May 1988

Cover pictures info
Visitor's view
Special working party
What a Load of Litter
Working Parties
Intro the 9-day Week
Waterway Wanderings
Armada on the Wey
All set for Woking 150
In Steam again
Members' evening at

Woking Canal Basin

A Foot Deeper?
Fund Raising
Countryside Officer to

Ratty gets raspberry
Trust supports Bridge

New Members
Gongoozler's Gossip

Contact the Society

    bcnmsthd130 (13K)
No. 139 MAY 1988

front pic1 (K)1
front pic2 (K) front pic3 (K)2,3

Royalty would not have been displeased with the turnout. The Society's organiser. Peter Redway, was certainly delighted the day the Society declared the St. John's flight of locks restored.

Every lockside was crowded with spectators as the John Pinkerton cruised slowly down the flight. The towpath was jammed with people, from Kiln Bridge to Langman's Bridge, for a sight of the first boats through the flight of locks for more than 25 years. Viewed from Kiln Bridge, Lock 11 below almost disappeared in a sea of onlookers waiting for the moment when the Mayor of Woking, Mrs Margaret Gammon, cut the first of a series of white ribbons to declare the St. John's flight restored. As one joyous lady exclaimed, expressing the thoughts of thousands more as she watched the 68-ft narrowboat slowly entering Lock 11. "I wouldn't have missed this for anything. It's marvellous to see the canal in use again. It has made my day!".

April 16th was not only a tremendous day for St. John's, it was a Very Important Event for the volunteer workers who spent seven long and arduous years restoring the flight. Appropriately, Margurite Redway, who won £5,000 towards restoration of Lock 11 and went on to become a volunteer bricklayer, cut a second tape across the lock. At Lock 10 Peter Jones did the honours. But first he jumped off the boat and into the water, not forgetting to take the ceremonial scissors with him!

Meanwhile, the band that started the proceedings at Capstan's Wharf, the New Surrey Raiders Drum & Bugle Call, had rapidly reassembled at Woodend Bridge to herald the arrival of Mrs Barbara Tomlins to declare the bridge officially opened.

On to Lock 9 with bunting, flags and messages of welcome and congratulations decorating the canalside gardens along the way. Here Douglas Gilby, representing the small corps of Society members whose dedication to the task of restoration, sustained over many years that has been the key to success, finally enjoyed a moment of glory. At Lock 8, Denise Halls and Heather Howe proudly cut the tape, representing the strong local involvement started by Ken Halls and Peter Redway back in 1981.

Finally and not least, Dave Brooker declared Lock 7 restored, on behalf of the army of visiting volunteers and especially Ken Parish's Kent & East Sussex Canal Restoration Group, who contributed so much, especially by their input to the three summer canal camps at St. John's, organised by Mike Fellows.

Not only were the lock chambers restored by volunteers, but a good number of the twenty oak-framed gates were built by Society members under the supervision of Frank Jones and installed by the Society's full-time team.

It was correctly the volunteers' day. Yet it was also a superb example of the community working with the local authority. For without Surrey County Council's backing, providing plant, materials, dredging the channel and specialised support, the project would have presented many more problems to overcome. For County valuer, Mr Geoffrey Bacon, the sight of so many people turning out on a somewhat damp day to see the John Pinkerton and a flotilla of small boats cruising down the canal must be indicative of the overwhelming support that exists for restoring the navigation for all the uses it has to offer.


A jubilant Margurite and Peter Redway with the Mayor of Woking (picture left) in the bow of the John Pinkerton descending Lock 7.

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(Top) The crowded lockside below Kiln Bridge as the John Pinkerton enters Lock 11 for the opening ceremony.
(Bottom left) Descending Lock 11 (left to right) the Society's chairman Robin Higgs, Margurite Redway, the Mayor of Woking, Mrs Margaret Gammon and Ken and Denise Halls in the bow of the John Pinkerton.
(Bottom right) Heather Howe and Denise Halls cut the ribbon across Lock 8 and declare it restored.
(Photographs: Dieter Jebens/Clive Durley).
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Time Off
BEING a northerner, sceptical of southern house prices and endless suburbia, and labelling everything south of Watford as 'London', the Basingstoke Canal came as a complete surprise. Articles written on the canal tend to concentrate on its restoration, rarely mentioning its attractions. I had imagined a largely urban waterway lined with large houses. Yet for most of its length the canal is wild heath or woodland with rarely a building in sight. Surprisingly this is thanks in a large part to the Army.

Their 'commandeering' much of the land either side of the canal both to the east and west of Aldershot has prevented the 'desirable' residential housing developments which would otherwise have surrounded the canal. There are few access roads and paths open without a special permit, with the sole exception of the Basingstoke Canal which runs right through the middle of it. And that is open to all, thanks to the unstinting efforts of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society and the two riparian counties who now own and operate the canal.

The rural surprise of the canal became greater as we headed Londonwards expecting at every turn that we would meet suburbia — but never did. In fact the scenery was to get better! Here spring was fully in evidence with snowdrops, celandine, daffodils, catkins, pussy willows, white violets, gorse, and masses of wild primroses nestling symbolically beneath the pillboxes that were built along the line of the canal during the last World War. They have become overgrown now and part of the landscape, as much as the occasional thatched cottage or large half timbered mansion that stood on the canalside. With the exception of the weeping willow, the trees were still bare, but life was returning to them, just as life is returning to the canal.

For those coming from the main canal system, what a worthwhile climb it will be, up those 28 locks from the river Wey. I think a lot of boaters from the Midlands and the North will be as surprised as I was by the top twenty miles of the Basingstoke Canal.
Editor's note: Hugh Potter is editor of the monthly magazine 'Waterways World' which covers all aspects of inland waterways including historical articles, news of restoration projects and holiday cruising. The above article has been extracted from a fuller review of the Canal appearing in the June issue published mid-May.
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A special working party set up by the Joint Management Committee to investigate the effect of boating on the canal's wild life has already "done a great deal", reported Mr Colin Bonsey, Hampshire's Countryside Officer at a recent JMC Meeting. "The working party is seeking to ensure the canal is an enjoyable and beautiful amenity and that it will benefit wildlife too", Mr Bonsey said. "Last July we were heading on a conflict course but we now have a better understanding", he added.

Speaking on behalf of naturalists, Dr Robert Page agreed that some 'positive' meetings had been held with 'good things coming out of them'. While welcoming the contribution being made, Cllr Ian Parkin hoped that the original purpose of the canal would not be lost.

It was reported that the Conservation Working Group has instigated a programme of research into the canal's water quality and aquatic vegetation to be conducted by Farnborough College of Technology.

Additional advice was being sought from Thames Water about fish stocks, and from an independent hydrologist.

The programme, based on investigation recommended by Dr John Eaton of Liverpool University, who was called in by the local branch of the Inland Waterways Association last year, will cost at least £6,000. Mr Bonsey hoped that the Nature Conservancy Council would contribute a third of the cost.
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Nineteen sack loads of litter, left by anglers, were collected from the banks of the canal in Hampshire, reported Hampshire's Canal Manager, David Gerry, to the Joint Management Committee. And his Surrey counterpart, Gerard Brierley, confirmed that he was receiving an increasing number of complaints about fishermen's behaviour on the canal, including lighting fires and damaging trees.

Angler's representative Andre Grandjean accepted that a problem existed and said that steps were being taken to stop the abuse. Plans included re-introducing a system of water keepers and allocating lengths of the canal to each club to clear up litter which he felt was mainly due to day visitors and not club members.
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The first 250 licences available for motorized boats, limited to 300, are being issued on a 'first come, first served' basis. If demand exceeds the initial quota, preference will be given to applications from Surrey boat owners for a proportion of the balance.

By the end of March 42 per cent of the total allocation to motorised craft had been sold, plus 46 per cent of the 800 licences available for non-powered craft.

Queen Anne style house, part of conversion of 1901 residence, 2 reception rooms, Kitchen, cloakroom, 3 bedrooms. Gas C.H., Conservatory, Brick-built garage. Garden of about 1/3 acre with 50 ft mooring on Wey Navigation. West Byfleet. £185,000.
Telephone: Ian Davidson (09323) 43704.
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WORKING PARTIES and Progress by Peter Cooper
THE year progresses and the restoration works can be seen to be moving towards completion. Now it really is your last opportunity to make the contribution you always meant to make towards the restoration of the Basingstoke Canal. Work is still on schedule for lock restoration to be completed in the autumn, with gating to be completed soon after.

The working parties operating are listed below. It's usually as well to contact your working party leader a few days before attending, in case there has been a last minute change of plan.

Woodham Locks Every weekend
Much of the work here has been concentrated lately on Lock 3. The offside chamber wall is almost completely demolished (the last chamber wall demolition on the canal) and the rebuilding of the nearside chamber wall is about two-thirds complete. The demolition and re­building of the top cill of this lock is probably the biggest job remaining on the flight, and this is due to start after Easter. At Lock 2 rebuilding of the second (nearside) chamber wall has started.

At Lock 4 the top hollow posts and the lower mitre have been cast, and now final jobs are being addressed. In the next few months this party is likely to be tackling assorted small jobs around Locks 5 and 6, as well as finishing Lock 4.

The coordinator of the Society's work on this flight is MIKE FELLOWS on Wokingham (0734) 787428, and for further details you should contact him or one of the working party leaders listed below. Note there will be no working party on 28/29 May.

First weekend of the month — Locks 2 and 3
30 April/1 May, 4/5 June, 2/3 July
PETER JONES on Aldershot 313076.

Second weekend of the month - Lock 4
7/8 May,11/12 June, 9/10 July
PABLO HAWORTH on Byfleet 42081.

Third weekend of the month — Locks 2 and 3
14/15 May. 18/19 June, 16/17 July
PETER REDWAY on Woking 21710.

Fourth weekend of the month — Locks 2 and 3
21/22 May, 25/26 June. 23/24 July
JULES WOOD on Farnborough 515737.

When working on 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
The dredger has not been operating recently, as the time has been given over to sorting out the state of the equipment, with a view to ease of future maintenance, and to further training of new crew members. However, dredging should have started again by the time this newsletter comes out. Regular crew should contact ROGER FLITTER on Fleet 622956 to arrange schedules. For other details contact ANDY STUMPF on 0923-778231 (work) or Chesham 785720 (home).

Lock gate building
This party are working on the gates for Lock 5. Dates are: —
7/8 May, 4/5 June, 2/3 July
Details from FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home).

Surrey bankside work
This party will continue to assist in preparations for Woking 150 at the end of May. After that they will go into their summer recess, and expect to restart in October. Details from PETER JACKMAN on Woking 72132.

Full time work
The team have been working toward a number of shorter term objectives, such as the St Johns reopening on 16th April and Woking 150 at the end of May, and also the Working Week at the start of April. The Woking pound has been filled to Monument Bridge, and levels are now being checked and towpaths raised where necessary, in the Brookwood area and further east.

The gates for Lock 6 have been built, and also two for Lock 1 (the 95th and 96th gates built at the workshop for the canal). A slipway has been installed at Spantons, and dams are now being removed in some places.

Weedcutting and lock maintenance have been carried out at Deepcut, and the plans for Langmans Bridge have been approved and will be implemented later.

Weekday volunteering
If you are able to come along and work on the canal during the week, even if only for a short period, then you should contact FRANK JONES on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home), and he will be happy to find you something to do.
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Who would work a nine-day week? Chris Kew and David Junkison to be precise. They were joined by another twenty regular lock restorers on various days between Good Friday and 9th April. The volunteers included three Committee members whose aim was to progress restoration as far as possible. There is now a very good chance that structural work on locks 2 and 3 at Woodham will be completed by the end of this year.

Both locks become flooded after a weekend's work and have to be pumped out and everything 'set up' again before the next working party can proceed. It's time consuming work and contributes nothing to the real work of restoration.

Two main chamber walls needed rebuilding from base level. Scaffolding, planks, profile boards, bricks and yet more bricks are required. Followed by mortar in copious quantities. The amount of work done then depends on the skill of the people who lay the bricks.

During the nine days, seventy-two 'people days' were worked in which 7,000 bricks were laid. Both offside chamber walls of the two locks and the nearside wall of No.2 are now rebuilt above the line of normal water level when the locks are 'empty'. Considering the continuity aspect, and the average turnout for Woodham working parties, the results are equal to about eight weekends' work.

It is heartening to see the enthusiasm of the people who took part. Restoration of lock chambers is arduous, dirty and potentially dangerous work. But there was always something to have a laugh about and a hot cup of tea when required; no rain until the ninth day; the sun shone; the mallards and ducklings appeared at the dam for a nose around and the photographer-cum reporter from the Woking Informer turned up. He came to see, in his own words, 'the preparations for the opening of the locks next weekend'! The impossible we can do at once but miracles take a little longer.

Editor's note: The 'Working Week'was organised by Peter Jones leader of one of the first working parties to tackle locks in Surrey. Among the volunteers at Woodham we hear that Joan Green came up from Chichester and Ernie Pull, who helped clear up the canal for the 1962 Woking Rally, both put in several days' work.
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Surveying the western end of the canal. Peter Oates takes theodolite readings, assisted by Neil Peart, as part of the Society's engineering study being conducted by Stan Meller and the Special Projects Group. As a result, the Society now has a very accurate 'picture' of the landslip, between the western portal of the tunnel and Eastrop Bridge, now believed to be caused by a layer of clay slipping on a foundation of chalk. The Special Projects Group believe a permanent solution to the problem, which arose soon after the canal was opened, is to construct a smaller version of the gabion wall now retaining the side of a cutting at Dogmersfield. (Photo: Geoff Helliwell).
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June and John Humphries' film shows are a highspot of the Society social evenings in Woking and their presentation at the February meeting was no exception. In fact, as they screened not one but two of their superb films, it was generally agreed that it was twice as enjoyable!

The evening started with the intriguingly titled 'The Klong and I' — a highly cinematic record of five days spent in Bangkok. There, the Humphries sampled a small part of Thailand's two million miles of waterways known as klongs - hence the title with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein!

The klongs are vital transport arteries for bringing, on the one hand, flotillas of timber down from the jungle and, on the other, an equally vast array of produce to the capital. And what better way to see a fascinating selection of exotic fruits and vegetables than by visiting, as the Humphries did, its unique floating market?

After a traditional British break for tea, coffee and biscuits, travel with the Humphries resumed a little closer to home with a film they made last Easter whilst cruising in Germany. With overcast skies and constant turbulence from the wash of larger vessels, even the spectacle of the Bingen Gap and the delights of the famous Lorelei could not relieve a dismal journey down the Rhine. But once the Humphries reached the River Lahn the sun appeared and the pleasures of water-borne travel were restored.

Commercial traffic ceased on the Lahn in 1965 and the Humphries had the river to themselves as they made their way through thickly wooded country and the unspoilt medieval town of Bad Ems towards Limburg — the former seat of the royal House of Orange.

One of June Humphries'beautifully filmed sunsets appropriately brought the evening to an end.
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The theme of this year's Guildford Festival in July will be the 400th Anniversary of the Spanish Armada but plans are now well advanced for a present day Armada to be on the Wey when well over 100 canal and river craft are expected at the Guildford Water Festival on 16th and 17th July (see details in the March issue of Basingstoke Canal News). There will be a full programme of entertainment and special features include the Unigate National Canoe Championship on Saturday afternoon and a Jazz Band heralding the Barclays Illuminated Boat Competition on Saturday evening. Further details from Dick Harper-White, 25 Jubilee Crescent, Addlestone, Weybridge, Surrey KT15 2JU. Tel: Weybridge 842074 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 6PH. Tel: Hindhead 6496. Or enquire at IWA Guildford and Reading branch stand at 'Woking 150'.

A half-day event on Sunday, 10th July organised by the IWA Guildford and Reading Branch. Early afternoon start from Millmead, Guildford to explore St Catherine's Stream. No entry fee. Commemorative certificate in return for donation to IWA funds. For further details telephone Weybridge 844261.
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Woking 150 logo (21K)

THE final preparations for this unique event are now complete. The joint celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the start of construction of the canal and the 150th anniversary of the railway arriving in Woking will jointly attract many thousands of people over the Bank Holiday weekend, Woking will not have seen anything like it since the celebrations at the end of the war!

The railway event will be based at the yards attached to the station and the canal rally will be at Boundary Road Common (the original site of Spantons timber wharf) by Chertsey Road Bridge.

Our event has the successful mix of boats (including steam boats) steam traction engines, stalls, arena and marquee based entertainments and lots more - fun for all the family.

Woking Council have produced a souvenir brochure and also a ticket that allows you into all events. The brochure is £1.25. The ticket is £2 for adults; £1 for children (5-15) and senior citizens; or £5 for up to 2 adults and 4 children. All available in advance from Woking Council Civic Offices, Gloucester Square, Woking, GU21 1YL.

At the rally site, outside of the public opening hours which are lO.OOam — 6.00pm each day, from 7.00pm on the Saturday evening May 28th there will be a members and friends (tickets only) fish and chip supper and from 7.00pm on the Sunday evening May 29th there will be a members and friends (tickets only) barbeque. There will also be a beer tent open each evening.

To book your food, which will cost £2.25 a head for Saturday and £3.50 a head for Sunday, you can contact Janet Greenfield, 9 Mistletoe Road. Yateley, Camberley, Surrey.

There will be a last minute booking opportunity operating on WOKING 68607 on May 25th and 26th (there will be restricted ticket numbers for the barbeque). But please try to book with Janet by letter (SAE please), with cheques made payable to Surrey and Hants Canal Society (WOKING 150), for either one or both evenings.

The organising committee look forward to seeing as many members as possible at this event.
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The locomotive Port Line will make its public debut in steam after being taken out of service 21 years ago. Other locomotives steaming at 'Woking 150' will be Clan Line, City of Wells and Sir Lamiel. More locomotives will also he on show. At least nine steam locomotives and modern diesel engines including British Rail's brand new Wessex electric express stock will be on show.

Smaller models will be operating at the former railway orphanage in Oriental Road — the last chance to visit Woking Homes before demolition.

The Transport Extravaganza will he completed with canal boats, traction engines and vintage buses.

The Artist and railway enthusiast David Shepherd will officially start The celebrations which include a Victorian Ballot the Centre Halls on 14th May and a Victorian Picnic on 15th May.
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Local members of the Society enjoyed the hospitality of Surrey Heath Museum for a private view of the Canal Exhibition on 8th March. In addition to artifacts and photographs from the Society's archives, Stan Knight of Crookham Village loaned some old postcards showing the canal and Tony Harmsworth provided two of the canal company's tonnage books and other documents. Also on display were paintings by Terry Harrison and screen prints by Pauline Hadlow, which helped make up a varied and interesting exhibition devised by Curator, Sharon Cross.

The members' evening included a slide presentation by Dieter Jebens entitled '1966 and All That', which showed the extent to which the canal had fallen into decay, and the dramatic reclamation effects of restoration.

A special attraction during the exhibition, which ended on 9th April, was demonstrations of canal painting given by Geraldine Abbotl of Fleet.

Editor's note; For anyone going to Camberley, the museum in the Council Offices in Knoll Road is worth a visit. Open Tuesday-Saturday. 11am-5pm.

Gerry Abbott demonstrating (23K)

Gerry Abbott demonstrating the art of traditional canal painting at Surrey Heath Museum to a group of youngsters eager to start painting roses and castle designs, watched by the Mayor of Surrey Heath Borough Council, Cllr Ian Christmas and the Mayoress, Mrs Joan Cornall. (Photo: Dieter Jebens/Clive Durley).
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Feature Page——
At the spring meeting of the Joint Management Committee the future of the Brewery Road Car Park site in Woking was discussed. Our chairman Robin Higgs emphasised the importance of the 2.2 acre site and doubted whether it was big enough to accommodate the size of hotel Woking needed. "The site represents Woking's last chance to do something expansive and develop it as a water space area which is one of the most important areas Woking has got to grasp", he said.

The JMC Chairman, Cllr Patrick Evelyn, supported the view saying, "We don't just want a hotel that uses the canal but something that makes the waterway a feature".
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Canal Basin Feature
The two Society members, who contributed towards the study of the canal through Woking published by Inland Waterways Association in 1967, have considered a layout for a mooring basin on part of the Brewery Road car park site at Woking. Vic Trott, Chairman of the Study Group, and Peter Coxhead have drawn up an imaginative plan which could provide Woking with the sort of feature the town needs to attract visitors and make the town a more attractive place for local people.

Peter Coxhead writes: The Brewery Road Car Park site presents the town of Woking with a unique and exciting opportunity to provide a much needed water based leisure amenity close to the new Town Centre. Direct and easy access to the towpath could be gained via a footbridge from the London & Edinburgh Trust development over Victoria Way and the Basingstoke Canal. Our proposals follow closely Woking Council's Planning Brief for the area namely, a mooring basin within the site allied to local widening of the Canal to provide laybys, a canal orientated pub, restaurant and cafe where the townspeople, workers and visitors alike could obtain informal meals and drinks whilst enjoying the peaceful delights of the waterway, away from the hustle and bustle of the town. A trip boat station and slipway for launching trailed boats would complete the boating scene.

On two sides of the Basin, small units (1-10), including possibly a chandlery and craftshops, would add to the interest of the area. If the proposed museum does not find a home in the Victoria Hospital building as is currently being suggested, then this could be accommodated in a purpose built building on this site, probably replacing some of the shop units.

We have not attempted to detail any of the buildings, but we see them as being two-storey with interesting roof lines and in the case of the pub/restaurant, with an overhanging or balconied upper storey supported by circular cast iron type columns.

Generous areas of suitably screened public car parking are envisaged, once again as targeted in Woking's Planning Brief.

Woking is sadly lacking a central leisure facility and we in the Society feel strongly that our proposal will enhance and enrich the quality of life in the Town.

We fully appreciate that our ideas for this site would probably not provide sufficient commercial return for the average developer, in which case Woking should fund the project themselves. The new Town Centre when completed should considerably increase revenue into the Town's coffers and our scheme, if adopted, would help to make Woking a place people will want to visit and live in and by inference increase still further the earning potential of this thriving community".

plan of canal basin (30K)

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Dear Sir,
I note Mr K. Blake's letter on the value of the western end of the canal and feel that the time has now come to write to you on behalf of the residents of Up Nately. Plans are being made for our village, by people who don't live here, and I think it is time to point out to members of the Society that this end of the canal is not in public woodland, but runs through the back gardens of nearly twenty houses. Mr. Blake suggests that the old brickworks buildings and canal arm would make an ideal museum — does he realise that they are in someone's garden, up a private road with no public access? Certainly it would be nice to have the canal cleaner and more encouraging to wildlife, but this part of north Hampshire suffers enough from the developers — please at least leave our gardens in peace!
Yours faithfully,
Eastrop Farm House, Up Nately.

Editor's note: The views expressed by readers do not, of course, constitute the policy of the Society. To the best of our knowledge none of the buildings associated with the former brickworks now exist, and the Society certainly has no thoughts on trying to set up a museum there. As far as restoration of the canal's western end is concerned, the Society's view is succinctly put in the last sentence of your letter, Mrs Abell. The Society cares as much for protecting the natural environment of the canal as we do about restoring the navigation.

Dear Sir,
What a splendid waterway the Basingstoke Canal is. I was fortunate to have the opportunity of spending four days on the canal recently aboard one of the boats the enterprising Dave Stansfield, of Galleon Marine,is operating from Colt Hill at Odiham. Our party cruised as far as the top lock at Deepcut and we were all truly delighted and impressed with what we found — a superbly restored waterway passing through many miles of peaceful countryside and still surprisingly rural in the populated area around Aldershot and Farnborough.

Very well done, to all concerned. We now look forward eagerly to completing the journey through to the Wey. Scenically, Deepcut Locks are a gem - as being, in part, a mecca for train spotters!
Yours faithfully,
Editor, IWA Waterways,
8 High Street, Hardingstone, Northampton.

Editor's note: 'Waterways 'is the quarterly magazine sent to members of the Inland Waterways Association whose aims are similar to those of the Society but on a national scale. Subscriptions are: £9.50 (adult) and £12.00 (family) until 30 June. After that the rates go up by 25%. So join now! Write to The Inland Waterways Association, 114 Regents Park Road, London NW1 8QU.

2nd April 1988 Dear Sir,
Having read the 'Comment' in the March '88 edition of BCNews, and, purely by fortunate accident, viewed the BBC2 broadcast item on pm Thursday 31st of March I feel moved to make the following points.

The Basingstoke canal was never, and can never be, a product of nature. It was not formed as a natural contour watercourse, sustained in ecological balance by the results of a millenium of evolution, it was a product of man, designed to serve him as the 19th Century equivalent of the M3 Motorway. During the many years of decline and near dereliction of this navigation, I can recall countless articles and statements to the effect that the continued deterioration would result in the ultimate loss of water movement; that those species of flora and fauna 'indigenous' to the WORKING navigation would be lost, leaving only rats and mosquitoes to flourish as the shrinking pools of stagnant water became steadily infilled with the refuse of an indifferent population. Indeed, the structural fragility of some elements of the navigation was such that it was seriously suggested that it should be substantially infilled to preclude further disasters such as the Ash slip, and to avoid the stinking pools from becoming a hazard to health. Furthermore, the remote elements of the navigation were becoming so overgrown and impenetrable that any attempts at a wildlife census would have required an expedition of Amazonian proportions!

From the outset the avowed, and laudable intention of the S & H Canal Society was to restore the canal to its former WORKING glory. For this 'Doctor' Arthur Lindley to even begin to compromise this objective is crass in extremis. To wait until the canal is reaching the final stages of its rebirth is even more staggering. I can only assume that this execrable person can trace his lineage to the Luddites. .. Let's examine his claims, as I am given to understand them, namely that the canal now hosts a unique number of, amongst other things, dragonflies and, due to the variation in geo-chemistry, a unique number of plant species within its length. Did these items EVOLVE in these locations? They most certainly did not, indeed, until restoration had been laboriously completed, life forms associated with slow moving waterways were rapidly disappearing. If the wonders of evolution did not take place on the Basingstoke then it seems reasonable to conclude that these insects and plants arrived from elsewhere, and can therefore be found in other sites. If this is not the case then I believe that Darwin would have been truly amazed at the speed with which a single cell has advanced . .. the properties of the waters of the Basingstoke making Lourdes look like Sellafield on a leaky day!

If his contention is that the uniqueness of the site is the fact that they are ALL in the one place, then the argument is still questionable. I can hardly imagine, for instance, the Royal Family being kicked out of Buckingham Palace because the library is declared a SSSI due to the 'unique' numbers of species of Psocids found on the shelves! Imagine the M3 turned into a nature trail due to the 'unique' number of Compositae found on the central aisle. Such things are the consequences of circumstance, they are the result of the activities of man and must, in deference to the true purpose of the site in question, take their rightful place in the scale of priorities. If this man had raised similar objections to the disturbance of a NATURAL site in order to create a canal or a motorway then I would have felt it my duty to support him. As it is, I pray that common sense will prevail and that no more is heard of this irksome turncoat. He should note that I for one, having laboured to restore this canal to working glory, will lift not a single finger to support the maintenance of an unnatural botanical patch devoid of boating activity . . . and that without ongoing care and maintenance his SSSI will disappear almost as quickly as I hope HE does!

Power to the paddlers.
Yours faithfully,
G.L. Hudson,
8 Royal Oak Road, Woking, Surrey GU21 1PJ

25th March 1988 Dear Sir,
Without appearing petty may I correct Gongoozler's Gossip (BCNews March 1988).

The donation of £500 towards the new Tug and Barge Appeal Fund was made by the London Branch of the I.W.A. My reasons for stressing this are that a donation of £500 from I.W.A. central funds may appear small, but £500 from a Branch, making a total of £1,000 in two years, is more significant.

I.W.A. London Branch has also offered the interest free loan of £2,000. This awaits the sanction of I.W.A. Council before it can be made. Hopefully this will be in your hands before the end of April.
Yours faithfully,
D. Allison-Beer,
Secretary — I.W.A. London Branch, 41 Angus Drive, Ruislip, Middlesex HA4 ORZ.

Dear Sir, 29th January 1988
I was interested to read your January issue, which features wildlife conservation issues. You make a plea for more facts on the canal's ecology: it would perhaps help if you would keep to the known facts in your own articles.

You refer to Dr Eaton and Mr Pygott's report, and say that it shows "only minor changes in plant quality ... up to 2000 boat movements a year". Yet the facts, as minuted in the meetings of the Canal Conservation Working party are:

"1000-2000 b.m.y.: possible loss of most sensitive species"

I believe it would materially help the process of reasonable debate if you and your correspondents in BCNews would accept that there is a real conflict between boating use and nature conservation; that the conservation bodies have expertise in their own field just as the Canal Society has expertise in matters to do with boating use and restoration work; that each side holds a view which is reasonable within its own terms of reference, and that it is the responsibility of the Joint Management Committee to resolve the conflict. Continuing attempts to "rubbish the opposition" do not help.

I cannot comment in detail on proposals for the Greywell Tunnel, as it is outside my area, but clearly the suggestion of an alternative tunnel deserves consideration. One major problem is that no-one — not even the national experts — knows all the precise requirements for a bat hibernaculum.

Since it would appear from your articles — and I am sure the Society has the expertise to know — that there are no engineering problems in the construction of a new tunnel, and since the requirements for boating are precisely known, why has no-one considered an alternative tunnel for boats?
Yours faithfully,
Dr A. Lindley,
Surrey Wildlife Trust, Hatchlands, East Clandon, Guildford, Surrey GU4 7RT.

Editor's note: I see nothing materially different in the meaning of the two statements (both emanating from naturalists) quoted by Dr Lindley. Contrary to his view Society members do not believe there is a fundamental conflict of interests: all canal enthusiasts want to see wildlife encouraged and reasonably protected in an environment of a working navigation. Finally, if feelings appear to run high among some of our correspondents it is only because they are often the people who have spent countless hours over the past 14 years to turn a derelict eyesore into a useful and attractive navigation again.
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A FOOT DEEPER? - by John Elliott
In 1788 the Rev. Shaw toured parts of the south and west of England, recording what he saw and did. The results were published in 1789.

As part of his tour he visited Odiham and wrote several pages on the history of King John's Castle beside the canal at North Warnborough.

He also wrote about the new canal which was to be built between Basingstoke and the River Wey, and recounted how works had started at Chertsey and to the west of Greywell Hill which he visited one morning and where he saw 100 men digging 'a wide passage for the approach to the mouth (of the tunnel)'. He went on to write 'From Basingstoke to Dead-Brook near Aldershot, 28 miles, will be a reach of memorable length, without the necessity of a lock, from this they will provide themselves with a reservoir of water, by making this part one foot deeper......'

With the dredger nearing Fleet it is perhaps not the best time to ask the obvious question. Clearly the original design of the canal anticipated the problems of water shortages, and Rev. Shaw must have been told about the extra foot by either people who lived at Odiham, or more likely the workers he saw on the west of Greywell Hill.

(Source British Library) A Collection of the best and most interesting voyages in all parts of the world. Published 1814).

Editor's note: The canal will be deeper in Hampshire than through Surrey when restoration is completed, but probably not by design. We're told the top pound is 5ft 6ins deep on average but considerably less in Surrey. It's all to do with the height of the towpath and the level of lock gates.
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The Annual Draw is one of our major fund raising activities. Three books are enclosed, so please endeavour to sell all of them (20p each, or £1 for a book of 5).

Galleon Marine of Colt Hill, Odiham have very kindly donated the Star Prize: a 3-night mid-week cruise on the Basingstoke Canal for four on one of their new hire cruisers (in early or late season). Other prizes include: one of £100, two of £50, five at £10, plus ten signed, limited edition copies of 'Basingstoke Canal Restoration' in hardback.

Stubs and cheques should be sent to the new Draw organiser Mrs Yvonne Chappell, The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1QR not later than the 30th September 1988. More tickets are always available on receipt of a SAE.

A big thank you to Bob Humberstone who has very ably organised the Draw for the last few years.

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The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) is appealing for the financial support of its members and all waterways supporters to fight a major court case to establish a right of navigation still exists on the River Derwent Navigation in Yorkshire.

Making the appeal, Mr David Moore, SE Region Chairman says "Our opponents are the conservationists led by the Yorkshire Naturalist Trust who are really challenging the use of rivers and canals by motorised craft".

If the nature conservation lobby wins the case, it is felt that the result will have wider repercussions on navigations currently being restored such as the Basingstoke and others still in the early process of restoration like the Huddersfield, Rochdale and Wey and Arun.

"Now is the time for all those who support the IWA's aims to have the fullest recreation and commercial use made of our inland waterways to stand up and be counted. An extra £5 from every canal enthusiast will enable us to meet our commitment", said David Moore. "Pulling out now would hand a significant moral victory to those opposed to restoration generally which doubtless would be fully exploited" he added. The Association is seeking to raise £100,000 to prove a right of navigation still exists.

Donations can be sent to: 'Waterways for All',
The Inland Waterways Association, 114 Regent's Park Road, London, NWl 8UQ.
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Sunday 22nd May
'Journey through the Archives' film clips presented by John Huntley at the Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Centre Halls, Woking. 8.00pm.

Sunday 29th May
'Railways Forever' a programme of classic films presented by Woking New Cinema Club at Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Centre Halls, Woking. 2.30 pm and 8.00 pm.

Weekend 29th - 30th May
Woking 150 celebration combined with 200th anniversary of start made to construct Basingstoke Canal. Railway and steam locomotive exhibition plus boat rally on the canal.

9th - 10th July
IWA National Steam and Trail Boat Rally on the Mon and Brec at Pontypool, Gwent. Boat, caravan and tent entries to: David Jones, 10 Hughes Avenue, Ebbw Vale, Gwent. (Tel: 0495 304757.)

16th-17th July
Guildford Water Festival organised by the local branch of the IWA on the Wey Navigation at Millmead. Don't miss it.

Tuesday 19th July
Celebrate 400th anniversary of defeat of the Spanish Armada at Frimley Lodge Park. Beacon lighting, fireworks, Elizabethan bowls, sheep roasting, music and dancing. Boaters welcome to join in the festivities, dressed for the occasion! Ring Chris de Wet for details: Aldershot 850311.

26th - 29th August
IWA National Boat Rally and Carnival at Castlefield Basins on the Bridgewater and Rochdale canals and the River Irwell.

Weekend 24th-25th September
'Winchfield 150'. Re-run of the Woking event on a smaller scale but with the same ingredients all dressed up in Victorian costume. Boaters book the date, please. Full details in the next issue.
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ON Sundays 22nd and 29th May there will be very special film shows in the Rhoda McGaw Theatre at the Centre Halls as part of the Woking 150 celebrations and 1988 Festival of the Arts.

On the first date, to also commemorate the 200th anniversary of the year construction of the Basingstoke Canal started, John Huntley will introduce historic film of the development of our waterways in a presentation for the Surrey and Hants Canal Society entitled "Journey through the Archives".

May 29th sees steam supreme in "Railways Forever" — Woking's New Cinema Club's compilation — with a Southern emphasis — of the best of British Transport films.

Tickets (adults £2.50, O.A.P./Children £1.50) from Centre Halls Box Office (Tel No. Woking 69765).
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In the News
Appreciation for the work done by Mr Raymond Stedman, Surrey's Countryside Officer responsible for the canal, was expressed by the Chairman of the Joint Management Committee.

Ray Stedman is leaving the County Council to manage the largest estate in Wiltshire. Cllr Patrick Evelyn, JMC's Chairman,spoke of Ray Stedman's enthusiasm and energy and thanked him for all that he had done for the canal.

The Surrey length of the canal became his responsibility when the Council purchased it in 1976. He was instrumental in getting the extensive dredging programme under way and backed voluntary efforts by providing plant and materials. It was Ray Stedman who found the old army swimming pool on the banks of the canal at Deepcut as a place to store new lock gates under water to preserve them. The idea was then abandoned in preference for converting the old pool to a workshop where over 80 new gates have since been built.

At the start of work on the Deepcut flight he often came over from his home, then close by at Pirbright, to lend a hand and sec how volunteers were progressing. Asked why he identified himself with the project so closely,he replied, "I regarded it as something of a challenge as it was a new and different kind of project".

The Society wishes him every success in his latest challenge.
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The loveable image of Ratty in Wind in the Willows' came in for a more critical view at the Joint Management Committee.

Better known in real life as the water vole, the rat sized creature can often be seen along the top pound in Hampshire hut rarely in Surrey. The problem is that they live in holes burrowed in the banks of the canal and as numbers increase so their funnelling is weakening the banks.

No other inland waterway appears to suffer from the problem to the same extent. But a proposal to introduce mink to curb the water vole population did not meet with the JMC's approval.

The water vole can often he seen swimming across the canal or along the reed fringed bank. When disturbed you may hear a 'plop' as it dives into the water. It feeds on reeds and plant roots.
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One of the Society's VIP guests at St John's was Mrs Barbara Tomlins and members of her family. The Society has received a number of generous donations through the B.D. Tomlins Charitable Trust set up by her late husband Bernard Tomlins. The money has been used to help the Society restore Woodend Bridge to its original 200-year old design, which Mrs Tomlins officially opened on the cruise down the flight of locks.

The family owns seven laundries in London and south east England, including Ashley Cook of Woking.

Cllr John York (22K)

Cllr John York. Chairman of Hart District Council, giving the fourth Stourvale-built hire cruiser a formal send-off at Galleon Marine's Colt Hill base at Odiham. The occasion was enjoyed less formally by a group of Belfast children who spent a sunny afternoon boating on the canal as part of their Easter holiday with local families sponsored by the Chairman's Charity to aid youth projects. Also pictured are (left to right) Ian Wilson of Stourvale Cruisers. Steve Wells and Dave Stansfield of Galleon Marine. (Photo: Dieter Jebens/Clive Durley).
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Welcome to New Members
Ian BrownNew Malden
David MowerSt Johns
John and Renee DewellPrince George, USA
Leslie AmissGuildford
Gerald DaviesAlron
Peter VallanceHindhead
Mr G.W.RotheryOdiham
Alec & Betty GoslingWalron-in-Thames
Tim WrightEast Horsley
Mrs C. MantonBracknell
CapstansSt Johns
Robin CarpenterFrimley Green
Mr & Mrs L.G. SmithWoodham
Mr A.W. HumphriesGuildford
Mrs G. RidgesWinchfield
Jeffrey HoldernessWoking
Kenneth WickhamChiddingfold
Mr J.F. StrongFarnham
Mr & Mrs I.M. NormanNew Haw
Marlyn AylingBasingstoke

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STEAM-powered 12-seater trip boat is to be based at 'The Water Witch' for use by the Colt Hill pub customers.
WEEDCUTTER bought by Surrey County Council at a bargain price. Each county now has their own water-borne weedcutter.
MAINTENANCE dredger specification is being checked by BWB engineers for county councils while the question of funding also has to be resolved before purchase is authorised.
BRIDGE over the River Wey at the entrance to the Basingstoke Canal linking the two towing paths has been erected and looks good.
ANCIENT Monument status of Langman's Bridge at St. John's,Woking has attracted 25% grant (£6,250) from the English Heritage Trust for repair.
IDEA for converting Thames Mud Barge into spacious floating museum and information centre being investigated. Ideal sponsorship project for local companies.
PIKE weighing 17 Ibs was caught at Colt Hill Wharf, in February.
ARMY has dropped proposal to fence off Great Bottom Flash following representation by the Society, our Vice-President, Cranley Onslow MP, and Surrey County Council.
MEMBERS enjoyed a talk about the history of Woking given by Iain Wakefield, author of 'Woking 150' published recently.
CONGRATULATIONS on their engagements to two couples who first met at the bottom oflock chambers — Mike Fellows and Fiona Hope and Catherine Watson and John Lock.
INFORMATION folder printed in colour with a map of canal and photographs promoting use of the canal is being produced for the Society by Woking-based Phillips Petroleum, whose headquarters are in Guildford Road.
LIFT-BRIDGE at North Warnborough is finally being replaced. Work was scheduled to start at the end of April for completion by the end of May.

Frank Jones (23K)

Cheers! Frank Jones, who co-ordinated restoration of Brookwood Lock 12. described as 'the most difficult lock of them all to restore', lets the first boat through on her way down to St John's. (Photograph: Dieter Jebens/ Clive Durley).
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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, Edwin Chappell & helpers.
Editorial Office: 60 Middlebourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU10 3NJ. {Farnham 715230).
Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking, Surrey, GU24 9HX. (09905 7314)
Vice-Chairman: David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close. Fleet, Hampshire, GU 13 9SW. (0252 617364)
Hon. Treasurer: Mrs Gwyneth Browne, 102a Aldershot Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU 13 9NY, (0252 621745)
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley, Meadow Vale. Guildford. Surrey, GU3 2AS. ((0483 234776)
Membership Secretary: Edwin Chappell, The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1QR. (03722 72631)
Working Party Organiser: Mike Fellows, 30 Reynards Close, Winnersh, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG11 5NT. (0734 787428)
Dredger Manager: Andy Stumpf, 37 Higham Road, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, HP5 2AF. (0494 785720)
Working Party Information: Peter Jones, 54 Wharf Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot. Hampshire, GU12 5AY. (0252 313076) Peter Cooper, 5 Addison Court, Oakley Auenue, Ealing, London, W5. (01 993 1105)
Trip Boat: Tony Karavis, 12 Loddon Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 9NT, (0252 549037)
Sales Manager: Situation Vacant
Talks Organiser: Mrs Janet Greenfield,9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Surrey, GU 17 7DT, (0252 873167)
Exhibitions Manager: Phil Pratt, Flat 5, Fleetwood Court, Madeira Road, West Byfleet, Surrey. KT14 6BE (0932 340281)
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Last updated June 2005