our last trip when we saw how work was progressing was two years ago. We send you our sincere good wishes.
Yours faithfully,
E.and N.Jones
49 Florence Street North, Taree, NSW 2430, Australia.

Dear Sir,
I read that the National Chairman, following the brilliant success of the Frimley Green rally, is considering the site for a possible future National. What a triumphant vindication of the Society's efforts; but, will we have enough water? One possibility might be to station a controller at Lock 29 to monitor the levels, and if necessary to let down a large quantity of water from the top pound. Here's hoping!
Yours faithfully,
B.C. Hammond 16 Greenhurst Lane, Oxted, Surrey
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Time Off
THE Basingstoke Canal might have taken a very different form if an Odiham barge owner had sold his idea 200 years ago. On 15th December 1787, a Mr Alexander Baxter wrote to the Canal Company, the year before construction work started, suggesting the use of incline planes.

As it was, his proposal was probably too late and unconventional for it to be given serious consideration, but the cost saving must have prompted considerable interest and last minute discussions.

Mr Baxter had experienced the use of incline planes on American waterways as an alternative to locks. And his arguments must have sounded very convincing.

He described how boats of '3 to 4 tuns' were lifted 'about 140 feet perpendicular height' up a slope of 60 or 65 degrees, in a cradle 'which moves in a groove of a frame fixed upon the side of the bank ... hoisted to the top by a cable that is wound round a capstan placed upon the summit and wrought with handspikes by Batteau Men'.

Mr Baxter argued that given a more gradual slope of 45 degrees, heavier loads could be moved.

His cost comparisons certainly must have attracted the Company's directors. 'The Expense of the Apparatus must be very trifling', wrote Mr Baxter. Instead of locks, estimated to cost £20,000, incline planes could be built for £2,000, saving £18,000.

The expense of cuttings and embankments, such as the proposed 1000-ft long earthworks at Ash, could also be reduced considerably by using incline planes. And they could even be used instead of digging 'Gruel Tunnel' to take the navigation over the hill. In all, Mr Baxter estimated that the cost of construction, using incline planes, would be reduced from £86,000 to £50,000 or less.

Mr Baxter went on to point out that there would be an additional saving in eliminating the need to construct water reservoirs to supplement water lost through locking, culverts and other such works. "I do not see how the canal can possibly cost so much as £40,000", he assured.

Further savings could be made, Mr Baxter wrote, by constructing an altogether smaller canal requiring less expensive earthmoving which could be disposed locally rather than being carted away.

Then he suggested smaller '20 tun' boats which would not have to wait so long for a full load as a standard '40 tun' barge. What is more, the smaller size vessel could have made its journey and returned for another cargo.

"Let me repeat it again" he emphasised, "every saving in expense is a yearly benefit to the Proprietors forever". Persuasive stuff, even by modern day direct mail sales letters!

Mr Baxter concluded that a canal built with incline planes for '20 tun' boats would cost no more than £30,000 or even only £40,000 with locks. "A small canal can afterwards be enlarged without detriment on account of its smaller size more especially if there is no locks" he added confidently.

Our thanks to David Gerry who found the letter, referred to in the above article, in HCC's record office. The letter was addressed to a member of the Portal family of Overton. Mr Baxter chaired several Company meetings between 1788 - 1792 and lived at Palace Gate Farm, Odiham.

Incline planes were constructed on a number of British canals, more to save time and waterin using locks, rather than as a saving on construction costs - in practice inclines were more expensive to build. Boats were variously hauled up in a caisson on a cradle (as proposed by Mr Baxter) or, in the case of the Bude Canal, by a wheel attached to the boat itself. The most famous incline was the 307-ft Foxton Lift opened in 1900, built to supercede the staircase of ten locks. It lacked the strength to carry the heavy loads of caissons plus boats, and was abandoned a few years later.
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THERE are still a few copies available of the case-bound limited edition of the Society's best seller "Basingstoke Canal Restoration" by Dieter Jebens and David Robinson. Individually numbered and signed by the authors, only 125 copies were published making a collector's item and a super gift. With 100 photographs, a detailed fold out map, chronology, the Harmsworth's connection and how the Basingstoke Canal came into public ownership. 48pps, £8.95 including post and packaging.

The paperback edition is also still available. Each sale makes the Society £1 profit, so think of your friends and neighbours who might like a copy — it's good promotion for the Society too! Only £3.50 including postage and packing.

And for a stocking filler there's the 16pps Guide to the Basingstoke Canal by Dieter Jebens and Roger Cansdale. Featuring maps of the canal from the Wey junction to Basingstoke, photographs, topographical notes and useful information. All your friends want to know about the canal but didn't like to ask. Only £1.75 including post and packing.

For these items or a full sales list contact sales manager, Aubrey Slaughter, 37 Fir Tree Way, Fleet, Aldershot, Hants. GU13 9NB. Tel: Fleet 623102.

British Waterways Board Calendar 1988
BWB's 1988 calendar maintains the high standard of design and print which is their hallmark.

Called Waterway Landscapes', the calendar has a large 25cm x 28cm colour photograph for each month with an attractive line drawing inset at the bottom, and some thoughtful words to describe the scope of the Board's endeavours. While the Board is anxious not to forget freight division with a somewhat average picture of Sprotb rough Lock on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation, and an odd photo entitled 'MSC Ecology Survey, Oxford Canal (South)', without any sign of water, many of the other pictures will be memorable long after the month has gone. The remote beauty of the Leeds and Liverpool; Farmer's Bridge and locks contrasting with modern Birmingham looking better than imagined, and an eye catching shot of J.P. Churchman's narrowboat 'Beckwood' near Birmingham, which will no doubt answer a good many of his Christmas gift problems! Make the calendar your solution, too, it will be a pleasure to give and to receive. Available from the Information Office and Canal Shop, British Waterways Board, Melbury House, Melbury Terrace, London NW1 6JX, enclosing a cheque for £4.50 including post and packing.
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In the News
AS BEFITS any boating event organised by the Society, this year's boat gathering at the Fox & Hounds pub in Fleet was blessed with a warm and sunny day. The event, now in its second year, attracted 26 boats to enjoy the weather, a barbecue and the chance to compete for two awards donated by Ron Kettle, the publican.

The awards were presented for "Best Boat" and "Boat of Most Interest". Judging this year was an onerous task. Les Greig finally reached his conclusions and awarded the "Best Boat" award to Silver Ripple owned by Society sales manager Aubrey Slaughter. Members may have seen this elegant Edwardian 6-seat canoe gracing the canal.

The "Boat of Most Interest" award went to Hendor 2 owned by Hendrikus Flaton. This boat featured a most intriguing conversion of an outboard motor to a jet-drive system — entirely suited to our canal with its weed problems.

As the day wound to a close the various entrants departed. The returning Surrey-based contingent were followed closely by Chris de Wet in Windrush, a Wilderness Beaver apparently fated not to pass beneath Reading Road Bridge due to excessive air draught. However with David Millett as additional ballast, the passage was made — but with not a lot to spare!

Many thanks are due to Ron Kettle for his enthusiasm, organisation of wonderful weather and his sponsorship of the event (not forgetting a brand new barbecue initiated at the gathering). Thanks must also go to Chris de Wet and Robin Grieve for organising the event. It is believed that they might be persuaded to take up the reins again for the 1988 gathering.

BOTH Surrey County Council and the Society have opposed the proposed fencing of Great Bottom Flash at Ash Vale. The army intends to fence the flash, in the same way Mytchett Lake is barred to boating, leaving only the width of the canal open to navigation.

Both Mytchett Lake and Great Bottom Flash were sold to the army by the Canal Company in the 1890's, but an agreement was also signed giving the canal owners rights to use the water space.

The County Council has appealed to the Public Services Agency (PSA) not to take any further action until the matter is fully discussed.

Apart from providing an attractive open water space, the flash is useful for boats to turn.
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WORK was scheduled to start, at the time BC News went to press, on the installation of a lift bridge at North Wamborough to replace the hydraulically operated bridge installed by Hampshire County Council in the early 1950 's which replaced the original type swing bridge. The new bridge will be a bascule type design, lifted by hand with the use of a windlass. To facilitate work on this and other accommodation bridges at the western end of the canal water levels may be lowered and anyone planning a cruise should check the current situation with the canal manager, David Gerry (Tel: Aldershot 313810).
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IT SEEMS that not all houseboat owners at Woodham are satisfied with Surrey County Council's terms for remaining on the canal after restoration (see Newsletter No 129, September 1986).

The residents' association, representing the majority of houseboat owners, accepted Surrey's conditions for a twenty year mooring term, subject to review, for residential boats which met with the standards set down for canal-worthiness. For those whose boats did not pass inspection by a marine surveyor, local council housing would be offered, or a passage off the canal by the end of 1987.

In spite of a timetable giving plenty of time for decisions and action, the end August deadline to make their boats ship-shape and Basingstoke fashion came and went for a small number of owners who had done little or nothing to comply.

As a final resort the non-conformists aired their wish to maintain the status quo in the Press and on television.

Losing a home, whatever the circumstances, is a sad and emotive issue. But we do believe Surrey County Council has approached the problem sympathetically and practically.

Residential owners whose boats are beyond repair have been offered compensation based on the value of the hull plus an additional payment, equating them with caravan dwellers, even though the Council is not obliged to make any payment.

Those who sat tight and hoped the issue would go away now have largely themselves to blame. They have known for the past thirteen years that they could not sit on the mud for ever.

Most of the houseboat dwellers have recognised that in the interests of safety — their own as well as passing cruisers — their homes needed to be canalworthy. Indeed a good number are looking forward to dredging as an improvement to their existing environment, both in moving closer to the bank and having water movement to avoid stagnation.
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The attractive, rural scene at St John's Lock If. Now this precious open space and canalside is threatened by housing development (see Waterside Watch). (Top right) Another length of canal dredged by SCC. View from Parley Drive Bridge looking westwards. (Centre left) Authors John Gagg(left) and Teddy' Edwards aboard the 'John Pinkerton 'as guests of the Society with Hart councillors early in October. (Centre right) A smartly turned out gathering of small boats on the canal at the Fox & Hounds, Fleet. (below) Ron Kettle (right) presents his trophy for the best turned out boat at the mini rally on the canal (see report) to Aubrey Slaughter (left) owner of the motor canoe 'Silver Ripple'.
(Bottom left) Brookwood Lock 12, missing believed lost in dense undergrowth. (Bottom right) The remarkable recovery job done by NACRO and the Society, aided by SCC, which was completed in August. (Photos: Dieter Jebens + Clive Durley).

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WATERSIDE WATCH - Peter Coxhead and David Millett
THE Society maintains a constant watch on planning applications and developments along the canal which pose a potential threat to the riparian environment. Here are some of the current sites:

Woking Town Centre
The western side of the town, seen from the canal across Victoria Way, is scheduled for development work starting in September 1988. This is the area Woking's planners intend to make of 'architectural interest' as the 'shopwindow' of Woking (see Newsletter 128).

Four developers are bidding for the 3-year contract to build 250,000 sq ft of retail shops, including two or three large stores. Leisure facilities will also be included in the form of cinemas, health clubs, creches, markets and - on some of the proposals — a new Civic Hall and library. The 'new' swimming pool on the site will be demolished.

Although outside the developers' brief, one firm has included a bridge spanning both Victoria Way and the canal to a pub/restaurant in Boundary Road car park. The idea will be considered at a later date when the re­development of the car park will be decided with plans for a mooring basin and town quay.

The development will be a welcome relief from the ugly sight of multi-storey car parks and "wasteland" appearance from the canal.

Parley Drive and Goldsworth Relief Road
Twelve 2-storey flats are being built on the corner of the two roads alongside the towpath on the west side of the new road bridge. Although fairly well screened from the canal during summer months, we have requested additional low dense screening.

Capstan Wine Bar, St. John's
A proposed extension has been submitted, taking in the existing surgery, by the new landlord of the pub cum wine bar. Perhaps that will enable the beer barrels, often stacked outside which detract from this otherwise attractive new canalside development, to be stored out of sight. Our best wishes to the new management who, we understand, wish to encourage more family customers.

Council Depot, Monument Way East
The firm of Skeet & Jeffes, Woking's ironmongers to the trade and retail customers, is moving to this site adjacent to the canal near Monument Bridge.

The existing buildings are remaining but will be improved. In addition there will be some new low rise buildings with reasonable canalside facades. We have requested low dense screening, particularly along the car parking area.

Kiln Bridge/Lock 11, St John's
The amenity value of any waterway is increased in an urban area - and liable to be ruined by encroaching development. That's why the Society has kept a close watch on the vitally important open 'breathing' space alongside Lock 11.

Following years of discussions and a string of applications by Lance Homes Ltd to build close to the lock, Woking Borough Council is drawing up a new brief for redeveloping an extensive area including the existing Tyre Centre, which will be moving.

All the plans submitted so far have been criticised by the Society for the intention to build too close to the lock side. But with the original area of land greatly increased, there is now scope for designing an imaginative, integrated development, leaving space for an attractive lock side which will enhance the whole area.

Woking Council is seeking to include housing, light industry and perhaps shops and offices in the design. We hope the architects will recognise the unique opportunity the canal and lock presents for an amenity area.

Whatever transpires, the Society will remain firm in pressing for a generous margin of land to be left on the towpath side as open space - see photograph on page 7.

Although the whole area is designated for development, we are prompted to ask why the council does not buy the land and make it a recreational park. Just like Surrey Heath did when it decided to spend £2 million setting up Frimley Lodge Park which will bring more benefits to the community than could ever have been achieved with bricks and mortar. Not only in providing recreational facilities and an open space amenity, but also as relief to the urban sprawl.

Frimhurst Pig Farm, Deepcut Bridge Road, Deepcut
Wimpey's have appealed against local council refusal to allow a retirement village to be built on the site. The Society objected on the grounds that the scale of development would be detrimental to the amenity value of the canal. We're awaiting the outcome.

Concrete Works Site, Ash Embankment, Aldershot
Hampshire's recreation department has requested substantial landscaping to hide a proposed warehouse, for which planning permission has been granted, on the non-towpath side of the canal embankment at the location of the 1968 breach.

Freelands Farm, Crookham Village
Hart Council's refusal to allow development of old buildings off Gally Hill Road went to appeal and a decision is awaited. Should development be given the go-ahead it will almost certainly give the green light for development of the rest of the farmland and Velmead Farm too - to the detriment of the canal's pleasant rural aspect west of Fleet.

Galleon Marine Boat Hire, Colt Hill, Odiham
Congratulations to Dave Stanfield and Steve Wells on winning their appeal against local council refusal to allow them to convert the existing workshop building on the site to a chandlery business. They already have permission to alter the waterfront for mooring six small hire cruisers which they hope to start operating next summer. Rowing boats and punts will still be available for hire, and the chandlery shop will be a welcome addition.
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'TARGET 88' for completing restoration is in sight. But the Society needs funds as much as ever. Whilst the bulk of the work should be finished by the end of next year, there will still be plenty of work to do in 1989 and beyond. So we must ensure that we have sufficient funds to keep our full time team employed.

There's also money needed to complete dredging along the Hampshire top pound which will not be finished for another two or three years at least.

Perseverance is not getting any cheaper to run, and tugs, barges and cranes all need regular maintenance and repairs which can be expensive. So we appeal for all our members to continue supporting our fund raising efforts. And those who help run events like jumble sales and bigger ventures, or who would like to start their own, suggestions and offers of help are always welcome and wanted as much as ever.

200 Club
A simple but valuable way of raising funds with a good chance of profiting yourself. A single payment of £12 (or twelve monthly payments of £l) is the entry fee. And you can make as many entries as you wish. The Society takes half the sum and the other half goes towards a two-monthly draw for cash prizes. Please fill in the enclosed form and send it back as soon as possible to: Derek Truman, Compton Cottage, 11 Connaught Road, Fleet, Hants., GU13 9RA. For further information, ring Fleet 613435.

Recent winners
June: Mr J.R. Randall, £62; Mrs P. Samson, £32; Mr D.M. Pearce, £16; Mr E. Chappell, £16.
August: Mr & Mrs P. Redway, £62; Mrs M. Marchant, £32; Mr & Mrs P.R. Wood, £16; Mr G.M. Adams, £16.

Sponsored Walk
If you were sponsored on the 1987 Walk and have not yet sent in money collected, please do so immediately to: Bert Savill, 3 Rushmoor Close, Fleet, Hants.

Final arrangements are now being made for the 1988 Sponsored Towpath Walk and details will appear in the next issue of BC News. It is expected to be a slightly shorter total length, possibly taking in the Wey Navigation as part of the route. Any suggestions and offers to help marshall the event will be welcome. Contact: Graham Meade, 89 Tavistock Road, Fleet, Hants. (Tel: Fleet 629466).
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Grateful thanks to Mrs E.C. Percival for donating £ 10; Mr Lewis Phillips £25 and an anonymous contribution of £50 to start off our appeal to raise £5,000 to buy a new tug and mud barge to speed up dredging operations in Hampshire. (BCNews 134).

Further donations will be welcomed (payable to S&HCS Ltd 'Barge Appeal') by Derek Truman, 11 Connaught Road, Fleet, Hants GU13 9RA.
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Tuesday 17th November
Society member Ginny Millard, Area Trade Effluent Officer for Thames Water takes a light-hearted look at the waterworks in a talk There's more to running water than running water'. Christ Church Hall, Woking, 8.00pm.

Tuesday 24th November
Informal bar meeting at the Barley Mow, Winchfield, 8.00pm.

Friday 11th December
IWA's Guildford & Reading branch Christmas Get-together at the Blue Anchor, Byfleet (above restaurant) on the old road south of A245. Non members welcome.

Tuesday 15th December
'China and some of its Waterways' — illustrated talk by our member Dick Elder, Christ Church Hall, Woking, 8.00pm.

Thursday 17th December
IWA Basingstoke group's last meeting at the White Hart, London Road, Basingstoke. Christmas social with photos and slides. All welcome.

Tuesday 22nd December
Informal meeting in the Barley Mow, Winchfield, 8.00pm.

Monday 11th January 1988*
Illustrated talk by Peter Beresford, chairman of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust. If you think we've had restoration problems, come and see what the Trust has taken on.

Monday 25th January
Mr Robin Barrett of BWB talks about the reconstruction of Blisworth Tunnel at the IWA Guildford & Reading branch meeting at British Telecom Social Club, Leapale Road, Guildford (off Woodbridge Road). Non members welcome.

Monday 8th February*
A welcome return of film-makers John and June Humphries with their latest epic The Klong and I'. If the title is anything to go by we should once more be transported on their magic carpet to another waterway experience.

Monday 14th March 1988*
Local historian, Ian Wakefield, gives a talk with slides on the influence of the railway on Woking as a curtain raiser to the 'Woking 150' event in May.

* Meetings at the Methodist Church Hall, Brewery Road, Woking, starting promptly at 8.00pm. Refreshments provided.
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* Deepcut Dig, held in October, attracted 600 volunteers from all over the Country, achieving between £7,000 — £8,000 worth of work and consuming 3,500 bricks, 90 tons of ballast and 1,400 pints of beer.
* Perseverance had reached the site of Pillar's Bridge east of Broad Oak, clearing 70 feet — about its own length — each weekend.
* The Deepcut Railway — the 2 ft. narrow gauge supply line laid along the towpath - reached its maximum length of nearly one mile between locks 23 and 28.
* Hampshire CC undertook major repair work on Swan Cutting at North Warnborough following a slip.
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Welcome to NEW MEMBERS
Mr N.T.CoxheadAddlestonePaul & Penny McCarthyChurch Crookham
Allan DaviesWoodhamRichard NewtonWoodham
Mr G.J. SmithSouthamptonMr A. WoolhouseFleet
Mrs P. SnashallFarnboroughMrs ClarkeCamberley
David PeacockWokingLisa SmithWoking
Galleon MarineOdihamMr G.E. MoneyHatfield
Mr & Mrs W. HooperBiggleswadeSteve & Joyce WalterBrookwood
Mr D.E. BackFleetBrian NorthFrimley
Mr J.S. FouldsAsh ValeMr B.S. HaywoodFleet
Mr L. HolleyNorth WarnboroughMr J.N. ReedSunderland
David Allison-BeerSouth HarrowTrevor & Sonia CookeWoodham
John KellandSt JohnsPhilip StevensN. Warnborough
Mrs D.M. MersonAsh ValeMr A. VankoningsveldElstead
Neil PurcellAsh ValeMr & Mrs J.G. SmithPrince George, Canada
Mr & Mrs N.D. HarveyHeathersideMr & Mrs F. CoweySt Johns
Mr C.S. MorrisonAsh ValeMrs P.J. TrotterAsh Vale
Mr P.V. FletcherOdihamMrs P. GarsideWoking
Mr L.J. CookFrimley GreenMr & Mrs R.G. BryanCobham
Mr E.C. SiggeryGodalmingMrs P. AbelUp Nately
Mr M.A. LuckettCamberleyMr W.B. PowellAsh Vale
Bernard TimmsAsh ValeMr S.J. NyeWoking
Susan PalmerAsh ValeMr K. EatonNew Haw
David BoneUp NatelyWilliam MillsonAsh Vale
Peter DoreyEpsomMr & Mrs A.N. GilbyAsh Green
John CrookBrookwoodMr R.D. FitzgeorgeHerne Bay
Mrs M. HurleyWeybridgeMr P.M. Selby-ShortGuildford
Mr J. BrooksCrookham VillageMr & Mrs G.L. DewGuildford
Ms D. PountainBasingstokeMichael LaishleyCosham
Mr & Mrs R.A. SmithUxbridgeMrs L. McCabeFrimley Green
Mrs P.W. Perry-BartonHindheadBryan SimmonsTolworth
Mr J.R. SmithMerrowDr M. JenningsLower Bourne
Mr & Mrs B.C.H. GullettCamberleyHarold FaningHartley Wintney
Mr K. RobertsBiggin HillMr G.R.E. UnwinGodalming
Mr J. GuerinYateleyMr G.H.W. ParkerCranleigh
Mr L.J. SpillerDeepcutValerie PhilcoxWokingham
Mr G.H. GoatleyFrimley GreenMr P.A. MaceyAsh Vale
John DudgeonGuildfordMr K.R. NorthgreavesWoodham
Justin HanslipFrimley GreenMr M.B. DaltonAsh Vale
David HarrisonCamberleyRobert BoormanBisley
Mr R.A. NorfolkPyrford
Mr & Mrs P. BallTwickenhamLIFE
Linda LivesayWoodhamColonel D.J. VennLondon

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AN invaluable part of the Basingstoke restoration team is the Speakers Panel who talk to various organisations about our aims, achievements and commitment, helping to create the raft of goodwill on which the whole project floats.

Several members of the Speakers Panel undertake other tasks for the Society and it would be marvellous to have some new names to call on. We would particularly value anyone who is free during the day to talk to clubs for the elderly, morning and afternoon W.I.'s, etc. Audiences are very friendly — all that is required is to show the slides {the beautiful pictures speak for themselves) and chat about the history, wildlife and present activities on the waterway. Perhaps you are newly retired and looking for a satisfying hobby — you're sure to gain as much as you give!

The sessions usually end with a short question time but these should present no difficulty to the average Canal Society member.

Expenses will be paid, if required, and sometimes there is a free lunch! Sadly, if further speakers cannot be found, some of these clubs will be disappointed. This will be a great shame as the talks represent a major line of communication between the Society and the general public whose continued support is essential. If you'd like to join the Speakers Panel or want more details, please phone me on Yateley 873167. We are so near completion — yet still so far!
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County Call
HIGH on Surrey County Council's priority list for restoration work over the next six months is to get the navigation open to Woking.

Following the completion of dredging 760 yards (700 m) of canal between Lock 7, at St John's, and Parley Drive Bridge, this summer, described as 'one of the most difficult lengths to be cleared', Surrey County Council is pressing on with an autumn programme of work to open the navigation down to Woking. The Council's canal land agent, Gerard Brierley said, "We're determined to get water down for boats to participate in the 'Woking 150' celebration next May".

To meet the objective the Society has to complete re-gating the five locks at St John's, expected to be done by the end of the year. Meanwhile Surrey is left with a short but difficult task of dredging the length down to Arthur's Bridge, Woking, where five houseboats are moored. Apart from the question of moving the boats and then services, access to the site is another problem to be resolved. "We're aiming to have at least a channel cleared to allow the John Pinkerton and other boats through", Gerard Brierley said.

There are also maintenance tasks to be done on the Deepcut flight of locks. The Council's canal rangers will be working on the flight this winter to ensure the locks are operational for regular working next year.

Another major step forward should have commenced, by the time this issue is published, to dredge the mile-long length between Sheerwater and Monument Bridges, east of Woking. Although partially dredged, the whole length will be cleared.

Anyone with any queries, especially local residents, about the nature or extent of the work is invited to contact Gerard Brierley, Surrey's Canal Land Agent (Tel: 01 541 9342), who will be pleased to answer any questions.
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SURREY County Council's Valuer and Estates Surveyor, Mr William Britton, has retired after thirteen years with the local authority.

One of the major projects he was closely involved in was the negotiation and purchase of the 15-mile length of the canal in Surrey, bought by the Council for £40,000 in March 1976. As head of the department responsible for the canal's restoration, Bill Britton took a personal interest in the waterway. He attended a number of the Society's events including a sponsored towpath walk to raise funds.

His early career was spent in private practice in Liverpool, Luton and London. In 1958 he was appointed head of the College of Estate Management. Mr Britton's move to local government came in 1968 joining Sheffield as deputy city estates and city development surveyor. He moved to Surrey in 1974.

In 1960 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and is the senior co­author of Modern Methods of Valuation. Mr Britton, who intends to continue teaching and writing, is succeeded by Mr Geoffrey Bacon, his deputy since 1980.
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A Pessimists Preview of the Basingstoke Canal
December 1988Last gate hung. Last length dredged.
April 1989Grand re-opening.
August 1989IWA National Rally.
September1989NCC* and CIG* succeed in having mechanically-propelled boats banned.
January 1990Licence for unpowered boats raised to £50 per year to help pay for maintenance of the canal as a navigation.
April 1990No boat licences applied for. Dredging abandoned.
June 1990Fishing licences raised to £100 per year or £20 per day to offset cost of weedcutting.
July 1990No fishing licences applied for. Weedcutting ceases.
September 1990Walkers complain towpath is overgrown and impassible.
October 1990NCC and CIG obtain order forbidding cutting towpath and bank undergrowth to protect wildlife.
April 1991Canal completely overgrown. Duckweed prevents light penetrating water.
August 1991Canal moribund. Wildlife and rare plants in danger or already lost for ever.
June 1992Canal declared public health hazard and ordered to be filled in.
September 1992Builder obtains planning permission at various sites on in-filled canal.
April 1993Houses start to subside. County Surveyor says land should never have been built on. Houses demolished.
August 1993New Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society formed.
All of which goes to show that optimism is the last resort of a pessimist.
*NCC — Nature Conservancy Council — a government Quango that escaped the cull of 1979.
*CIG — Countryside Inaction Group - A gang of four who dash about urging people not to do things — especially if there is a possibility that they might derive enjoyment from them.
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BARRING entry to Greywell Tunnel to protect the bats may be a blessing in disguise — to prospective tunnel explorers. For a Government minister responsible for keeping rabies out of Britain has warned that our bats could be infected.

According to the junior agricultural minister, Mr Donald Thompson, the possibility is remote but he warns that anyone finding a dead or ailing bat should not handle it. Instead you should report your find to the divisional veterinary officer at the local Ministry of Agriculture office.

And if you should get bitten, seek immediate medical advice.
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INVITATION from Surrey Heath to Society to organise boating event on canal as part of the official opening of Frimley Lodge Park on 17th July next year.
ADDITIONAL £1,000 donation made to the Society by Tomlin Trust gratefully received.
THIRTY-ONE Hampshire Borough Mayors and district council Chairmen enjoyed a trip aboard John Pinkerton followed by Canal slide show as part of Hart Chairman, John York's, Civic Day in September. Guests voted it 'one of the best days out of its kind'.
BOOKINGS for the John Pinkerton up 15% this year but profit forecast slightly down because of increased maintenance costs.
DREDGER crew volunteers needed. Two dragline crane operators to offload mud barges (full training given) and deck hands (no particular skills, just willingness to make yourself useful) for Perseverance.
VOLUNTEER please for an interesting job needing only a little time and keenness to help the Society's official Archivist by collecting and collating local Press cuttings. Contact: Gary Cavanagh on Fleet 629329.
CONGRATULATIONS to Geoff and Sophie Halliwell who got married on 12th September. We wish them every happiness and remind them that family membership costs £7.50.
THANKS to Bert Gregory for £10 donation to Society funds for prints of B.C. News front cover (No. 134) showing his boat Tolza.
POSTMAN volunteer required for Aldershot area to deliver approximately 20 copies of B.C. News. Please contact George or Janet Hedger on Fleet 617465. Your assistance would be welcomed.
DEEPCUT flight walkers now have a clear towpath, free of mud which has been cleared following dredging by Surrey's canal rangers as part of their maintenance work.
BEST wishes to Bob and Freda Humberstone for happiness in their new home at 19 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham. Is the lane about to rival Fir Tree Way for membership density?
HORSELL Common Preservation Society has been asked for co-operation to provide a site close to Monument Bridge, Woking for a winding hole for John Pinkerton during Woking 150 rally of boats next May.
AFTER meeting founder member Les Harris helping weekday working at Deepcut workshop, now hear Dick Snell and his wife Alison have been seen on Peter Jackman's towpath clearance working parties at Woking.
QUOTE of the year: "The Basingstoke Canal is the finest recreational facility in the district" — Hart Council Chairman Cllr. John York after an autumn cruise aboard the 'John Pinkerton' from Crookham Wharf to Colt Hill, Odiham.
SELL your products, services or used goods by advertising in B.C. News.
Full Page £50. Half Page £30. Quarter Page £18.
Eighth Page £10. Apply to Editorial Office.
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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.
Editor: Dieter Jebens. Production: Jo Evans.
Collation & 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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Last updated April 2005