September 1991

Cover picture info
Membership matters
What They Said...
Thank You, Robin
Welcome David & Peter
Management structure
Diary dates
Coals to Perseverance
Gongoozlers Gossip

Contact the Society

    bcnmsthd130 (13K)
No. 158 SEPTEMBER 1991

front pic (46K)

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COMMENT - by Dieter Jebens

ONE wonders whether the prime minister's Citizen's Charter will extend to all comers of public service organisations including the relatively obscure Basingstoke Canal Authority. Apart from uniforms, name badges and service with a smile (which canal users already enjoy) will the BCA be required to provide its published service or be penalised? Owners of larger craft based on the canal would no doubt welcome a percentage refund on their licences for every mile of the restored canal not available for navigation.

Over the past three years boat licences charges have risen by an average of 40 per cent, based, at least partially, on the promise of an ever increasing length of the waterway open to navigation. In reality continuous navigation has not been extended beyond the 20 or so miles from North Warnborough to Deepcut top lock. In 1989 water shortage put paid to that; last year the Deepcut 14 flight of locks was out of commission and this year, so far, apart from a month of through navigation for the official re-opening, usage has been restricted.

The state of affairs may be beyond the resources of the BCA, but the fact remains that boaters are being asked to pay more and more for nothing extra. Now the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club and the local branch of the Inland Waterways Association are asking for price levels to be held for a year pending a genuine reopening of the canal.

RATHER belatedly but very correctly, Mike Fellows has been awarded the IWA's Christopher Power award for his contribution towards restoration of the canal. In particular the nomination is for his pioneering work organising summer work camps — or as they are known today, canal camps — at St John's, Woking and at Woodham, restoring lock chambers. The seven camps he masterminded accelerated progress of the project dramatically and brought about completion sooner than later. In doing so he also greatly enhanced the image of voluntary workers. Such testimonials have been written before about other people, so what did Mike achieve that was different?

It was the meticulous planning that he put into every camp he organised. He went to great pains to match a specific project to the estimated labour force so that each and every recruit was used to his and her maximum output and by working as a team achieved an impressive amount of work. The planning was about identifying tasks, co-ordinating a team of up to 50 volunteers and logistics.

The organisation took most of Mike's spare time from the end of one camp to the beginning of the next, but the effort paid off handsomely.

It is a well deserved award which also goes this year to the Inland Waterways Protection Society which is leading restoration of Bugsworth Basin on the Peak Forest Canal. This is no ordinary canal basin but an extensive transhipment dock complex which once served the limestone quarrying industry. Restoration is a more of an archaeological dig by comparison with restoration of the Basingstoke Canal, and it is a fascinating venture which has the support of local authorities and industry.

AFTER years of wishful thinking and even planning support, the concept of providing Woking town centre with an attractive and unique feature has finally been buried under a proposed hotel. So the centre will remain what it has always been: a prosaic shopping place. As the writer Eric Parker observed in the early 1900s, Woking is perhaps most memorable for its station where anyone who travels by train in the south has at some time had to wait for a connection. 'I never found anything else to do at Woking', Parker wrote, 'It was that Woking, the Woking of the station, which for many years I imagined to be the only Woking in Surrey. One did not wish for another'. Nothing seems to have changed in close on 100 years.

But all is not lost. Councillors are looking at another site for a basin to rival, it is said, Little Venice on the Regent's Canal in London. That sounds like another flight of fancy.

THE real significance of the Basingstoke Canal's re-opening was impressed on me more by the sight of the Derbyshire peaks, seen from the bows of the Odiham-based narrow boat Muddy Waters, than the celebration held at Frimley Lodge Park in May.

Having associated Muddy Waters with the confines of the Basingstoke Canal for so long, the boat seemed strangely out of context cruising the Peak Forest Canal 200 miles northwards. That to me was the real fulfilment of the past 25 years.

Les Foster, canal ranger, celebrated his retirement recently aboard the John Pinkerton. He was presented with a painting by Harley Crossley of the cottage at lock 28 where he and his wife Mary have lived for over 30 years. His friendly good humour and willing assistance to canal users will be hard to replace. (Photo: Dieter Jebens)

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MRS Joan Marshall, L A (Teddy) Edwards and Sir Geoffrey Pattie MP have, with pleasure, accepted the invitation from the Society to become Vice-Presidents.

Mrs Marshall has been involved with the canal since the late 1940's, when in 1949 she made the bid on behalf of the IWA to purchase the canal at auction. She then became General Manager of the New Basingstoke Canal Company, formed to operate the canal on a commercial basis, after the IWA intentions did not materialise. Retiring in 1965, she now lives in Winchfield, not far from the canal which she was so involved with.

L A (Teddy) Edwards is the surviving doyen of the waterways of Great Brilain. His interest in the Basingstoke

Canal began in 1936 when he brought his Canadian canoe to the canal. He was heavily involved in the IWA bid to acquire the canal in 1949. Later he became Hon Secretary of the IWA between 1950 and 1958. His 'bible' of the Inland Waterways, The Inland Waterways of Great Britain, first published in 1949 is now in its sixth edition, with the seventh edition due out in two years time. He has been involved in campaigns to save waterways all over the UK and his knowledge of legal issues affecting waterways is second to none.

Sir Geoffrey Pattie is MP for Chertsey and Walton. The Woodham flight at Sheerwater, which is in the borough of Runnymede, is part of his constituency. An ex Procurement Minister, he is now Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party's Eastern European Affairs group.

* * * * *
MEMBERS may by now be aware of the unfortunate closure to navigation of the Woodham and St John's flights of locks shortly after the Re-opening celebrations in May, which has prevented boats from entering or leaving the newly restored waterway via the River Wey.

The closure was due to several factors, including use of water for lockages following the Re-opening, loss of water round a culvert near Step Bridge, seepage Ihrough the newly filled canal banks at Sheerwater and restrictions placed by the National Rivers Authority on pumping water from the Rive Ditch. These problems coupled with inadequate rainfall for many months made it impossible to sustain the water level in the 3-mile pound and the Canal Authority found it necessary to close the flights to conserve water in the remainder of the Canal.

Since the closure, a great deal of work has been put in hand to endeavour to remedy the problem. The culvert has been repaired and now appears to be sealed. Water loss between locks 5 and 6 and in the Sheerwater pound is being investigated and hopefully solutions will soon be found and implemented. Use of water from

the Rive Ditch was complicated by two objections to the application for an abstraction licence, but it is thought that the Canal Authority may be exempt from the requirement to have a licence and this is being pursued.

In the long term, testing will be carried out on off-line moorings let into the canal banks by riparian owners at Sheerwater to determine whether they are watertight, and the possibilily of providing back pumps around each of the Woodham locks is to be investigated.

There have been some problems, mainly concerning lack of information about the closure, particularly to boaters who were expecting to use the canal shortly after the Re-opening, and there have been some sensational headlines in the local press. However, the Canal Authority have now recognised this communication problem, and licence holders recently received an update on the situation.

Meanwhile, use of this stretch of canal relies entirely on the weather conditions, and boaters hoping to leave or enter the Canal should contact the Canal Authority for the latest information on (0252) 313810.

LATE NEWS: Due to continued dry weather, Ash Lock has now been closed to further conserve water.

. Mrs Marshall (10K)
Mrs Joan Marshall (in wheelchair) enjoying the recent re-opening celebrations. (Photo: David Robinson)

THE Basingstoke Canal Boating Club is holding a boat jumble in conjunction with the 'Fox and Hounds' Rally in Fleet on Saturday 21st September.

Prospective sellers are asked to contact Roger Greaves — phone 0483 304340 (daytime); 0483 60147 (evenings). Prospective buyers, just turn up!
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THE annual engineering inspection of the tunnel was made by the Special Projects Group on Sunday 21 July. Last year some glass strips were fixed to the brickwork at places near the blockage where it was suspected there might be some movement.

This year it was found that none of the glass strips were broken, thus it is assumed that no movement has taken place.

Also last year diver Ray Taylor made a close examination of the invert in the location of the blockage to determine if the invert was bricked at that point. He found it was not. This year he went into the western adit, found his way along the tunnel that joins the adits and emerged at the eastern adit.

Thus there is more information to be stored for use hopefully when restoration of the tunnel is being planned.

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WE WELCOME the following new members to the Society:
Mr & Mrs D Phillips, Camberley
Mr W Ross Taylor, Fleet
Mr & Mrs C R McInroy, Bisley
Mr & Mrs J Quarmby, Ash, Aldershot
Mr & Mrs R P Grace, Yateley, Camberley
Mr & Mrs P W R White, Farnborough
Ms C M Briggs, Woking
Mr H Huckelt, Fleet
Mr & Mrs G L Glass, Southampton
Mr R J Ince, Oakridge, Basingstoke
Mrs C M Keen, Aldershot
Mr & Mrs G Codling, Fleet
Mr & Mrs S J Galvin, Mytchett
Mr & Mrs J Wilde, Wivelsfield Green
Mr & Mrs M Houston, Fleet
Parkinson's Disease Society, Frimley
Mr & Mrs B C Fox, Fleet
Miss C E J Farmer, Ash
Mr & Mrs J C Glide, Mylchett
Mr & Mrs B E White, Mytchett
Mr B A Dobbins. Mapledurwell
Mr H Rowley, Barnstaple
Mr & Mrs L C Williams, Fleet
Mr & Mrs B Steward. Farnham
Mr & Mrs D R Hill, Camberley
Mr & Mrs D Ellis, Basingstoke
Mr D I Daines, Hampton
Mr M R M Boult. Basingstoke

PRACTICALLY since its inception, the Society has been giving around 30 illustrated slide talks per year to all kinds of organisations ranging through schools, W.I.'s, townswomen's guilds, clubs for the retired and round tables to technical and history societies. Particularly challenging have been presentations to clubs for the deaf and blind. Now that the canal restoration is complete emphasis will inevitably shift to the western end of the canal and the Tunnel. If you have a particular interest in this, perhaps you might like to join the panel of speakers, or become Talks Organiser — matching speakers to clubs and organisations requesting talks.

If you feel you would like to take on this job or become a speaker, for more information ring either David Millett (0252 617364) or Janet Greenfield (0252 873167).

George Hedger (left) and Dick Abbott (right) (9K) Right: After many years helping to run the trip boat, John Pinkerton, George Hedger (left) and Dick Abbott (right) enjoy a thank you cruise to mark their retirement.
Left: Mike Fellows, recently awarded the Christopher Power Prize — see page 2 for details. (Photos: Dieter Jebens) Mike Fellows (10K)

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THE 200 Club has produced a steady income for the Society for many years — more than £700 annually. Similar amounts have been distributed to the Club's members through the two-monthly draws, each for 4 prizes. The odds are considerably better than the football pools even if the prizes are much more modest. For £12 a year for a single subscription, and there is no limit on the number you can take out. you can help the Society and possibly help yourself. The Society still needs all the financial support it can get. The cost of living may be going down but our administrative expenses do not get cheaper. And we still have equipment to maintain, a van to run and the BC News to produce, to name a few. So why not give yourself a chance of joining the happy winners below? Complete the enclosed application form and send it with a cheque for £12 for each subscription (or complete the standing order form for £1 a month) for each subscription and send it to: Derek Truman, Compton Collage. 11 Connaught Road. Fleet. Hants GU13 9RA (phone 0252 613435).

Winners to date are:

February Mr RA Knight, Southampton £58; Mr R Cobley, Witnesham £29; Mr FA Holley, Camberley £15; Mr MG Fry, Guildford £I5.

April Miss J Fowler, Winchester £64; Mr & Mrs CA Greeming, Woking £32; Mr HAG Morgan, Fleet £16; Mr HV Bawtree, West Byfleet £16.

June Mrs FYR Maccy, Ash Vale £62; Mr CJ Bristow, Ash £32; Dr & Mrs J Holgate, Camberley £16; Mr GB Hewilt, Famham £16.

August Mr GA Coaker, Walton-on-Thames £62; Mr HAG Morgan, Fleet £32; Mr PM Holding, Newchurch £16; Mr GB Hewitt, Famham £16.
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'BASINGSTOKE Re-opening'...
'Whenever major rallies are held on the Basingstoke Canal they are carried out with a certain flair and finesse that often seems lacking at similar events elsewhere. So it was to be expected that the reopening ... would be something extra special. And it was... Most reassuring was the excellent standard to which the restoration has been carried out... there was praise from boaters about the state of the locks and the channel... If there was any doubt that the Basingstoke Canal was restored primarily for boats, then that doubt was dispelled totally that weekend. It was the boats and boaters who symbolised the canal's revival in the minds of the local communities'.

Waterways World, July '91

'I MUST put pen to paper for the hard work and endeavour you and your colleagues put into the Frimley Re-opening event... Please convey my thanks to all concerned. It was a wonderful day and I was thrilled to see the tributes paid to those that had done hard manual and other work. It seemed only yesterday I was treated with derision for suggesting voluntary parties!..."

Teddy Edwards

'IT WAS such a pleasure and a privilege to be present at Ihe Canal Re­opening Ceremony... I congratulate you on your part in the event... May I wish the Surrey & Hants Canal Society every success for the fulure, a major contribution will always be made by your members to the Basingstoke Canal, which is a major recreation resource for boats — not a mothballed naturalists preserve that could disappear without use in less time than the restoration took'.

Ray Steadman
Surrey County Council

'PIRBRIGHT Parish Council... would like to congratulate you on your achievements. The newly re-opened canal will be an amenity to be enjoyed by the parishioners of Pirbright and all the other parishes it passes through'.

JM Sands
Pirbright Parish Council

'I SHOULD like to pass on to the Society the most sincere congratulalions of Ihe Inland Waterways Association on a job exceedingly well done in the face of many problems and at times, strong opposition ... The waterways movement owes a great deal to you and all those who have contributed to the restoration ... May your success serve as encouragement for those engaged on present and future restoration projects'.

David Stevenson
National Chairman
Inland Waterways Association

"THE Re-opening of Ihc Basingstoke Canal was a great moment in the history of waterways in this country and the completion of so much hard work. Whilst appreciating that as one chapter closes another opens the Society will now be working on a living waterway instead of reviving one. It was indeed glorious to see the Duke of Kent arrive in a Waterways Recovery Group liveried helicopter — so that's what the transport fund was for!... Our congratulations on your success and our thanks to all involved'.

M Laishley
Sotent & Branch IWA

'CONGRATULATIONS ... for all the effort that you have put in to the restoration of the Canal over the last 20 odd years. I was involved in the WRG Big Dig a few years ago and have seen most of the locks 'in the dry'. I hope that the next time I come down South with the boat to see the Canal in water, and to navigate the whole length. Best wishes for the use and further restoration of the Basingstoke Canal'.

John Bayliss
IWA Navigation,Technical & Amenity Committee

'MANY canal restoration schemes have been started, some ay the time or even before the Basingstoke, but few have yet succeeded, although, hopefully, the completion of the Basingstoke will encourage others to emulate your success'.

Mike McGrath
Thames & Soulh IWA

'WHAT a Day!! What an Achievement!! What a Grand Finale!! ...A truly magnificent end to a great achievement. The weather even decided to come out in support of you ... a great day for all canal enthusiasts and all concerned wilh volunlary restoration projects'.

Peter Beresford
Wey & Arun Canal Trust

'I JUST want to express our tremendous admiration and gratitude for all the work you and your colleagues put in to bring about such a glorious and enjoyable celebration of the re-opening of the Basingsloke Canal. I know that many many years of planning and work have gone into bringing the canal back to life and that those years have not been without their frustrations and heartaches but all those efforts have borne fruit quite wonderfully. You must all now be quite exhausted, but take heart from knowing that you accomplished a tremendous job.'

M C Farrier
Wey Cruising Club

CONGRATULATIONS to all members of the Society, who helped in any way in the Re-opening Celebrations. It was a fitting way to mark the completion of so many years of work, by both past and present members. It is also a pleasure to propose a vote of lhanks to Robin Higgs and David Millett, who have given so many years of devoted service to our cause. I am sure that Robin's speech on the Opening Day made all of us justifiably proud of a magnificent achievement.
It is an outstanding restoration, which others will do well to match.

Bill Bristow

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David Millett

CHAIRMAN of the Sociely since 1974, when he took over from David Gerry, Robin has decided to reduce his involvement by stepping down as Chairman.
Robin was one of the first to join the fledgling Society and having served as his Vice Chairman for most of his time as Chairman. I can truly state that his commitment and service to the Society and to the restoration of Ihe canal has been second to none.
Known all over the country to waterways bodies and enthusiasts, the waterways movement is the better for his involvement and commitment.
Always courteous, he is well known for his tenacity in fighting the corner of the issue of the day.
There is much more that could be said, but I will close by saying that it is a pleasure to have been involved with Robin, and to thank him on behalf of you all for his outstanding leadership over the years.

Robin Higgs (13K)
Photo: Dieter Jebens
Margaret Insall

AT Annual General Meetings of the Surrey & Hants Canal Society there were those who produced stop watches and placed bets on how long the Chairman would speak, and indeed, once Robin gets going on his favourite subject, the canal, there's no stopping him. His interest began many years ago. when, around the age of twelve, he lay in a hospital bed in Woking watching barges loaded with timber sailing past his window, and was revived in 1962 at an Inland Waterways Association rally held in Woking in an effort to stimulate interest in the decadent waterway.

In 1966, in response to a letter sent to the local paper by Jim Woolgar, Robin became a founder member of the Surrey & Hants Canal Society, formed by the keen and eager group of 12 who rallied to Jim's appeal. Robin rolled up his sleeves and made a start on the clearing up operation. At first it was on unofficial working parlies because the owner of the canal did not share the volunteers' aims and ideas. The monumental problems they faced only served to increase their commitment and after a time this bunch of visionaries whose only assets were their skills and enthusiasm decided that the only way the canal was going to be restored to its former glory was for it to be publicly owned and they set about selling the idea to the Hampshire and Surrey Counly Councils. This turned out to be an exciting but nerve wracking business involving, among other things, taking councillors for boat rides and organising a petition to Parliament. They were good salesmen... it worked!

Membership swells
At this time, as membership increased, it was necessary to appoint a Chairman and Robin, in 1974, agreed to take on the job for the period of the restoration, then estimated lo be aboul five years. He stayed the course as restoration stretched to seventeen years and enjoyed every moment of hard work, fun and challenges.

His suggestion that the Society should buy a trip boat proved to be rewarding in more ways than one. It turned oul to be a great earner, contributing generously to the upkeep of the canal and providing a lot of pleasure for its many passengers. Robin recalls the launching of the John Pinkerton with a mischievous grin. Lord Montague of Beaulieu, then Chairman of the English Tourist Board, was invited to perform the ceremony. Little did he know that the champagne bottle was filled wilh fizzy lemonade and corked and covered with foil to look like the real thing!

The missing spike
The fund of entertaining stories is endless, many of them unprintable. The unveiling of the first pair of new lock gates was an occasion for a celebration. These were to be a monument of pride in a job well done. Paul Vine, the author of books on waterways and Cranley Onslow were to be invited to perform the honours. The final touch was to be a gold plated spike to be hammered in by Paul Vine, but when the great moment arrived the spike was missing, some pretty low souvenir collector had helped himself to this piece of history.

A sense of fun was frequently uppermost at public events, like the rally at Odiham which marked the clearance of the first 300 yards of water. The steam launch from the Onedin Line tv series was hired and a greasy pole erected across to the bank, which was cunningly fixed to ensure that everybody fell in! All the hard work and fun greally increased the membership and a phenomenal amount of effort was put into the restoration.

Apart from his considerable involvement wilh the Basingstoke Canal, Robin has found time since the early sixties to help other waterways and these include the Stourbridge and the Ashton (part of the Manchester Canal). In 1975 he formed the Southern Canals Association, a forum for discussion. A carbon copy of this has been started in the North of England and another one is being organised in the Midlands. Now that he has got them all talking to each other Robin feels a great sense of achievement. Away from the waterways as a relaxation he enjoys playing wilh steam trains on the Watercress Line and even finds time to be President of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society in his home village.

A dream realised
The Basingstoke Canal will always be part of Robin Higgs' life. He considers his greatest reward for all the hard work over a period of twenty-five years has been Ihe friendship and camaraderie which he values greatly. Cruising to Frimley Lodge Park on the John Pinkerton for the Royal Re-opening he revelled in the sense of achievement and recalled the time when the bridges were falling down and one could walk across the overgrown canal. For him it was a dream come true.
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BEFORE moving to Fleet in 1969, David lived in the Poole area where he enjoyed dinghy sailing. Not surprisingly, the poster in the town car park announcing a public meeting of the canal society in an effort io encourage residents to become members and assist in the restoration project had an instant appeal. To find out more, he went along to the meeting with his wife, Rosemary, and enrolled on the spot.

Their first job was delivering the bi­monthly newsletter, then they became involved with the official working parties clearing towpaths. Their new caravan came in useful, it provided a base for the volunteers offering not only office accommodation but also refreshments organised by Rosemary.

David Millett (13K)
Photo: Dieter Jebens

Their very young daughter, Alison, was in there doing her little bit too. Family involvement was very much a feature of the working parties, age was no bar and everyone enjoyed mucking in (frequently in the true sense of the word). When there was snow on the ground they lunched around bonfires and sipped the odd glass of mulled wine.

David became a member of the committee in 1974 and the following year was appointed Vice Chairman. According to Robin Higgs, he was extremely useful in that capacity, his experience as a bank manager enabled him to provide essential disciplines and wisdom. Sensibly, he was subsequently appointed Chairman of a sub-committee dealing with the administrative side of the Society.

Once the water was flowing from the western end all the way down to Fleet, the canal became popular with canoeists and David instigated a rally for them in '77 getting various clubs together. It was a huge success and as a result, in due course, the Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club was founded. This again was a family affair, most of the members had young children, and this successful club continues to flourish.

The future
Our new Chairman states firmly that the Re-opening of the canal doesn't mean the restoration has been completed. There remains much work to be done and a great need for the Society to be involved as an independent voice representing the canal and working with the Canal Authority in a changing role from restoration to maintenance. He has formulated a long list of interesting plans for the future enhancement of the Society which should succeed in bringing in a new generation of active members who will prove to be as enthusiastic about the wellbeing of the canal as the long serving loyalists who, over the past twenty five years have helped to make the Basingstoke Canal what it is today — a waterway to be proud of.
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PETER Redway's involvement with the Canal Society started when he moved into a cottage on the towpath at St Johns in the sixties. His six and nine year old sons on a rafting expedition outside the cottage lost their pole, and replaced it with the garden rake which soon became entangled with weed and rubbish. Showing initiative, they promptly began their own clearing operation. After meeting member Phil Pratt on the towpath the family joined the Society and were soon helping with towpath clearance from Brookwood lock 12 down to Arthur's Bridge. Their enthusiasm grew with the progress made through the following three winters. In 1980 Peter's wife. Marguerite, entered the Society in a national 'Improve Your Area' competition promoted by Spar. Contestants were invited to describe how they would spend £5000 doing this. Winning Ihe first prize, Marguerite nominated the Deepcut flight and the restoration of lock 11 as her project.

Very much a family affair the two boys flexed their muscles over a period of ten years before developing other interests.

Peter Redway (19K)
Photo: Dieter Jebens

Meanwhile Peter took over from Mike Fellows as Working Party Organiser about three years ago, and is still going strong.

The family's sense of achievement as they sailed their boat, Vega II, to Frimley Lodge Park for the Royal Re-opening recently was a fitting reward for their years of hard work.
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IN THE May 1990 issue of the BC News the management structure for running the canal was listed. However, further changes were passed at the March 1991 meeting of the Joint Management Committee in response to requests for a reduction in the overall size of the JMC which had become unwieldy.

The new structure agreed for the full JMC consists of 18 members comprising 8 county councillors (4 from each county), 8 district/borough councillors (1 each from Runnymede, Woking, Surrey Healh and Guildford and two each from Rushmoor and Hart), together with one representative from the Society and one from the Nature Conservancy Council (now known as English Nature). All will have voting powers and the JMC will concentrate on policy and financial decisions.

The remaining members of the original JMC — Inland Waterways Association, anglers, ramblers and the two county wildlife trusts, become part of the new Advisory Group which will also include officers from the district/boroughs plus the Society and English Nature, and the Canal Director. This group will meet separately in advance of the main committee and provide informed advice and comment and their reports and recommendations will form part of the Agenda for the JMC.

The terms of reference of the JMC have been confirmed as:
(a) The management and maintenance of the Basingstoke Canal as a navigational, recreational and environmental asset in accordance with the budgetary framework set for the committee.
(b) The balancing of the interests of all users of the Basingstoke Canal and the conservation of the natural environment.

To help members to understand the relationship between the various groups we are presenting the information graphically.

The JMC was originally set up in 1981 to oversee the restoration of the canal. In April 1990 the Basingstoke Canal Authority was brought into being to manage and operate the canal on behalf of the JMC and comprises the officers and staff from Surrey and Hampshire county councils who work on the canal. The County Councils own the land and have ultimate responsibility for complying with the law in relation to the canal.

The Liaison group meets annually and is a means of keeping other interest, such as parish councils, river and water authorities and the National Trust {River Wey Navigation) informed about the canal.

The Conservation Working Party, which will now report to the new Advisory Group, was set up to organise the monitoring of the ecological condition of the canal. It also recommends and co-ordinates management practices to enable the right balance to be agreed for the use of the canal and to resolve any conflicts which may exist between the wildlife and boating interests.

The ad hoc groups have been banded together but are, of course, separate sub-committees dealing with silt disposal (the problem of finding riparian sites), voluntary working party input and liaison with the MOD, and meeting either regularly or occasionally as required.

plan (20K)
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Dear Sir,
FOLLOWING the success of the re­opening of the major portion of the canal comes the news that Robin Higgs is to retire from the post of Chairman. It is appropriate at this time to consider what he has done towards our mutual objective.

I joined in 1975, and have been active most of the time since with restoration in one form or another. I can say without fear of contradiction that I have never seen Robin do a stroke of work. Never have his hands been seen on a grass hook, shovel, spanner or sledge hammer.

So what has he done? I found he had a remarkable 'grape vine' system of communicalion. As a working party leader I learned that if there was a problem, one could depend on Robin appearing on site to offer advice, encouragement, consolation, and sometimes if it was earned, remonstration. He would pat backs high or low as required. He always seemed to know who was doing what, where, how and why, and to solve the problem, the best person to contact, the best source of tools, materials, or advice. The leadership he gave was almost indispensable. But of course no man is indispensable, and we would have restored the Basingstoke Canal without Robin Higgs.

But I am sure that bereft of his leadership and inspiration we would still be restoring it, and with many years to go before completion.

How totally inadequate it seems after all that he has done, to be able only to say "Thanks Robin". I hope the historians will do better than that.
Yours faithfully,

Society working party installing new piling as bank protection at Colt Hill, Odiham. (Photo: Dieter Jebens) bank protection (10K)

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Dear Sir,
THE party has ended, the crowds depart. Two groups of boats sail to the extremes of the system. For those going west, Hampshire waters are theirs to enjoy. Not so for those travelling east, lock gates are quickly locked behind them and once they reach the River Wey they are isolated from the canal.

Behind the boats the surface quickly becomes covered again with thick green weed. It deceived many who came to take photos, believing it would be dispersed by boats, but it quickly recovers from disturbance and some walked in the wrong direction, having just missed the convoy.

Without use our canal will quickly fall into the condition beloved of the NCC (now English Nature), for we have locked nature in to conserve water and so created ideal conditions for nature to expand.

I wonder whether Surrey envy Hampshire's trip boat, John Pinkerton! Why cannot pleasure boats also use the two large pounds in Surrey?

1) The Mytchett pound, between locks 29 and 28, over the river Blackwater, through the flashes, passing Frimley Lodge and into the wonder of Ihe great gorge of Deepcut. Only those who own boats can at present enjoy this great adventure, why can it not be opened up to the general public and their 'Jolly'? The cutting will have to be cleared of debris to allow natural growth to sprout, much still remains from the storm of '87. What better name for this vessel than the 'Duchess of Kent', an amiable lady whose husband opened our canal, this would be a lasting reminder.

2) Between locks 6 and 7 at Woking, covering the centre of town, a popular walking place with not much else to do in the area. Activities of all types could take place here, canoeing, boating, a trip boat, perhaps named after the last working boat operator and local lad, "AJ Harmsworth". With so much building in the centre of Woking the town needs open space along the canal and the Society should press for this otherwise views will be of the edges of developments and security fences.

My personal belief is that much of the vandalism and dumping is due to lack of use, more activities including rowing boats for here could prove my theory.

The Society should also make an effort to fund a central meeting place where members could meet any time, not just evenings and weekends.

Work parties should be re-scheduled, some are taking place on the same water, thus splitting possible labour and Peter Jackman's bankside clearance parties are often short of volunteers who have to choose which group to attend.

Yours faithfully,
London SE5
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PLEASE send details of any events you would like included in future lists to: John King, 33 Havers Avenue, Hersham, Walton on Thames, Surrey KT12 4NE (phone 0932 220895).

Saturday 21st September
'Fox & Hounds' Boat Rally, Fox & Hounds, Fleet, organised by the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club and hosted by Landlord Ron Kettle. Informal lunchtime barbecue and visiting steamboats on display. Boat jumble — details on page 3. A discounted boat licence for visitors may be available for this event. Contact Chris de Wet (0252) 850387 weekdays after 9pm. or weekends.

Sunday 22nd September
Guided walk with Bill Homewood from the Barley Mow carpark, Winchfield. A gentle six mile stroll and convivial pub lunch. Please phone Bill if you would like to join in (0276) 61343.

Saturday 5th October
POSTPONED — 25th Anniversary Celebrations will take place at a later date. Details in a future issue of BC News.

Tuesday 8th October
The first Woking Social of the new season, "The Royal Re-Opening Revisited". Details of this and other meetings appear below.

Saturday/Sunday 12th/l3th October
Waterway Recovery Group BIG DIG on the Wilts & Berks Canal. WRG have done a tremendous amount of work on the Basingstoke Canal restoration, here's a chance to help on another exciting project and have an enjoyable working weekend. For details see below.

Sunday 13th October
A whole day trip on Thames sailing barge, Cabby. Heavily booked, but there may be cancellations. Will those already booked please confirm ASAP. Details from Bill Homewood (0272) 61343.

Tuesday 15th October
The first informal get-together for members at the Barley Mow, Winchfield. A friendly and fun evening, everyone welcome, contact Bernie Timms or Sue Palmer on (0252) 26758 for details.

Sunday 27th October
Guided walk with Bill Homewood.
Meet at Potbridge, near Winchfield. Six miles of autumnal rambling and Ihe ever popular pub lunch. Please phone Bill if you would like to join in (0276)61343.

Thursday 21st November
IWA Guildford and Reading Branch meeting. Hugh McKnight with a slide presentation 'Strasbourg to Berlin'. Mytchett Community Centre. 7.30 for 8.00pm. All welcome.

November Treasure Hunt
A light hearted treasure hunt is planned for some time in November. It will be around 20 - 30 miles by car, and great fun for all, families included. Please contact Bill Homewood on (0276) 61343 for details.

WOKING SOCIALS October 1991 -April 1992
VENUE St John's Memorial Hall, St John's Lye (near canal bridge by lock 11), St John's, Woking. Plenty of parking next to hall.
Every second Tuesday of the month — October 8th; November 12th; December 10th; January 14th; February 11th; March 10th; April 14th. Times 7.45pm for 8pm.

Tuesday 8th October — The Royal Re-Opening Relived
Joint meeting with IWA (Guildford Branch). See the bits you missed, wilh video and slides, presented by Arthur Dungate and others. COMPETITION. BRING YOUR 10 BEST PHOTOS OF THE WEEKEND, DISPLAYED ON A BOARD. £1.00 ENTRY FEE. THE ENTRIES WILL BE ON SHOW AROUND THE ROOM FOR ALL TO ENJOY AND THERE WILL BE A PRIZE FOR THE BEST PRESENTED DISPLAY.

Tuesday 12th November — The River Wey Towpath
A 'non-boater's view' by Chris Howkins, a well-known commentator of local Natural History.

Tuesday 10th December — From the Broads to the Basingstoke Canal
Joint Basingstoke Canal Boating Club, IWA and Society meeting. Charles Stock (pictured BC News 157) presents an illustrated tale of the journey to the Re-Opening in his unpowered gaff cutter, Shoal Waters.

Tuesday 14th January — Voyage on the Lord Nelson
Society members, Neil and Dawn Murrell, tell us about their adventure on this sailing ship, 50% crewed by disabled people.

Tuesday 11th February — The Paddle-Steamer Preservation Society and Its Steamers
An illustrated talk about Waverley and others, by Roddy McKee, Secretary of the London & Home Counties Branch (rescheduled from last February)

Tuesday 10th March — Another Relaxing Cruise along the Waterways of Europe
An illustrated talk by our friend and traveller, John Humphries.

Tuesday 14th April — Wey & Arun Restoration Update
Possible future projects for working parties with withdrawal symptoms by John Wood, Honorary Secretary, Wey & Arun Canal Trust.
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BIG DIG Saturday/Sunday : 12th/13th October

MEMBERS of long standing still remember the Deepcut Dig held on the Basingstoke Canal with awe, and rightly so. One weekend in October 1977 saw 600 volunteer navvies from all over the country achieve as much restoration work as an entire year's normal working parties, and gave a tremendous boost to the restoration of the Deepcut Flight.

Waterway Recovery Group, who organised the weekend are hoping to give as big a boost to another restoration project, on the Wilts & Berks Canal, by organising a Big Dig near Wantage, They hope to reclaim two miles of the canal and reverse a century of decay in a weekend.

An official SHCS work party will be organised to attend, details of accommodation, times and transport from Peter Redway on (0483) 721710.

Please make an effort to join in and help WRG, who have done so much for our own restoration.

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page 11

"HEY, David, you know something about canals, what did that ditch behind the office used to be?" "That ditch," I told them, "is the Basingstoke Canal and it's being restored".

This answer was often trealed with disbelief by my office colleagues — well, now I have the photographic evidence to prove the point. Lynx and I have been there, along wilh some hundred or so other boats attending the grand, Royal Re-opening celebrations on Friday 10th May.

coals to the dredger (13K)
The historic moment, as David Daines (centre) delivers his cargo to the dredger crew. (Photo: David Robinson)

This is a gem of a canal. It's not a fast through route to anywhere, keep your Grand Union schedules for the main lines, take your time here. The locks are new and need a litlle time and use to settle in. Some gates leak more than the Basingstoke Canal Authority would like, some paddle gear is heavy or has gear meshing problems but the BCA are wise to the faults and are enthusiastic to solve them. Treat the equipment wilh care and enjoy the scenery and surroundings.

Mini convoys
There is a desperate need to conserve the meagre water supplies here and, to ihis end, we were organised into 'mini convoys' of two or three boats to enter the canal and progress up the 28 locks 10 the site of the Re-opening celebrations at Frimley Lodge Park. It was while ascending lock 28 that I met Tony Harmsworth, grandson of the owner of the canal during the first half of this century. Tony has a wealth of interesting stories and anecdotes about the working of the canal in those days, I could, and indeed did, listen eagerly. He suggested that Lynx may well be the first full length working motor boat to reach so far up the canal ever, since all the working boats of old were horse drawn.

A symbolic act
It was during the Re-opening that the manager of the Canal Society's dredging operations on the canal, Roger Flitter, had approached me with a suggestion. I had already delivered some of my small load of smokeless fuel to houseboats moored at Woking but what a splendid symbolic act it would be to take the remainder to the steam dredger at Fleet. Wise counsel was taken regarding the feasibility of this operation, amongst others, notably from Tony Harmsworth, in the light of which the decision was made to 'give it a try', it was just too good an opportunity to let pass.

So Lynx and I set off to follow the official cruise of boats heading westward, having first taken down cratch, mast and stands in order to get under the very low (5' 10") bridges. Those bridges certainly were low, I even had to take my hat off! At Pondtail bridge a kind lady handed me a small bottle of 'Scottish falling over water' as a reward for my efforts so far, but from here the going became really sticky. One expects problems with a 3-foot draught and I had been warned that from here to the dredger was likely to be the 'make or break' stretch. My word the engine worked hard! The bottom was soft, sticky mud and much too near the top. I found that, with the engine regulator wound well open but the prop unable to turn at the appropriate speed, not at all good for the engine, I was nevertheless just able to keep the momentum of the boat going. Ploughing along
At long last the dredger came into sight, but we still had to reach it. Spurred on by the cheers of the dredger crew we ploughed (literally) forward until, all at once, we were in the deep water alongside. The first waterborne delivery of fuel to the dredger from the main system since it was moved to the Basingstoke Canal was a reality. Bags of coal were ceremoniously handed across, to the clicks of countless cameras.

The following day Lynx and I continued Weslwards as far as the 'Barley Mow' at Winchfield. I had been warned that beyond here the canal became increasingly shallow. Indeed the last half mile or so to the winding hole were once again slow going so it seemed prudent to turn here and return east.

I have just related the problems I had on this trip but the surrounding scenery would have made it worthwhile even without its original purpose. The upper reaches wind and turn through very pretty countryside, remote yet passing several fine houses hidden among the trees. Indeed trees are a feature of this canal, very few stretches being without them. Owners of boats with open holds beware of leaves, twigs and squirrel droppings!

The reception given to the sight of boats on the canal from the local people was almost without exception warm and friendly (perhaps the fishermen stayed at home!). Let us give full and generous thanks and praise to the Surrey and Hants Canal Society, Ihe Basingstoke Canal Authority and the two Local Authorities together with the countless volunteers who gave, each in their own way, to make this dream come true.
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page 12

# NEW swing bridge al Zephon Common is to be based on a bridge at Semington on the Kennet & Avon Canal. The previous structure, giving pedestrian access between Crookham Village and Redfields, suffered from vandalism and has been out of action for several years.

# 300 enquiries were received by the Canal Authority when they advertised the post of Canal Ranger recently.

# PRESS officer needed — Dieter Jebens has been an outstanding press officer for many years, but due to pressure of work feels that he can no longer give it the attention it deserves. Mainly liaising with the press on canal and Society matters, it is not an onerous task, and anyone interested in taking over this role should contact David Millett for details (phone number below).

# 'PLAN for Post Restoration Development and Use of the Canal' has been produced by canal director, Paddy Field, covering such items as future operation and maintenance. Currently under consideration by interested parties, including the Society, it will be presented in its final form to the Joint Management Committee in November.

# JOINT Management Committee members took a tour of the canal on the 8th July, visiting the Greywell Tunnel, Odiham, Ash Lock, Robert Haining School and Deepcut, and enjoyed lunch on board the John Pinkerton. Hopefully they now have an excellent first hand idea of the canal's recreational values.

# BOAT licence holders have been invited to supply a log of their boat movements for 1991 to the Canal Authority. This should provide useful data to be used when considering the effects of boat traffic on the canal's natural history.

# STOLEN — from Hermitage Woods Crescent, St. Johns, Woking. 16ft green fibreglass canoe with a fitted wooden seat. Sadly missed. If you think you've seen it, please telephone the owner Peter Duckett on 04862 2365.
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For your next leaflet, price list, brochure, catalogue, newsletter or any print job, we offer a design, artwork, typesetting and print production service at keen prices.

Phone Chris de Wet, Distinguished Data, 0252 850311.

Fulbourne (12K) Working boat Fulboume leaving the canal after the Re-opening celebrations having successfully navigated the whole length up to the Whitewater winding hole. (Photo: Dieter Jebens)

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Published by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Ltd., a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered as a Charity. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Society.

Editors: Margaret lnsall and Sue Palmer. Production: Chris de Wet. Collation & Distribution: Janet and George Hedger, Edwin Chappell and Helpers. Editorial Office: 20 Chart House Road. Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire GU12 SLS (0252 26758)
Chairman: David Millett. 14 Dinorben Close. Fleet. Aldershot, Hampshire. GU13 9SW. (0252 617364)
Vice Chairman: Peter Redway, 1 Redway Cottages, St. John's Lye, Woking, Surrey GU21 1SL. (0483 721710)
Hon. Treasurer: Jonathan Wade, 43 Sheridan Road, Frimley. Cambcrley, Surrey GU16SDU. (0252 65622)
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley. Wincombe Collage. 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, lO George Road, Fleet, Hampshire. GU13 9PS. (0252 622956)
Special Projects Manager: Stan Meller, 101 Branksome Hill Road, College Town, Camberley, Suncy GU15 4QG. (0276 32096)
Conservation Consultant: Peter Curtis. Brockhurst Farm, Alford, Surrey, GU6 8JB. (0403 752229)
Trip Boat: Tony Karavis. 12 Loddon Road. Famborough, Hampshire, GU14 9NT. (0252 549037)
Sales Manager: Bernie Timms, 20 Charthouse Road. Ash Vale, Aldershot. Hampshire. GU12 SLS. (0252 26758)
Mail Order Sales: John Greenfield, 9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Cmiberley. Surrey, GU17 7DT. (0252 873167)
Talks Organiser: Mrs Janet Greenfield, 9 Mistleloe Road, Yateley, Camberley. Surrey. GU17 7DT. (0252 873167)
Exhibitions Managers: David Junkison, 4 Thames Meadow, West Molesey. Surrey. KT89TQ. (081 941 0865)
Phil Pratt, Flat 5. Redwood Court. Madeira Road, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6BE. (09323 40281)
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens, 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Famham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ. (0252 715230)

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