May 1990

Unlicenced Boats
Cover pictures info
Canal Management
Canal Budget slashed
BVR costs
Navigation news
Countdown to

The Great Canal Auction
Diary Dates
Boats Afloat rally
Seen the Seal?
Dredger reaches Fleet
Ash Wharf Folly
Boating for the

Gongoozler's Gossip

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    bcnmsthd130 (13K)
No. 151 MAY 1990
front pic1 (34K)1
front pic2 (12K) front pic3 (15K)2,3
front pic4 (47K)

page 2

SINCE the press date for this issue and the Society's Annual General Meeting coincide, a report of the AGM will not appear until July. One subject that will have been discussed, no doubt, is what role the Society will play after restoration of the canal has been completed.

Although we may appear to have all but completed our objective of 23 years ago, it has become clear that the Society must remain strong and active to protect the canal in the future.

On the political front, threatened developments, such as that posed by the Blackwater Valley road crossing, will need to be tackled if our past work is not to be greatly reduced in value.

While pressure from riparian encroachment is not new, the demands being made by nature conservationists, to limit motorised boat cruising and impose their own maintenance standards, are more recent issues. Controls on the passage of boats could also be dictated by the canal authority: all of these moves require the Society to remain a strong political force for which strength in numbers is a vital ingredient.

The voluntary working party arm of the Society also has an active future. The canal authority will be short of funds for routine maintenance work let alone have the resources to provide amenity facilities.

And moves to restore the western end will continue to employ the Society's energies both on the political front and, we hope, in restoration work.

One might conclude that there will be no change in the Society's future role. But there is one fundamental change. Whereas the Society was the driving force behind restoration and influenced how the project was managed, the benefits of that initiative will no longer apply.

Now that the canal is restored, user interests, especially the nature conservationists, will want to influence how the canal is used and maintained. And in trying to satisfy all parties, there will be a danger of compromising on the quality of the navigation.

Since the Society has both funds and an experienced labour resource, which will be needed, it can continue to be influential. But it must be prepared to bargain for standards to be met which will protect the canal from falling into gradual decline.
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THE spring sunshine and warm weather in March brought boaters out into the sunshine to enjoy a taste of perhaps another good summer ahead. A number of those getting afloat were obviously first timers, including a family party who squeezed into a brand new boy racer speed boat fitted with a Mariner 25 outboard.

Launched down the slipway at Barley Mow Bridge, the boat did not appear to be licenced (and would not have been issued with one because of the excessive engine size). After several attempts to get the engine started, it finally sped off leaving a heavy wash rushing along the canal banks.

The family aboard Sourpuss (yes, that was its name) seemed pleasant enough and were probably ignorant of the need for a licence or the damage caused by the breaking wash. They were just out having fun aboard a new boat; a sense of enjoyment all boaters will appreciate. But the boat was in the wrong place and would not have got afloat if there had been a barrier across the slipway.

To Society members who have spent years restoring the canal to good order, it is both disheartening and infuriating to see the canal abused in this way.

It would cost the canal authority very little to instal simple but effective barriers across slipways, and issue BW keys to licenced trail boaters. The move, which has been advocated by both the Society and the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club in the past, would be welcomed by canal users generally, and especially licenced boaters.


Now operated by the Basingstoke Canal Authority and open for bookings. First week (or part) £70, second and subsequent weeks £50 per week. To book your boat in, contact: Mrs Mary Harmsworth (0252 513385). For more details contact canal manager, David Gerry (0252 313810) 0r 622520).

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FRONT COVER Perseverance clearing Reading Road Bridge with only inches to spare, (bottom left) Cllr David Carrow, chairman of Hart DC, welcoming the dredger and crew to Fleet at the dredger 'open day', with Roger Flitter (centre) and Society chairman Robin Higgs. (bottom right) A toast to Perseverance (left to right) David Millett, the Society's vice-chairman; Paddy Field, canal director; Cllr David Carrow and Roger Flitter. (Pictures by: Dieter Jebens. Processing: Alison Snell, Clive Durley and Freelance Photo Services).
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page 3

Dear Sir,
THE last bankside clearance of the season has finished, the tools have been put away and spring flowers arc already m bloom. Now we'll discover whether our many working parties have had the desired effect. Some will say let nature gradually decay the storm damage and aging woodland, while others believe that nature needs a helping hand.

Viewing the springtime growth, it seems that our work is beneficial: primroses are already in abundance, green shoots arc sprouting and everything is benefiting from extra light and sunshine which now penetrates.

Only one thing needs to be done: the well trodden path of the 'opposite' bank ought to be fenced off to deter trespassers.
Yours faithfully,
12 Lilford Road, London SE5 9HX

Farnborough cubs and scouts (21K)

3RD FARNBOROUCH Cubs and Scouts, who joined Peter Jackman's bankside working parties last winter for their conservation badge, got a bonus for their efforts when they were invited to cruise along the Hampshire length aboard the narrow boat Muddy Waters. Pictured before setting off from Reading Road Wharf, Fleet with their leaders, Chris Butterworth and Dennis Croombs and Hayley Croombs who has done her share of canal bank clearing and hopes to join the scouts next year.

Dear Sir,
I was interested to read your March 1990 article above Basingstoke Houseboats. Another of the lesser-known aspects of our canal is now revealed.

With reference to your request for relevant information you may be interested to know that Waterways World once published a photograph of some of the boats being brought to the canal. In July 1983 WW printed an article about Mr. and Mrs. Joe Safe, who had spent most of their working lives boating. Accompanying the article was a (rather dark) photograph, credited to J.G. Parkinson, captioned thus:

"One unusual job for Joe and Mary Safe was to tow five day boats from the Birmingham Canal Navigations down to the Basingstoke Canal for conversion to houseboats. Mary is steering the BWB motor boat Prince Charles, almost out of sight at the head of the tow, and Joe is on the boat in front of Coronation. The photograph was taken near Wood Lock on the Grand Union Canal near Leamington in July 1959".

On another subject, on the underside of the arch at Farnborough Road bridge (A325) there is a box with a cable leading to it. What is it, bat counter, boat counter or what?
Yours faithfully,
Silcroft, Mill Lane, Yateley, Camber-ley Surrey GU17 7TE.

Dear Sir,
As members of the Society for many years, my husband I like to walk along the towpaths, enjoying the plants and scenery.

Today we were very disappointed to see the evidence of a 'Chain Saw Massacre' between Winchfield and Swan Farm Bridge. Instead of a living hedge with various trees, there were stumps and gaps with glorious views of the distant roads. I remember beautiful gnarled thorns intergrowing, providing a green screen and habitat for ground plants etc.

I hope this is not going to be a general policy, or I will consider ending my support.
Yours faithfully,
15 Woodlands Road, Camberley, Surrey GUIS 3LZ.
Editor's Note: The canal manager says that hedge maintenance is necessary to make them stock proof. Unfortunately much of the towpath hedging has been neglected for 50-60 years, so drastic renovation cannot always be avoided. The replanted length between Blacksmiths and Double Bridges is now looking very attractive.

Dear Sir,
STUDENTS of the Greywell Tunnel saga may be amused by this snippet from a railway magazine, discussing a major tunnelling project in South Africa: "In addition to the usual engineering problems — faults, washouts, etc. commonly encountered on majorjobs — there was one unusual difficulty. As a result of the frequent hold-ups in the work a partly completed tunnel had laid undisturbed from 1950 -1985 and had been taken over by enormous numbers of bats which proved extremely difficult to shift". (Electric Railway Society Journal Jan/Feb 1990). No comment!
Yours faithfully,
12 Stake Lane, Farnborough, Hants.
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page 4

ALTHOUGH members of the canal's Joint Management Committee agreed that they were 'anxious not to enlarge the size of the JMC much beyond its present total', they voted to increase their number by 50%.

The logic, straight from Parianson's Law, went something like this: now that Hampshire's riparian district councils Hart and Rushmoor are contributing towards the canal budget, they want an equal number of votes to their counterparts in Surrey. So it was proposed that Hart and Rushmoor each have two members to equal the four representing Runnymede, Woking, Surrey Heath and Guildford.

But county council representation must equate to district members, and it was therefore proposed to increase Hampshire and Surrey representation by four members.

Lawfully, the ratio between council elected members and co-opted members (such as the Society) must be 2:1. Providing co-opted members would continue to have a vote, it was proposed that their number should be increased to eight. And to keep an equable balance of interests, it was proposed that the two additional seats should go to the Nature Conservancy Council and the Surrey Trust for Nature Conservation. Since the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Naturalist Trust was already a member that, it was claimed, would balance the navigation interest represented by the Society, which has two seats, and the Inland Waterways Association with one.

Hart councillor Peter Carr strongly opposed an increase in the number of co-opted members, which include angling and rambling interests, arguing that they could be co-opted if the need arose in the future.

Society representative, David Millett supported Councillor Carr, and pointed out that the Society did not represent boating interests alone but waterway users as a whole.

But the appeals for reason were lost to the fallacious logic of the rule book and the JMC increased from 16 to 24 members, not to mention the small army of supporting officials.
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A WARNING that the canal will gradually start to deteriorate again if its upkeep is not adequately financed, was given to the Joint Management Committee by canal director Paddy Field.

Members heard at their meeting in March that their bid to increase this year's maintenance budget by £53,800 had been reduced by £21,080, making a total expenditure of £279,420. Although the budget still represents a 13% increase, the director told members of the Joint Management Committee that he was disappointed. He said that he needed more staff and essential equipment to run the canal once restoration is completed, both to develop the recreational facilities and for maintenance work. He cited the current replacement of balance beams on the 'Deepcut 14' flight of locks as a major task which was regarded as maintenance and not restoration.

Mr. Field pointed out that even £300,500, the budget he had been seeking, was low compared with other waterway authorities. The sum worked out at £8,732 per mile, he said, compared with British Waterway's budget of £17,600 per mile and the National Trust's £19,900 per mile to maintain the Wey Navigation. On an average of BW and NT costs, said Mr. Field, the cost of running the Basingstoke should be £600,000.

But the new Basingstoke Canal Authority may find its budget little more than last year if Hart District Council withdraws its contribution of £29,050 which the council has threatened to do because the JMC has refused to increase its representation from one to three members.

Over 80% of the shortfall is accounted for by Surrey County Council and its four riparian district councils — Guildford, Surrey Heath, Runnymede and Woking — who share the running costs on a 50:50 basis. The two canalside district councils in Hampshire - Hart and Rushmoor — only started contributing last year as Hampshire CC has borne the cost of restoration in its entirety. This year Hart and Rushmoor are due to contribute two-thirds of 50%, amounting to £50,090.

1990 Revenue Budget

Surrey CC£67,700
Guildford BC£21,300
Runnymede BC£9,300
Surrey Heath BC£13,600
Woking BC£20,300
Hampshire CC£96,230
Hart DC£29,050
Rushmoor DC£21.040

SITE MEETING (left to right) Douglas Brown (SCC's chief'structural engineer),Ian Tattersall (SCC's canal project manager) and Frank Jones (Society's team manager) discussing work in progress at Sheerwater. Standing by his excavator is Fred Newton who dug out Woodham Pond.
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page 5

RESTORING the canal under public ownership has created a catacomb of official committees.

With restoration work coming to an end, and the formation of the Basingstoke Canal Authority, the canal director has sought to streamline the future management Structure.

Administration will continue to be headed by the Joint Management Committee, meeting twice a year. It represents the two county council owners of the canal, riparian district councils and the major user interests. Now a new sub-committee, called the JMC Officers' Group, will be formed to 'co-ordinate reports to the JMC and act as a liaison and co-ordinating body for the contributing organisations'. In essence this group formalises the existing work done by county council officers behind the scenes.

The existing Basingstoke Canal Liaison Group will continue to meet annually. Its members include the Society, and organisations not represented on the JMC such as parish councils, the National Trust, Ministry of Defence and the National Rivers Authority.

An entirely new body, to be known as the Director's Review Group, will meet monthly, to consider practical aspects of the canal's management. The Society will be a member of the group because of our intention to continue playing an active part in the canal's upkeep. But the Nature Conservancy Council, despite an application to attend, has been excluded. The NCC will have the Conservation Working Party as its platform, on which the Society is also represented. Other specific groups relating to restoration, silt disposal, Ministry of Defence liaison and voluntary work planning will, in future, meet at the discretion of the canal director.

In drawing up the new structure, the director hoped that it would be 'neater, easier to understand and less repetitive'.
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THE Society has told Surrey CC that there may be little difference between the cost of taking the proposed Blackwater valley road under the canal on Ash Embankment rather than over it.

Civil Engineering consultants Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick claimed that the road over scheme, involving the construction of two three-chamber staircase locks, cost £4.4 million less to build. But after analysing the data available, the Society's engineers have concluded there maybe little difference between the cost of the two options. If anything taking the road under could prove to be marginally cheaper, the Society believes.

In sending a report of its findings to Surrey CC with a firm recommendation for the road under option to be adopted, the Society is critical of the terms of reference given to consultant engineers who were asked by SCC to consider the alignment of the canal at its intersection with the proposed new road. The Society considers that the brief should have given the existence of the canal priority and called for solutions to aligning the roadway with the canal.

The Society also criticises SCC for not asking the consultants to reassess the road under scheme, pointing out that the aqueduct solution is the 'standard option' for all new roads crossings of British Waterways canal embankments.

The Society has concluded that the cost of constructing new locks, associated pumping equipment and the need for lock keepers' cottages has been underestimated by as much as £3.8m, bringing the total cost up to £40.2m.

For the road 'under' option £400,000 was allowed for a road bridge to cross the River Blackwater on the north of the canal embankment. The Society considers the cost appears 'exorbitant' and could be reduced to £100,000, making a total estimated cost just under £40.2m.

In the 25 page review, which gives a detailed analysis of the factors reported in the last issue of BC News (no. 150, March 1990), it is revealed that the canal would be closed to through navigation for two years during the construction of locks and works associated with the road 'over' scheme. Navigation would be interrupted for only two months while an aqueduct was installed for the road 'under' plan.

The Society has supported the canal authority in wishing to see Government Road kept open.

Hampshire's countryside officer, Colin Bonsey, suggested that Surrey's Transport Committee should be invited to inspect Ash Embankment to see the layout and get a better impression of the engineering work needed to take the road over the canal.
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MEMBERS of the Joint Management Committee formally agreed to back the Blackwater Valley road 'under' the canal scheme at their March meeting.

Hampshire's countryside officer, Colin Bonsey, suggested that Surrey's Transport Committee should be invited to inspect Ash Embankment to see the layout and get a better impression of the engineering work needed to take the road over the canal.
Plans to close part of Government Road, which would close access to Ash Lock depot from the east, would be 'resisted strongly' said canal director Paddy Field. He pointed out that the western approach was subject to military security and could be closed at any time which would prevent access to the depot. The Canal Management also wished to keep Government Road open because it provided a quick route to the eastern end of the canal which would be vital in times of an emergency, the meeting was told. cartoon (11K)

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page 6

BOATERS face a limit on licences, restricted navigation and a lack of funds to provide essential services, warned canal director Paddy Field when he attended the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club's first AGM held at St. Barbara's Church Hall, Deepcut, on 30th March.

Referring to the canal's 'fragile environment' and conflicts of interest in the use of the canal, Paddy Field stated: "We're in the middle trying to get a balance between the diverse uses of the canal".

Motorised boat licences would be raised by increments and the effect on wildlife monitored, he said. "When damage is noticed the lid will be put on it", he concluded, referring to motor boating.

Several members reacted indignantly when Mr. Field said that 'some form of limitation on the passage of boats through locks' would probably be necessary because there are not enough canal rangers to man all the locks. Martin Bowers pointed out that locks were not manned on other canals although he accepted that a control at Lock 1 might be desirable and possibly on the Deepcut flight.

The Club's chairman, Chris de Wet, told the director that it was 'absolutely essential' for waste disposal and water supply facilities to be provided before the canal was opened. The canal director replied that, while Surrey planned to provide two sanitary stations as part of the restoration work, there was no provision in his current maintenance budget for such facilities to be installed in Hampshire. He added that he hoped the Society might have funds available, once restoration is completed, to help finance boating facilities 'unless you can persuade councillors to increase funding'.

Acknowledging that mooring facilities were badly needed, Mr. Field said that apart from the proposed basin at Pondtail, Fleet, which had been opposed by the Nature Conservancy Council, the county council owners had no land available to construct off-line moorings in Hampshire, but he thought there was scope for providing moorings in at least one existing canal side water space elsewhere.

On a more optimistic note Paddy Field said that with the closure of the riparian Canadian International School at Mytchett, a building was expected to become available for a canal centre and offices with the possible development of a small mooring basin.

He also saw some hope in augmenting the canal's existing water supplies which largely come from springs at Greywell. At least three additional possible sources had been identified, said Mr. Field.

Several times Mr. Field stressed the need 'to find ways of getting money' to develop the canal's recreational facilities, and that he would be relying on volunteers to help maintain the waterway.

Speaking as a one time councillor, Bert Gregory believed that the canal director's position carried a lot of influence, and he was supported in his appeal to Mr. Field 'to put forward our best interests'.
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QUESTIONING a budget of £25,000 proposed for the formal re­opening of the canal, the chairman of the JMC, Cllr. Maurice Jones, suggested to members that 'perhaps it depends on the lunch'.

A week of celebrations were being planned, it was reported, during week commencing 20th May next year, to celebrate the re-opening. And it was hoped that the Prince of Wales might accept an invitation to perform the official ceremony.

A programme of events planned included VIP helicopter tour of the canal, an exhibition about the restoration project, lunch aboard the John Pinkerton and public events at Frimley Lodge Park.

Explaining the budget of £25,000, the canal director said that it was needed to stage the celebrations, but he expected to recoup some of the outlay by sponsorship and public admission charges.
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ONE of the worst stretches of canal's towpath, through the cutting above Malthouse Bridge, Crookham village, is expected to be made up this summer, canal manager David Gerry told members of the JMC.

During wet weather the length of towpath becomes virtually impassable unless walkers are prepared for ankle deep mud. In spite of efforts made by the local residents association, the muddy conditions have persisted. Now, it is hoped the Malthouse mire will be cleared up for ever.

In October this year, we take delivery of a new 58ft Trad Narrowboat, which will be called Queensman - which to us is the fulfillment of a dream. It is being fitted out at Peterborough where we have been offered moorings - but living in Fleet, as we have for the past ten years, we would ideally like to secure a mooring nearer to home to enable the boat to be used every available weekend on the Basingstoke Canal. If anyone feels they can help, or maybe knows someone who can, please do contact us, Lyn and John Blanchette - on Fleet 620276. Thank you.

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page 7

STEADY progress continues, reports Peter Cooper, and a date of September this year for basic completion of the works, still looks achievable. On the Woodham flight, the lower gates are installed at Lock 3 and the bottom end of this lock is now finished. Dredging has continued between the locks on this flight, and above Lock 6 (the top lock) and gate installation at Lock 6 is now complete. The gates for Lock 5 have been delivered to the lock for installation. Back at the workshop, the lower gates for Lock 4 are being completed, leaving only the upper gates for Lock 3 and 4 to be done.

At the Sheerwater lake, wardens assisted by a contractor with a Hymac have completed dredging and landscaping, and a nearby culvert is being repaired. There has also been some dredging, by Hymac, in the Goldsworth area. At the top end of the Dccpcut flight, some leaks have been plugged by pressure grouting, but there is more of this to be done.

Weekend Volunteers
Recent volunteer jobs have included replacement of some of the defective balance beams on the Deepcut Flight, and offside clearance in the areas of Arthurs Bridge and Hermitage Bridge. Working parties continue on a regular basis, but you should contact your working party leader, a few days beforehand, to check that there is to be a working party, and where it is to be. Working party leaders are:-

First weekend of the month
PETER JONES on Aldershot 313076

Second weekend of the month —

Third weekend of the month —
PETER REDWAY on Woking 721710.

Overall co-ordination of the work is in the hands of FRANK JONES on Dccpcut 835711(workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home).

Dredging in Hampshire (every weekend)
The dredger has now reached Reading Road Wharf. Extensive plans were then made to get it under Reading Road Bridge, and to everyone's delight the whole operation was completed in a single day, early in April — the dredger got under with less than an inch to spare! The operation was only possible lhanks to the help given by David Gerry, Tony Harmsworth and the rangers.

The dredger is now starting on the last section of its journey, to Pondtail Bridge. New recruits to the crew are always welcome, and will be given whatever training they need. Further details from ROGER FLITTER on Fleet 622956.

Hampshire Bankside Work
This party are now in their summer recess and will restart in the autumn.

Weekday volunteering
If you are able to come along and help on the canal during the week, even if only for a few days, then you should contact FRANK JONES (numbers opposite) and he will be happy to find you something to do.
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For your next leaflet, price list, brochure, catalogue, newsletter or any print job, we offer a design, artwork, typesetting and print production service at keen prices.
Phone Chris de Wet, Distinguished Data, 0252 850311.


Dredger crew celebrating the successful operation to get Perseverance under Reading Road Bridge, with the help of Tony Harmsworth, and a minimum of dismantling. Within 30 minutes of clearing the bridgehole, one of the lowest on the canal, the dredger was in steam again. (Left to right) Brian Bane, Peter Caiger, Richard Darling, Tony Hannsworth, Peter Field, Peter Munt, Jim Randall and Ian Edwards.

 (13K) Ticking off another lock restored, Martin Smith (centre) with Dave Wedd (left) and Jim Reid, the Society's fulltime team, at Sheerwater Lock 6.

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page 8

ONE OF THE fascinating aspects of restoring the Basingstoke Canal is the fact that it was still a working waterway in living memory. Unlike other former navigations whose past is confined to archives, museum artifacts and history books, the Basing-stoke's working days can still be recalled by a good many people alive today.

The last barge loaded with coal for Woking gasworks, came up the canal just under forty years ago. It was the end of an era marked for all time by the widely publicised auction held the previous year, on Tuesday, March 1st 1949.

The canal was put up for auction by Alfred Pearson and Son on behalf of A.J. Harmsworth Ltd. and the Weybridge and Aldershot Canal Co. Ltd. A 32 page illustrated catalogue, price four shillings, was produced listing a total of 36 lots including cottages, parcels of land, standing timber, boat houses and cottages.

The sale attracted so much interest that it was hurriedly moved at the last minute from the Aldershot Institute, in Station Road, to the larger Aldershot Traction Hall in Halimote Road. The main attraction to the small army of curious onlookers and reporters, who outnumbered the potential buyers present, was Lot 1 listed simply as 'the freehold of the Basingstoke Canal, a distance of about 32 miles'. For the commercially minded the catalogue description pointed out that it included 'the valuable standing timber', of which a sample of eight miles, between Fleet and Greywell, had been valued at £1,800 alone.

The canal was described as: 'navigable with loaded barges to Woking and with empty craft as far as Ash Vale, whilst beyond, the waterway is now only used for pleasure craft. It passes through some of the prettiest parts of Surrey and Hampshire, the reaches at Byfleet, Odiham, Crookham, Greywell and through Dogmersfield Park being exceptionally beautiful. Several boathouses line the banks and these are well patronised'.

Providing access to the canal, for riparian owners, was seen as potential income along with existing way-leaves 'and other rights' amounting to £345 a year. Whoever purchased Lot 1 would have the option to buy three canal-side cottages for £2,000 it was stated. They were: 'Canal Cottage' at Crookham (beside Chequers Bridge), Lock Cottage at Aldershot (now Hampshire County Council's canal office) and 'The Lock House' at Deepcut (beside Lock 28, now owned by Surrey County Council). Other property, sold in separate lots was 'Howfield Cottage' beside Lock 15 above Pirbright Bridge, and the four-bedroomed 'Wharf House' at Colt Hill, Odiham, let to Squadron Leader C.H. Robinson for £50 p.a. Regrettably lots 21, 22 and 23 situated above Wharf Bridge, Aldershot, no longer exist: this is the site of Hampshire County Council's slipway and car park. Lot 21 included a shop, cafe and a four-bedroomed house, known as Boat House Cafe, which fetched £720. The adjoining boathouse (lot 22), with a 370-ft canal frontage, reached £320.

Situated on the other side of the A325, on the non-towpath side, was another four bedroomed house called 'Wharf House', sold for £900. It included an adjoining 2,000 sq. ft. builders warehouse, complete with the 'right to erect two advertising boards on the property paying therefore an annual sum of £5'.

Another commercial property, still in use at the time, was Spanton's Timber Wharf at Woking. With a frontage to the canal of 725-ft, the wharf included timber and corrugated iron sheds, and an office block leased to Messrs. C. Spanton and J.S. Mulvey: lot 7 fetched £1,950.

Boating stations operating at the time, and owned by the Harmsworths, included one at Byfleet, 100 yards up from the Wey junction, below Lock 1, which was leased to Mr. B J. Bassett until September of that year. The boat station at Ash Vale, leased to Mrs. P.O. Bhmdell, which exists today, fetched £400. Another boat-hire station located on Reading Road Wharf was let to Mr. G.H. Baggs, while the adjoining land was stated to be let from time to time for use as a fair ground at £25 per year.

Many more lots consisted of freehold land of varying sizes, either undeveloped or leased for industrial use. An unusual plot, sold as Lot 10, at St. Johns, was the site of a tobacco kiosk by Kiln Bridge, rented to Mr. V.A. Festig for £6 pa.

Including £6,000 paid for the canal, which was knocked down to a canal purchase committee, appointed by the 3-year old Inland Waterways Association, the total sum realised was £15,302.

The canal subsequently came under the independent ownership of the New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd. formed in 1950.
 (13K)  (12K)(Left) Title page to auction catalogue published by Alfred Pearson & Son.
(Right) Cartoon that appeared in the Daily Mirror with an article about the auction.

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page 9

Sunday 13th May
Society day out to explore traces of the Portsmouth Canal, harbour trip and fortifications, lead by Bill Homewood.

Sunday 13th May
Guildford and Reading branch of the IWA - Coach trip to the Black Country Museum.

Sunday 10th June
Small boats cruise, St. Patricks Stream, River Thames, Shiplake, organised by IWA local branch. Ideal for non-powered entries. Recommended mini adventure. For details send SAE to Tony Davis, 4 Mount Pleasant, Weybridge, Surrey.

Weekend 14th/15th June
Henley on Thames traditional boat rally at Fawley Meadows. Illuminated processions on Saturday night. A memorable event.

"Boats Afloat' rally at Frimley Lodge Park, organised by the BCBC. John Pinkerton trips, barbecue, stands, childrens entertainments, refreshments. Don't miss it.

Sunday 24th June
Return visit to Lasham for farmland walk. Meet GR186 695439 bridleway crossing unclassified road on Weston Common. Pub lunch stop. 7 miles. Leader: Bill Homewood.

Sunday 29th July
7-mile walk from Bramshill Forest. Meet at GR186 755612. River Blackwater to Swallowfield. Pub lunch stop.

Sunday 26th August
Warren Pond car park, Puttenham Common (GR186 929461) start for 6-mile heathland stroll. Pub stop.

Sunday 2nd September
Woking Boating for the Handicapped 'open day' on the canal at Boundary Road car park to raise funds.

Weekend 8th/9th September
5th Fox and Hounds rally of boats/barbecue at Fleet and presentation of best boat trophies by landlord Ron Kettle.

Sunday 7th October
Sponsored Walk. Full details in July issue. Meanwhile Bill Homewood would welcome your offer to help organise the event or marshal. Phone: 0276 61343.
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THIS year's rally on the Basingstoke Canal, is at Frimley Lodge Park, and a curtain raiser to a possible royal opening of the whole canal next year.

The event, on the weekend of 23rd and 24th June, is a rally of up to 50 boats, and a trade show offering principally water-related products and services. The event will be open to the public between 10.00am - 6.00pm on the Saturday with an official opening at 12.00 noon, and between 10.00am and 5.00pm on the Sunday; admission is free. There will be entertainment for children and the John Pinkerton will be providing public trips.

Friday and Saturday evenings will be the preserve of boat crews and BCBC, SHCS and IWA members who will have their own barbecue and bar. During the hours of public admission there will be various waterborne activities and competitions for rally entrants. Boat entry fee is £7, which includes brass plaque, temporary boat licence and use of space for caravan or tent if required. Entry forms (SAE please) from Ian Keating, 17 Ulwin Avenue, Byfleet, Surrey KT14 7HA. Trade show space is £15.00 per pitch for the weekend, land-based or floating, entry forms (also SAE Please) from John Cole, 33a The Grove, Horsell, Woking, Surrey.
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LAST year, at the Boat Rally at Woking, the Society had a Junk Stall which raised £250. This year, at the 'Boats Afloat' Rally at Frimley on the 23/24 June, we aim to have an even more successful sale — with your help — so please turn out your cupboards and let us have all those things you have been hoarding for years, those gadgets you never quite got the hang of, unwanted gifts, etc. Things like: pictures, records (old and new), household goods, new baby clothes and equipment, paperbacks, toys, ornaments, lamps, china, electrical goods, small items of furniture, jewellery, plants.

If you would like them collected, or better still can deliver, please ring one of the numbers below, or bring them to the Annual General Meeting on the 29th April 1990. The sooner, the better, to give us time to sort out and price the items.

Organising and carrying out this kind of activity is hard work. PLEASE ENCOURAGE US WITH YOUR SUPPORT.

Ash: Betty Scammell 0252 23215
Byfleet: Ann Proudfoot 09323 49229
Camberley: Janet Greenfield 0252 873167
Farnham: Sonia Jebens 0252 715230
Fleet: Janet Hedger 0252 617465
St. Johns: Tony Rozelaar 0483 723981

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THE Basingstoke's own Lock Ness monster mystery came to light in the letters column of Canal and Riverboat. Writing in the March issue, Dr. A. Stringer of Liss near Petersfield, asked whether anyone else had seen it and how it came it came to fend for itself in the canal.

Dr. Stringer claims to have seen the creature while mooring a boat on the canal skirting Mytchett Lake. At first he dismissed the object as a submerged plastic bag but when he saw a pair of large, dark coloured eyes focused on him, he looked more closely and concluded it was a 3-ft long, grey coloured seal. After the eyeball to eyeball confrontation, the seal apparently rolled on its side and, with a flip of its tail, swam away.

The improbability caused Dr. Skinner to keep the sighting to himself. But while talking about Hebridean seals with a 'local' at the Fox and Hounds at Fleet, he mentioned his canal sighting and was surprised when his acquaintance said that he and his wife had seen one in the spring. Don't tell us you've seen it too?
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page 10

UNSEASONAL summer weather brought out local people, steam power enthusiasts and Society members to inspect the dredger Perseverance and to celebrate its arrival in Fleet.

The event, held on 30th March, was also a happy reunion for some of those who helped get the 70-ton pontoon dredger operational and moved from the Kennet & Avon Canal to Colt Hill, Odiham, in 1974.

Ian Cripps, who led the renovation team, now living in his native Newcastle, was unable to attend. But he sent a batch of photographs and log books of the early days which created much interest at an evening party held at the Fox & Hounds.

Ron Jesse, one of the prime movers in getting Perseverance working again, came up from his retirement home in Somerset and Roger Thomas, now a public relations consultant in Cheltenham, looked none the worse for many cold, muddy winter weekends spent organising disposal of the black stuff.

Other one time regular crew attended, including Brian Jones and Andy Stumpf, while Andrew Bonnin and his wife Jane inspected the 52-year old workhorse that they helped to renovate. Another couple, who helped clear 10 miles of canal in as many years, Roger and Alison Carter came to see the progress made. And Arthur James was pleased to see Ron Jesse with whom he worked at the NOTE, Pyestock as well as Perseverance.

Although not the star of the day, the new dredger Unity proved a popular attraction with the chance to take control under the guiding hand of BCA's assistant manager Tony Harmsworth.
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THE following observations appeared in John Kay's column in the Aldershot News'

Members and friends of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society have put a lot of hard work into restoring the lovely Basingstoke Canal. They also spend a good deal of time trying to persuade local Council planners not to let the amenity be spoilt by allowing bankside developments which invariably do not enhance the waterway. But the message, seemingly, takes a long lime to get through.

Take for example, the curiously shaped building that has been put up on Ash Wharf. The architect should get a prize for ingenuity at least for managing to squeeze a substantial building onto the canalside strip of land behind the block of shops and flats. But waterside watchers who look for signs of canal friendliness will not be making an award for the familiar blank brick wall, relieved only by areas of bricks in herring­bone pattern which appear to be filled in window spaces, overlooking the waterway.

Looking for the silver lining one local resident reflected that at least it hides part of the existing block. But that will be little consolation to those who looked forward to the day sometime in the future when Ash Wharf maybe redeveloped and could be made an outstandingly attractive feature of the restored canal.

Now the question being asked is what will the building be used for. Is it, perhaps, a canal toll house? Tobacco curing shed? Or just a modern folly? Local word has the equally improbable answer that it is a furniture warehouse.

Ash Wharf folly (12K)

First time out for the John Pinkerton after her winter refit, passing Ash Wharf 'folly' at Easter on one of 17 cruises made down to Mytchett Lake over the four day Easter holiday. In spite of the changeable weather, trips again proved to be a popular holiday outing, taking £800 for the start of the new season.
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CANAL CALL IF you are planning a visit to the canal away from the madding crowd, these are the events you may wish to avoid:

12th May - canoe racing between Fleet and Eelmoor Flash.
20th May - sponsored walk be­tween Queens Avenue Bridge and Ash Wharf.
9th June - canoe racing between Fleet and Eelmoor Flash.
10th June - canoe race between Barley Mow Bridge and Odiham, 12 noon to 2.00pm.
17th June - sponsored walk be­tween Queens Avenue Bridge and Fleet.
23rd June - scouts' raft races at Claycart Bridge, Farnborough.

# Angling matches are scheduled somewhere along the Hampshire length most weekends throughout the season 16th June to 14th March. Tuesday evenings during summer months are club nights for canoeists at Reading Road Wharf, Fleet, and at Colt Hill Wharf, Odiham.

BCA new logo (5K)

DISCREET if not distinctive, the logo adopted by the newly created Basingstoke Canal Authority, which came into force on 1st April, Like . the Society's logo, the design is based on the Thames sailing barge depicted on the one shilling token issued to canal contractor John Pinkerton's navvies, in lieu of payment, for exchange at local shops and public houses for goods. Mint condition tokens are currently valued at £140.

First time out for the John Pinkerton after her winter refit, passing Ash Wharf 'folly' at Easter on one of 17 cruises made down to Mytchett Lake over the four day Easter holiday. In spite of the changeable weather, trips again proved to be a popular holiday outing, taking £800 for the start of the new season.
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page 11

GIVEN suitable boats, handicapped people can experience the pleasures of boating as much as anyone else. The Basingstoke Canal offers the handicapped several different purpose built boats: there is an American designed twin hulled rowing boat, for one or two rowers, which is very responsive and satisfying to row. A small fleet of single seat canoes, designed for maximum stability, is also available at the North East Hampshire Water Activity Centre in Fleet. Ring Mrs. Trix Davey on 0252 621381 for details.

Rather better known is the battery powered Mildred Stocks. It has a spacious area for 12 passengers in wheel chairs. And a recent conversion to tiller steering has improved its control. Run by 'Boats for the Handicapped Association' bookings and further information is available by calling 0225 621501.

For the more adventurous the Association has a specially adapted sailing dinghy available for use at Chertsey. Call Kathy Conway on 081 897 1547 for details.

Now the Association wants to launch its own narrow boat for the handicapped. If you would like to assist the project, by helping to raise funds or making a donation contact: Mrs. Judith Gerry, 10 Fairlands Close, Fleet, Hants GU13 9LU. Tel: 0252622520.

# Pat Perry-Barton set off from Godalming aboard her narrowboat Quercus early last month aiming to cover 2,000 miles and 1,500 locks in aid of Boating for the Handicapped. Hoping to enter the Basingstoke in September, you can sponsor Pat by sending a cheque payable to: 'BHA Pat Barton A/C', to Mrs. Gerry.
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SOCIETY vice-chairman, David Millett, insisted that the Joint Management Committee should include the word 'navigation' in its draft constitution which states that the objects of the committee were: 'the management and maintenance of the Basingstoke Canal as an environmental and recreation asset...'

The committee agreed, although Hampshire's County recreation officer, Mr. Colin Bonsey warned: "It may be that in one or two places navigation may not be the best use of the canal". In the past naturalists have suggested introducing zones on the canal where boating might be restricted. But after the JMC meeting Mr. Bonsey denied that such a restriction was behind his comment. "I have in mind Greywell cutting where a restriction is already imposed", he explained, adding that he did not think it would be practicable to create a special limit on boating on any specific length of the canal open to boating.


Two young visitors to the Society's attractive new sales stand, organised by Sue Palmer and Bernie Timms, which has already taken over £500.
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AS A MAJOR contribution towards restoration of the canal, the Society has two voting members on the Joint Management Committee. Now, under the 1989 Local Government and Housing Act, the Society, along with the Inland Waterways Association and other non-local government elected members, will lose the right to vote.

But, apparently, the Secretary of State can make exceptions, upon application, to maintain non-members voting rights on the grounds of their involvement. At its spring meeting the JMC decided to apply for the Society and other user interest members to retain their voting rights in recognition of'the significant role which the voluntary sector has contributed .....'.

All the provisions of the new Act come into force on 1st June.
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page 12

BEST wishes for a speedy return to work and play go to Vic Trott and Marian Truman who have been under doctors orders.
ENTRY made for the Endeavour Conservation Scheme nominating the canal restoration project.
TRIP BOAT John Pinkerton is at­tracting international bookings with a party from Japan last month and canal enthusiasts from New Jersey in July.
BASINGSTOKE Heritage Trust has written to say they look forward to working with the Society and would like to see towpath restored to Basingstoke.
SOCIETY member Stan Knight chairman of Crookham Parish Council has expressed his disappointment that the Society has not opposed cutting down trees on Crookham Deeps embankment for new silt dump on the grounds no suitable alternative site is believed to exist.
CONGRATULATIONS to canal ranger Andy Foster and Jan Copeland on their marriage on 12lh May.
APPLICATION by Society to Runnymede DC for restoration support for grant turned down.
SHELL award of £300 to be made to Society in company's 'Better Britain' campaign.
PLANNING application received at Woking BC for approximately 5000 sq. ft. of offices on site of 47 St. Johns Road, formerly large residential house adjoining the canal near Woodend Bridge.
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TINNED bats could be bought at some specialist British food shops a few years ago. In New Guinea, tribes eat 'bat sandwiches', consisting of plantain leaves around a mixture of whole bats — wings, fur and all — and dried bread fruit. Lay on hot coals and allow to simmer until the bats are gelatinous. Slice and eat like a sandwich. Fruit eating bats are much tastier than their meat eating relatives. (D. Telegraph)
* National Bat Week begins on 21st June.
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The Countess of Malmesbury
After a long period of ill health, Lady Malmesbury died on 19th March at the age of 77. The daughter of Lord and Lady Dorchester, she moved into the family home of Greywell Hill House in 1963 and became very fond of the village. Her many interests included the British Red Cross and the Victoria League.

Mrs. Pennie Came
An enthusiastic and popular Basingstoke councillor, who took a keen interest in the Society's plans to restore the western end of the canal, Mrs. Pennie Came died, aged 57, on 22nd March. She was actively involved in community care of the young and old, supporting SHARE and was a Guide Commissioner.

John Hawkins
We regret to have to report the death of part-time tug driver John Hawkins, who assisted in the dredging operation for several years. He died on 3rd March, after a short illness. His friendly affable manner will be missed by all the dredger crew.


Efforts are being made to ease a periodic parking problem at Barley Mow carpark which has lead to vehicles parking on the area reserved for trailed boats so be manoeuvred for launching down the slipway. Note the coach blocking the slipway itself.
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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 & Chris dc Wet.
Collation & Distribution: Janet and George Hedger, Edwin Chappell and Helpers.
Editorial Office: 60 Middleboume Lane, Famham, Surrey, GUlO 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, Aldershol, 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, Ashlead, Surrey, KT21 1QR. (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, Aldcrshot, Hampshire, GU12 SAY. (0252 313076) Peter Redway, 1 Redway Cottages, St. John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1SL. (0482 721710)
Trip Boat: Tony Karavis, 12 Loddon Road, Famboraugh, Hampshire, GU14 9NT. (0252 549037)
Sales Managers: Sue Palmer & Bernie Timms, 20 Charthouse Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU12 5LS. (0252 26758)
Mail Order Sales: John Greenfield, 9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Cambcrley, Surrey, GUI? 7DT. (0252 873167)
Talks Organiser: Mrs Janet Greenfield, 9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Camberley, Surrey, GU17 7DT. (0252 873167)
Exhibitions Manager: Phil Pratt, Flat 5, Fleetwood Court, Madeira Road, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6BE. (09323 40281)

Typesetting by Distinguished Data - Telephone: Aldershot (0252) 850311
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Last updated April 2005