No. 159 WINTER 1991/92
COMMENT - by Dieter Jebens
Apart from the less than glorious reopening year of the canal, when half of it was more closed than open for the best part of the season, I'm left wondering whether it will ever fulfil the dream I had of it 25 years ago.
I remember discovering it for the first time in 1964: there were no glossy leaflets interpreting it for you. It was simply a matter of searching for the canal on a one-inch Ordnance Survey map, picking an access point and anticipating what you might find. That sense of discovery has, unfortunately, been lost forever in the relentless urbanisation of the canal's environment: green fields have disappeared under bricks and mortar, factory estates have erupted on open spaces, shopping malls have replaced market places and the roads seethe with traffic in a never ending rush hour.
The village cricket pitch at Colt Hill has long been reduced to a car park, and Odiham bypass is a permanent scar on the landscape. At the other end of the canal Goldsworth relief road has brought a traumatic change to the length of the canal running parallel. Next will come the Blackwater Valley relief road to wreck the environment of Ash Embankment.
Restoration of the canal has brought pressures too. Mountain bikers stream down the towpath twenty at a time, oblivious of their surroundings. Coach loads of fishermen arrive to sit along the banks, hunched over roach poles reaching to the opposite bank. Dog owners use access points and the towpath to 'exercise' their animals, leaving it in a foul condition.
Housing estates and any amount of infill building have been allowed to crowd onto the canal banks. Industrial estates have mushroomed likewise. And once the recession is over building will no doubt start in earnest again. Thank goodness for the large tracts of army land fending off development, although one imagines that such a valuable asset will be among the first to be sold in the military's reassessment of its training needs.
Ironically the only pressure on the canal yet unrealised is that of boats!
Considerable lengths of the canal do live up to the dream of 25 years ago — but for how much longer?
HAVING taken part in the events entertainingly recorded by Margaret Insall in the last issue, the suggestion that Robin Higgs was the Society's first chairman must have been a slip of the tongue. The first chairman was, of course, canal manager
David Gerry, one of the original founding members. David steered the embryo society from a bunch of enthusiastic activists to a creditable, authoritative and influential body during the formative and most difficult campaigning years. There is no doubt that through his leadership the Society rose from a level of infectious enthusiasm to an organisation ready to take responsibility and tackle the immense restoration task started in 1974.
Whether it was Robin Higgs who suggested we should build a trip boat only he knows: but in every voluntary organisation it is the people who make the dream a reality that really count. One of the key figures in making the John Pinkerton a reality was Peter Fethney who became the boat company's first chairman. Without his organising ability and practical mind, the project might never have got off the ground — how many times have I heard it suggested that the Society should operate a second trip boat? Peter not only steered his committee to design and construct one of the most attractive boats of its kind, but also established a highly efficient organisation to operate it.
This is not to imply that politicians don't play a significant part — and Robin Higgs most certainly has. The Society couldn't have wished for a more able leader during the period of restoration.
Apart from making the time to represent the Society at many daytime meetings, he has the attributes of a professional politician; an enviable memory for facts and information, the ability to mix easily with people at all levels and an insatiable appetite for tackling problems.
There may be several nominations for his most outstanding single contribution, and mine would be his recognition of the Job Creation Scheme as a means of securing restoration of the Deepcut flight and enhancing the Society's reputation for undertaking more than weekend working parties.
The project would not, of course, have been successful without the presence of Frank Jones and Martin Smith, but that's another story ...
SOMEONE could have put a little more creative thought to the uninspiring lumps of granite bearing bland metal plaques that sprouted up along the canal to commemorate the reopening.
To my mind the highways department of Surrey County Council had a much more imaginative idea when they decided to paint Deepcut Bridge. Somehow they've made the once drab, grey concrete bridge into something really quite attractive and almost majestic. A most fitting act to mark the reopening.
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BLACKWATER VALLEY ROUTE AQUEDUCT
THE LATEST proposals for the Blackwater Valley Relief road aqueduct which have been published for consultation stale Ihat a minimum six month canal closure period is required.
This is unacceptable and at a recent meeting of the Canal Liaison Group the Society, IWA and BCBC all objected to this time scale as any delays would ineviiably eat into the boating season. The Society has also written to Surrey Counly Council direct voicing our concern.
At the meeting the example of the proposed replacement aqueduct on the Paddinglon Arm of the Grand Union canal over the North Circular Road at Alperton was quoted. Here the period of closure of the canal to navigation has been reduced to eight weeks although twenty two days was originally advanced as a possibiliiy. The original aqueduct was built without interrupting the flow of traffic on the canal at all. So it can be done.
With this example it is hoped that the SCC engineers will rethink their timetable and come up with a more realistic closure period during the winter period.
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SURREY County Council's future bridge programme involving Mytchett Place Road bridge and Guildford Road bridge has been provisionally published and states that a five month closure period of the canal is envisaged during the winters of 1992/93 and 1993/94 respectively.
Our view is that the work should easily be possible to complete with a shorter closure period of the canal and every effort should be made to do so to allow for any possible delays.
In any event the Guildford Road bridge (Kings Head) proposals will probably go to a future public inquiry as the Socieiy, Surrey Heath Borough Council and local residents still wish the existing bridge to be upgraded and strengthened rather than have a replacement new bridge just to satisfy the new EEC HGV weight limits.
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The Basingstoke Canal... the way it was. Lock 25 pictured during the 60's.
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THE BASINGSTOKE Canal Authority have submitted a planning application to Hart District Council to construct a winding hole, just east of Pondtail Bridge Fleet. This will enable larger boats, such as the John Pinkerton to turn in the Fleet area. Indeed it will enable the John Pinkerton to operate in both directions from Fleet (Reading Road Wharf) in due course.
In Woking the 11 year old saga of the Brewery Road Car Park site continues. The latest development brief envisages a 80 bedroom or possibly smaller hotel on the site but with only a minimal canal lay-by mooring arrangement. The main canal related facilities would be built around a new basin on the Vale Farm Road site about 1/4 mile up the canal. From the information available, it would appear to be an imaginative and exciting concept, there are still many problems to be resolved. These include numerous site owners and possibly compulsory purchase orders with the resultant effect on the commercial viability of the project, all of which lead us to question whether it is ever likely to proceed especially in the recessionary times.
At the Brookwood Hospital site, outline planning permission has been granted for the ultimate construction of 485 houses and 252,000 sq ft of business use. A Section 106 agreement has been signed which will allow roads, drainage etc. to proceed. There is a band of open space part of which is Green Belt north of the canal which to some extent will protect the canal environment from this massive prospective development.
Deepcut Bridge after a timely repaint by Surrey County Council for the Re-opening celebrations. (Photo: Dieter Jebens)
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ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND COMMITTEE NOMINATION TIME
NOTICE is hereby given that the FIFTEENTH Annual General Meeting of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Limited will be held at the Mytchett Centre, Mytchett Road, Mytchett, Surrey on Saturday 25th April 1992 commencing at 7.00pm.
With the Basingstoke Canal having been reopened in 1991 but with still problems surrounding its future successful operation in terms of water supply, facilities, the ideal nature conservation balance etc. it is essential for a strong Canal Society to act as 'guardian' for the canal and to be an independent interface representing the views of the general public, and members with all their varied interests in the canal.
The Society's changing and evolving role requires a strong, broad based Committee to bring new ideas and new purpose. If you would like to be involved, please consider putting your name forward for election. More information is available by ringing me on (0256 702109) or by writing to me. Nomination forms are also available which must be returned to me by 12th March 1992:
Hon Secretary, Philip Riley, Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham. Hants RG25 1AH
NOTICE OF SPECIAL
NOTICE is hereby given that a Special General Meeting of the Surrey
and Hampshire Canal Society
Limited will be held on Tuesday
14th April 1992 at 8pm at St John's
Memorial Hall, St John's Lye, St
John's, Woking, Surrey to discuss,
and if thought, fit, to pass the following Board Resolution i.e. "That
Stuart Sowerbutts, of Sowerbutts &
Co., 367 London Road, Camberley,
Surrey be appointed Auditor for the
financial year ending 31st December 1991".
This is to comply with the new regulations that state that an auditor to a limited company must have a practising auditing certificate.
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FIRST of all, I must apologise to you all for the very late arrival of this edition of the Basingsioke Canal News. This is due to editorial difficulties which means that we are urgently requiring a new managing editor.
The reopening of the canal was, of course, followed by the closing of the Woking section fairly soon afterwards and Ash Lock later in the year. This gave considerable concern to us all and brought to overtone's full attention the necessity for enhancing the water supplies to the canal. Woking Borough Council are funding a full hydrological survey of the canal to try and identify other potential water supplies and requirements and we shall have to see whether the appointed consultants can come up with any new information that is not already known.
Work is well under way on the pumps at Ihe Rive Ditch at Sheerwater with the well having been completed first. At Frimley Green, work should start soon once access agreements have been agreed by Paddy Field, the Canal Director, the hold up being that the owners of the land through which access is required have gone into receivership. It is, however, the firm intention to have both schemes in full operation for the 1992 boating season.
The Society has offered £10,000 towards the cost of the Frimley Green scheme which will probably cost in excess of £30,000 overall.
The revamped Canal Joint Management Committee and Advisory Group have met and have agreed the Post Restoration Management Plan and five year Business Plan into which the Society had a detailed input, mainly to the former. As far as the finances are concerned, with the charge capping of all local authorities from April, the local district and borough councils are finding it extremely difficult to meet the capital and revenue funds required to run the canal, but as I have said many times before, it is essential to maintain and enhance what has been restored otherwise lack of maintenance will see a downhill trend set in. This is already apparent at the western end where lack of suitable silt disposal sites with planning permission means that essential dredging at the western end cannot yet take place.
On the nature conservation front the move by the naturalists to thwart the increase in the number of motorised craft licences for 1992 to 400 was defeated at the Joint Management Committee meeting. Costs of licences will only have a VAT 17-1/2% increase imposed although there is now some doubt whether this is applicable in the case of Ihe Basingstoke Canal.
The naturalist groups, however, still do not agree with the present conclusions of the expert consultants employed by the Joint Management Committee that any changes in the aquatic flora is not caused by boats but by other natural means.
An editorial in The Countryman magazine contained very misleading information about the Basingstoke Canal and some very inaccurate facts. Both the Chairman of the Joint Management Committee and I have written to the Editor to place the true position before him and we shall have to wait and see if a further article appears.
It seems incredible that the Society is now in its 25th year, the move to form it originally having been initiated by Jim Woolgar late in 1966 by writing to the local papers to get some other like minded people together. Time moves on and the Society, having seen the restoration through, has as one of its main roles for the future, the position of independent 'guardian' for the canal, and all this implies.
Support both financial and physical, will continue to be vitally important for the canal to ensure that essential facilities and enhancements are undertaken, plus, of course, the importance of our voluntary involvement west of the Greywell Tunnel.
The Society will need more members to come forward to serve on committees and to take on various roles within the Society which will be essential for the Society to continue as an active organisation.
Finally, let us hope that we have above average rainfall over the next few months to help water levels in the canal this coming boating season.
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AN IMPORTANT PIECE OF HISTORY
AFTER protracted negotiations the Hampshire County Council has acquired the freehold of an interesling warehouse at Colt Hill, Odiham.
The warehouse was built around 1812 as part of the Wharfinger's house which with other outbuildings is now known as the Wharf House. The warehouse forms one end of a long building standing at right angles to the canal. The other end is in the form of an open cart shed with manger for overnighting horses. The shed and manger are private property, part of the Wharf House grounds which are not accessible to the public.
The assistant architect for HCC, Gordon Pearson is a specialist in caring for vernacular buildings and is most enthusiastic about the restoration project, which is about to start. The warehouse will be weatherproofed and made safe for use by canal staff. It has been used in a limited way by the present canal ranger team since 1986. The Boats for the Handicapped Association have also used it to store cleaning materials for the Mildred Stocks. HCC has an access agreement with the 'Water Witch' next door. The canal staff will be able to pass through the pub grounds, on foot only, for 364 days in the year in order to maintain and operate the canal.
The building has several interesting
features. The sides are built with bricks following the ground contour and not horizontal. There are no windows. One of the two doorways looks out on to the canal, the other on to the garden of Wharf House, and this one will be sealed permanently. The brick sewer runs longitudinally to the canal, and was used to drain the horses sleeping quarters.
The preservation of the warehouse is seen as an important restoration and the work should take about four months.
BCA Operations and Maintenance Manager
Mildred Slocks, the existing boat for the handicapped, based at Odiham. |
(Photo: David Millett)
FROM THE ARCHIVES
LOOKING through Odiham Parish Registers now in Hampshire's county archives, David Gerry, Canal Manager, came across a note of a man named Richard Basnard, described as 'a labourer employed in cutting the canal from Odiham to Weybridge' who died of 'a decline'
on 8th March 1787 and was buried near the gate to Miladies Boarding School.
Another death recorded was a man described as 'being employed in a travelling theatre company'. Were they in Odiham to entertain the navvies, one wonders, like latter day Mikron players?
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BOATS FOR THE
THE BOATS for the Handicapped Association have produced a brochure to be circulated to businesses who might be prepared to give a donation towards a holiday boat for the disabled based on the Basingstoke Canal.
We realise that this is not the best time to be asking for money when so many firms are having a hard time financially, but nevertheless even in these difficult times, some firms may be keen to help.
I wonder whether any Canal Society members may work for a company who might be sympathetic to our cause, or may know of businesses that their employers deal with who might be approached.
If you think you can help, please ring either Judith Gerry on Fleet (0252) 622520 or write to 10 Fairland Close, Fleet. GU13 9LU giving the name of the company who might be approached, together with, if possible, the name of the director or person to whom the brochure should be addressed.
Any help members can give us will be most gratefully received, and will of course be treated with complete confidentiality.
Hon. Secretary, Boats For The Handicapped Association
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WORKING PARTY UPDATE
THE SOCIETY working parties continue to press ahead with dredging, bankside clearance and restoration work at the western end.
With the valued assistance of the 9th Parachute Squadron, Royal Engineers the dredging team successfully moved the dragline across the canal at Crookham Deeps to commence silt disposal at the north side site prepared by the canal rangers. The dredgings from Fleet are now being used to enforce the potentially weak embankment. The success of the move followed detailed planning between the dredging team, the canal authority and the 9th Parachute Squadron.
Congratulations are due to Roger and his team and especially to Tony Swain who was at the controls of the dragline for the crossing. Whilst on this subject thanks are also due to Peter Arup of Arup and Amp, the crane specialists of Stanwell near Heathrow Airport, who very kindly allow the use of mobile cranes, free of charge, from time to time to come to Fleet to lift the tugs out of the water for maintenance. They also covered the cost of relining the band brake on our dredger and replacing the clutches on the drag line.
||The dragline on the move recently to its new site. (Photo: David Millett)
|Work progressing steadily west of Greywell. (Photo; David Millett)
Last year a variety of work was undertaken, from caulking lock gates and clearing chambers prior lo the reopening, and then setting up and dismantling Ihe Frimley Lodge Park site. Since then the work parties have been piling at Winchfield (John Pinkerton Wharf). Odiham (near the bypass bridge), and at Fleet (extending the
North East Hampshire Water Activities Centre Association wharf. The piling work would otherwise have been contracted out at a cost of around £5,000. The canal authority have therefore been able to use this saving towards the costs of the additional water supply projects towards which we have also pledged £10,000 in cash.
Efforts are now being concentrated on the section of the canal west of the Greywell Tunnel, starting at Penny Bridge and working eastwards. Canal bed and towpath clearance is being undertaken and excellent progress is being made mainly with our own working party but with recent assistance from visiting working party groups. Large trees arc being removed from the canal bed and the area is being transformed.
Work programmed for later this year includes the provision of a bridge over the Brickworks Arm, repairs to bridges and the provision of stop plank facilities. Details are still being finalised and programmed in greater depth.
Peter Jackman's team have been doing sterling work in Hampshire this winter, concentrating on offside bank clearance between Crookham and Dogmersfield, starting from where they left off last spring.
Dates and leaders
Every weekend — contact Roger Flitter on Fleet (0252) 622956
First and third Sundays of each month — contact Peter Jackman on Woking (0483) 772132. Meet at Crookham Wharf 9.30am
2nd weekend of the month
(Sat/Sun) — contact David Junkison on 081 941 0685 or Dave Lunn on 0483 771294.
4th weekend of the month
(Sat/Sun) — contact Peter Redway on Woking (0483)721710.
It is essential that you contact your work party leader before attending to check that there has not been a change of venue or another unforeseen circumstance.
WANTAGE BIG DIG
LAST October a large party of Society and local IWA members took part in the Big Dig at Wantage on the Wills and Berks Canal to celebrate the 21st birthday of the Waterways Recovery Group. WRG helped enormously with the Basingstoke Canal restoration and we were keen to support them on this occasion. Two miles of canal bed which looked like virgin jungle were reclaimed by the 1,000 or so volunteers from all over the country that attended. The local restoration project was given an extremely good boost.
Excellent arrangements, good Saturday evening entertainment by the Mikron Theatre Company made it a weekend to remember. Many thanks to Peter Redway who coordinated the Society's involvement.
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Society photographer required to take photographs of happenings and events up and down the canal. Would suit a retired person who could get out and about during the week as well as at weekends.
Please apply to the Secretary or
Chairman (address and phone number on the back page.)
Newsletter editor to manage the production of BC News. Plenty of willing helpers waiting to be guided!
Apply to David Millett (see back page).
THE CANAL Authority and the Society are seeking to jointly revive the Lengthsman Scheme along the canal. The idea behind the scheme is that people who regularly walk the towpath (ideally at least once a week) should act as eyes and ears in support of the canal on their particular section and report on such things as vandalism, leakage through the banks, fallen and dangerous trees, pollution and rubbish dumping and encroachments onto canal land.
Early warning of potential or actual problems may help to forestall a disaster, such as a breach in an embankment, but will also help the canal management to identify and prioritise maintenance tasks and thus provide a better service to canal users.
If any of our members are interested in taking part in this scheme will you please contact the following:
Hampshire section: Major Charles Bendall on Fleet (0252) 617754.
Surrey section: Bill Borley on Weybridge (0932) 840147.
Please volunteer your services to help the future smooth operation of the canal.
Peter Jackman with some of his regular team. Working on more gentle tasks than in this photo, the work is suitable and enjoyable for family parties. Call Peter if you'd like to help. (Photo: David Millett)|
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A SUITABLE HONOUR
IT WAS with great delight that I read in the Basingstoke Canal News that Mrs Joan Marshall, formerly managing Director of the Basingstoke Canal Company, was present at the official opening ceremonies. In 1952 I had the pleasure for a few brief months of being one of her band of Honorary Baillifs. In return for patrolling the banks near New Haw and trying to ward off the disposal of yet more prams and bicycles, we had free boating and fishing. These were somewhat dubious privileges in view of the very limited water and only someone with the persuasive skills of Mrs Marshall could have sold such a package so successfully! However, egged on by Mrs Marshall's enthusiasm, the spirit was right and no one had any
doubt that one day full restoration would occur.
The Christmas party held at the Claremont Pub, Byfleet was an event not to be forgotten and would have been even more important to me had I then known that I was about to be posted, on New Year's Eve, to Newcastle on Tyne. The posting to meet an emergency, was originally for three weeks but, with its consequences, was to keep me from the south east for 16 years.
This prolonged absence somewhat disrupted my plans to bring my partially converted steel narrow boat down from the Trent and Mersey at Shardlow to the Wey Navigation and sadly the boat had to be sold — for £500! By the time I returned in 1968 a wife and three children had somewhat altered my spare time capacity but I was soon to be roped into the I.W.A.
boat festival at Guildford by another delightfully energetic and enthusiastic lady organiser.
She let me ramble on into unknown indiscretions about the great times we used to have way back in 1952 with the redoubtable Mrs Marshall before quietly informing me "That's my mother!"
Since then I've been very much an intermittent contributor, the Deep Cut Big Dig, the hire boat Return, and crewing on the John Pinkerton but I like to think that Joan Marshall sowed the right seeds and that I have not entirely failed her as a disciple. Long may she be with us as a most worthy new Vice President.
Halfpenny Lane, Guildford
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by Terry Blunt
A COUPLE of months ago I had the opportunity to visit the Basingstoke Canal, this for the first time in over twenty years. I thought you might like to hear about my impressions.
My companions and I decided to walk from Ash Vale to Frimley Green along the towpath, and then on a bit further into unknown regions, if time allowed. Time did allow, as walking at a comfortable pace, starting at about 11am. we reached Frimley Lodge at around 12.30, an excellent time to have a pie and chips in the (to me) new and tastefully laid out park cafe, before we strolled on, crossing the canal at the bridge to follow the towpath. It's a bit steep there, and June needed a hand up onto the road. Perhaps a step could be set there sometime.
When we started, at Ash Vale, the first thing I noticed was the towpath itself. Much of the time we could stroll along three abreast, only occasionally ducking to avoid overhanging branches. I seem to remember it as strictly single file before, and almost a hands and knees job in places. Near Mytchett Lake, the water seemed at about the same level as before, as far as I can remember, but much cleaner, you can now see the bottom, which apart from the inevitable rubbish thrown in by the thoughtless, seems to
be in good order.
With the banks tidy and the water clear, it was possible to see all sorts of features I never knew were there before. Stop plank grooves, at several strategic points, gave me the excuse to air my superior knowledge, but what of the curious quadrant let into the brickwork under a bridge? Was this all that was left of one of those self closing gates I've read about? I do hope so. That's what I told the others — after all I was supposed to be the expert.
Going beyond Frimley Green I was saddened to see a new building under construction that overshadows and very firmly turns its back on the canal. There didn't even seem to be any windows, just a miserable little side door.
We stopped at the restored lock a little further on. I'm afraid I don't know which one it is, but I was impressed with the quality of the work done on it. The hinged balance beams on the bottom gates took a bit of thinking about. I assume they are like that so that the gates can be opened, then the beams hinged back to allow the bridge to be kept clear.
My last visit to the canal had been in December 1970. It was dull and grey, totally lifeless. A winter in more ways than one, and I now know, a fairly critical time for the canal. This time however, I was continually amazed at how green and lush the vegetation was, particularly after two dry years. The whole environment was quietly,
but busily full of life. Aerial support was provided by the occasional dragonfly, and of course, the obligatory clouds of midges. Swans, ducks and moorhens were all in evidence. There were fish in the canal, and judging by the random plops at the bankside, not a few voles.
Overall the walk was very peaceful and quiet, in spite of the nearby road for part of the way. It's a pity that we didn't see a single moving boat, and only met a couple of other walkers — one had walked all the way from Brookwood. I'm delighted with the work that has been done on the canal, and consider that, if I ever needed to justify my support for the S&HCS this enjoyable trip was reason enough. The canal is obviously in safe, caring hands, a credit to those who have given so much of their time and effort.
I do have one suggestion to make. One of my intrepid band of explorers doesn't like walking long distances without an occasional sit down. Although proper seats are probably too expensive to install in many places along the canal, and would look rather out of place anyway, what about sawing up some of the fallen trees that are still near the canal, then standing them up to form tree stump seats? What a wonderful excuse to actually use the canal, transporting the logs from where they fell to where they're wanted!
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DIARY OF EVENTS
Please send details of any events you would like included in future lists to: John King, 33, Havers Avenue, Hersham, Wallon on Thames. Surrey KT12 4EN (phone 0932 220895)
Saturday/Sunday 7th/8th March
As part of Ihe National Canals Clean-Up Weekend, a Clean-Up of the Canal in the Woking area, to prepare for the coming season, will take place. Contact Peter Redway (0483 721710) for details.
Tuesday 10th March
An illustrated inlk by one of our Vice Presidents, and European waterways traveller, John Humphries. 7.45 for 8pm at St John's Memorial Hall, Si John's Lye, St John's Woking.
SATURDAY 21ST MARCH
THE 25TH ANNIVHRSARY CELEBRATION OF THE SOCIETY'S FORMATION WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE NATIONAL RIFLE CENTRE, BISLEY. SEE SEPARATE SHEET FOR FULL DETAILS.
Tuesday 14th April
Illustrated talk by John Wood, Honorary Secretary of the Wey and Arun Canal Trust entitled 'Restoration Update'. Plus Special General Meeting. 7.45 for 8pm (see elsewhere for details). Venue as above.
Friday — Monday April 17th/18th/19th/20th Easter Weekend
John Pinkenon Public Trips from Brewery Road Car Park, Woking. Details from Ann Bird, (Fleet 0252 622758). Water permitting.
Saturday 25th April
Society AGM at the Mytchett Centre, Mytchett Road, Mytchett 7pm. Full details elsewhere.
May Coach trip to Fawley Museum near Henley, the private steam related museum of Sir William McAlpine. Details from David Millett (0252 617364)
Saturday/Sunday 20th/21st June
St. John's 150th Anniversary celebrations and boat rally. The Basingstoke Canal Boating Club welcomes entries for the rally. Contact Chris de Wet on 0252 850387 for full details.
Wednesday 24th June
Illuminated boat procession at the Fleet Carnival organised by BCBC, departing Reading Road Wharf.
Saturday/ Sunday 4th/5th July
Independence Boat Rally at Lock 1 organised by the Byfleet Boat Club and IWA Guildford and Reading Branch. Land based events in Heathervale Recreation Ground. Boat entry details from Angela Percy, 2 Fir Tree Way, Fleet, Hants GU13 9NB (SAE please).
Tuesday 14th July
Visit of the Mlkron Theatre Company to the Fox and Hounds, Crookham Road, Fleet. (By NB Tyseley, water permitting.) Sponsored by the Society. Full details later.
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THE 1992 season starts Easter
1992 with public trips from
Brewery Road Car Park towpath at
Woking for the four day Easter holiday period — water permitting.
For the rest of the season public
and charter trips will operate from
Barley Mow Wharf at Winchfieid due to the uncertainty of water
levels at Colt Hill, Odiham once
Ann Bird is the new Booking Manager — thanks are due to Tony Karavis for the sterling work he has undertaken over many years.
For brochures and all enquiries and bookings please contact Ann at 25 Famham Road, Fleet, Hants, GU13 9HZ Fleet (0252) 622758.
BOATS FOR SALE
25-ft Dawncraft, aft cockpit, cabin cruiser. Built 1988. 4-berth, pump-out toilet, shower, water heater, fridge, cooker and catalytic heater. 9.9hp Mercury electric start outboard. £6995
32-ft Dawncraft, centre cockpit, cabin cruiser. Built 1988, sleeps 6, otherwise as above. £9995 ono
To view, telephone Galleon Marine 0276 703691.
Muddy Waters, 40-ft narrow boat (photo on cover BC News 156 March 1991). 3 years old, versatile 4-berth layout in comfortable interior. Gas central heating and water heater, shower and pump-out toilet. Full-size cooker, fridge. 4-cylinder Mitsubishi diesel engine. Much admired boat. Currently moored on Thames. £16500
To view, telephone Bernie Timms 0252 26758.
ARTHUR Dungate has produced an AV film of the Royal Reopening of the Basingstoke Canal, and the cruises on the following day.
Anyone interested in purchasing a video copy please contact him at
187 Ellerdine Road, Hounslow, Middx. TW3 2PU.
Kevin McCallan, of Windmill Cottage, Guildford Road, Frimley
Green, Camberley, Surrey GTJ16 6NZ (0252 836272) has produced a
Video of all the events at Frimley
Green on the Reopening day.
Please contact him direct if you would like a copy.
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THE LAST edition of the Basingstoke Canal News covered the awarding of the IWA's Christopher Power Award to Mike Fellows for his work on the restoration of the Basingstoke Canal. At the autumn joint IWA/S&HCS meeting, Mike McGrath, Chairman of the Thames and South Region of the IWA presented the award, a £400 cheque to Mike and thanked him for his organising work over the years, particularly for the summer work camps.
Mike Fellows modestly replied that he was only a small part of a big team and that the honour was just as much for all the other volunteers involved in the restoration. To back this up he has donated £200 to the Society and £200 to the Kent and East Sussex Canal Restoration Group towards their work on other waterways.
Thank you Mike.
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LANDMARK HOLIDAY HOMES
by Julia Abel-Smith
THE Landmark Trust was founded in 1965 to save good buildings in distress. It is a registered charity which tries to rescue those properties which would otherwise fall through the conservation net — because they are not suitable for the National Trust or too idiosyncratic or inaccessible for private individuals. Our philosophy is to restore as much of the building as possible, replacing unusable parts only as a last resort, thereby retaining the character and atmosphere intended by the original builders and designers.
Once they have been restored, we let the majority of our buildings for short holidays. The income derived from the letlings provides about 30% of our total expenditure and allows a succession of people to enjoy the building and its environment rather than just one private owner.
Our properties are acquired in a number of ways — we receive about three letters a week offering us potential Landmarks; a few we are left by bequest; and the National Trust, with whom we work closely, makes a number of valuable suggestions. We also receive estate agents particulars detailing more unusual properties like follies, gatehouses, forts and castles.
As we hold a weekly meeting to discuss new Landmarks, the vendor receives a quick response so it is always worth remembering the Trust as a possible purchaser. We have now worked on over 170 buildings in all styles, sizes and periods. There are two Landmarks in the Channel Islands and a very special one in Rome — Keats's House on the Spanish Steps.
At Alwalton, just outside Peterborough, we own Lynch Lodge which sleeps two people. The lodge was in fact the porch belonging to the Drydcns' House at Chesterton where the poet often stayed with his cousins. When in 1807 that house was demolished, the porch was saved and re-erected as a distant lodge to Milton Park, the home of the Fitzwilliam family. Now the Lynch Drive is closed (it was 10 miles long) the lodge presides over a farm entrance. We took it on in 1982 and removed the later alterations and additions so that it now looks as it did soon after 1807.
At both the Egyptian House in Penzance and Marshal Wade's House in Bath the National Trust have shops beneath the Landmark flats. Strangely there is no evidence that Marshal Wade actually owned or leased the house that has taken his name but he
was MP for Bath in 1722 and the house seems to have taken its present form from 1720. Wade's house in London was designed by Lord Burlington himself and therefore the Marshall was amongst the leaders of the Palladian vogue in England. Indeed the house in Bath is remarkably early Provincial example of Palladian town house with its giant order. It is also a rare survival of Bath before John Wood and his son set about Romanising the city with their Circus and Crescents.
The Landmark Trust bought the house in 1975 and restored the windows to their correct design and replaced the glazing bars in the shop front. All the interiors were restored and three years later the facade was cleaned with lime poultices and water sprinklers. From every window there is a fine view of the West front of the abbey and the rich history of Bath is on the doorstep.
The Landmark Trust is first and foremost a conservation group. It has provided a satisfactory solution to many problem buildings which people can now enjoy for short holidays. Top quality architecture is however the sine qua non.
For our handbook please contact The Landmark Trust, Sholtesbrooke, Maidenhead, Berks SL6 3SW.
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by Dave Gerry
200 YEARS ago construction work along the line of the canal was well under way. To set the scene in the year 1790 we can glean an interesting insight from some of the Canal Company's records in the Hampshire County record office.
William Jessop had apparcmly been appointed the company's consulting engineer early in 1788 but there is little detail about his contract. John Pinkerton was also involved and his contract was formalised on 3rd October 1788. The Company of Proprietors held a meeting on 2nd June 1788 and resolved that:
* A further call on subscribers shares be made of 10% in addition to the 22% already paid (presumably a deposit), cash to be paid to Sir James Esdaile's Banking House in London.
* Future meetings of the board are to be advertised in the Daily Advertiser, The World, Reading Mercury, Hampshire Chronicle, Portsmouth and Chichester Journal and a Birmingham newspaper.
* Committee members will pay their own expenses.
* Next meeting to be held in the Crown Inn, Basingstoke. (There is still a Crown Inn at Basingstoke).
At the meeting of 25th August 1788 there was discussion over the depth of locks to be constructed (and one suspects the number of locks). An early decision to make the fall of each lock 6 foot was rescinded and a fall of 7 feet agreed. John Pinkerton was instructed to stake out the line of the canal.
After the meeting of 3rd November 1788 (after the signing of the Pinkerton contract) it was agreed that John Pinkerton should be paid a bonus of £500 if the canal was completed by 25th December 1792 to the satisfaction of the Resident Engineer. It was further agreed that he should receive a cash advance for work so far but only after he had supplied details of his securities. Pinkerton asked for extra cash for grubbing out tree roots which was omitted from his contract — he was told to sell the roots and the company would pay the difference.
William Jessop was asked to prepare an estimate for excavating the summit pound deeper, the normal
depth to be 4'6", the summit 5'6" (subsequently changed to 5' and 6') respectively. The next meeting to be at the Maidenhead Inn, Basingstoke.
During the autumn of 1788 the Revd. Shaw visited Greywell and wrote an article for the Gentleman's Magazine, reporting that he had seen 100 men excavating the cutting at Greywell but that they had not yet entered the Hill.
||The token with which John Pinkerton paid his navvies|
At its meeting on 23rd February 1789 the committee agreed further calls of 8% and 10% to be made on shareholders subscriptions. It was resolved that John Pinkerton be paid a further bonus of £700 if me canal remained watertight for 3 years after completion (there is little evidence that he collected any bonus). Next meeting to be at the Portmore Arms Weybridge.
At the meeting of 4th April 1789 the Committee discussed a letter from the Mayor of Salisbury, and at the meeting of 1st June 1789 a report was received of a meeting between Members and the Mayor and associates from Salisbury to Andover, but it was agreed that the Basingstoke Canal Act did not authorise investment into a survey or an extension to the canal beyond Basingstoke.
Also at that meeting Sir Henry Paulet and Sir John Mildmay of Dogmersfield House suggested an alternative route for the canal, which was agreed provided Sir Henry demolished two cottages that were on the line and built the Bridges across Tundry Pond himself. John Pinkerton was told off for not keeping to specification without authority.
At a subsequent meeting it was agreed that no business would be done after dinner at any meeting. It was also resolved that the Winchester Paper (assumed to be the Hampshire Chronicle) be told that an article printed on 18th May was incorrect. It was agreed to purchase sets of weights from 7lbs down to 1/2oz for the 'Tything Man' and to be available for the workmen to use.
It was agreed that the line be diverted at Peatmoor near Crookham (i.e. the big loop through Fleet). John Pinkerton's brother George and Mr. Wright were instructed to survey the new line.
A special meeting was held on 15th July 1789 to discuss complaints by landowners about prices paid for land.
At the meeting of 31st August 1789 Ihe following resolution was passed 'That the bricks which have been made for use of the undertaking being so exceedingly bad that much of the greatest part are totally unfit for the purpose; Mr. Davies and Richard Harmsworth, with proper assistants, on the part of the Company, (giving notice to Mr. Pinkerton that his agents may also attend) do proceed immediately in sorting all the bricks now upon the line, from one end to the other; and such as they find unfit for the purpose of the works carrying on, they do provide wagons and carts for removing them to such a distance that they may be totally out of the way of the workmen" "so that the evil may be remedied thereby". Cost of construction so far £13.322 16s 1d exclusive of 161,480 bricks "deemed unfit for use".
"The gentleman of Ihe Committee having on their late survey of the line reported the conduct of Mr. Jones (not the Mr. Jones, surely) to have been such, that it will be absolutely necessary for the general good of the undertaking thai Mr. Pinkerton do discharge him from the works for ever".
Next meeting to be held in the London Tavern, Bishopsgate Street, London on 2nd November 1789. Part way through that meeting it was moved to the 'George and Vulture' in Cornhill — only financial matters were discussed. Another tedious financial meeting was held the following month on 8th December in the Council Chamber of Basingstoke Town Hall.
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Work under way at Zephon Common swing bridge. (Photo: David Millett)
# SWING bridge at Zephon Common, Crookham Village now well under way with piling and associated brickwork completed.
# PRESS officer vacancy still outstanding. Includes liaison with press on canal and Society matters. For further details contact David Millett (telephone number below)
# CANAL Authority appointments made. Miss Briggitte Tribe is the new Visitor and promotions Manager to improve the interface between the Canal Authority and the public, schools and local companies etc. Peter Munt (ex Society dredging team) is the new Canal Ranger and has moved in to the cottage at Lock 28 vacated by Les Foster.
# NEW Society Archivist is Jill Haworth. Thanks are due to Gary Cavanagh for holding the reins over the last few years. Viewing by appointment, see details below.
# ROBIN Higgs, our recently retired Chairman has been appointed an Honorary Life Member of the Inland Waterways Association. Congratulations — very well deserved.
# CANAL photograph by Mr. L Pharo of Fleet used as backdrop to recent TV
AM weather forecast
# TRANSIT van purchased at auction to replace the time expired rust trap that had served the Society well for many years when used both by the full time team during the week and by volunteers at weekends.
# THANK you from the St. John's Village Society for help with their village clean up weekend from Society members in the St. John's and Woking area.
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Phone Chris de Wet, Distinguished Data, 0252 850311.
COPY DATE FOR SPRING 1992 BC NEWS: 29th FEBRUARY 1992
Managing Editor: vacant
Editor: Margaret Insall. Production: Chris de Wet. Collation & Distribution: Janet and George Hedger, Edwin Chappell and Helpers. Editorial Office: 34 The Hatches, Frimley Green, Camberley. Surrey GU16 6HE (0252 835075)
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, l0 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: Ann Bird, 25 Farnham Road, Fleet, Hampshire GU13 9WZ (0252 622758)
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 0685)
Phil Pratt, Flat 5. Redwood Court. Madeira Road, West Byfleet, Surrey, KT14 6BE. (09323 40281)
Audio Visual Producer: Arthur Dungate, 187 Ellerdine Road, Hounslow, Middlesesx. TW3 2PU
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens, 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Famham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ. (0252 715230)
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