No. 146 JULY 1989
SUPPORTING NATIONAL ISSUES|
WE TEND to restrict BC News to cover the affairs of the Basingstoke Canal, believing that events concerning other navigations are well covered by the waterways Press and the Inland Waterways Association.
But there are national waterway issues which should concern even those interested solely in the Basingstoke.
Two such trouble spots are the Yorkshire Derwent, and the Montgomery Canal, which need the support of everyone remotely interested in Inland Waterways.
In BC News 145 we reported briefly that the Yorkshire Derwent Trust, backed by the Inland Waterways Association, failed to obtain a High Court judgment in favour of the existence of a right of navigation on the upper Derwent.
The judge ruled that an order made in 1935, under the Land Drainage Act, revoked an Act of 1702 appertaining to the Derwent although not specifically to navigation which was an established use at and before that time.
More importantly (and possibly of interest to users of the Basingstoke Canal), the judge also ruled that the Rights of Way Act of 1932 applied only to access over land and not, as the YDT contended, over water too.
After taking Counsel's opinion, and in view of the implication of the judgment preventing public access to navigable rivers generally, the YDT has decided to appeal.
Any opportunity members may have to raise the issue with politicians, or in public, will be welcomed by the YDT and IWA. So will your contributions towards the legal costs for which the IWA set up its 'Waterways for All' campaign to raise £100,000. Cheques to: IWA, 114 Regents Park Road, London NW1 8UQ.
In the meantime the familiar 'PRIVATE KEEP OUT' notices stand, and any moves to restore the beautiful upper reaches for navigation have been thwarted by local land owners and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
The other major issue, also close to our hearts, is restoration of the 35-mile long Montgomery Canal. Regarded as one of the major and most attractive projects, which has been in
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The Canal Festival site on Boundary Road Common, Woking, seen from Monument Bridge. (Inset) One for the album ... passengers on the two-day John Pinkerton cruise face the camera at Ash Lock (report on page 9). (Photographs: Dieter Jebens. Processing: Alison Snell, Clive Durley and Freelance Photo Services, Farnborough).
progress for the past 20 years.
It was hoped that completion would be boosted by funds allocated for Projects of Regional and National Importance. But Peter Walker, Secretary of State for Wales did not approve the allocation for this year.
About £18 million are required for full restoration. The rejected plan was for £15 million to complete and re-open 30 miles of the canal. Much of the cost has already been promised and if the Welsh Office had given approval, 40% of the total would have been granted by the European Economic Community.
Restoration of the Montgomery, which joined the Llangollen Canal, is seen as an important contribution towards tourism development and job opportunities in the area.
Now, for the time being at least, progress on the Montgomery is necessarily restricted to voluntary efforts and British Waterways input.
Pressure for a change of mind is welcomed, so do please make your interest in waterways, and restoration of the Montgomery known at every opportunity.
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WOKING WEEKEND SUCCESS
CONGRATULATIONS to Vic Trott and his Festival Committee, Chris de Wet and the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club, the John Pinkerton trip boat company, boaters, stallholders, exhibitors, participants and helpers who made the Woking Canal Festival another success. A great deal of work went into the event for little financial return. But the more people we introduce to the Canal, the more likely the Borough Council will push to activate its plan for a town quay and mooring basin, with canalside leisure facilities, based on the site of Brewery Road car park. Maybe, at least, the Society has impressed or influenced a few more townspeople of the potential value that exists in utilising the canal to alleviate the urban scene.
All the attractive schemes of more than 10 years ago still remain drawing board dreams. Even the slipway on Boundary Road Common, constructed for 'Woking 150', remains inaccessible to boaters because of locked road barriers to prevent unauthorised access.
CANAL DIRECTOR APPOINTED
54-YEAR old Mr. Patrick Field of Grantley Drive, Fleet, has been appointed to the newly created £19,000 post of Canal Director to be responsible for the whole waterway.
A retired RAF wing commander, Mr Field has been employed as bursar at a school in Kent.
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A WOKING SPECTACULAR
THE SOCIETY once again brought Boundary Road alive with a pleasantly noisy and colourful mixture of festival, fete and fairground entertainments.
At the request of Woking Borough Council, the Society brought its annual boat rally back to town on 3rd and 4th June. Rather grandly named Woking Canal Festival, it nevertheless attracted up to 50,000 visitors, as many, some estimated, as 'Woking 150' attracted last year.
There was never an empty seat on the John Pinkerton plying up and down between Arthur's Bridge and Monument Bridge. Stalls of all kinds lined the canal bank, and boats of all shapes and sizes stretched the length of the commonland. While energetic youngsters let off steam on a 'bouncy castle', others were content to admire the old traction engines get up steam, and the perennial dog handling displays and fancy dress competitions which never cease to appeal.
A bright but dull Saturday gave way to sunshine on Sunday with always the threat of a shower but no one got wet. Arthur Dungate showed his canal slide shows in a special cinema marquee kindly loaned at very short notice by the Royal Ordnance Corps at Blackdown.
The Mayor of Woking, Mrs. Anne Cartwright toured the Festival with more than a passing interest while in the sky the Fuji sponsored airship from Fairoaks circled with equal curiosity.
Long before the end there was talk of yet another return next year.
Sue Palmer decorating a Buckby can at Woking watched by the Mayor, Mrs. Anne Cartwright, and her daughter Julia.|
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THANKS FOR FESTIVAL SUCCESS
EXPRESSING his appreciation to everyone involved with the Woking Canal Festival, Chairman of the Organising Committee, Vic Trott writes:
I want to thank people who put in the effort to make the Woking Canal Festival the success it undoubtedly was. On the Friday before the event we were looking at a deficit of approximately £500. Now we will have a profit of over £200. Many people of course had an input to set the event up initially, more helped over the weekend and then it all had to be dismantled on the Sunday evening.
I first want to thank the organising
committee who were given the impossible task (or so it seemed) of organising the event in only four months and on some items it was touch and go right up to the week of the rally. They were: Bill Caldwell, Edwin Chappell, Margaret and John Coles, Peter Coxhcad, Betty and Alec Gosling, Peter Jackman, Ginny Millard, Peter Redway, Shirley Trott and Jonathan Wade.
The boating side was organised by members of the newly formed Basingstoke Canal Boating Club and I particularly want to mention Bill Bailey, Paul Buck, Chris de Wet and Sonia Jebens.
Also thanks to the John Pinkerton crews who provided refreshments on Friday and Saturday night and to Dick Elder and the barbecue team for a splendid spread.
The Committee mainly made its money from two stalls and selling the
Woking 150 brochure; from food concessions; trade stalls and the train and donkey rides. The difference between profit and loss was mainly due to the large sums of money generated by Janet Greenfield with her bric-a-brac stall and Shirley Trott with her tombola stall. Between them they generated nearly £800.
Can I also thank the volunteers who manned the roll-a-penny stall and all those who put up tents, took them down again and did all the other jobs on site which all go to make a successful rally. There are so many I cannot name them all. To them thank you very much.
A mention must also be given to Woking Borough Council and its many staff who contributed to the success of the event.
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WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE
WHILE the rest of the country was promoting National Wild flower Week in May, Surrey canal rangers were busy cutting them down just when the summer plants were starting to mature.
The BCBC has written to the County's senior land agent suggesting that March and late August or early September would be more appropriate times.
Last year many people remarked on the variety of flowers and the
array of colours along the canal, believed to be the result of the Society's bank clearance work, especially cutting saplings, which has encouraged the growth of flowering plants.
In Hampshire a 6ft strip (including the towpalh area) is cut in June to maintain a clear walking area, but without cutting down canalside flowers. Later, in August, after the majority of plants have flowered, canal rangers cut more extensively to the waters edge.
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POINTING TO SOCIETY'S FUTURE
IN his closing remarks at this year's AGM the Society's chairman, Robin Higgs, outlined his view of the Society's future role after the canal is re-opened.
"The Society is too much of an environmental group, with resources in money, people and ideas for it not to continue as an active organisation", he said. And in a nine point plan, the Chairman listed the avenues open for the Society to participate in the future upkeep of the canal, and the pursuit of other projects already started.
•continue to represent members interests on the canal's Joint Management Committee.
•press on with proposals to restore Greywell Tunnel and the western end of the canal.
•focus on user interests, including boating, walking, canoeing, nature conservation and any other canal activity, as an impartial voice.
•participate in maintenance work in conjunction with the county councils' rangers since the authorities will not have sufficient funds to undertake everything we should like to see done.
• continue to employ a full-time workforce through the Society's contracting company, Deepcut Canal Contracts Ltd.
• monitor planning proposals and aim to influence planning consents with a view to protecting the canal's environment.
• pursue our fund raising activities, including operation of the John Pinkerton, publicity, sales and other public relations and fund raising events.
•maintain Society's archives and artifacts, preserve and exhibit them and any other information relating to the canal's history.
• establish a permanent base for the Society to enhance the social aspect of the Society and help maintain associations created through restoration work.
• set up a working party group to maintain the pool of experience gained during restoration work which can be employed on other similar projects.
"The canal will always need a
strong independent voice". Robin
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SOCIETY'S NEW TREASURER
A NEW treasurer, Nigel Parsons, has been appointed taking over from John Elliott who acted as caretaker after Gwynneth Browne resigned last year.
An active working party volunteer since he became a member in 1978 Nigel Parsons lives in Guildford and has considerable management experience working in industry.
Elected to the Executive Committee at the AGM, there were no other nominations and so the following were re-elected: Robin Higgs (Chairman), David Millett (Vice-Chairman); Philip Riley (Secretary); Roger Cansdale (Chairman of Surrey and Hampshire Canal Cruises Ltd); Edwin Chappell (Membership secretary), Vic Trott, Alan Grimster; Derek Truman (director of Deepcut Canal Contracts Ltd); David Junkison, Peter Redway and Jonathan Wade.
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RUNNING OUT OF QUESTIONS?
QUESTION time at this year's AGM was a dull affair compared with the volley of questions and lively debate that highlighted many previous meetings. Talks organiser Janet Green field reviews the subjects raised this year.
Questions started with the inevitable one - when will the canal be reopened? While the Grand Opening seems to have receded to 1991, there is every prospect of re-opening the navigation by May next year, members were informed.
A leaflet refuting the wilder allegations of some naturalists, showing past dereliction of the canal and telling the story of the restoration, is being produced for public distribution. A poll was taken of how many members attending the meeting had written to their MP's to express concern over possible restrictions to navigation once the canal is designated an SSSI. Eight responded positively. Is this a representative proportion of the membership? All eight members had received similar assurances from their MPs and the DoE Minister, but the process of keeping them aware
It seems our future role is still not clear to many members. Ginny Millard pointed out that the survival of the Society in its present form would seem to depend on an active social life but function organisers and helpers were sadly lacking. The same apathy applies to fund raising which is still essential.
Accusation of apathy may be a little unfair because the response to Frank Jones' and the BCBC's 'Adopt a Lock' scheme was almost overwhelming. Are we perhaps a Society of 'navvies' happy to toil at the bottom of a lock but not so keen to join the dance or jumble sale?
Progress is being made on the Greywell Tunnel and Western End project. Stan Meller's feasibility study is now complete and due to be presented at a public meeting for Mapledurwcll Parish Council to be held on 23rd June.
A pressing problem - water supply - is to be considered by a newly formed Strategy Committee, the meeting was told. It was surprising to learn that the whole of the canal will have to be re-dredged to a greater depth. More space to be filled with
water! Is this the answer? Dave Gerry's assertion that flashes were largely irrelevant to water supply seems to say not. (Just as well since the flashes reserved for wildlife will probably be overgrown and silted up. Are we already having to look for more water sources due to NCC's (in)activity and management techniques?)
A suggestion was made at the Members' forum, held earlier this year, that an additional trip boat should be purchased for use in the Woking area. Roger Cansdale reported that not enough offers of help had been received to make it a viable proposition and the Boat Company could not cope with another boat from their present base at Fleet. A further suggestion was made that when the canal is finished profits from the John Pinkerton could go towards funding a second boat.
The Chairman assured a questioner that privatisation of water would not be a problem for the Basingstoke. The threatened re-organisation of local government was far more likely to create difficulties, he thought.
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OLD CANAL BRIDGE DOOMED?
ONE of the most attractive points along the canal is in danger of being ruined by a new bridge. The original hump-backed Kings Head Bridge at Frimley Green is due to be pulled down and replaced by a new and wider road bridge incorporating a footpath.
Fierce local opposition is calling for less drastic action in a recognised conservation area. Apart from losing a good number of trees in the process, and spoiling the 18th century character of the canalside, which includes the distinctive cottage by the aqueduct known as Frimhurst Lodge, villagers fear the widening scheme will encourage motorists to speed and cause accidents. "The village is in uproar", said one resident, "not only because the new bridge will spoil a time honoured local spot favoured by artists and photographers, but also because of the increased traffic danger".
Local people favour traffic lights, a scheme which is supported by the Society. Writing to Surrey's Planning Officer, Secretary Philip Riley expressed 'concern that the character of one of the few remaining canal bridges will be radically altered if the scheme proceeds .... every effort should be made to preserve the bridge in its current form'.
Should retention not be possible, the Society has suggested brick facings, and capping bricks to complete the parapets, as a more sympathetic finish lo any new structure.
STEAMING UP THE CANAL
MAKING a welcome return to the canal, for a weekend cruise in June were members of the Steam Boat Association, led by Brian Butterworth aboard his launch Andromeda.
Other boats included Meteorite owned by Adrian Birtles, Marlin, Senta, Puff o Smoke, Aries 5, and the elegant Canadian canoe Sandpiper.
Apart from the potential hazard of large half-submerged logs obstructing the navigation at Deepcut, the flotilla found the going easy and enjoyable, descending three Deepcut locks and cruising westwards to the Fox and Hounds, Fleet.
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CANOEING CENTRE CATERS FOR ALL
LAST year NEHWACA (North East Hants Water Activities Association) gave canoeing instruction and hired out canoes totalling 3,500 hours afloat. The voluntary organisation operates from a large boat-house, close to the canal, in the grounds of Courtmoor School, Fleet. It's filled with canoes of every description, including three types of kayak, poly-pippins and Canadian canoes - 34 in all.
The Association - or 'Kneewhacker' as it has become known by its initials - is open to people of all ages wishing to learn canoeing or hire a canoe. Qualified instructors are available to teach groups, and individuals are usually assigned to an existing party or make up numbers for a group.
For the Handicapped too.
Canoeing is good exercise, especially for the partially disabled. This year 'Knecwhacker' added a special non-tip canoe to its fleet. And three more have just been bought from a fund set up in memory of Brian Barton, a local educationalist who devoted a great deal of his life to activities for handicapped young people.
At an 'open day" evening held in May, 'Boats for the Handicapped', the local organisation that runs the Mildred Stocks self-drive hire craft for the handicapped, proudly showed off their latest acquisition. Believed to be unique in Britain, it is a 2-man rowing catamaran with ingeniously designed jointed oars enabling the rowers to face in the direction of travel.
A small hoist on the bankside lifts a disabled rower onto the craft, and is ready lo go in no more time than it takes any oarsman to get away.
Both organisations welcome your enquiries. For NEHWACA contact:
The North East Hants Institute, Link House, Highficld Avenue, Aldershot, Hants, GU11 3XZ. Tel: Farnborough 344077. 'Boats For The Handicapped', contact: Peter Youngs, 6 Andrews Close, Church Crookham. Aldershot, Hants, GU13 OHF. Tel: Fleet 621501.
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BCBC MEMBERSHIP CLIMBS
MEMBERSHIP of the Basmgstoke Canal Boating Club now stands at 115, just 3 months after its formation.
As a part of its aim, the club organises various boating events, social events, and has a winter programme planned which will deal with all aspects of boat maintenance. In addition, the BCBC has launched the very successful 'Adopt-a-Lock' scheme, co-ordinated by Frank Jones.
The next club social event is on
Monday 21st August at Frimlcy Green Working Men's Club. From 8.00pm onwards members are invited to an informal 'Natter and Noggin'. Due to entry restrictions, only members may attend - but you can be signed up al the door!
The annual subscription is just £3.00, and includes a quarterly newsletter. Full membership details are available from Roy Mullender, 44 Ferndale Road, Church Crookham, Aldershot, Hants. GU130LN. (SAE please!) Tel: Fleet 617651.
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by Peter Cooper
THE FULL time restoration team's main task recently has been to cure the offside bank problems in the Sheerwater area; if the canal were refilled as it stood, many people would have had half their gardens flooded, and would obviously not have been too happy about this. This job is proceeding well, and is on or ahead of schedule.
At the same time volunteers have mostly been raising towpaths and curing leaks in the Woking area. They have also done a job on a balance beam at Lock 24, and finishing jobs are continuing al Lock 4.
The work will continue to be fairly unpredictable, and it remains essential to contact your working party leader before attending. Otherwise, you won't know where the work is, what it is, or even (or sure) that there is going to be a working party. You should check only a few days before the working date, as the leader may himself not know until quite late.
Working party leaders are:
First weekend of the month - Peter Jones on Aldershot 313076
Second weekend of the month - David Junkison on 01-941 0685 and Dave Lunn (temporarily not on the phone).
Third weekend of the month - Peter Redway on Woking 21710.
Overall co-ordination of this work is in the hands of Frank Jones on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home).
If you are able to come along and work on the canal during the week, even if only for a few days, you should contact Frank Jones (phone numbers above) and he will be happy to find you something to do.
Hampshire bankside work
This regular party are currently in
their summer recess, during the bird nesting season. They expect to start operations again in September. For more details of this party, contact Peter Jackman on Woking 72132.
Dredging in Hampshire - Every Weekend
Despite the loss of two or three Saturday workings through a recent shortage of crew members, Perseverance continues to make good progress into Fleet and has reached Glen Road. The dredger team has agreed to press on past Reading Road Bridge which is expected to be reached in the autumn. The final leg down lo Pondlail Bridge will take a further twelve months lo complete. New recruits are always welcome - a full training will be given.
Contact Roger Flitter for details on Fleet 622956.
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AIM TO COMPLETE RESTORATION BY MAY NEXT YEAR
WHILE plans to re-open the canal formally in April or May next year have been postponed for twelve months, the waterway is expected to be navigable throughout in May 1990.
Members of the Joint Management Committee heard that whilst completion for a formal re-opening was 'technically possible' for the spring of 1990, it was felt prudent to allow a period of time for the canal to have been operational again before embarking on a 'high profile opening ceremony'.
An invitation to HRH The Prince of Wales or the Duke of Edinburgh were
favourites to perform the reopening.
Nevertheless members of the JMC recognised that because both the local authority owners and Society members had put a great deal of effort into restoration work, which has now been going on for the past 15 years, those involved 'are keen to open the canal at the earliest possible time'. The Committee agreed that work at Sheerwater and dredging along the Hampshire length 'should be carried out without delay, so that the canal is navigable by the summer of 1990, as originally envisaged'.
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AWARD FOR THE SOCIETY
THE Christopher Power Award
presented annually by the Inland Waterways Association, 'to a person, society or trust making the most significant contribution to the restoration of an amenity waterway', went to the Society this year.
Linked with the award was the Society's chairman, Robin Higgs, 'for his dedication to the Society over many years'.
THE NEW maintenance dredger was formally handed over to Cllr. Patrick Evelyn, Chairman of the canal's Joint Management Committee by Mr. Richard Smalley, managing director of the manufacturer, on Saturday 29th April. A small crowd of members braved the damp morning to see Mrs. Evelyn expertly operate the jaws of the excavator to crush a bottle of Champagne and name the vessel Unity.
At the ceremony, which took place close to the Fox and Hounds at Fleet, Cllr. Evelyn congratulated Society volunteers on the dredging work they had done, and went on to inspect Perseverance.
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THEY LEARNED, THEY WORKED, THEY CONQUERED
VOLUNTARY workers have taken a major part in the restoration of the canal's 29 locks in Surrey. Now completed, Mike Fellows, who planned, and supervised the work programme, reviewed the development of the voluntary effort at this year's AGM when he announced his 'retirement'.
I JOINED my first working party in Surrey during the winter of 1975/76, about six months after the County Council had bought the 15 mile eastern half of the canal.
Frank Jones was organising voluntary working parties on the upper Deepcut locks. Among those early parties was one at Lock 25, under Curzon Bridge, led by Peter Jones. This was the first lock to be rebuilt and as such the work was very experimental. We took it apart to see how it was built and learned how to rebuild it - and the way not to rebuild. The aim was to take out only rotten material and to use original materials for renovation. For example, the top cill was faithfully reconstructed of wood. (Now the only example on the canal) but the method was subsequently discarded on the advice of County Engineers, in favour of steel piles and reinforced concrete.
Peter Jones had a large, loyal band of regulars including Peter Bond, David Junkison, Tony Gould, Peter Cooper and John and Keith - the bricklayers - plus many more. After a mammoth effort to overcome any
number of problems, Lock 25 was completed early in 1977.
Upstream, at Lock 26, I joined a team led by John Chisholm. At Lock 27 International Voluntary Service recruits were stuck in, while the London branch of Waterway Recovery Group had taken on Lock 24.
At the extreme eastern end of the canal, Pablo Haworth was already established at Lock 6, and the Guildford and Reading Branch of the Inland Waterways Association, led by Jeff Holman, had adopted Lock 1.
We were very enthusiastic but, by today's standards, also very amateurish. We worked with dilapidated equipment in appalling conditions. Initially, the work consisted of clearing the undergrowth in and around the locks, cleaning out several feet of silt from the chamber using wheelbarrows, and removing old gates and demolishing cills. Much time was spent wailing for plant to arrive, getting it on site, getting it started and finally waiting for the Society's pale blue Bedford van, driven by Jack Redall to arrive, and take it away in the evening. All great fun, but very, very inefficient. However, all was about to change.
Unemployment was at a record high level and Government sponsored job creation schemes had been introduced to try to alleviate the problem. Frank Jones grabbed the opportunity and bagged one for the canal. It was a modest scheme to employ 25 people and was due to start in March 1977. In readiness for the
scheme volunteers were moved onto preparatory work.
The narrow gauge railway, recently released from dredging operations at Colt Hill, was brought in and laid along the towpath. Other working groups were drafted in from bridge hole clearance work in Hampshire, including Alan Grimsler and Peter Oates' Southampton Canal Society group. We all worked on the railway which was to be the life line for the new scheme.
Later came rolling stock and locomotives, all lovingly carried for by the Meller family and John Peart.
The MSC scheme was run by Frank Jones and included Martin Smith, a volunteer who had been heavily involved in bricklaying on the locks - sometimes by torch light, I believe. Later Jim Reid joined bringing a great deal of experience of the construction industry. It was the input of such experienced people that really started us down the road to greater professionalism. Complete chamber walls were demolished, scaffolding was erected along the whole of the chamber and wholesale re-building started. Meanwhile the volunteers continued to extend the railway onwards to lock 28.
Frank Jones is not one to let the moss grow on his lock gates, and his next great boost was already looming - the 'Deepcut Dig' in October 1977. This was a joint venture with national WRG and was expected to attract hundreds of volunteers over one weekend to work on the lower Deepcut flight, locks 23 down to 15. The preparation was an enormous task as the locks were virtually untouched - I couldn't tell one from another. Months of weekends were spent preparing hard standings and loading them with sand and ballast. Jules Wood and David Junkison spent weekend after weekend with the Smalley excavator preparing by-wash channels.
'Deepcut Dig' was different from other 'big digs' which had mainly done unskilled jobs such as canal bed clearance. It was important not to just rip the locks apart because that would be unsightly and attract criticism. Only jobs that could be completed in the weekend, or which made the lock look better were tackled. The list included installing
bywash channels, clearing silt from the chambers, removing undergrowth and old gates and many more jobs, all carefully thought out. It must have been a nightmare to organise, but work was found for the 600 volunteers who turned up and the weekend was a great success.
Shortly afterwards I was selected for stardom (or at least that was how it was put to me!). I was sandwiched between two burly gentlemen at the bar of the Brookwood Hotel, Frank Jones and Roger Thomas who had taken over from Frank as organiser after the full time scheme started. They put to me that it was too much for one organiser to deal with all the working parties, which included dredging, bankslde clearance and bridgehole clearance as well as lock working parties, so Roger needed a deputy to take charge of the lock working parties, and would I take the job? I think I must have muttered something which was mistaken for 'yes', because here I am - some 11 years later!
The first arrangement of working parties did not function well. We tried to work in the same locks as the full time team, but doing our own projects, such as installing the by-washes or building wing walls. It became increasingly difficult to preserve particular jobs for volunteers as the full time team gained pace and strength. Coupled with this was the feeling that our relatively puny efforts one weekend a month were being swamped by the sheer volume of work done by the full-time team which was very demoralising. So after 'Deepcut Dig' volunteers retreated to the lower Deepcut locks and spread themselves after locks 23 to 16. Here we concentrated on by-washes and wing walls.
Soon, however, the full time team, now 40 strong, started to bear down on us again as they were restoring locks at the rate of about one every four or five months. It was obvious that individual volunteer groups, working one weekend a month, couldn't possibly expect to rebuild a lock in anything less than five years. So we sacrificed our identity with a particular lock and concentrated our efforts on just two locks 19 and 16. Society workers at lock 16 and visiting groups, such as the Southampton Canal Society at Lock
19. By providing a continuous input by different groups at any one site, we established the present pattern of working parties, and my task was planning and co-ordinating. During this period Pablo's team had been working steadily, and in early 1979 they had got as far as they could at Lock 6 and had moved down to start on Lock 5.
The latter period of work on the Deepcut locks was significant for three reasons:
Firstly, I was approached by someone who had been on the 'Deepcut Dig' and had felt it was such a worthwhile project that he wanted to bring a group in to work on the locks. I do not remember the first working party on Lock 19 by the Kent and East Sussex IWA group, as they were called then, nor do I remember my first meeting with Ken Parish, their leader, but this group was to have significant impact on restoration.
The second important factor was a change in our method of working. We started to adopt the techniques and learn the skills of the full time work force. We demolished our first complete chamber wall and I remember wondering if we would ever be able to rebuild it. By contrast, in recent years we happily ripped whole locks apart confidently knowing we could rebuild them - how times had changed! This was our first real move from amateur working towards a more professional approach. We moved from minor demolition and patching to complete rebuilding of chamber walls.
The third significant event occurred in Autumn 1980, towards the end of the work at Deepcut. We were approached by two residents of St. Johns who had been doing bankside work but now wished to start work on Lock 11. I was reluctant because of the difficulties of supporting another isolated working party, the lack of knowledge on the work involved and because we were struggling to complete locks 19 and 16 and needed all the support we could get there. They were persuaded to join us at Lock 19 to assist us and learn what was required to restore a lock. However, the draw of their own local lock was great and at the end of 1980, with the aid of a Spar Grocery environment award, Ken Halls and Peter Redway led the first of many very successful working parties at Lock 11.
Move to St. Johns
By June 1981 locks 19 and 16 had been completed and all the working parties moved to St. Johns. Society working parties moved to Lock 10 and visiting groups onto Lock 9. St. John's saw further changes in our working practices. We had a compound to use as a base which greatly improved our effectiveness, and better equipment - a MF40 digger for loading and 4-wheel drive dumpers which could be driven down ramps directly into the chambers. At Deepcut all plant was brought in and taken away at weekends and the dumpers were 2-wheel drive - rear wheel steering which were always getting stuck. All loading was done by hand, and materials were lifted in and out of the chamber by barrow hoist, or with a Jones KL15 crane.
We also had the added support of the Newbury Working Party group from the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust. I first met them and their leader, Bill Nicholson, on a scrub bashing session on the Thames and Severn Canal. This was the start of a long association as they regularly visited us and worked out their frustrations of not being able to work on the K & A. This period also included the opening of the top Surrey pound and all the works which had been necessary to achieve completion. The visiting groups in particular spent months raising the level of the towpath from Ash Wharf to the Kings Head bridge, and were thoroughly sick of the sight of hoggin at the end of it. Society working parties were also involved in piling works at Angler's Flash and a long section at Graveswood Drive. These efforts enabled the pound to be opened on time in 1984 but it had slowed down
the work at St. Johns.
In the early days at St. John's we were always concerned how far we would get before full time team descended and forced us to move on. In fact this never happened because the full time team was diverted to the works on the top pound such as the Ash embankment spillway, and because unemployment in this area was decreasing and the schemes themselves were changing which led to a diminishing rate of progress. It was fortunate that during early 1983 Ken Parish proposed a work camp at St. John's to be run by the Kent and East Sussex IWA (KESCRG as they are now known). We had organised previous work camps at Lock 17 and locks 13 and 14 run by WRG, but these had been small scale affairs consisting of about ten people tackling easily identifiable projects, such as a bywash channel. Ken's idea was to get something bigger. Initially we planned for about 15 people with the principle job of laying the by-wash at Lock 8. We actually had 25 people and Ken kept me under constant pressure to provide more work to keep his people employed. This was the start of a new era, in which we saw work camps grow to accommodate over 50 people a week, tackling some of the most demanding and skillful jobs on the canal, such as the piling between locks 10 and 11, and many more jobs.
By the end of 1983 Pablo's team completed Lock 5 and moved on to
Lock 4. At St. John's, the flight of five locks was finished by mid 1987 - a total of six years. So, on average, we restored a lock every 14 months - a remarkable achievement. All working parties then switched to West Byfleet for the final fling on Locks 2 and 3. They were difficult locks because they were always full of water which had to be pumped out each time. But our experience with Lock 7, which was also wet, had taught us how to tackle the problem and we took it in our stride. Lock 3 was particularly difficult because of its close proximity to houses and a public footpath on three sides. Nevertheless, the locks were restored in record time, taking on average less than 12 months.
Early in 1988 Lock 1 was completed after more than eleven years work. Also in the summer Pablo Haworlh and his team completed lock 4, and Pablo retired from working parlies. His team continued under the joint leadership of Dave Lunn and David Junkison, doing banksidc clearance and other necessary works. Lock 2 was completed at the end of 1988 and Jules Wood retired as a leader having been involved since early Deepcut days. Finally, in March 1989 Peter Redway's group put the finishing touches to Lock 3 and so finished the work of lock chamber restoration which had started over 13 years ago. A tremendous achievement for the Society and for the dedication of the volunteers over the years.
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Elaine Manship, until recently crew organiser for the John Pinkerton, and John Hulbert who has 'retired' from the company's board, with pictures presented to them by boat company chairman Roger Cansdale (centre).
A TRIP TO REMEMBER
THIRTEEN canal enthusiasts, two coming from as far away as Sheffield, boarded John Pinkerton at Odiham Wharf for a two-day cruise down to Spanton's Wharf on 1st and 2nd June.
The trip was not only unique in being the first passenger cruise along almost the entire length of the canal, it also represented the trip boat company's entry into the tour business.
At a cost of over £100 each, everything was done to make the VIP trip memorable and enjoyable. The passengers lunched on fresh salmon, chicken and strawberry flan. In the evening they were given a special slide show and talk by Tony Harmsworth on his family's commercial carrying and barge building business on the canal. And they didn't fail to be impressed by the rural character of the restored navigation.
The trip included a short tour of Ash Lock Cottage by canal manager David Gerry, and an overnight stop with dinner at the Kingfisher Hotel overlooking Wharfenden Lake where the trip boat moored.
By the second day the trip had become a large family cruise, with passengers steering the boat, locking through and laying out afternoon tea of cucumber sandwiches, profiteroles and more strawberries.
Reluctantly the guests finally departed, leaving with lasting memories of the Basingstoke Canal. It was also a financial success for the Society, making over £1100 including fares taken on the public trips during the weekend's Canal Festival that followed.
12 month mooring on
the Basingstoke Canal
for 20-ft long craft
Ring: 0252 737053
(evenings) or 06333
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FUND RAISING NEWS - by Derek Truman|
THE MARKETING GROUP organised the Society's stand at the Woking Canal Festival and thanks are due to those members who helped to satisfy visitors questions, demand for books and souvenirs - taking £400 in the process.
Many of the enquiries were from people anxious to go boating and to know how they could contribute to the Society's work.
Janet Greenfield (left) makes a sale to Mayor of Woking
We sold £70 worth of Grand Draw tickets and congratulations are due to 15-year old twins Laurissa and Nicol Marsh and their 11-year old sister Philippa who toured the festival site on Saturday afternoon to sell £65 worth of tickets - a really marvellous effort.
At least twelve new members joined and many more forms were distributed.
200 CLUB WINNERS
THERE was good news in April for the following winning members Mr. and Mrs. Holding of Darby Green who won £58; Mr. Back of Fleet £29; Mr. Coaker £15 and Mr. and Mrs. Peter Jones of Ash £15.
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JOIN THE ANNUAL SPONSORED WALK
WHETHER you walk, prefer to help organise or even stay at home, every member can join in the Society's annual sponsored walk. We need your support more than ever before to help make up the £15,000 DoE grant now withdrawn.
This year's 12-1/4 mile circular route starts and finishes at Spanton's Wharf, Woking (5 minutes from the Station). Marshalls (an undemanding sit down job) are urgently needed now by the organiser Bill Homewood (Tel: Camberley 61343).
The route has been carefully planned to follow well used tracks and bridleways. For younger group participants there's also the challenge of racing against the clock over a set distance. Full details from Bill Homewood.
But whatever your age - walkers, sponsors or organisers - everyone can support the event and help the Society raise £5,000. A sponsorship booklet is enclosed. Make it your essential contribution this year.
HELP US TO RAISE MORE MONEY
WE ARE still seeking ideas and more particularly volunteers to implement schemes we'd like to launch. There's lots of ideas, small and large to suit your abilities and time available. Like Janet Greenfield, who ran a Bric a Brac stall at the Woking Festival and raised £300. Now let's have your contribution towards raising funds. Coffee Morning? Cheese and Wine Party? Jumble Sale? Car Boot Sale? The list is endless. Contact Derek Truman with your offers to help and suggestions: 11 Connaught Road, Fleet, Hants GU13 9RA. Tel: Fleet 613435.
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TICKETS TURNED TO ASHES
SOME members were lucky enough to receive four books of tickets for the Grand Draw with the May issue of BC News - others were not so lucky and thereby hangs a tale.
The printers, a small, inexpensive but efficient one-man business, having printed the tickets, dispatched them in two parcels. One was sent on 3rd May with the intention of arriving in time for the AGM on the 6th with a second parcel following a couple of days later.
The AGM came and went and still no tickets. Eventually, the post office delivered one parcel on 19th May - maybe they wheeled it in a barrow all the way from Yorkshire!
On 22nd May Fleet Police received a call from Biggin Hill police to say that the second parcel had been found badly damaged in a burnt out van at Biggin Hill. Only a handful had survived the fire but they were charred and useless. The printer promptly set about printing replacement tickets, which were dispatched within a few days.
Some members received their
books of draw tickets during June by courtesy of the Society's 'postmen', who kindly made an extra delivery and to whom grateful thanks are due. Others will find their books enclosed this time.
Extra tickets mean extra costs. Having read the sad tale above, each member is asked to sell more tickets than last year, which should not be difficult - Galleon Marine have again generously donated a super first prize. Profits were up last year but this unexpected set-back will need just that little more effort to beat last year's figures. Don't sit back and wait for others to help - everyone's help is needed.
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DIARY DATES - by Derek Truman|
Sunday 16th July
Farmland walk around Fairoaks Airfield near Chobham. Meet at airfield entrance (OS 186 map reference 001624) at 3.00pm. Leader Bill Homewood.
Sunday 30th July
Walk around Chobham and local riverside. Children need wellies. Meet at 3.00pm in village car park (by The Cannon).
Friday 4th - Sunday 6th August
Weekend camp for 11-15 year olds at Blue House Farm, Mallingley (See BC News 145 for details - bookings close 10th July).
Weekend 5th - 6th August
BCBC gathering at Barley Mow Bridge, Winchfield. Theme: Mid Summer Nights Dream. Non-boaters welcome. Details from Paul Buck (lei: 0420 83353).
Sunday 20th August
Mikron Theatre Company bring their well-known musical production Rise and Fall to the Mytchelt Community Centre. Show starts at 8.00pm. Tickets £3.75 each available from Edwin Chappell, The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey KT211QR (cheques to SHCS). SAE please.
26th, 27th and 28th August
IWA National Waterways Festival at Waltham Abbey on the River Lee.
The big event of the year.
Sunday 27th August
Coach trip to Hungerford length of Kennet and Avon Canal, with a visit to Crofton pumping engine.
Thursday 31st August - Sunday 3rd September
Camp and boat handling instruction
for 11-15 year olds at Broad Oak
Farm, Odiham (see details opposite).
Weekend 2nd-3rd September
BCBC takes to the greasy pole, raft racing and more fun and games afloat in the Guards Pool (between Deepcut locks 22 and 23). Non-boaters welcome. Details from Paul Buck (tel: 0420 83353).
Sunday 17th September
6-1/2 mile ramble, led by Bill Homewood, across heathlands around Elstead and Frensham. Meet 10.15am at The Moat (pond) Elstead, OS 186 map reference 900 415.
Weekend 30th September - 1st October
Annual boat gathering at Fox and Hounds, Fleet. Awards for best boats. Saturday lunchtime barbecue. Details from Paul Buck (0420 83353).
Sunday 8th October
Visit to Watercress line. Coach to Alton then by rail to Ropley for lunch stop. Returning direct from Alresford.
WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?
COUNCILLOR Patrick Evelyn looks in on a mystery about to be revealed by 9-year old Rebecca Gaskill whose mother, Penny, used to operate the Society's steam dredger and stoke the boiler.
WELL DONE THAT GIRL!
ALL is revealed, Tiie Society's latest tug is named Sapper and Cllr.
Evelyn thanked the army training units from Chatham and Church Crookham who provided mobile cranes to recover and launch the vessel on the canal.
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EVENTS FOR ALL AGES
Featured in BC News 145, 10th July is the closing date for bookings to the weekend outdoor activities camp for 11-15 year olds, at Blue House Farm, Mattingley 4th - 6th August.
Boat Handling and Weekend Camp
Open to 11-15 year olds, based at Broad Oak Farm, Odiham, 31st August - 3rd September. Learn to paddle Canadian canoes, row, punt and handle a cabin cruiser. Cost approx £9.50 each. Qualified/Experienced instruction. Closing date for bookings 10th August.
Visit to the K&A and Crofton Coach trip to Hungerford on the Kennet and Avon Canal and a 3-1/2 mile towpath walk for the energetic. Then to Crofton to see the famous pumping engine in stream. Various pick up points. Cost around £6.80 each. Bookings close 5th August.
Watercress Line and Waterside Walk
Coach to Alton and train to Ropley for lunch. Steam on to Alresford and walk along local Itchen Navigation. Cost not more than £8.50 each inclusive.
For more information and bookings contact: Bill Homewood: Tel Camberley 61343 after 7.00 pm.
•Bill Homewood is organising and supervising the youth camps with experienced assistance. Bill spent 12 years with the armed services, six years as a Scout Leader and some five years as an instructor in specialist adventure training with Camberley Sea Cadet Corps.
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THANKS go to Fleet Coaches for donating a diesel generator mounted on a four wheel trailer.
When last used the unit was in good order but it needs an inspection. If you are a qualified electrician, or know someone who is and will volunteer his services, we'd welcome an offer to assess its condition. It could be a useful power supply at such events as boat rallies.
The generator is standing in Ash Lock canal depot. It may be possible to move it to your home to work on it. Offers of help, please, to Ihe canal office. Tel: Aldershot 313810.
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PLEASED to hear Alf Hughes is out and about again after his hospitalisation at the helm of the Mildred Stocks.
MOTOR boat owners who have not renewed their licence may be unlucky - the 1989 quota will soon be reached.
CASH - contribution towards restoration funds made by Woking BC (£2500) and Hart DC (£250) to help employ full time team.
HAMPSHIRE and IOW Naturalist Trust have asked for more details of proposed bat tunnel adjoining Greywell.
COMPLAINTS over builders rubble and materials on former Odiham Wharf canalside being taken up with local council.
SOCIETY'S contracting company, Deepcut Canal Contracts, managed by Frank Jones were paid £5,000 for work at Britannia Wharf, Woking.
BOLLARDS at Colt Hill painted by Bernie Timms and Sue Palmer to improve the wharfside.
'ADOPT A LOCK' scheme, launched by the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club, has already allocated 20 locks. More volunteers needed for Deepcut 14. Contact Frank Jones Camberley 28367 or Deepcut 835711 (daytime).
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NCC LISTS 'CONSENTS' FOR CANAL UPKEEP
The Nature Conservancy Council has issued a list of 'consents' applying to 'potentially damaging operations' once a 25-mile length of the navigation, from Greywell to Brookwood, becomes a Site of Special Scientific Interest in September.
Whilst the NCC is not specific on the issue of the number of motorised boats to be permitted, precise limitations are proposed on the extent of dredging and weed cutting.
The Conservancy Council is seeking for a 6ft margin of 'fringing vegetation' to be left on one or both sides of the canal when it is dredged in future to a width not exceeding 33ft wide. Dredging width of the 440-yard lwngth beyond the Whitewater winding hole to Greywell Tunnel should be further restricted to a 6ft wide channel, says the NCC.
Weed cutting must also be restricted to a central navigation channel no more than 19-1/2 feet wide, leaving a 6-1/2ft margin of aquatic plants on either side uncut.
The proposed restriction to dredging up to Greywell Tunnel is seen as a significant new move to making the extreme western end of the canal a total exclusion zone to navigation.
The plant cuting restriction is regarded as a highly contentious demand because of the volume of water - at least one million gallons a day - lost through transpiration. Commenting, the Society's Chairman, Robin Higgs said, "There is a danger that the canal will become unmanageable if water plant margins are extended, and the limitation proposed is quite unacceptable".
The canal was originally constructed to a width of 38ft amd 6ft deep. In Hampshire CC's restoration plan, a width of 27ft and depth of 4ft 6ins was specified as a compromise to wildlife and navigation interests.
Instead of prescribing a limit on motorised boat numbers the NCC is calling for an annual review before any increase is agreed.
This year the total number of motorised boat licences was increased by 50 to 322, on the grounds that more of the canal was open in Surrey.
Even so, wildlife conservationists pressed for no increase.
Until now applications for motorised boat licences have been held back because no permanent moorings are restricted to riparian landowners and visiting boats are necessarily limited to those that can be trailed and launched down slipways.
Next year, even without the availability of a mooring basin, the re-opening of the canal to the Wey Navigation will increase the demand for licences significantly. A recent survey among Wey boat owners alone indicated that as many as 300 will wish to visit the canal - double the existing number of licences issued.
Other 'consents' which the NCC is seeking to apply, include:
# no bankside mowing between April and August.
# agreement to canalside dumping of cut weed.
# permission to cut overhanging trees.
# agreement to drain pounds and locks for maintenance.
# siting of permanent and temporary moorings to be agreed.
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COPY DATE FOR SEPTEMBER 1989 BC NEWS: 30th JULY 1989
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 & Chris de Wet.
Collation & Distribution: Janet and George Hedger, Edwin Chappell and Helpers.
Editorial Office: 60 Middleboume Lane, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ (0252 715230)
Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking, Surrey, GU24 9HX. (09905 7314)
Vice-Chairman: David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Hampshire, GU13 9SW. (0252 617364)
Hon. Treasurer: Nigel Parsons, 14 The Piccards, Chestnut Avenue, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5DW. (0483 571709)
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley, Meadow Vale, Guildford Road, Normandy, Surrey, GU3 2AS. (0483 234776)
Membership Secretary: Edwin Chappell, The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT211QR. (0372 272631)
Working Party Organiser: Frank Jones, Beulah, Parkstone Drive, Camberley, Surrey, GU12 2PA. (0276 28367)
Dredger Manager: Roger Flitter, 10 George Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU13 9PS. (0252 622956)
Working Party Information: Peter Jones, 54 Wharf Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU12 SAY. (0252 313076)
Peter Cooper, 5 Addison Court, Oakley Avenue, Baling, London W5. (019931105)
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, GU17 7DT. (0252 873167)
Exhibitions Manager: Phil Pratt, Flat 5, Fleetwood Court, Madeira Road, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6BE. (09323 40281).
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