No. 156 MARCH 1991
FULL TIME TEAM
AT THE end of January the Society's committee and other members took the full time team — Frank Jones, Martin Smith, Jim Reid and Dave Wedd — out to dinner to mark the end of their project to restore the canal.
It is difficult to visualise how restoration in Surrey would have progressed without the full time team and especially Frank Jones as project leader. Apart from the practical aspect of his engineering work, especially building lock gates and their ancillary fittings, Frank brought management and diplomatic skills to bear which were part of his success.
Managing gangs of unemployed young men of mixed backgrounds and abilities on the early MSC schemes, required leadership qualities and diplomacy which cannot be learned. Frank's natural abilities to persuade and direct also helped to foster the partnership established between the Society and Surrey County Council.
Not that Frank's approach was always that subtle — such as one of his last acts of persuasion, when he took a chainsaw to rotting balance beams on the Deepcut Flight as a means of hastening a decision to replace them.
We wish all four team members good luck and, we hope, a feeling of satisfaction from their part in recreating the canal as a working waterway.
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WHAT LIES AHEAD?
ONCE more members are being asked for their views on the future purpose of the Society. Having asked the question at last year's AGM and at a subsequent special meeting, the time has come to make some firm decisions.
For the second time in its 23-year history, the Society is at a watershed. The first was our transition from campaigning for restoration to the actual work. Now, on completion, we must decide on the Society's future role.
So what lies ahead ?
There's the western end to tackle for which there is active support with the first working party about to start. But the Society must also have the backing of members for restoration of the tunnel if re-opening is ever to be more than a pipe-dream.
The wildlife lobby will continue to seek to have the canal run their way, by imposing restrictions on boating and have their standards of maintenance adopted. The Society must remain vigilant and vocal over the dangers of compromising the navigational quality of the canal.
Maintenance funding is another issue. The Society could do a great deal more to promote the consequences of the current inadequate appropriation. We also have to decide whether we are prepared, contrary to the Society's policy, to support maintenance. What is your view ?
Water supply is another vital issue. While the Society sits on committees and listens, we could be more actively investigating new sources, and the need for backpumping to conserve water.
Lastly, the Society must attract new faces to the task of running the administration. A number of committee members and key organisers may be standing down in the coming months. If the Society is to go on playing an influential role, it must replace those who have made their contribution, and that means more volunteers.
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BOATERS BITE BACK
THE Basingstoke Canal Boating Club is at odds with the Canal Authority over the increased cost of boat licences this year. It appears that the average increase amounts to 28 per cent.
There was a time when commercial firms, and to a large extent local government and state owned enterprises, made some effort to justify price increases.
Such niceties no longer apply. As the canal director says in his reply to the BCBC's complaint, "Swingeing increases are rarely happily accepted by those they affect, and that is a good reason for ensuring that price increases always at least keep up with the price of inflation".
Apart from the somewhat dubious logic of the explanation, I have to admit to being a little dull on economic principles too, in the wider context of beating the scourge of inflation. If everybody keeps putting up prices by the rate of inflation, (and those additional percentage points to provide a 'real' increase) inflation never will come down.
BOATERS may represent a small minority of canal users (though where wildlife conservationists get 5 per cent from I don't know), but those afloat contribute nearly 70 per cent of revenue income. So much for the fallacious argument that minorities should bow to the majority.
FRONT COVER: Stacey's Bridge, Winchfield... before restoration and today. (Photos: David Robinson and Dieter Jebens)
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THE Basingstoke Canal restoration is on target for completion this Spring after many years of hard work. This outstanding achievement calls for a very special kind of commemorative occasion. It is hoped that the re-opening celebrations being planned will be a fitting tribute to all those who have given freely of their time and energy over the years.
His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent, has agreed to attend the event to be held at Frimley Lodge Park on Friday 10th May, and to do us the honour of officially declaring the canal open for navigation throughout its length. A special enclosure will be provided to enable Society members to have a good view of the ceremony. Numbers may be limited by space, so this area will be reserved for those who have applied for a pass in advance.
Several committees have been set Up to co-ordinate the various parts of the event, and with the date now confirmed they will be working hard to ensure that this is a memorable day in the history of the Basingstoke canal.
On the Friday there will be the official opening ceremony at Frimley Lodge Park. Other attractions will include exhibitions, sales stands, arena events, bands, a waterways theatre group, boat trips on the John Pinkerton, and decorated boats. In the evening there will be an ox roast, another performance by the theatre group, fireworks and an illuminated boat procession.
On the Saturday, two organised cruises depart east and west from the site to meet with local civic groups along the canal. A group of walkers will follow the route of the canal from its terminus in Basingstoke to join civic ceremonies in Greywell. For those remaining on site, the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club are organising activities to which Society members are welcome, including daytime refreshments and hospitality and an evening barbecue and jazz band.
As details are still being finalised as we go to press, we will be producing a separate broadsheet which will be distributed to all members in April. This will give final details of members passes, car parking arrangements, site plan, schedule of events on both days, and application forms for the evening refreshments.
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WE ARE expecting around 10,000 people to attend the re-opening celebrations, and to cope with this requires a considerable amount of organisation, both beforehand and on the day. Offers of assistance, however small, will be gratefully received. If you would like to help in any way then please contact one of the organisers listed below. They will be pleased to tell you what is involved.
* Sponsorship — we are looking for sponsors for specific items, if your company might be interested, or you have any suggestions, please contact Vic Trott on 0483 768607, or write to him at 21 Lime Grove, Westfield, Woking GU22 9PW.
* Site Services — Peter Jackman -0483 772132.
* Exhibitions - David Millett -02252 617364.
* Entertainment — Peter Coxhead -0932344564.
* Harbourmaster — Dick Elder -0252 25268 or Chris de Wet -0252 850387.
* Catering - Denise Halls - 0483 723981.
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A WALK FOR THE OPENING
FOLLOWING the re-opening of the canal, we are hoping to form a group to 'navigate' the westernmost five miles of the canal on foot.
The route will be from the site of the Basingstoke Canal Basin, now the Basingstoke Bus Depot, to King John's Castle at North Warnborough. Walkers will follow the line of
the canal as closely as possible, and join in local civic ceremonies.
It is not essential for individuals to cover the whole distance, as walkers can be split into relays, and rejoin at North Warnborough.
If you are interested in taking part in this historic walk, please contact Bill Homewood on 0276 61343 as early as possible.
This replaces the monthly walk normally organised by Bill.
||Phil Pratt's pen and ink drawing of Cowshot Bridge before restoration.|
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APPEAL FOR ARTISTS
AN IMPORTANT part of the reopening celebrations will be an art exhibition in the main marquee, featuring scenes of the Basingstoke Canal.
We would like to put a selection of paintings and drawings by Society members within this exhibition. The only limitation is that the work must be a local canal scene, past or present.
This re-opening event is a milestone in the history of Ihc Basingstoke Canal, and thousands of visitors are expected to pass through. Please help us to demonstrate that the society can turn its hand to more gentle arts in addition to our exceptional restoration achievements.
If you have anything which you would like to exhibit, or if you feel inspired to create something new, please contact the exhibitions organiser, David Millett on 0252 617364 for further details.
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WORK PARTY PROGRESS
THE full time team has completed work at Woodham and moved to Deepcut. Volunteers have been taking advantage of low water levels to clear debris and stumps from the canal bed. Work started at Monument Bridge through Woking Town Centre to Lockfield Drive.
This was followed by checking lock gates, caulking gaps in planking caused by drying out, general servicing, clearing chambers and finally treating gates with tar varnish and creosote.
On the St. Johns Locks, work is currently centred on the St. Johns pound between Lock 11 and Lock 12, again clearing the canal bed, removing stumps and growth from the
off bank. Water levels have been lowered to facilitate this work.
Now that our full time team members have hung up their trowels, work parties have been re-arranged. It is, therefore, essential to contact your Work Party Leader or Peter Redway to find out details and locations before attending a work party.
Work Party Leaders
Second weekend of the month —
Dave Junkison on 081 941 O685 or Dave Lunn.
Third weekend of the month — Peter Redway on Woking (0483) 721710.
Dredging in Hampshire - every weekend
Dredging has restarted in Fleet now that water levels have improved. Contact Roger Flitter 0252 622956.
Hampshire Bankside Work
Peter Jackman's bankside clearance work party continues in Hampshire on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, working from Crookham Wharf to Double Bridge. This work is unskilled and suitable for family parties.
Further details from Peter Jackman on Woking (0483) 772132.
OUR best wishes to Peter Cooper who compiled 'Countdown to Completion' for many years. We understand he is now out of hospital and recovering from major surgery at home.
Peter will have further treatment for some time to come and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.
Good Luck Peter.
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THERE are currently six locks waiting to be adopted on the Adopt-a-Lock scheme which was set up in August 1989 by the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club with assistance from Frank Jones. After the completion of restoration, there is a continuing need to assist the Canal Authority in order to ensure that locks are looked after. The adopters would take on a caretaking role, reporting to the BCA any serious damage that might be found, and undertaking tasks such as painting, weeding, grass cutting, oiling paddle gear and doing minor repairs to foot bridges. The BCA will provide guidelines and materials.
The locks awaiting adoption are 17, 18, 20, 21, 23 and 26 and help with these would be appreciated. Individuals, clubs or groups ... all are welcome to join the existing members recruited from the general public and waterways groups.
The Basingstoke Canal Boating Club are organising a lunchtime barbecue on April 27th for current and prospective adopters. This will take place at lock 28 which is located in Deepcut close to the lock gate workshop. All very informal, you will need to take your own burgers and the BCBC will provide the means to cook them. Anyone wishing to go along and find out what Adopt-a-Lock is all about, should contact Frank Jones, the scheme co-ordinator, on Camberley (0276) 28367.
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WESTERN END WORKING PARTIES
THANKS to all who responded to the appeal in BC News 155 for volunteers to work at Up Nately. For those who meant to volunteer but didn't, the list is still open.
We need people who are interested in a long term commitment since regular working parties will start soon. To join the list please telephone Stan Meller on (0276) 32096 or David Junkison on 081 941 0685. Or write to Stan at 101 Branksome Hill Road, Camberley GU15 4QG.
MEMBERS of my working party were very distressed to learn recently of the death of Alf Bevis.
He was a familiar figure on Lock 4 working parties with his son Clifford. They were a pair to gladden the heart of any working party leader. Reliable, resourceful, ready to turn a skilled hand to any task with cheerful, good humour. Each member of our group feels a personal loss of a fellow worker and friend, and we extend our sympathy to Ethel, his widow, Clifford and all their family.
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MOVING on to professional pastures as the editor of the new Thames User magazine, the Society •has much to thank Dieter Jebens for in his reign as editor of the Basingstoke Canal News (previously called The Newsletter).
A dedicated advocate of the restoration of the canal for all interests, a founder member of the Society in 1966, and an early committee member for a short period, Dieter took over as joint editor in August 1975 and became sole editor in the autumn of 1978. Gradually a style evolved which was very much his own, and which differed from the usual magazine format of most societies. Punchy, informative and not slow to question Society policies or canal matters at times, his regular comment (or editorial) column particularly has been his hallmark. Written independently of the committee he took a detached view on issues as he saw them.
His style and approach coupled with the development of an excellent photographic content over the years has resulted in the award on two occasions of the first prize in the annual competition to select the best waterway society production.
Thank you Dieter, for all your hard work over the years and good luck to our new volunteer team of Sue Palmer and Margaret Insall.
David Millett Vice
Editors note: Dieter remains an active Society member as Press Officer, and a Director of the Trip Boat Company. He will also continue to write the Comment column for BC News.
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THE FUTURE OF THE SOCIETY
AT THE April 1989 AGM and in the subsequent edition of the Basingstoke Canal News our Chairman, Robin Higgs, outlined ideas for the future role of the Society once restoration is completed.
We have recently been updating these ideas, especially in the light of recent letters in the BC News and as a result of discussions with the Canal Director, Paddy Field. He states that the continued support from the Society is essential to build on what has been achieved to make the canal into a first-class navigational and recreational waterway amenity. There is particular concern about the level of local aulhority contributions to maintain ihe canal. The society's involvement can include:
* Providing a strong working party group for volunteers to undertake projects to improve amenities and facilities, and to help with the operation and maintenance of the canal.
* To continue organising fundraising and sponsorship activities to help finance projects including sales stands, publicity and public relations.
* To continue to represent members interests in the strategic, policy making and operational bodies of the canal.
* Operating the John Pinkerton trip boal and possibly extending this successful formula.
* Helping to protect the environment of the canal through the monitoring of planning and engineering proposals, and commenting on these, i.e. Blackwater Valley scheme.
* Promoting the restoration of the Greywell Tunnel and the western end providing volunteers for the latter in the short term.
* To set up and man interpretation projects such as a canal museum, information centre/canal shop and to maintain our archives and artifacts.
* Organising the volunteer lengthsmen scheme and being involved in the "Adopt-a-Lock" scheme for the canal.
* Organising or helping with rallies, festivals and events on the canal.
* Providing or organising leaders for interpretative walks on the canal and to continue providing a speaker service for talks.
* Arranging social events for members including talks/slide/film shows, rambles and visits to other waterways etc.
* To consider the setting up of a youth section to involve younger people in the future of the canal, and to work with schools and other organisations.
* Seeking lo establish a permanent base for Society activities.
* Working with all the other user/interest groups to ensure that a proper balance is achieved between the navigation and other recreational uses of the canal.
* Maintaining liaison with county and borough/district members and officers.
* Continuing with our strong independent voice on all aspects of canal matters.
Some of these future roles are short term but many are medium or longer term, and although we have asked in the past for your views we now re-emphasise the importance of your voice in the future of the Society. If you have any comments, please write to the Secretary (details on ihe back page) or come along to the AGM on 27th April and air your views.
A large, strong and active Society is essential and we hope many more members will be prepared to get involved in the site of the Society's activities that suits their interest.
ASH Wharf Road Bridge repairs are to be postponed until after the completion of the Blackwater Valley Route. Unfortunately, this means the bridge will have to be strengthened to continue to support the increasing traffic. The bridge will be closed lo navigation for four weeks from 21 February lo complete the work.
Local residents protesting against the closure of the bridge to traffic. (Photo: Aldershot News)|
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MEMBERS may have noticed an alarming drop in the water level of the canal's top pound over the recent festive season. This was due to senseless acts of vandalism al the Farnborough Road Weir on two separate occasions.
Shortly before Christmas, one of the Canal Rangers noticed that the weir was partially opened. He was able to remedy the situation fairly quickly, and fit a new padlock.
Unfortunately, over the holiday period, the weir was opened again, and left fully open for some time before it was brought to the attention of the Canal Manager. This caused the canal level in the pound to drop by almost 12 inches and flooded the nearby golf course.
Extra padlocks have been filled to the weir mechanisms, and members
can assist by being extra vigilant whilst enjoying the canal. If you see anything unexpected or anyone acting suspiciously you should contact the Basingstoke Canal Authority at the earliesl opporlunity in order that they may remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
Contact: Ash Lock Depot and Office - 0252 313810; or Canal Manager - Home 0252 622520; or Senior Canal Ranger - Home 0252 513385.
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END OF AN ERA
JANUARY 1991 saw the end of an era that had begun when the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society was formed in 1966. Its aim was the full restoration of the Basingstoke Canal whieh was, at that time, totally derelict. The way ahead promised to be a hard slog but by 1968 they had gathered together a band of utterly dedicated enthusiasts with liltle more than stamina and faith to sustain them.
The last gate destined for Lock 3 left the workshop in December 1990
and when the full lime team, Martin Smith, Jim Reid and Dave Wedd, headed by Frank Jones 'hung up their hats' on January 31st 1991, it was the signal that 16 years restoration work had been completed.
Frank Jones. (Photo: Dieter Jebens)
Left to right: Jim Reid, Dave Wedd and Martin Smith. (Photo: David Millett)
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UNTIL Hampshire County Council became half owners of the Basingstoke Canal in 1973 followed by Surrey County Council who purchased the other half in 1976, canal restoration by Society volunteers was unofficial. However, they got to work in earnest in November 1973 when the first official working parly, 180-strong, started clearing the towpaths The stretch between Barley Mow Bridge and Broad Oak Bridge was transformed in two weekends. In 1974 Hampshire County Council appointed David Gerry, former Canal Society Chairman, as Canal Manager with a permanent staff of four rangers. The Council, also by the end of the year, had placed a contract for the repair of the Whitewater Aqueduct which had been leaking for years.
The Society purchased a 70-ton steam-powercd dredger, and a
group of enthusiasts, assisted by apprentices from Pyestock, stripped the mechanical equipment and rebuilt the dredger. The well named Perseverance got to work dredging the 4-1/2-mile stretch belween North Warnborough and Dogmersfield.. HCC restored four bridges in Dogmersfield, and with the help of the Inland Waterways Association, the Society paid for the rebuilding of Blacksmiths Bridge.
Dredging, lock restoration and lock gate building continued apace through 1975/6 and by the end of 1976 Lock 25 at Curzon bridge was nearing completion. Considerable work was done on the Ash Embankment clearing vegetation in preparation for repairing Ihe breach of 1968. Towpath and offside bank clearance on the Deepcut flight around Lock • 17 at Cowshot Bridge was going well, while in Hampshire, offside bank clearance was taking place wesrwards from Chequers Bridge.
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THE Society successfully applied lo the Manpower Services Commission for a Job Creation Grant of £35,000 to provide basic training and employment for 18 young people supervised by six craftsmen for a period of six months from March 1977. The scheme was co-ordinated by Frank Jones, the Society's working party organiser and started at Deepcut. Materials were supplied by Surrey County Council.
Impressed by the training value of the work, the six month period was ultimately extended to cover a span of eight years wilh various programmes following on from each other - STEP, WEP, PBWE, YOP and finally Youth Training Scheme -and the MSC granted the Society more than £500,000 to finance them. Apart from providing jobs and training for many unemployed young people, much valuable work was completed including the making and filling of 28 pairs of lock gales, building a workshop, re-building Cowshot Manor Bridge, constructing a let-off water control at Ash Embankment and rebuilding the unique dry dock adjacent to Lock 28.
|An early working party clearing the towpath between Winchfield and Odiham in 1973.|
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THE SOCIETY'S FULL TME TEAM
FULL TIME TEAM
WHEN the Manpower Services
Schemes came to an end, it was crucial that a nucleus of skilled people
should continue to be employed full
time to retain the restoration impetus. Members of the Society agreed
to a plan to employ four of the job
creation supervisors. It was felt that,
once disbanded, the experienced
and dedicated team couldn't be replaced. So in 1985 Frank Jones, Martin Smith, Jim Reid and one other
(replaced subsequently by Dave
Wedd) became full time Society employees.
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LOCK GATE WORKSHOP
A DERELICT swimming pool, discovered in the Deepcut woods adjacent to Lock 28 was ingeniously converted into a covered workshop for building lock gates.
The Job Creation team led by Frank Jones first cleared two feet of mud and vegetation before extending the walls of half the pool upwards and roofing it over to provide 2,250 sq ft of workshop area complete with store room, mess room and an office above. The other half of the pool was opened up to give access to a concrete based yard where finished gates could be stored.
|MSC workmen using a specially constructed railway to move completed lock gates down to the canal from the lock gate workshop. (Photos: Dieter Jebens)|
A narrow gauge railway line was laid leading from the workshop to the canal for gates to be transported lo the water and then floated down to the chambers.
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GANG OF FOUR
WHEN the Youth Training Scheme finished in 1985, the full time team employed by the Society set up Work Camp 1985, providing continuity between voluntary working parties, management, planning and supply.
Work continued on the Deepcut Flight and with the help of volunteers they raised the towpalh, laying around 1,000 tons of hoggin, and when the Deepcut Flight restoration was completed they started on Locks 13 and 14 at Brookwood before moving on to miscellaneous jobs between Brookwood and St. Johns. These included repair work under the Kiln Bridge and a new culvert near Brookwood Hospital.
By the end of 1986 the full time team had completed the rebuilding of Woodend Bridge at St. Johns and were hard at work on Locks 8, 9 and 10.
1987 saw them underpinning Langman's Bridge, and with the St. Johns Flight finished, they moved on to putting the waterflows and levels at the Cowshot Stream to rights.
In 1988 the 95th and 96th lock gates were built at the workshop. Never an idle moment, various other jobs, including work on the slipway and towpath at Spantons Wharf and restoration of Langmans Bridge (in association with English Heritage) were proceeding. Lock 1 was completely refitted and before switching to the completion of Lock 2, a big job was carried out on piling downstream of Monument Bridge, Woking. Sheet steel piling and wood were used to prevent the refilled canal from flooding riparian gardens.
During 1990 the completion of the restoration task was gradually getting nearer. Work was being done on Locks 3, 4, 5 and 6. Towpaths continued to be raised and certain rectifications were being carried out on the Deepcut Flight and the team's work was on target for completion and re-opening in 1991.
A JOB WELL DONE
WHEN Frank Jones started as a volunteer in 1968, his enthusiasm was considerable. Joined later by Martin Smith, the two of them gave up their jobs to work full time unpaid for a year. With the advent of the MSC scheme, money and materials enabled the volunteers to do a lot more and the canal gained a euphoric work force and a skill bank of craftsmen. Restoration progress was speeded up though not everything went according to plan. There were one or two dramas like a cement mixer overturning and depositing the operator 18 feet below. At least he fell on his feet! A wandering dumper ended up in the canal, a crane collapsed over a lock and a teenage riot had to be dealt with.
Our 'gang of four' should be leaving with a tremendous feeling of pride and the satisfaction of a job well done.
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Re: SSSI Proposal — Basingstoke Canal
MY PROPOSAL is that a voluntary arrangement for an SSSI is set up with the Nature Conservancy Council. Given that we have nurtured the revival of the Basingstoke Canal for more than twenty years to produce such a beautiful feature of the countryside around thirty miles long, I feel that we can be trusted to look after it for the next two hundred years.
I propose that we agree to receive all the monitoring information that the Nature Conservancy Council wish to offer, at their expense, on the future state of the canal and that we act upon that information in a voluntary and compassionate manner to produce the best practicable quality of all aspects of this canal of which we are very proud.
Farm Lane, Purley, Surrey
CANAL DIRECTOR REPLIES
Dear Mr. Dunbar,
I WAS interested to receive a copy of your letter to Robin Higgs dated 14th December 1990 with your comments on the SSSI proposal for the Basingstoke Canal.
There has been a great deal of disinformation in the press recently about our relationship with the NCC and their proposals for an SSSI. It is not generally recognised that there are already five SSSIs along the canal, covering about one-third of its total length and the NCC proposal is to unite these into one SSSI, covering two thirds of the total length of the canal. If we have lived with the former situation, then there is no conceivable reason why we should not live with the latter.
The Joint Management Committee of the canal, which includes the Canal Society and the NCC, have for three years funded a research programme into the ecology of the canal and the results of this research have been forwarded for analysis to the Department of Botany at Liverpool University, where Drs Eaton and Pigott are nationally recognised experts in canal wildlife. In conjunction with this research, the JMC has imposed limits on the annual number of boat licences that can be issued in any one year and this limit is raised in small increments whilst the research ensures that our permitted boat numbers do not harm the canal's ecology. It is a question of getting the balance right between the use of the canal as a recreational and leisure amenity and protecting our very important botanical heritage. In spite of what you might have read in the press, the policy seems to be working very well and is fully supported by the results of the research that we have been carrying out.
The NCC have a statutory obligation to declare SSSIs and we have no powers to prevent them from doing so. The important thing is not the declaration of an SSSI, but the agreed methods of management of the canal within an SSSI. We are talking to the NCC about this and there are very few areas indeed where we have any disagreement. I am quite confident that with our ongoing research programme and continued discussion between all interested parties, we can continue to develop the canal so it can be enjoyed by as wide a variety of user groups as possible.
Thank you for your interest.
SPOILING THE VIEW
WHILST we may rejoice at the temporary retreat of the NCC in Hampshire, what are we to do with the extended gardens of Woking? I was utterly dismayed by the situation recently when clearing above lock 12. Since my previous visit, gardens have encroached down to the canal edge. How has this situation come about that so many households have fenced off attractive open woodland — the very scenery desired by the Society — to do whatever they like with. I noticed one plot is used as a paddock, others contain old sheds, junk, rubble, rubbish etc. Is this desirable to view from the towpath and from passing boats? One householder was heard to state: "I have put in for canal access, everybody else has, it is worth a try". Some have already started constructing boat landings, cutting into the canal edge and erecting pontoons.
It is good news that Paul Vine is considering a paperback edition of London's Lost Route to Basingstoke, a much desired volume, the old edition costing around £35 secondhand. Anyone interested in canals in the south should purchase his books, I recommend them, they are complete gems and well illustrated.
Stan Knight may be concerned by bankside tree clearance (letters BC News 154) but a trip in autumn would be hindered by leaves, twigs and branches clogging the waters. Our working parties' limit is two metres from the edge. Branches overhanging locks out of reach of boats are removed, this is to prevent residues and constant dripping from accelerating the decay of balance beams.
Lilford Road, London
I WRITE to congratulate you on the content and layout of BC News 155 for January 1991.
As a Life Member of IWAI receive the national publication as well as the regional Windlass.
I also receive a copy of The Butty, the quarterly journal of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, being also a life member of this Trust.
Your newsletter beats them all hands down for really up to date information presented in very readable form.
The previous editor — Dieter Jebens — was superb as I am constantly reminded when I look back on old issues and I'm sure you are going to 'give him a run for his money'.
I look forward to the next issue with anticipation.
Old Bedhampton, Havant, Hants.
Editors'note: We would like to thank Bert Gregory for his support, and particularly for his recent generous donation of 19 traditional wooden boaters stools for the Society's sales stand. Thank you Bert.
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1990 WAS a good year financially although trips were down and there were operational problems such as lack of water which are still with us. For this reason we shall be operating from Barley Mow only during 1991. We are hoping to get some piling and dredging done on the winding hole side of the slipway and we shall be embarking passengers and indeed mooring there since the off- side mooring is no longer available to us.
We have several personnel changes. Ann Bird is handing over the crew organising to Gill Lothian; George Hedger after many years of nursing the engine has handed his oil can to Andy Winks; and Martin Bowers is now in charge of the winter overhaul taking over from Dick Abbott. This last exercise has still not started due partly to lack of water but more lo lack of engine. Afler 13 years and over 9,000 hours running, this is in need of a very major overhaul which is going on now. When this has finished we shall be heading straight for the dry dock for some rapid painting and also to undertake the certification process which the Department of Transport require once the canal is open.
We look forward to an interesting, if somewhat problematical season and as usual we shall be seeking ihe support that our crew members have so generously given in previous years.
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NEWS FOR JOHN PINKERTON CREWS
THE NEW crew organiser is Gill Lothian, who joined the Society last year. Crew members should contact Gill in fulurc for information on Irips and lo offer iheir services as crew. Telephone Gill Lothian (0256) 768861.
Updating the records
We would like to take this opportunity to update our crew records. Would all crew members who wish to remain listed, please forward ihe following information as soon as possible:
Name, address, telephone number, number of years' crewing, availability (am/pm/eve/Wednesday - Sunday). If you normally crew with anyone in particular please put their name(s) at the bottom and any other information which may be of use (e.g. can't steer, under 18 etc).
Send to Gill Healher, 35 Holland Gardens, Fleet, Hants GU13 9NE.
Crew training day 1991
Two training sessions for new crew members will be held on Sunday 7th April at 11am and 2pm at Barley Mow Wharf, Winchfield. Anyone interested in finding oul what is involved in being a crew member is welcome. If you would like to attend please contact the Crew Training Officer, Gill Heather on (0252) 624612.
THE John Pinkerton will unfortunately not be able to run any trips over Easter. Due to water shortages last Autumn, and Winter stoppages, the boat has been unable to reach the dry dock at Deepcut, so essential maintenance will nol be compleled in time.
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BOAT LICENCE PROTEST
THE Basingstoke Canal Boating Club are pursuing their protests at this years 20-80% rise, and restructuring of boat licence fees on the canal, as reported in BC News 155.
The BCBC believe that the new fees are disproportionate to the value offered, and they support this with 'per mile' examples of licence fees for a 45ft narrowboat on other waterways, e.g. British Waterways £0.11 per mile, River Thames £1.16 per mile, Basingstoke Canal £2.42 per mile. They emphasise that the Basingstoke Canal figure would be even higher if the unnavigable stretches, and the fact that the canal will not be fully open until four months into the licensing year, were taken into account.
Canal Director, Paddy Field, counters that fees must keep up with inflation, and that boaters should have been aware that on completion of restoration, fees would be increased lo a level comparable with the national average. He states that boaters have had a very cheap deal during restoration, and that many stretches of the canal are available for boating, although they are not at present joined logcther. His response to the suggestion that licence renewals be deferred until April, is that this is not practical, and would reduce the income of the Canal Authority, and in so doing would delay the provision of improved facililies.
The BCBC are urging their members lo support them in their protest by writing to the Canal Director, and members of the Joint Management Committee, stating their views.
Boating Club members surveying the Canal at Frimley Lodge Park in preparation for the re-opening celebrations. (Photo: Dieter Jebens)|
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compiled by John King
Sunday 10th March
The first canal walk for 1991. Bill Homewood leads along the remnants of the towing path at the western end of the Basingstoke Canal. Meet at 10.15am at the Whitewater bridge (ref SU 722 513, map 186) for a 6-mile walk with a pub lunch. Make sure you phone Bill Homewood (0276 61343) before Friday 8th if you're coming.
Tuesday 12th March
David Morion tells us about some of
his experiences in his 'Travels with
Renfrew', his unconverted working
narrow boat. St. John's Memorial
Hall, St. Johns, Woking 7.45pm for
Monday 25th March
The Guildford and Reading Branch of the IWA combines its Annual General Meeting with a slide show. Wey Cruising Club, Wharf Road,
Guildford 7.45pm for 8.00pm.
Tuesday 26th March
The regular monthly gathering takes place at the Barley Mow at Winchfield.
Tuesday 9th April
'Exploring the Regents Canal'. This well known London waterway is the subject of a talk by Dr. Michael Essex-Lopresti, a professional lecturer on canals. At St. John's Memorial Hall, St. Johns, Woking 7.45 for 8.00pm.
Sunday 14th April
Cabby sails again. Another chance to take a trip on sailing barge Cabby. See details below. There are still a few places for this sailing. Bookings must be made by 20th March. Contact Bill Homewood (0276) 61343.
Monday 22nd April
A joint meeting of the IWA and the Wey and Arun Canal Trust at Wey
Cruising Club, Wharf Road, Guildford, 7.45pm for 8.00pm. All SHCS members welcome.
Tuesday 23rd April
Greet the lighter evenings with your friends at the Barley Mow at Winchfield.
Wednesday 24th April
The Reading Transport Group have a talk on 'Developments on the Kennet and Avon Canal' by Graham Home. The Meeting is from 7.30 -9.45pm at the South Reading Community Centre, Northumberland Avenue. SHCS Members are welcome but please contact Bernard Lewendon on Woolhampton (0734) 712830 if you're going.
SATURDAY 27TH APRIL
Surrey and Hants Canal Society AGM at Mytchett Community
Centre Mytchett, commencing at 6.30pm. Your chance to put your views to the Society.
Sunday 28th April
Lunchtime barbecue and get together for current and prospective Adopt-a-Lockers at Lock 28. Contact Frank Jones on (0276) 28367 if you would like to come.
PLEASE send details of any event you would like included in future lists to 33 Havers Avenue, Walton on Thames, Surrey KT12 4NE.
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IN THE WAKE OF THE NAVIGATORS
THIS is a three day trip, following 'London's Lost Route to the Sea'.
The route covers the River Wey, the Wey and Arun Canal, The River Arun and the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal, over 17th - 19th May.
There will be short walks along the most pleasant stretches of these waterways, and minibus and boat trips to other places of interest along the route.
Members are welcome to join in all or part of the route. Meals and accommodation can be arranged if required.
There will be separate transport arranged for anyone who would like to join the boat trip on Saturday between Itchenor and Langstone Bridge.
For details please contact Bill Homewood (0276) 61343.
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WALKERS .. PLEASE NOTE
WILL all walkers wishing to join my guided walks please ensure that they contact me beforehand. I need to know how many are planning to come and, of course, if no-one intends to come, then I can save myself a journey to the start point. I look forward to hearing from you. Bill Homewood 0276 61343.
SAILING BARGE CABBY
We are again organising a trip on the Thames Sailing Barge, Cabby, built in 1928. This time she sets sail from Rochester on Sunday 14th April. The day includes a 3-1/2 hour trip on Cabby from Strood pier, and a conducted tour of the town by a member of the Rochester Society. Travel is by coach with pick ups between Fleet and Cobham as required, and refreshments will be available. Cost is approximately £15. This is proving a popular outing so to reserve your place please contact Bill Homewood on
(0276) 61343 as soon as possible, and no later than 20th March.|
NOTE: a whole day trip on Cabby is proposed for October. Write to Bill now (4 Larch Close, Camberley, GU15 4DB) if you're interested.
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THE Nature Conservancy Council has informed Hampshire and Surrey CC that it has decided to delay for three years, notification of the Basingsloke Canal as a Site of Special Scientific Interest under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Surrey and Hampshire County Councils, as joint owners of the canal, have agreed to full consultations with the NCC over proposals for management. They welcome the decision to delay notification and re-affirmed their determination to work closely with the NCC and the County Trusts to ensure that the canal is maintained as an attractive waterway, open to navigation, but catering for the needs of all interested groups, including naturalists, while at the same time maintaining its outstanding nature conservation interest.
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NEW MEMBERS & FUNDRAISING
WE WELCOME the following new
members to the Society:
Mr. and Mrs. E. Picketts, London
Mr. A. Screen, Towpath Action
Mr. P.O. Grant Longfield Kent
Mr. and Mrs. I.M. Hawker, Odiham
Mrs. F. Lines, East Horsley, Surrey
Mr. P.A. Hughes, Farnborough
Mr. J.F. Niemiec, Basingstoke
Mr. and Mrs. J.W.T. Bowles, Farnham
Mrs. M.A. Hughes, Farnborough
Mrs. M.B. Best, Soulh Ferring,
Mr. and Mrs. J. Tonkyn, Fleet
Mr. and Mrs. B.R. Arthur, Farnham
Mr. and Mrs. M. Hoare, Dogmersfield
Mr. M.R. Clarke, Woking
Mr. and Mrs. J.A.C. Farmer,
Mrs. M. Insall, Frimley Green
Mr. and Mrs. R.F. Lockyer, Church
Mr. P.J. Curtis
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THE Society's Grand Draw look place at the new members evening on 14th January. I am delighted to report the following people won the prizes:
R.M. Tinsley - £100 (Ticket No. 2656); S.J. College - £75 (25784); Mrs. F.K. Harlick - £50 (18000); E.E. Pohorely - £25 (3146); Sheila Devaliant - Box of soaps (180); Lady McLeod - Caddy of Tea (11100); Mrs. H.C.H. Pollen - Baileys Irish Cream (2172); E. Adlam • Bottle of Wine (29772); H. Barrass - Tea Towel (16510); D. Fearn - Box of Turkish Delight (6594); Mr. Abbott -Bottle of Cointreau (5790); Mr. Dullson - Tyre gauge (14368); Miss Lipscomb - Handkerchiefs (11284); Mr. Bain - Botlle of Cinzano (211)
Apart from the money, all of the prizes were donated by members of the Committee to whom I offer my grateful thanks.
As usual members have supported the Grand Draw very well and I am happy to report a profit for the Society's funds of £1098.25. Thank you to every member who helped by buying and selling draw tickets.
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NEW MEMBERS EVENING AND OPEN MEETING
HELD on January 14th at Fleet Cricket Club, this event proved to be very successful, attracting a gathering of around 60 people half of whom were new members and Fleet residents responding to local publicity. The atmosphere was informal and friendly, with plenty of circulation and mixing of old and new members.
Arthur Dungate's audio visual presentations were excellent and went down well with the audience. There was a photo exhibition of restoration progress, an opportunity to see some archive material and the sales stand was a source of considerable interest.
Robin Higgs, the Society's Chairman, outlined the current situation of the Society and gave an up date on the NCC proposals. During the question and answer session there was a request for more childrcns' activities. The reply from Bill Homewood indicated that these were usually poorly attended. However, the Society is keen to persevere in this field to ensure a good future membership.
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I AM very pleased to be able to report that in spite of the poor turn out, the 1990 sponsored walk raised a little in excess of £1300. We may not have raised enough to buy the Society a new van, but we could afford an engine and transmission!
Remember, the walkers free draw will take place at the AGM on 27th April, and the TOP SCORE prizes will be awarded at the same time.
YOU can still join this worthiest of causes. Half the profits go to the Society and half is distributed to the members. At only £12 for each annual subscription - and thwre is no limit lo the number you can hold -membership has to be a bargain. The more who join, the bigger the prizes in each bi-monthly draw. Membership forms from and subscriplions to Derek Truman, Compton Collage,
11 Connaught Road, Fleet, Hants GU138RA. (0252 613435).
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NEW USER GROUP
THE recent spell of snowy weather brought the newly-formed Basingstoke Canal Cross Country Ski Club out in force.
Local canoeists thought that the new sport might well catch on as an alternative to canoeing in winter months and asked that their licences should be transferable to crosscountry skis. This aroused immediate doubts from naturalists who felt that licence numbers for crosscountry skiers should be strictly limited while research was carried out into the effects of towpath skiing on wildlife. Concern was also expressed that the new group would soon be pressing for hills to be introduced onto the towpath and that this might result in unacceptable silt dumping proposals to create the necessary contours.
Paddy Field, BCA Director, indicated that he would be seeking "growth" funding from the riparian districts for the extra facilities that would need to be provided if the sport were to develop and attract visitors to the canal. He felt that there might be some opportunity to exploit the commercial opportunities, such as the selling of gluhwein, which would undoubtedly present themselves.
Dr. Mike Rendell welcomed the formation of the new user group, which had obvious popular appeal and, as the group were majority users of the canal over the snowy weekend, they would shortly seek to reflect this usage by applying for full membership of the Joint Management Committee. The next meeting of Ihe newly-formed club will be on 1 April.
Some of the skiers on their way from Crookham Wharf to Dogmersfield.|
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WORK continues apace on the Deepcut flight of locks, as reported in the January issue. Restoration is on target for completion by 1st April. We should see the canal open to navigation throughout its length soon after this date.
DECISION on the fate of the Ash Embankment and the Blackwater Valley Relief Road is to be taken this February. Rumours are that the aqueduct, or road under scheme, is the more favoured, and that if so, there is scope to make this an outstanding architectural feature of the canal.
WATERWAY Recovery Group have published their list of canal work camps for 1991. If you would like to join in some of these worthwhile and rewarding camps, helping to restore Britain's waterways, copies are available from John Clock, 47 Melfort Drive, Leighton Buzzard LU7 7XN.
OVER the past 15 years, the Society's expenditure on restoration of the Basingstoke Canal has been £507,878 — with adjustments for inflation, this works out to over £3/4 million in real terms.
'JOHN Pinkerton' is to have a new engine this season, but let's spare a thought for the old one. It was installed 13 years ago and has completed 9,000 hours running — over quarter of a million miles in car terms. George Hedger's mechanical maintenance of the engine over the years has played no small part in the boat's outstanding success.
THANKS to member Geoff Helliwell for pointing out our mistake in not crediting the photographs in the previous issue. We will be doing so in future. If any member would like to undertake the odd photographic assignment for the newsletter, we would be pleased to hear from you. Contact Sue Palmer, details below.
NEARLY 150 boats have applied for entry forms to the re-opening event at Frimley Lodge Park.
PETER Curtis has recently been appointed as Conservation Consultant to the Society. He has degrees in Botany, Zoology and Geology, has worked as a Marine Biologist and in education. He will offer expert advice to help with assessment of ecology monitoring programmes.
NATIONAL Rivers Authority has installed 150 bat boxes at locks and weirs along the Thames. "Riverside sites make ideal habitats for roosting bats," says the NRA. "They have mature trees and are close to good sources of food".
So bats and boats obviously can mix. Has anyone told the bats in the Basingstoke Canal's Greywell Tunnel, which naturalists are convinced would disappear if navigation were restored? (Motor Boat and Yachting)
SOCIETY is to repay £1,000 to the London branch of the Inland Waterways Association at the end of February. This was an interest free loan coupled with a donation of £1,000 from the London Branch, towards the Society's Tug and Barge' appeal.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their generosity and support.
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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, 0252 850311.
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IT IS with some sadness that I recently learned that a great friend of the canal, Barbara Tomlins, had passed away.
An enthusiastic supporter of the restoration to which she had handsomely contributed, she and her family had known the waterway for many years, as it ran alongside their family business, the Rose Cottage Laundry, at Horsell.
We had the pleasure of Barbara and her family joining us on a number of occasions, and trips on the John Pinkerton. I know that she thoroughly enjoyed these days out on the canal, and it is sad that she will not be with us for the re-opening celebrations.
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COPY DATE FOR MAY 1991 BC NEWS: 31st MARCH 1991
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.
Editors: Margaret Insall and Sue Palmer.
Production: Jo Evans & Chris de Wet.
Collation & Distribution: Janet and George Hedger, Edwin Chappell
Editorial Office: 20 Chart House Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire GU12 5LS (0252 26758)
Chairman: Robin Higgs, 18 Barnsford Crescent, West End, Woking, Surrey, GU24 9HX. (0276 857314)
Vice-Chairman: David Millett, 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Aldershot, Hampshire, GU13 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, KT21 1QR. (0372 272631)
Working Party Organiser: Peter Redway, 1 Redway Cottages, St. John's Lye, Woking, Surrey GU21 1SL. (0483 721710)
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)
Special Projects Manager: Stan Meller, 101 Branksome Hill Road, College Town, Camberley, Surrey GU15 4QG. (0276 32096)
Conservation Consultant: Peter Curtis, Brockhurst Farm, Alford, Surrey, GU6 8JB. (0403 752229)
Trip Boat: Tony Karavis, 12 Loddon Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 9NT. (0252 549037)
Sales Manager: 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)
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens, 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ. (0252 715230)
Typesetting by Distinguished Data — Telephone: Aldershot (0252) 850311
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