No. 153 SEPTEMBER 1990
BOATS AND PEOPLE AFLOAT
BOAT rallies arc a golden opportunity to get non-boaters afloat and so pass on the enjoyment and experience of boating. But it doesn't happen like that at most boat rallies where visitors remain spectators, apart from taking organised trip boat cruises.
So it was a novel idea at 'Boats Afloat' to invite visitors to 'try a boat'. Willing owners provided the transport (and donation box) and gave many visitors the chance to get aboard all kinds of boats from a narrowboat down to a canoe. The scheme was an instant success, not only in providing delighted visitors with a pleasant experience, but also it promoted goodwill and support for the world of waterways.
We have already congratulated the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club, organisers of 'Boats Afloat', on the success of their event. Let us hope that it will not be the last of its kind, which was a happy blend of traditional rally formality with that of a local fundraising fete, and with boating as the centre of attraction.
The only aspect missing was representation by the newly formed Basingstoke Canal Authority which missed a golden opportunity for promotion.
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KINGS HEAD BRIDGE
ONE of the busiest stands at 'Boats Afloat' was that of The Friends of Frimley Green Canal Bridge, which featured an informative and entertaining video made by Kevin McCullen and Roger Philby, putting the case for the saving of the existing Kings Head Bridge.
The group's appearance at the rally also served to cement relationships between 'The Friends' and the Society. The Society has been less than wholehearted in its initial efforts to save the bridge, telling Surrey CC that if the bridge has to be replaced, any new design should be in character with the canal. Now the Society is backing local demand to retain the bridge. The point is that no new bridge, especially one capable of carrying 40-ton juggernauts, can be an acceptable replacement for a narrow hump-back bridge built for horse and carts 200 years ago. While one cannot stand in the way of progress, there is nothing progressive in opening the route over the bridge to add additional heavy traffic to Frimley Green, quite apart from destroying yet another quiet and outstandingly attractive corner of the canal.
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GIVING THE FACTS
LOCAL Councillors are busy people who have to listen to a lot of electors and digest a great deal of information. It is not surprising therefore that their background knowledge
on specific subjects is limited but it is alarming when they are misinformed. Like the councillor who believed that the Nature Conservancy Council has contributed towards restoration of the canal.
To put right any misconceptions the Society has published a pamphlet of questions and answers concerning the wildlife and boating issue.
It is being sent to local councillors, and if you would like a copy send a stamped addressed envelope to take A5 size, to the editor (see back page).
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THE Society's chairman has warned wildlife conservationists to be cautious in trying lo force limitation on navigation of the canal. Reports that extremists would like to see a ban on boating over prescribed lengths are quite incredible. The concept is like closing sections of a road, railway, or even footpath because there is something of natural history interest in the way.
How much more practical if the naturalists spent some money and time developing canalside flashes and nature reserves and perhaps even construct some new off-line lengths of canal exclusively for wildlife.
Those who have helped restore the canal for navigation can take full credit for saving it as a wildlife habitat. In the real world of the canal, away from the theory, scientific study and protectionism, boating and wildlife have more in common and share ideals to a greater extent than naturalists may care to admit.
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SPEND OR SAVE?
AT THE Society's last AGM the balance sheet showed that we had more than £70,000 in cash assets. The Society has never been so well off and at a time when restoration work is coming to an end. How should the Society spend the money? Boaters want at least one sanitary station which the Basingstoke Canal Authority cannot afford to provide. Do you think that the Society should help out? There is also an idea for converting a redundant mud barge to a floating museum and information centre at a cost of around £20,000. Is that a suitable project for the Society's funds? Then there's the restoration of the western end of the canal and Greywell Tunnel. With the cost of reopening the tunnel estimated to be £1 million perhaps we should keep saving. What do you think and how would you utilise the Society's cash?
Last narrowboat to navigate Greywell Tunnel: Alec Hurmsworth taking Basingstoke through early in 1914.
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Weekend 22nd/23rd September
Saturday — 5th Fox and Hounds rally for boats/barbecue at Fleet and presentation of best boat trophies by landlord Ron Kettle. Sunday at Water Witch, Odiham. Details from Chris de Wet on 0252 850387
Sunday 23rd September
Coach outing to western end of Kennet and Avon Canal to celebrate reopening. Details Bill Homewood (0276 61343 evenings)
Tuesday 25th September
New season of informal socials (4th Tuesday in the month) for a drink and a chat in the Long Room bar of the Barley Mow, Winchfield at around 8.00pm. Ask for Sue Palmer or Bernie Timms.
Sunday 30th September
7-mile walk with Bill Homewood along the Wey Navigation with pub lunch. Meet 10.15 am at Scotland Bridge (Basingstoke Canal Lock 2) TQ 046 615 OS sheet 186.
Sunday 7th October
Sponsored Walk, join in the walk or help as a Marshal, offers and details from Bill Homewood on 0276 61343.
Tuesday 9th October
The social evenings at St. Johns start the new season with an illustrated talk about the 'History and Work on the Thames River Police' by Inspector Sibson of Thames Division. At St. Johns Memorial Hall, St. Johns Lye, (see below) at 7.45 for 8.00pm (Joint meeting with Guildford and Reading Branch of IWA).
Weekend 20th/21st October
Play your part in the National Clean Up Canals Campaign by joining the Society's clearance of the canal through Woking. Meet Brewery Road car park, Woking at 10.00 am each day.
Tuesday 23rd October
Informal social at the Barley Mow (Long Room), Winchfield. Catch up with the gossip and meet fellow members around 8.00pm.
Sunday 28th October
A motor treasure hunt replaces the monthly walk. Competitions with prizes for adults and children. Cost £2.50 per car. Contact Bill Homewood to enter (tel: 0276 61343).
Tuesday 13th November
'Postcards with a Magic Lantern'. John Sllman gives a brief history of the postcard and shows your old postcards with an epidiascope — bring them along to the meeting at St. Johns Memorial Hall, St. Johns 7.45pm for 8.00pm.
Tuesday 27th November
Evening get-together at the Barley Mow, Winchfield, Long Room bar, around 8.00pm.
Tuesday 11th December
Another John Humphries film evenings. He shares his boating expedition memories in 'Eau de Nile', a film made by his wife June and edited by Hugh McKnight, St. Johns Memorial Hall, St. Johns, 7.45 for 8.00pm.
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NEW VENUE FOR WOKING SOCIALS
FOLLOWING the questionnaire put to members at the Woking social in April, a new meeting place has been found which offers improved facilities. St. Johns Memorial at St. Johns Lye is near the canal bridge by lock 11 in St. Johns, Woking. There's plenty of parking next to the hall and meetings will now be on the second Tuesday of each month at 7.45pm for 8.00pm (until 10.30pm). Anyone wanting transport from Woking BR station should ring Ginny Millard on the number given below.
The 1989/90 socials were as popular as ever, with over 50 people at each meeting — 31 people responded to the questionnaire and the results indicate strongly that members were happy with the speakers, the social atmosphere and the refreshments. (Thanks to Shirley Trott, Maureen Coxhead and helpers in the kitchen).
Two thirds of the respondents supported the proposal to move to a new venue, there being some discontent, especially with the lack of time at the end of the evenings for a chat.
The meetings were organised by Ginny Millard who recommends
them to new or shy members and non-members. Some more hands are needed to ensure the meetings run smoothly. If you would like to:
# donate a prize
# help to organise the raffle
# help prepare and serve the refreshments
she would love to hear from you on 081689 5537 (office).
Our Lady Jane, one of the two new luxury steel narrowboats which have been added to the Galleon Marine hire fleet. For hire rates phone Gordon Muchamore on 0252 703691.
DIARY AND COMING EVENTS|
Compiled by John King. If you have an event you would like entered in the diary column or otherwise promoted, contact John King, 33 Havers Avenue, Hersham, Walton on Thames, Surrey KT12 4NG. Tel: 0932220895.
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IN A vigorous campaign, The Friends of Frimley Green Canal Bridge are trying to save Kings Head Bridge which Surrey County Council want to replace. Here is their case for saving the bridge.
Kings Head Bridge, scheduled for demolition
The 200-year-old Kings Head canal bridge in Frimley Green, together with its twin in Mytchett, arc unique on the whole of the British Inland waterways system. They are accommodation bridges and were built in the traditional style under the supervision of John Pinkerton, but are unusual in the material used for their construction, namely Sarsens stone.
Sarsens stone is a form of very hard sandstone, several times tougher than granite, better known in pre-historic structures such as Stonehenge and the Avebury Ring. In more recent times Windsor Castle was built largely of Sarsens stone, excavated from nearby Bagshot.
Many of you who visited the 'Boats Afloat' festival in June will now be familiar with the Kings Head Bridge and you may well have passed under it while enjoying a pleasurable boat trip along the canal. The bridge provides the charming centrepiece of a delightful rural scene, unchanged for 100 years. With its beautiful canopy of trees, and the view along the canal towards the aqueduct, with the 'threepenny-bit' shaped Frimhurst Lodge on one side and The Old Boat House on the other, this whole area is a well known and much loved beauty spot. No wonder that local artists and photographers often find inspiration here.
Those of you who did venture along the canal to the bridge cannot have failed to notice an ominous sign saying 'Demolition Order' hanging from it. We made the sign in order to draw attention to the fact that Surrey County Council wish to demolish this bridge, which has a 7-1/2 ton weight limit, and erect a modern replacement, capable of taking 40-ton juggernauts. A recent survey has shown that at least 35 mature trees would have to be cut down to make way for the new structure, in fact all those trees providing that lovely canopy. The change to the environment will be dramatic and the rural character of the area will be completely destroyed. The new bridge will further 'urbanise' the area since it will have brick parapets 100- yards long on each side of the highway.
The Basingstoke Canal, because of its mainly rural route, is rather lacking in original architecture, so we feel that from both an aesthetic and an historic point of view the Kings Head Canal Bridge should be saved and strengthened as necessary.
We are pleased that Surrey Heath Borough Council are behind us in our campaign, and that the Canal Society have pledged 100% support.
We love and appreciate the beautiful scenery and architectural features on our trips along the canal and we urge you all to kindly complete the letter delivered with this magazine and send it to: Mrs. Sylvia Brown, 'Harwood', Guildford Road, Frimley Green, Surrey GU16 6PA.
We will forward your letter, with all the others received so far, to Chris Patten, the Minister for the Environment, since the demolition of the existing bridge can only take place with his permission.
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FOCUS ON WOKING - by Peter Coxhead
THE CANAL in the centre of Woking is again in the news as far as planning is concerned.
Firstly, Victoria Hospital, which not so long ago was the centre for healing the Woking sick, has been completely demolished by the current owner of the site, Portswood Developments. They applied for permission to build three blocks of offices of two, three and four storeys high, each with the present vogue for fairly sleep pitched roofs. The Society objected strongly because of its overbearing nature alongside the canal. We understand that as Woking council did not determine the application in the due time, the developer has appealed to the Secretary of State. At least we now know that it is unlikely that an hotel will be built on this particular piece of canalside land.
Indeed with approval at long last by the Planning committee for the 85 bed hotel proposed by Ibis Hotels on the Brewery Road site, it appears that Woking may get this much needed amenity — assuming that the full council give its approval on 26th July and that Ibis are still interested. For the record we would add that of
the many schemes proposed, this one is the most favoured by the Society.
The final aspect of this round up of the Woking planning scene concerns the proposed access bridge from the new Peacocks centre now being constructed by Taylor Woodrow and the Brewery Road site.
The problem with this proposal is the fact that the bridge which would pass over Victoria Way has to be at a height covered by the statutory regulations, allied to the other limiting condition of the springing point on the Brewery Road side which has to be such that it does not end up in the proposed mooring basin or clash with the hotel structure. The net result is that the bridge over the canal and its connecting ramps are going to be noticeably obtrusive with an overall height about the same as the adjoining proposed hotel roof.
The Society having accepted the concept that an overland link is desirable from the town's point of view, has come to the conclusion that the structure as proposed is the best arrangement to suit the limiting conditions.
PUZZLE PICTURE A double decker bridge at Eelmore? In fact it's a temporary Bailey bridge being erected alongside the existing structure over
the canal for the Famborough Air Show held early this month. (Alison Snell)
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THE FISHING BUSINESS
IT SEEMS now that the angling season is well under way, hardly a weekend goes by without lines of bankside fishermen engrossed in angling matches. And looking at the names on the coaches that fill canalside car parks, they come from far and wide.
What, then, is the sudden interest in fishing on the Basingstoke Canal? Apparently the Hampshire Basingstoke Canal Angling Amalgamation, to whom the canal fishery is leased, is selling the facility to non-member clubs.
Next year the HBCAA's 10-year agreement is up for renewal and it fears a hefty increase in its £2000 annual rent. So the Amalgamation is lining its coffers in readiness for the financial shock.
Canal director Paddy Field confirms that the fishing rights are now underpriced and that he could charge three times more than the current fee. But he is anxious to avoid turning the canal into an angling match venue every weekend which puts pressure on the canal's environment, and can inconvenience other users such as boaters trying to avoid lines, and towpath walkers. So the HBCAA may not find the new rent quite so painful to swallow if it is willing to restrict the number of angling matches and run the fishery for member clubs as intended.
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NEW MEMBERS WELCOMED
Trevor Solly, London SW18 4SU
Vernon Draper, Coulsdon
D.P. Walts, London SE17 3QY
Robert and Carol Lewis, Fleet
W.F. Herbert, Virginia Water
Stewart Payne, Hydestile, Godalming
John Scarborough, Fleet
Mr, and Mrs. Ronald Nelhams, Tadley
Mr. and Mrs. N. Wood, Newcastle, Staffs
Mrs. M.C. Cowan, Bagshot
Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Cooper, Ewell
Mr. R.C. Dyett, Camberley
Mrs. N. Brickwood, Ash Vale
Mr. and Mrs. Sturton, Mytchett
Ms. C. Warwick, Camberley
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THE great fear of boat rally organisers is that their aim for a profitable event turns into a financial failure. The Basingstoke Canal Boating Club, organisers of 'Boats Afloat' were therefore pleased that their quite ambitious first rally was not only an enjoyable event, it also made a profit of £650.
Over 45 boats attended the rally at Frimley Lodge Park. A unique attraction was 'Try-a-boat', an invitation to visitors on the Sunday to take a cruise or paddle a canoe to experience their idea of boating.
John Pinkerton proved a popular attraction for trips to Wharfenden Lake and Mytchett Lake. On land visitors were attracted to a variety of stands ranging from Terry Harrison's picture gallery to the local scouts' hamburger bar. Winner of the best illuminated boat competion, in a colourful procession, was won jointly by Muddy Waters owned by Sue Palmer and Bernie Timms, featuring Gary Speake as the fiddler n the roof, and Jan Smith's working narrowboat model Growltiger.
No boat rally would be complete without entries by members of the teamboat Association of GB. On Saturday evening, entrants, lub members and friends enjoyed n excellent barbecue prepared by rally Chairman Dick Elder and a band of helpers.
||Victoria M with rally VIP's aboard passing under Kings Head Bridge|
||The Mayor of Surrey Heath BC being presented with a rally plaque by 6-year old Sarah de Wet.
||Tempting visitors to
the homemade cake stalls which made £200.00 (left to right) Sue Phillips, Sonia Jebens and Pauline Hadlow.
||Adrian Birtles aboard his steam launch Meteor.
||Pictured aboard Victoria M (left to right) Pam Wait and Jan Smith who entertained the Mayor and Mayoress of Surrey Heath BC, Cllr and Mrs. Alan Borneo, Bee de Wet, wife of BCBC chairman Chris de Wet, and Hilary and Paddy Field who formally opened the rally.
||The busy scene at the Society's Bric-a-Brac stall organised by Janet Greenfield (centre) and helpers (left to right) Barbara Durley, George Hedger, Clive Durley and Janet Hedger.
||Rally chairman Dick Elder (in striped apron) with some of the clubs'members who helped to cook and serve the barbecue.
|| Winner of the 'best boat', Silver Ripple, a 6-seater motorised Canadian Canoe, entered by Martin Bowers and John Hulbert (at the stern).|
||The John Pinkerton setting off for another hourly cruise.
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by Peter Cooper
THOUGH the present summer drought conditions are thoroughly unhelpful, progress continues to be made in the final stages of the canal's restoration. However, it is difficult, and indeed a bit unreal, to complete the restoration of a canal without any water, which is the state of affairs forced on us by the recent weather. Other liquids (beer, mercury, etc.) have been suggested instead, but there are serious practical difficulties in each case. Is there a qualified rainmaker within the Society's ranks?
The full time team have removed the compound above Lock 3, and the attendant causeway, so that stretch looks more like a canal again. They have also installed the top gates at Lock 4, which only leaves Lock 3's top gates (still to be built) before the canal will be fully gated.
Volunteers have not been able to do much lately in these circumstances. The following parties are still
operating, when they can, but it is more than ever essential that you contact your working party leader before attending, to find out if there is to be a working party that weekend.
First weekend of the month —
PETER JONES on Aldershot 313076
Second weekend of the month —
DAVID JUNKISON on 081941 0685 or DAVE LUNN
Third weekend of the month —
PETER REDWAY on Woking 721710
Overall co-ordination of this work is in the hands of Frank Jones on Deepcut 835711 (workshop) or Camberley 28367 (home).
Dredging in Hampshire every weekend
Good progress is being maintained, despite the long turn rounds as the dredger is now a long way from the dump site. The water levels have dropped causing work to be temporarily suspended, until further notice. New volunteers will be welcome. For further details, contact ROGER FLITTER on Fleet 622956.
Hampshire Bankside work
1st and 3rd Sundays — 7 Oct, 21 Oct, 4 Nov, 18 Nov, 2 Dec, 16 Dec.
This party will recommence work in October, and will be clearing the offside bank between Crook ham Wharf and Double Bridge. Bring a boat, if you like, to get to the work site; the work is unskilled and suitable for family parties. Further details from PETER JACKMAN on Woking 772132.
If you are able to come along and work on the canal during the week, even if only for a few days, then contact FRANK JONES (phone numbers above) and he will be happy to find something for you to do.
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ONE MAN WENT TO MOW . . .
IN THE May issue of BC News, our member Louise Graham deplored the 'chainsaw massacre' of towpath trees. Other members have also complained of missing the May blossom to the west of Colt Hill, and the rhododendrons along the canal at Chatter Alley. And last year bankside flowers were mown down in their prime. So we asked canal manager David Gerry for an explanation of the management policy:
Towpath mowing: The aim is to cut a 6ft wide path, including the towpath, in summer. So, if the path is well used, the amount of vegetation cut on either side, will be negligible. In the autumn the rangers mow from the waters edge to the towpath boundary, clearing the dying vegetation and unwanted saplings. David Gerry admits one ranger measured the distance with rather larger feet last year, but the resultant Mohican hair cut effect has not appeared this year. No doubt rangers in Surrey will conform this year, avoiding the extensive bank trimming in the spring.
Hedging: The towpath hedge was a statutory requirement of the Act of Parliament which authorised the canal. It was planted to prevent
barge horses straying. And, of course, it was kept trimmed to hedge height. But neglect over the past 50 years has allowed hawthorn, in particular, to grow into trees with dead branches breaking off which have to be cleared. The resultant gaps are no longer stock proof, and the ground beneath less attractive to small animals and birds, says David Gerry.
The hedge between Swan Bridge and Colt Hill was cleared during the winter 1988/89. Since then the hedge has been supplemented with 5,000 new plants of hawthorn, field maple and some holly.
More recently the old hedge to the west of the Odiham by-pass bridge was tackled. David Gerry agrees that it does look devastated, but he assures us that an attractive hedge will return in a few years time. The standards adopted are broadly in line with the practice of British Waterway, we are told.
Editor's Note: Where drastic renovation work is needed perhaps some of
the healthy May trees could be left standing to soften the harshness and uninteresting appearance of uniform cutting. Do you have a view?
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CANAL CLEAN UP
AS PART of a national campaign to clean up Britain's canals and navigable waterways, promoted by the Inland Waterways Association, the Society plans to make Woking the target for its attack on canal litter over the weekend 20th-21st October.
Pablo Haworth and David Junkison are organising the Society's clean up and they are appealing for volunteers - not just the usual working party members — to join in. A large turnout is needed not only to do a useful and much needed sweep of the canal, but also to gain publicity for the Society's concern over refuse, and to deter those who still regard canals as a convenient dump.
Make a note of the date - 20th and 21st October — and meet at Brewery Road car park, Woking, at 10.00am each day.
PRINT DESIGN AND PRODUCTION|
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, 0252850311.
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'PROMISE OF THE WESTERN END'
ON 1st March, Hampshire CC acquired the 3/4-mile length of derelict canal to the west of Greywell. The cost is understood to have been marginally in excess of £10,000.
Initial clearance work is expected to start in the autumn. In the meantime, the Society has published a study of the length, including Greywell Tunnel, restoration plans and outline costs, which is reviewed by Peter Cooper.
You may have thought, from reading all the reports, that the task of restoring the Basingstoke Canal was almost complete. Reading the Society's new booklet — Basingstoke Canal 'The Promise of the Western End' — will soon tell you otherwise.|
The aim of the booklet is to tell why, and how, the section of the canal through the Greywell Tunnel, and immediately beyond, should be restored. It limits itself to the section up to Penny Bridge, as this bridge is dropped and can at present be considered the practical limit of restoration, and it sees the task being tackled in three parts — the main length between Penney and Easlrop Bridges, the approach to the tunnel, and the tunnel itself.
The booklet is principally the work of Stan Meller, and he has done a very thorough job indeed. The first part, with an enthusiastic and supportive foreword by local journalist and historian Arthur Attwood, looks at the basic options — leave the canal as it is, fill it in, or restore it — and gives reasons for rejecting the first two, before listing the benefits, to all the main inlerest groups, of restoration. The restoration plan which follows is described very methodically. After review of the present condition of this length of the canal,
the resources available for the task are assessed, with an indication of
the potential contribution of Society volunteers.
The biggest of the three parts of the task is clearly going to be the actual repair of the tunnel, and this is considered at length and in considerable detail. The different methods used in the recent repairs of three tunnels — Blisworth, Harecastle and Crick — are described, and their relevance to Greywell Tunnel considered. The conclusion is that the Blisworth approach is unsuitable, but either the Harecastle or Crick methods may be appropriate. The task will require the cooperation and coordination of several interested parties, but the Society should certainly be able to make a major contribution.
The booklet concerns itself at some length with the interests and well being of the bats. Firstly, care needs to be taken that they are not disturbed during the repair of the tunnel. This should be entirely feasible, as all the work can be done from the western end of the tunnel, while the bats are believed to use only a length around 400 yards at the eastern end. Secondly, the form of a possible bat tunnel is described. In all this, the needs of both bats and navigators must be considered at all times, and the needs of both are distinctly seasonal in nature.
The other two sections of the task are rather more the sort of jobs the Society is used to tackling, if perhaps writ rather large in this case. The probable need for a gabion wall in the tunnel approach section suggests
that Hampshire County Council's experiences of the Dogmersfield slip may be very valuable in this case. The westernmost section will call for jungle-bashing and dredging on a scale that should serve as an invigorating challenge to Society's volunteers. Here and elsewhere a reappearance of the familiar narrow gauge railway is advocated.
Most of the illustrations in the booklet perform very well their necessary, salutary, task - giving the reader an indication of the present condition of this section of the canal. The Society should make sure the 'before' state is well recorded, for later comparison with the restored 'after' state.
The Society, future users of the canal, and wellwishers generally, should be exceedingly grateful to Stan Meller and the other members of the production team. It is now possible to approach the task of restoring the next section of the canal, armed with a well organised set of facts describing all angles of the job to be tackled. The only regret is that we can, at present, only consider the length of canal up to Penney Bridge; beyond this to the Little Tunnel, and further west, must remain a separate story.
* Basingstoke Canal 'The Promise of the Western End'. Published by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society - A5, 52 pages, 12 photographs, 2 drawings and a map. Price £2.50 including p&p from: John Greenfield (see address on back page). (Cheques payable to SHCS).|
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THOSE volunteers who have been on recent work parties will have been involved in the final stages of towpath raising at Sheerwater. Our last work party had to rely on hired plant and a Hymac driver who restricted the day to 8 hours. This reduced our progress and pre-empted a decision by Surrey County Council to adopt weekday hire of machines with wardens' support; this is less expensive.
The remaining work at Woodham involves fitting lock gate and paddle gear and is scheduled for the full time teams.
Paddy Field has requested our continued support (BC News 152) and I have been involved in negotiations to prepare an ongoing programme of work for our volunteers.
The Deepcut locks require remedial work on gates, paddles and lock structures; a considerable number of locks were repaired rather than rebuilt. I am sure you will agree that the methods and quality of our work improved as we progressed eastwards.
Paddy has agreed in principle that volunteers will be asked to carry out repairs to brickwork at Deepcut. Dave Gerry has surveyed the length of the canal and will prepare work schedules for our agreement. Work at Deepcut is essential to open the canal next year and will need all our efforts to achieve.
On completion of the Deepcut work, the Society has suggested that clearance work west of Greywell would be suitable for volunteers to carry out. My message to you all is "Make the most of our short summer recess for rest and recuperation — we have more work to carry out before the canal is fully operational".
As Martin Bowers has quoted, "Let's get this xxx canal open" and usable for all leisure activities as has been our stated objective over the years. I, for one, do not accept that vested interests, who have not contributed towards or lifted a hand in restoration, should dictate canal policy.
YOUR CANAL NEEDS YOU!
Working Party Leader and Visiting
St. Johns Lye, Woking, Surrey.
LET REASON PREVAIL
I WAS somewhat aghast to read of the NCC's proposal for the canal in the July 1990 edition of the Basingstoke Canal News. Well, aghast but not entirely surprised at this august body, who admittedly have a very difficult and vital job to do, seemingly jumping on the bandwagon of those who now, having seen the hard work that has been done by others, seek to jump in and start imposing controls and sanctions.
I side with Mr. Bullus (Letters, BC News 151) up to a certain point, but those who guide and direct the Society have 'broad shoulders' and are able to take on board the opinions of others, although this may be construed as capitalising.
I, for one, certainly did not spend many, many freezing months manning the dredger to provide others with a plaything they could fawn over!
I sincerely hope that common sense and reason will prevail; too many of us have given up too much time for this canal to become anything less than we set out to achieve - a fully restored navigable waterway for the benefit of the community at large.
Sherborne Road, Farnborough, Hants.
WHAT a shambles. What a waste of a great many members' time, energy and money. A management structure designed to give employment to a large number of local government officials and so large as to ensure that nothing gets done. A line management without any practical experience of canals. New and expensive gates which should last twenty years allowed to rot on the mythical grounds of safety. New puddle allowed to dry out ensuring leaks for the future. Pounds silting up because navigation is restricted. Time I believe for the Society to stop work and investment until the mess is sorted. Time I believe also to sort out the Wey Navigation. A navigation where the grass is cut but the lock gear is never oiled. Many of the gates are
falling to pieces and the bottom in many areas is approaching the top. A navigation where rules and regulations proliferate as a substitute for maintenance.
It is time for professional management to be brought in. I should suggest that British Waterways should be asked by the County Councils and the National Trust to take over the management of both, and both should then be run as a single unit. This has recently been done on the Southern Stratford a National Trust property, and the Yorkshire Ouse Commissioners.
Let us insist on action before the whole canal restoration movement is brought into disrepute and the National Trust loses credibility.
Thames Street, Weybridge, Surrey.
I AM writing as a redundant volunteer, no longer required by BCA I understand. Our aim, I always understood, was to restore the canal for navigation and for all the secondary activities, such as walking, angling and the protection of wildlife and flower/plant life.
A recent walk up the Deepcut flight, showed weed-choked, low and empty pounds, some of the gates had gaps in the planking, surely proof of Frank Jones contention for the need to keep gates wet when not in use. The balance beams still await the refitting of the paddle operating gear. Now I read in BC News 152 that the flight will remain closed until December. That 'tongue in cheek' prediction regarding the re-restoration of the canal looks to be coming more factual as time passes. How I agree with Martin Bowers and Kyle Bullus; let us get the canal open and used and tell the BCA that, without further delay, Target 88 has passed, lets make the Bullseye in 1990.
Royston Road, ByfJeet, Weybridge, Surrey.
Editors Note: The tongue-in-cheek look into the future of the canal, by Clive Durley, appeared in BC News 136 November 1987.
THE STATE OF THE CANAL
AS a founder member of the Canal Society I am alarmed at the visible languor which appears to be settling over much of the canal. Whilst the Kennet and Avon is on the brink of becoming a proper navigation again, the Basingstoke seems to be slipping further and further from our original hopes and aspirations of a real, live, active waterway, of benefit to all the community.
An outsider looking over Kiln Bridge at St. Johns, only to observe 'wall to wall' duckweed as far as the eye can see, might well be excused for thinking that nothing much had changed over the last twenty odd years.
I was further depressed by suggestions in the July newsletter that there might be a total ban on cruising west of Colt Hill. It was with great interest therefore that when my wife and I took our small dinghy and outboard on that part of the canal recently, we were able to get a fair idea of the likely result of such a ban. Travelling westwards we were, unfortunately, only able to get to the lift bridge at North Warnborough due to engine trouble, but even thus far progress was frequently difficult.
Large mattresses of floating blanket weed were spreading right across the canal, presenting a most unpleasant aspect, and underwater weed growth was equally luxuriant. The whole vista was of a virtually derelict canal, and it seemed hard to imagine that the John Pinkerton used to give pleasure to its passengers on this very length.
Now there may, or may not be, rare plants to intrigue specialist naturalists, but by allowing the canal here to become effectively derelict again not only deprives it of its very 'life-blood' of water supply, but is simply favouring the minority to the detriment of everyone else. That is certainly not why we campaigned so hard all those years ago to 'Save the Basingstoke Canal', and why others have spent so much time, energy and money supposedly restoring it.
Perhaps someone might like to comment through the pages of your most excellent newsletter, what forceful, vibrant campaign is being waged behind the scenes to ensure that the last twenty four years has not simply been a waste of time.
Barley Mow Hill, Arford, Headley, Borden, Hants.
At the recent Annual General Meeting of the Society, Chairman Robin Higgs was very complimentary about the document that I produced to set out on behalf of the Society, the case for the BVR to pass under the canal at Ash Embankment.
I would like members to know that the content was not 'all my own work'. I wish to put on record my thanks to those members who are professional in their subjects and gave such prompt support to my appeal for help.
They are, Adrian Birtles, Jim Guiver, David Junkison, and David Meller. Without their advice the document would not have had either the impact, status, or effect, that it has apparently created.
Branksome Hill Road, College Town, Camberley, Surrey
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TO MARK the re-opening of the canal next spring, Arthur Dungale intends to produce an audio visual slide show of the restoration project going back to the mid 1960's when Mrs. Joan Marshall, general manager of the New Basingstoke Canal Co. Ltd., retired.
Will all members who have taken pictures of the canal before the Society was formed and during restoration please contact Stan Meller on 0276 32096 or write to Arthur Dungate. Good quality colour slides, black and white prints or colour shots can all be used provided the location is known. Please don't send anything initially but just contact Stan or Arthur telling them what you have that might be of interest. Arthur Dungate's address is: 187 Ellerdine Road, Hounslow, Middx TW3 2PU.
Pictures will be needed shortly if the target date of February 1991 is to be met for completion of the slide show and videos.
US CANAL VISITORS
John Pinkerton bookings manager Tony Karavis welcoming Capt. Bill McKelvey, vice President of the American Canal Society of New Jersey.
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TERRAPINS seen in canal at North Warnborough.
DESCRIPTION of fishing in the canal read in the Angling Times — 'Basingstoke Canal: caster or red maggot fished over loose feed casters successful for big bags of tench and bream. Early or late'.
SERIOUS concern expressed by Society over County Council's failure to convene a meeting of the Conservation Working Party, covering wildlife matters, which has not met since last autumn.
JUNK stall at 'Boats Afloat' raised almost £500 thanks to contributors, collecting agents and stall helpers. The organisers Janets Greenfield
and Hedger appreciated the supporters.
TEA stall at 'Boats Afloat', manned by members of the Woodham flight working party raised £102. "Hard work but enjoyable", they said. "Great cup of coffee lads", commented a satisfied customer.
GRAND opening rally, planned for Frimley Lodge Park, will be directed by Tony Davis, organiser of the IWA national trail boat rally held on the canal in 1987.
LAUNCH of The Promise of the Westem End, the Society's case for restoring Greywell Tunnel and the canal westward to Up Nately, will be made on 25th September at Basingstoke.
ASH LOCK CLOSED
AS a result of the water shortage which had reduced the canal's level by 16ins at the time this issue closed for press (mid-August), Ash Lock was closed until further notice, on 15th August, to conserve water in the summit pound.
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THE canal will be temporarily closed to through navigation, from 8th - 12th October, at a point between Zephon Common Swingbridge and Malthouse Bridge, Crookham, for the installation of a mains sewer beneath the canal.
GRAND DRAW FUND RAISER
THE re-opening of the canal is fast approaching but funds are still needed to complete the work and subsequently maintain the canal for the future. The Grand Draw makes an important contribution to the Society's funds and it is an easy way for members to help and at the same time let more people know about the canal, the Society and its work.
Tickets for this year's Grand Draw are enclosed with this issue of BC News and I do hope everyone will help me make it as successful as in previous years. The draw takes place on 14th January 1991, and the top prizes this time are cash prizes, which should make a good start to the new year for the winners.
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THE editor of BC NEWS is turning professional and has reluctantly decided to hand over. The Society is looking for a volunteer.
Dieter Jebens is prepared to guide the new editor should he or she seek advice.
For anyone who follows the progress of the canal, has an interest in writing, and perhaps takes photos, producing BC NEWS is a satisfying job.
If you'd like to know more, ring Dieter Jebens (0252 715230) or David Millett (0252 617364).
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MEMBERS who saw and admired the steam launch Odiamayde on the canal will be saddened to hear of the sudden death on 20th July of Peter Kilby, who built the boat with the help of his friend and fellow member Roy Mullender.
A retired engineering company director, Peter Kilby lived at Harrow before moving with his family to Fleet and then to Odiham six years ago. He was a keen dinghy sailor and ocean yachtsman, sailing with the Lloyds Bank Sailing Club.
His quiet disposition and ready smile will be missed by his friends and acquaintances. He leaves a wife Joan and two sons Trevor and Anthony.
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COPY DATE FOR NOVEMBER 1990 BC NEWS: 30th SEPTEMBER 1990
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 Middlebourne 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, Aldershot, Hampshire, GUIS 9SW. (0252 617364)
Hon. Treasurer: Nigel Parsons, 14 The Piccards, Chestnut Avenue, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5DW. (0483 571709)
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley, Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hampshire, RG25 1AH (0256 702109)
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 Redway, 1 Redway Cottages, St. John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU211SL. (0482 721710)
Trip Boat: Tony Karavis, 12 Loddon Road, Farnborough, 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, Camberley, Surrey, GU17 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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