No. 160 Winter 1992/3
This is the first newsletter produced by its new editors, Kathryn Dodington and Brian Fox. We hope to make it lively, interesting, informative and sometimes humorous. It may be difficult to come up with the standards of journalism set by Dieter Jebens, who edited the Basingstoke Canal News for very many years and himself wrote a large proportion of each issue. But then Dieter is so knowledgeable about the canal and all that goes on along its 32 miles that he was able to combine his expertise with his professionalism in editing to produce a publication which was interesting and challenging. He is, as the current saying goes, a hard act to follow.
We, on the other hand, cannot claim to have either expertise in editing or a deep knowledge of the canal. The lack of knowledge is not such a handicap as it may seem, since so many people have offered contributions from their own wealth of information that there has been no shortage of material for this first issue: on the contrary, although we have expanded this issue to 16 pages, we have had to leave out much material that some members have written for us. Our apologies are due to those whose contributions we have not used.
Our editorial policy will be independent. That is to say we feel free to comment on any matters pertaining to the canal, and whilst we shall report the views of the Management Committee, members, the Basingstoke Canal Authority etc, we do not necessarily agree with them. But we are dependent on news coming in to us from all sources, and particularly you, the members. Please feel free to give us your views, let us know what is happening up and down the canal, what is about to happen, give us an account of some incident, funny or serious, which you have witnessed or heard about. Tell us what you don't like about the News, or what you would like to see in it. Only then can we have the sort of newsletter which it is our aim to provide.
From the Chairman
First of all a welcome and thanks to our new editorial team announced in our recent update which will ensure a regular production in the future.
Although navigation was badly affected during the summer at the eastern end of the canal recent heavy rains have brought the levels up. All we need now is a very wet winter and spring to recharge the aquifers which supply the springs. Without adequate water the canal cannot fulfil its primary function as a navigable waterway. The new pumping scheme at Frimley Green will boost the eastern end and, hopefully, the hydrological survey study being undertaken for Woking BC by Mouchel and Partners will help the situation.
On the political front both Surrey and Hampshire County Councils have produced Draft Waste Disposal Plans which incorporate canal dredging sections. Whilst the Hampshire plan is advocating disposal of dredgings at sites adjoining the canal (although no sites are specifically mentioned) the Surrey plan advocates silt being taken away by road, which would make costs prohibitive and prevent maintenance dredging in Surrey. Needless to say we are making strong representations to try and ensure the right policy in both counties.
Another important issue is future finance to maintain the canal. With the local borough and district councils threatening cutbacks in their canal budgets as a result of their general cash crisis and the need to make savings, it is doubly important to ensure that the canal is adequately maintained, firstly to protect the investment made in its restoration over the last 20 years and secondly to make sure the canal does not go backwards. The Society would like to see an Economic Benefit study undertaken for the canal to show the overall financial benefit the local communities which will justify the monies put into the canal. On the Kennet and Avon canal the economic benefit has been calculated at £13M.
Finally may I wish you all a happy Christmas and a successful 1993.
With all the recent rain the Canal Authority [is] reconsidering opening the canal immediately after Christmas or earlier if conditions permit. If you wish to move your boat on or off the canal please contact the BCA on (0252) 313810 to make suitable arrangements or alternatively call the Information Line on (0252) 343667 for up-to-date information. Please remember that water is a scarce resource despite the recent rain - please use it wisely.
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Hotel Boats Rose and Castle at Greatbottom Flash on their way down the canal in May. photo: Dieter Jebens
Epitomising the up-to-date attitude of the Grand Junction Company's management, a Grafton grab dredger is seen mounted on a wide pontoon at Braunston in 1911. Some dredgers were mounted on narrow pontoons for dredging the narrow sections such as the Northampton and Buckingham Arms. These operated with detachable sponsons on either side for stability, and one of these (No. 14) survives in full working order on the Basingstoke Canal.
Her last Grand Junction operator was Frank Smith of Stoke Bruerne who worked her until 1963.
(From Waterways of Northamptonshire By David Blagrove Published by Northamptonshire Libraries and Information Service. 27 Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1EF.)
Perseverance is currently making excellent progress towards Pondtail bridge. She is steaming on Saturdays and the silt is being taken to the disposal sites on Sundays. There is about 700 yards to go before arriving at Pondtail and at present dredging of up to 100 yards per day is possible, so arrival at Pondtail may coincide with Christmas. There have been a number of minor mechanical problems with both Perseverance and the tugs of late mainly caused by rubbish that has been dumped in the canal. Dredging was curtailed over the summer period due to tug problems / holidays / water levels and it was mentioned that the water levels were not as good in Fleet as they looked; it was just that the bottom of the canal was coming up to meet the surface !
The dredger team would welcome visits from anyone interested in steam before the opportunity to see her in action disappears. Contact Mike Munro, the Dredger Manager (details on back page) if you want to see history in action.
What will happen to Perseverance? A boiler and crane survey at Ash and a hull survey will be carried out at Deepcut to ascertain her true current condition.
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An engineering inspection visit was made to the Greywell tunnel on 19th July. The brickwork is in remarkably good condition for the first 2,000 feet and in places an air space exists between the brickwork and the chalk indicating that that part of the tunnel excavated from the chalk is self supporting. At approximately 2,000 feet there is a blockage roughly in the area of one of the access shafts and coincident with a geological change from chalk to clay. The strain gauges fitted two years ago have not moved since the last inspection.
No bats were seen roosting in the tunnel which may be due to the warm summer allowing the bats to roost in trees outside the tunnel. Further validation of the bat count is needed.
There are a couple of small suspected leaks which were plugged with clay by the divers. It is thought that water may flow in through these leaks when the water table is high and out when the water table is low as it is at the moment. No flow was noticed before the holes were plugged.
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Bridge at Dogmersfield
A planning application has been lodged to construct a bridge across the canal just east of the Dogmersfield cutting and before Tundry pond to allow the landowner easy access to all of his land.
... and at Woking
An application has been lodged to build a wooden footbridge across the canal adjacent to the Brewery Road car park in Woking.
Hart District Council have lodged
an application to remove previously
dumped silt from an area east of
Broad Oak bridge at Colt Hill.
Pondtail Winding Hole
The planning application to replace the winding hole at Pondtail Bridge has been approved and it is hoped that construction will begin this autumn. The original winding hole was destroyed by the new bridge.
Kings Head Bridge
Kings Head Bridge (Guildford Road) at Frimley is to be replaced but the application must go to the DOE on environmental considerations. We believe Surrey Heath Council will oppose replacement.
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Guildford Road Bridge
Carrying the B3012 road across the canal at Frimley Green, this bridge is also called the 'Kings Head Bridge' Some time ago Surrey County Council published their plans to demolish the bridge and replace it with a modern bridge incorporating a wider carriageway for two way traffic. The sarson stone from which the abutments are built would be incorporated into the new bridge.
The Society let it be known that they are totally opposed to demolition since it is one of the few remaining bridges in Surrey that were constructed by John Pinkerton when building the canal. It has ellipsoidal sides, typical of John Pinkerton, which were obtained by using the '100 foot line' technique,
discovered by our member Jim Guiver and first used by the Society in rebuilding Broad Oak Bridge.
The Guildford Road Bridge has a twin, an identical bridge which carries Mytchett Place Road over the canal. That one is also scheduled for demolition and replacement with a wider bridge. These two are the only bridges on the canal incorporating a large quantity of sarson in their structure. We have managed to influence some features in the design of the replacement Mytchett Place Road bridge, but lament the loss of an item of original construction on the canal.
The reason for rebuilding both these bridges is that steel girders were put into the decks by the Army at the start of World War Two to increase load capacity. These girders are now very badly corroded and the bridges are weak as a result. The engineers have put a weight limit of 2.5 tons on the Guildford Road Bridge, together with a width limit allowing nothing wider than private cars. In addition they have put something we have been requesting for a long time, a set of traffic signals, to reduce the risk of head-on collision.
The Society has made the case for repair of the bridge to its 'as built' appearance in a 20 page paper published about a couple of years ago, this contained a layout plan, drawn by David Junkison, with proposals to control movement on the bridge of both vehicles and pedestrians. And there was an offer by the Society to help in the work, by repairing the parapets. Our case against demolition is supported by another 3,500 members of the public who have written letters of protest. Various County Council committees have discussed the problem and application has been made to the Department of the Environment for permission to
demolish the bridge for rebuilding. We, and others, are pressing the case for an inspector to hold a public enquiry to enable a strong case for repair to be made.
Since one of these beautiful bridges is to be demolished it is vital that we do everything in our power to try and save the other. If any member is a professional engineer qualified to give technical evidence, possibly in public, in favour of rebuilding the bridge; will he or she please contact Stan Meller (details on back page) to discuss the problem.
The Blackwater Valley Relief Road
This road is being constructed in three distinct sections. The one that concerns the canal is the centre section, which is the joint responsibility of Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council: SCC are the project
managers. Planning of the route is now well in hand. The road will cross the Basingstoke Canal at Ash embankment. The original plan was that six locks were to be constructed so that a short section of the canal would be lowered to the level of the Blackwater River and the road would pass over on a bridge. When SCC published their plans it was claimed that locks would be cheaper than an aqueduct.
This scheme was totally unacceptable to the Society, the Basingstoke Canal Boat Club and The Canal Authority, since there were so many disadvantages and in our opinion construction of the locks would cost more than the construction of an aqueduct. As for the disadvantages, there was a risk that the canal water
would be polluted by water from the river since the Blackwater is said to be the second most polluted in the Thames Valley. Negotiating six locks would have added about 1.5 hours cruising time across the embankment, and maintenance costs would be increased for all time, both by work on the locks and the need to have permanent lock keepers on station. If there was a need to deal with an emergency by moving a boat to the east of the embankment, delay caused by the need to negotiate six locks could have been very inconvenient. The mind boggles at what damage vandals could do to unattended locks and the pumps and other equipment that would be required.
The Society produced a 30 page paper to state their
views and criticisms of the SCC proposal. In that
paper were listed the principal objections to the proposed locks, an analysis of the SCC costings. A
revised costing was included based on our own experience and comparatives provided by our contacts in BWB and other organisations with direct information about costs of building aqueducts and locks. This
confirmed our view that an aqueduct would cost less than six locks with all the pumps and control equipment etc.
It is argued that the shorter the time allowed for the closure of the canal the greater will be the cost of construction. Conversely the longer the time allowed for closure, within limits, the construction cost will be lower, but there will be greater inconvenience for canal users and canal management. The Society have [sic] made representations about this since there are several precedents, in one case - the North Circular Road under the Grand Union (1933) - there was no closure at all! The solution will be typically British, a compromise. Currently it would appear that the best deal that can be concluded is closure for nine months. This is pretty unsatisfactory for canal users, but discussions continue.
Our case was accepted by SCC and all plans for locks were dropped. The road will be built in a concrete trough slightly below ground level to accommodate the headroom required by traffic under the aqueduct, pumps will be installed to clear the trough of water during rain storms. Discussion now is about the length of time the channel will be closed for building the aqueduct.
The design of the aqueduct is well in hand. A pictorial drawing has been produced by SCC together with a model built to about 4mm scale. A photograph of the model is reproduced in this issue of the 'News'. As can be seen the most outstanding feature of the proposed design is the 'cable stayed' suspension. It has been suggested that this proposal is not appropriate for the site, which is a vast plain area and the tower for the cable staying will be too obtrusive. But SCC state they intend to consult the Fine Arts Commission about the
design and problems of that nature may be resolved in
In our paper we included a protest about this proposal and we were supported by the Canal Authority.
Also featured in SCC's plans for the road was the closure of Government Road, because the BVR will
cross the existing line of the road at ground level. This would have meant that in the event of an emergency there would be no easy and quick route by road to the east for canal staff from the office and yard at Lock 29. It would also be a hindrance to Gordon Muchmore who runs Galleon Marine at Colt Hill. In the event of one of his hire boats being in trouble east of Ash he would not have had convenient road access to assist the crew.
It is good to report that, as can be seen from the map above, Government Road will be diverted (this is unavoidable) but not closed.
Described in Waterways World' as a first for Basingstoke, the visit of the two hotel boats 'Rose' and 'Castle' was an unqualified success. They were the first pair of hotel boats to navigate the length of the canal from the junction at Woodham right through to King John's Castle. The canal was not officially open but two weeks of rain and the successful installation of the Rive Ditch pump meant that the canal authority were able to grant 'last minute' permission for the two to carry out their trip planned in September 1991. The owners said that the canal was particularly shallow beyond Winchfield although the low bridges concerned them more.
The owners of the two hotel boats, Dave Dare and Jill Scratchard, are to give a talk on their trip up the canal at our December meeting so please consult the list of forthcoming events to ensure you are able to come.
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MORE WATER for the BASINGSTOKE CANAL
Frimley Green Pumping
Work on the new supply at Frimley Green was given the green light on 25th August. This follows lengthy discussions between the BCA, Surrey Heath Borough Council, Mid Southern Water, National Rivers Authority and British Rail. Work was scheduled to begin at the beginning of September and to be finalised by mid November.
When the then London & South Western Railway widened the Deep Cut to four lines in the 1890s, they became seriously embarrassed by the amount of water collecting in the cutting. One of the directors decided that it would be a good
idea to sell this to the public. Mid Southern Water Company was born and collected, cleaned and supplied water until recently at Frimley. It is this water will be used to top up the canal.
Water runs from the Deep Cut to the River Blackwater on both the north and south sides of the Bournemouth line. Water also collects from the Ascot-Ash Vale line, before entering the Blackwater. This will be collected in an existing filter sump where the Bournemouth line crosses the Ascot line. This will pass to a well wherein lies a totally submerged electric 'Flyght' pump. Water will be pumped by a six inch pipe to the canal. The route is on the NE side of the Ascot line, passing under the Mytchett railway bridge and across the Frimley Lodge Farm Park.
Total distance is about 800 yards, pumping about 300,000 to 400,000 gallons a day.
The contractual cost is about £22,000 with about £7,500 for the electricity supply. The pumps, hoses etc were about £11,000. Surrey Heath and the Water Company have been very helpful in keeping the legal costs to a minimum. British Rail have been more
co-operative. The Society pledged £10.000 to the
Credit can rightly be given to the BCA for their perseverance in this matter. The pumps will be maintained daily, requiring a visit from two rangers. Electricity to run the pump for 24 hours is estimated to cost between £1,500 and £2,000 per annum. This is costly water and should be used wisely.
Work on this project started in early October and is estimated to finish in about two months from then. If you are reading this in early December the pump should be working.
1993 Annual General Meeting
Notice is hereby given that the Sixteenth Annual General Meeting of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Limited will be held at the Mytchett Community Centre, Mytchett Road, Mytchett, Surrey on Saturday 24th April 1993 commencing at 6.30pm.
All of the Society's Board of Directors (known as the Executive Committee) automatically retire each year at the AGM and are eligible for nomination if they wish to stand. All the board positions were not taken up this year and new blood bringing in new ideas and initiatives are always welcome.
reopening era of the canal has brought new opportunities and problems to tackle to ensure the canal and the Society keeps on the best course during the 1990s. Only a firm and dedicated committee can achieve these aims and if you feel that you would like to be involved, why not consider putting your name forward for election to the committee ? If you would like more information about the Committee's work please call me on (0256) 702109 or write to me. I can also let you have a nomination form which must be returned to me by Friday 12th February 1993.
Hon. Secretary, Philip Riley, Wincome Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hampshire, RG25 1AH. (0256) 702109
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Working parties have been active throughout this year and this report covers from last Autumn to the end of August.
In October work commenced on towpath clearance between Penny bridge and Slades bridge. Work through the winter has concentrated on bankside clearance and also the canal bed when water levels allowed. Large trees and undergrowth were removed and consents for felling some trees have been obtained. A decision was made to use chainsaws and six regular members of the working party have been trained and fully accredited by the Health and Safety Executive. The training was combined with operational work to speed the clearance of trees. The towpath had been cleared to [220 yards] beyond Slades bridge by the time clearance work stopped for the summer. Mechanical help in the form of an excavator and a stump grinder was enlisted to remove tree stumps from the bed and bank of the canal. The towpath was surveyed during the summer and levels were 'pegged1 relative to the bridge wing walls.
The old Zephon Common swing bridge was prepared for re-use at Brickworks Arm after modification by the Canal Authority. It was successfully installed in June during which time relics of a previous lift bridge were discovered.
Work is currently continuing on Slades Bridge which is a grade 2 listed structure with the support of the residents of Up Nately and Heather Lane. Special thanks go to Mrs Smith for the use of her garage. Ownership of the bridge is in doubt and this needs to be urgently resolved for continuing work to be properly funded. The towpath retaining wall under Slades bridge has now been rebuilt.
Future winter work will continue with towpath clearance east of Slades bridge and further construction of the towpath will also continue.
Our own volunteer workers have been ably supported by the Waterway Recovery group and the Kennet and Avon Newbury working party.
Working Parties are organised for every weekend on a regular basis and details are as follows:
Peter Jackman (1st & 3rd Sundays) (0483)772132
6th & 20th December
3rd & 17th January
7th & 21st February
7th & 21st March
Western End & Deepcut
Dave Junkison (081) 941 0685 &
Dave Lunn (0483) 771294 (2nd weekend)
Peter Redway (4th weekend - but
NOT Christmas !)
New and existing members are welcome, come and have a day in the fresh air and help create a navigable Canal for all to enjoy.
It is advisable to contact your work party leader during the week prior to the scheduled date as unforeseen circumstances may change the published venue/work content.
For general enquiries please contact Peter Redway (0483) 721710
Please remember that during the winter we meet at St John's Memorial Hall, St John's Lye, Woking (7.45pm for 8.00pm) on the second Tuesday of the month and at the Barley Mow (Winchfield) on the 4th Tuesday of the month.
The immediate programme of events for St John's is:
Illustrated talk by Dave Dare of Heart of England Narrow Boats entitled 'Hotel Boats on Inland Waterways'
Illustrated talk by Jonathan Wade (SHCS Hon Treasurer) entitled 'Industrial Archaeology in Britain'.
Illustrated talk on Narrow Gauge Railways on the Basingstoke Canal by Stan Meller (SHCS Special Projects Manager).
Another film journey on the waterways of Europe by John Humphries and Hugh McNight. Where have they been this time ?
Details to be announced.
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I feared that 1992 would be an anticlimax after the excitements of 1991, but in spite of being tied to the Hampshire pound by lack of water, the John Pinkerton actually had a very good season.
In the first place, the profits are up on 1991, which is a major achievement in the current economic climate. We put a bit more effort into advertising and opened up two new markets by operating from Fleet over a couple of Bank Holidays, and by selling some charters to exhibitors at the Famborough Air Show. Nevertheless, the recession shows in the reduced takings over the bar (with a few charters being notable exceptions!).
Another plus for the season was that we had no breakdowns or other major problems.
None of this would have been possible without our crews, to whom Bill Homewood and I send our very sincere thanks. Bill also deserves a vote of thanks for stepping into the breach as Crew Organiser when Gill Robins had to drop out. He will continue to do the job next year and any would-be new crew members are invited to contact him on (0276) 61343.
The rest of the organisation looks set to continue as before, with Ann Bird as Booking Manager (0252) 622758, Gill Heather as Crew Organiser, galley manager and roses-and-castles painter (0252) 624612 and me (Roger Cansdale) as Chairman and general dogsbody (0252)616964.
Winter maintenance is the next item on the agenda and now that the BCA is charging us for the use
of the dry dock, we want to be in and out as quickly as possible. Scraping and painting the bottom takes a long time on your own but is a weekend job for half-a-dozen. If you would like to help, please contact Bill or Martin Bowers on (0252)59037.
The John Pinkerton negotiating North Wamborough Lift Bridge - (Nigel Bird)
We have not finalised our plans for next year yet, but I think that we shall be increasing our operations from Fleet since these proved very
popular this year. The BCA's new Canal Centre is due to open in Mytchett at the end of May and tbey would like us to run some trips from there. Apart from that, I think that we shall be back at Barley Mow again. We would still like to return to Odiham but until the problems of silt disposal are resolved and some more dredging done, this is not feasible.
Looking even further ahead, 4th September 1994 will mark the Canal's bicentenary - any bright ideas for a suitable celebratory trip for the JP7 (No, the tunnel won't be open by then!)
The John Pinkerton negotiating North Warnborough Lift Bridge (Nigel Bird)
The John Pinkerton was recently chartered by Worplesdon Parochial Church Council for an outing and the following is a reprint of the report in Crossway, their Parish Magazine, which epitomises the way our charterers view their outings. We have recently had a donation (for the society) of £200 from one of our charterers.
On a sultry summer evening the
vessel John Pinkerton left
Winchfield with fifty intrepid voyagers - men, women and children. The full ship's complement included chaplain and medical officer, as well as a very competent ship's mate, all from Worplesdon parish, and navigation officers who were volunteers of the canal society.
We were to traverse a short stretch of the Basingstoke Canal, built in 1794 to
connect Weybridge (and therefore the Thames) with Basingstoke - and eventually, it was hoped, Southampton; but the vital southern links were never completed. Barges loaded with coal and fertilisers came down from London docks, and returned with timber, chalk and farm produce. The canal was never a commercial success and after it fell into disrepair its restoration in recent years has been due to enthusiasts of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society, who have excavated and made parts of it navigable again. The Society commissioned the building of the narrow boat John Pinkerton in 1976 (named after the engineer who built the canal) and it takes up to 50 passengers on 2-1/2 hour trips, profits going towards further work on the waterway.
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Setting out at a cracking pace - all of two miles an hour - the doughty travellers sailed the murky waters between banks haunted by mallard, moorhen and doubtless other fauna. A couple of dead fish were seen floating, but there must have been some live ones too, as we passed several fishermen (and women) who were probably surprised (and indignant at the disturbance of their quarry) by the quite incredible noise that proceeded from fifty voices all chattering at once.
As to flora, in the water itself were the characteristic leaves of the arrowhead, with its purple-spotted white flowers and on the banks valerian, purple loosestrife, meadowsweet, reed mace, codlins-and-cream (a variety of willowherb), himalayan balsam - now invading many southern riverbanks - and bramble besides an assortment of trees ranging from rowan to silver birch to sweet chestnut and ash. Quite a lot of our journey was beneath trees, and we were most surprised to see tank-traps, pill-boxes and concrete emplacements of the Second World War in these now peaceful surroundings. What route had the invading forces been expected to follow, we wondered ?
At Poulter's Bridge we went through a complicated manoeuvre to wind the boat round and moor it, and nearly all our company climbed out to tackle an al fresco supper of fish and chips on the bank. Two mallard ducks, hoping for crumbs, paddled desperately alongside, but alas, we had none just then.
It was 6.45 when we began our return journey, with lights switched on as it was getting dark. Along the way rain began to fall as we slid our windows shut; distant flashes of lightning warned us of the storm which was finally to break in the early hours, but which mercifully we were now spared. Nearly at our destination, we ran aground briefly,
(can we have some dredging here please. Ed.) reversed, and were fended off the bank with poles. With the news that day fresh in our minds of the QEII having run aground off the coast of North America, one mournful voice wondered if we should all sing 'Abide with me', and this struck me as being so funny that I was barely able to speak through my tears when suggesting a more appropriate hymn, a la Titanic, would be 'Nearer my God, to thee'!
Thanks to Joan Johnson of Guildford for permission to use this article.
200 Years Ago
Continuing the article from a previous issue (No 159).
The rich store of fascinating historical titbits in the records of the Company of the Proprietors of the Basingstoke Canal reveal that in
1790 Mr Eastburn was the resident engineer and his full statement on progress of works was read and approved at a meeting held in the Crown Inn at Basingstoke which adjourned immediately to the Town Hall (I'd love to know why - perhaps the beer was off). At the next meeting held at the Crown and Anchor in The Strand in February
1791 no less than 47 people attended, a sign of the times of course, no ladies were present. They appointed a committee of 20 to look after their affairs and a subcommittee of 11 to look after the accounts.
It was becoming clear that the original estimates were inadequate and further funds would be necessary to complete the canal. Mr Pinkerton was order ordered (sic) to pay particular attention to the bricks used for the tunnel and that they were 'proper for such work'. At the meeting in April 1791 Mr
Pinkerton reported that he expected the first eight miles from the River Wey to open in two weeks time, and he was still confident that he would complete all the work by midsummer 1791.
At the meeting on 6th June 1791 Mr Eastoum (note the different spelling, a common enough occurence at the time) produced an account of the works on the canal, and reported the state thereof by which it appears that twenty-five miles of the cutting are finifhed, or nearly fo, and the remainder is in forwardnefs, except three miles and a half not begun. That three of the locks are finifhed and in ufe, and that twelve other locks are finifhed, except copings and racts, which are fixing, and will be completed in a few days. Nine other locks are in great forwardnefs, and five not begun. The twenty-fix of the bridges are finifhed, and five others in part built. That the aqueduct in the Ash Valley, often foot diameter is finifhed; and the aqueduct at the River Deepford is nearly finifhed. That upwards of one thoufand three hundred yards of the culverts are finifhed and of the tunnel at Gruel Hill two hundred and twenty-three yards are finifhed; twenty yards are nearly finifhed, and six hundred and fourteen yards of heading, or narrow tunnel are made farther into the hill. That there are employed at prefent on the line, five hundred and fifty men, and forty-eight horses at the gins and waggons at the hills, exclufive of the teams employed in drawing materials for the works. The buildings are in general executed in a firm and fubftantial manner. Mr Eaftboum adds, that he has the pleafure to aquaint the meeting, thet the profpects of obtaining a sufficiency of water are very flattering. That the principal feeders are always expected to be found in the upper part of the line, that is, in the tunnel and betwixt the tunnel and Bafingftoke; thefe not yet opened, but the quantity of water at prefent arifing in different situations, amounts to about 15 locks per day, and although we mutt expect in a fucceding dry seafon, that thefe will be diminifhed, yet, in the courfe of the laft six weeks, during which time the springs have been much reduced, he found the principal feeder, which alone produces to the amount of nine locks per day, was very little diminifhed. The locks immediately beyond the eight miles, next the River Wey, as well as the canal, are in great fowardnefs, and going on with expedition. Thefe, when finifhed, will effect a communication with Frimley Hill; where good feeders at the eaft as well as at the weft end are opened, and there is no doubt but they will be confiderably increafed on going farther into the hill.
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Have you won a prize lately ? You didn't join in 1992 ? Look what you have missed ! Next year you might be one of the winners like:
|Miss M Egan (Woking)||£54|
|Miss DC Milsum (Famham)||£26|
|Mr & Mrs D Longley (Fleet)||£14|
|Mr DA Stephenson (Leics)||£14|
|Mr D Kirkpatrick (Odiham)||£55|
|Mr FE Spanton (Woking)||£27|
|Mr RA Knight (Warsash S'ton)||£14|
|Mr & Mrs P Redway (St Johns)||£14|
|Mrs D Black (Fleet)||£55|
|Mr & Mrs J Crook (Brookwood)||£27|
|Mrs J Hunter (Fleet)||£14|
|Mr & Mrs P Redway (St Johns)||£14|
|Mr & Mrs M Waite (St Johns)||£55|
|Mrs P Russell (Dorking)||£27|
|Mr RG Topp (Surbiton)||£14|
|Mr R Cobley (Suffolk)||£14|
|Mr D Smith (Bristol)||£55|
|Mrs P Russell (Dorking)||£27|
|Mrs S Adye (W Byfleet)||£14|
|Mr & Mrs LR Butcher (St Johns)||£14|
The 200 Club is run by and for the SHCS. You can have as many £12 subscriptions as you like, payable by lump sum or by monthly standing order if you prefer to spread the payments. (But depending on your bank's policy you may find the bank charges quite high for paying £1.00 per month). Half the money raised is redistributed as prizes in 6 draws each year. The rest goes to SHCS for restoring the Basingstoke Canal. Over the years we have raised several thousand pounds. The more members we have, the bigger the prize money and the more we can give the Society. Please contact Derek Truman for a form and return it with your cheque or instruction for the bank to: Derek Truman, 11 Connaught Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU139RA
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As many of you will know Bernie Timms resigned as Sales Manager at the beginning of this year. Thanks for all your help Bernie and Sue.
I had the JP stock so it was agreed that Bernie's stock would be passed over to me. Several 'society ladies' had, during the winter, helped me put roses on anything that stood still and I just didn't like to think of it all sitting in my spare (!!) room so it all went to Reading Road Wharf at Easter where the JP was operating. The sales stand was also booked in for the Trail Boat Rally at Taunton and inevitably things snowballed from there with appearances at Fleet Carnival, Ascot Horticultural Show, Henley Traditional Boat Festival and the National at Wakefield to name but a few. Thanks are due to everyone who helped but especially to Dave Junkison (who took the stand to the National in the Society van) and to Martin Bowers (who thought he had escaped from the Sales Stand tent years ago). Thanks are also due to Ann and Nigel Bird for taking the stand to Dogmersfield Show. This is a trial for an idea I would like to promote. I put together all the items they would need which they collected. They then ran the stand and returned the unsold items and the money they had taken. We could'fly the flag' more often if individual members would care to take the stand to their local events. Dogmersfield has proved this will work and solves the problems of one person being tied up with the Sales Stand almost every weekend. It's a good way to meet people and the pricing is simple (no mathematics degrees needed). Anyone interested should contact me (Gill Heather) on (0252) 624612. Additionally help at major events would be a great help so if you see the big yellow banner pop over and see if you can help even if it's only to give me half and hour for lunch.
Painting parties (preparing items for sale) are held on Xanth at Fleet every second Sunday during the winter - again ring me if you are interested in learning as tuition can be easily given. If you find me difficult to contact drop me a line (address on back page) or look out for me at the Woking meetings (2nd Tuesday) or at the Barley Mow (4th Tuesday).
The good news is that despite not having had a full time Sales Manager we have made £1,000 since Easter.
Wakefield Commemorative Plato • see Page 13
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Brickworks Arm - Old Lift Bridge
Whilst putting the new bridge in place across the Brickworks Arm, some interesting relics of the old bridge were found in the bed of the canal, ie Top of the support posts, complete with pulley wheels on top of them and a length of chain with a counterbalance weight attached.
These finds prompted great discussion on how the old bridge was built and operated.
The sketch is one man's idea of the construction of the lift arrangement. Money would have been so short that
no great expense would have been incurred with winches, also there is no sign of anything being attached to the
post; labour would have been available so one man on each comer pulled on a rope attached to the chain, and
up went the bridge with a simple pole under each guide wheel to make it safe. This idea is operation on some lift
bridges to this day.
It is likely that the bridge would have been operated two or four times a week.
What the bridge may have looked like - (Peter Redway)
Woking Pound - Any Problems ?
You may have noticed the lack of water in the canal at Woking. By December this should be back up to normal level - if we have plenty of rain. The pumping at lock 6 from the Rive Ditch will also help.
The contractors at Monument Bridge left a large amount of spoil under the bridge and when they were asked to remove it managed to destroy the seal on the top planks. To renew this seal the whole pound (from Goldsworth bottom lock  to Woodham top lock ) had to be drained.
While this was done various culverts were examined for leaks and the 'leaky' area east of Monument Bridge was surveyed. During this survey a WW1 bomb was found. Mouchel and Partners are undertaking a survey to find out if/where the canal is leaking and to search for a future water supply. This is being paid for by Woking Borough Council.
When this pound is full there should be no reason for the canal not to be open. According to Dave Gerry, Operations Manager for the BCA, this will be the last big stoppage. No major engineering works will cause stoppages on the canal in the near future.
You may have noticed that we now have an increasing number of swans on the canal some of who are now breeding pairs. Unfortunately some of them do get into difficulties. If you see any swans that don't appear well or are injured please don't hesitate to call Swan Lifeline on any of the following numbers:
Trevor & Sue Fox (0483) 765108, Tim Heron (0753) 575894, Vodaphone (0836)211747
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The brainchild of the Canal Director, Paddy Field, this is designed to forge a link between the Basingstoke Canal and the Canal d'Orleans in France. The French are very keen on the idea and wish to promote exchange visits.
Canal d'Orleans runs from Orleans on the Loire to just north of Montagis. It enters another canal which forms a link with the River Seine. A steering group consisting of representatives of The Canal Authority, SHCS, IWA, BCBC, BCAA and Canoeing interests have met and will report as things progress.
If any member would like to take part in any future visit, or entertain French canal buffs who visit here, please let us know. This is long term and a list will be made. Please 'phone or write to Mr PB Jones, 54 Wharf Road. Ash Vale, NrAldershot, Hants, GU125AY. (0252)313076
New Canal Centre at Mytchett
Tendering is in hand for the conversion of the old Robert Haining School at Mytchett to have the canal-side buildings converted. This will result in Canal Offices, Club/Lecture room, Interpretation Centre, Shop and Canoe store. The first phase should be operational in May 1993. There will be a grand opening on spring bank holiday. More details in the next edition.
There may be a requirement for some Society assistance. The shop may require helpers at some time, while the canal walks may require guides. A co-ordinator is required between members and the BCA. If anyone is interested please contact the editorial office for more information.
It is with feelings of humility and deep gratitude that I write to thank you for all the marvellous presents you gave me at the AGM. I do assure you that they are being used and enjoyed to the full.
To say I was surprised and overwhelmed by your kindness and by your generosity greatly understates my feelings both then and now.
I have been privileged and very lucky to have met so many marvellous and interesting people during my time on the canal, and in consequence to have made so many lasting friendships.
One way or another the canal has been a considerable part of my life over 25 years, a period spanning the early days of starry eyed optimism, when we were finding ways of turning dreams into reality, to the present when we have this beautifully restored waterway, an invaluable addition to the countryside's priceless heritage.
The canal is there as a testament to all the years of shared endeavour that have gone into it, and as long as we value it for what it is, will be there for future generations to enjoy.
I have been pleased to be a small part of it. Thank you all and I wish you well.
Looking fora Leading Role
If the Society wishes to regain its star status in the future life of the canal, the solution may lie in the news item tucked away in the chairman's column of BC News 159, which should have been given banner headlines. He revealed that the Society is donating £10,000 towards the cost of constructing a pipeline to supply the canal with an additional 400,000 gallons of water daily. That's quite a significant sum of money by any standards and quite remarkable for a waterways society.
The source of the revenue did not escape the attention of Paddy Field, director of the Basingstoke Canal Authority. He was quick to suggest that the Society might like to make an annual contribution to funds, saying it would go down well with the Joint Management Committee. No doubt it would, but the Society would be well advised not to throw its hard earned cash into the BCA's bottomless bucket without knowing precisely how it would be spent. We'd do better to control the expenditure directly on what we regard as top priority with the added benefits of political gain and publicity value for the Society.
The Society set out to restore the canal to a fully navigable condition. Restored it is, navigable throughout it is not. Water supplies and its conservation would seem to be the most urgent need. Come rain or shine water will never be abundant.
In addition to tackling the western end, the Society might well consider raising funds for back pumping water lost through locks, as its new challenge. By concentrating our resources on the key issue to make the canal more than a local boating pond, the Society may yet realise the dream of 25 years ago and become a leading light again.
9th October 1992
Art for Charity
An art exhibition is being held at the Maltings in Farnham in aid of Emmaus House, a project to provide accommodation for homeless young people in the Aldershot area. Some 40 local artists, both
professional and amateur, are selling their work to help this worthwhile project. The exhibition, in the Johnson Wax Kiln gallery at the Maltings, will be opened on the evening of 14th December by Sir James Scott, Bt, The Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, and will be open - admission free - to the public from 10.00am on 15th December until 5.30pm on 3rd January except for a break over Christmas from 24th December to 1st January inclusive. Come and help the homeless at Christmas, and buy a work of art to adorn your home. What has this to do with the canal ? Nothing, except that it is the brainchild of one of your editors, Brian Fox and it will contain some pictures of the canal............
and it is the season of goodwill to all men.
Taking It Seriously
When one of your new editors decided that it was time he - or she
- got more deeply involved with the canal, he - or she - didn't intend to be taken as literally as it turned out the following weekend. It was the duty of that person whilst crewing on the John Pinkerton to push off the bow, and he - or she - pushed with such enthusiasm that the gap between bank and boat widened beyond the point of no return. With body horizontal, hands on boat and feet on bank, there was an inevitability about the descent of the said body into the less-than-savoury water of the Basingstoke canal.
But your new editors are nothing if not determined. They do not do things by halves. Clambering back on board, this particular editor decided that a wet, bedraggled, muddy, weedy crew member would not be welcomed amongst the passengers who had paid a fee and expected to travel on a clean, dry and comfortable canal trip. He
- or she - decided to edge along the
side of the boat to the galley, where jeans might be changed and wrung out. But not only were the jeans wet - the sandals too had their share of canal silt, and halfway along the JP they slipped and caused the unfortunate crew member to descend yet again into the murky depths, this time up to the neck.
Who was it ? Well, we're certainly not telling. But the passengers certainly enjoyed it: one went as far as to enquire whether it was necessary to hold an Equity card to provide such entertainment on canal trips. Now that's an idea: any suggestions for future JP shows should be addressed to the editors................
A New Canal ?
As a result of the Wilts and Berks Canal having problems with breeding Newts this summer it was proposed by David Stephenson (Chairman of the IWA) at a recent Southern Canals Association meeting to build a new canal linking the Basingstoke with the Wilts and Berks. This canal will be known as the Newts and Bats Canal !
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Mikron Theatre Company
After a break of many years the Mikron Theatre Company visited the Basingstoke Canal on 14th July when they performed 'Imogens War' at the 'Fox and Hounds' Fleet.
It had been hoped that they could bring their narrow boat Tyseley up the canal but closure of the canal in Surrey prevented this.
Around 170 people watched the performance which told the story of the women who worked on the narrow boats in the second world war. The life was hard but exciting
for these trainees who crewed boats carrying 40-45 tons of cargo from Limehouse docks in London to Birmingham and then back from the Coventry coalfields with supplies for canalside factories.
The music and lyrics were excellent as was the acting and, all in all, everyone enjoyed the performance which lived up to the high standards set during their 21 years of travelling the waterways of the country.
Wakefield Commemorative Plate
If you were unable to obtain your Wakefield Festival Commemorative Ribbon Plate at the rally at the end of August, now is your chance to buy one by post. The porcelain plate measures 8" across, the design is in black, yellow and blue, and there is a choice of yellow or blue ribbon. It costs £12.50, including post and packing, £1.00 of which will be donated to your canal group/society. IWA will also receive a donation from the sale of each one. Please state which canal society you support when ordering, and make your cheque payable to Muttlebury Enterprises, Trent Lock, Long Eaton, Nottingham NG10 2FY. Please allow 21 days for delivery.
Senior Lengthsperson Hampshire
A Senior Lengthsperson is required for the Hampshire length of the canal (from the Surrey/Hampshire border at Ash to the eastern portal of the Greywell Tunnel). Duties are not onerous but someone is required to organise the lengthsperson scheme in Hampshire. Please contact David Millett on (0252) 617364 if you are interested.
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The BCBC have had another busy and successful year. It started with a canal cleanup weekend in Fleet with a workboat being filled with rubbish including a bicycle. The boating events kicked off with our usual Easter moving rally although our original idea of going to Godalming were forestalled by lack of water. The re-opening anniversary saw four boats heading for Frimley Lodge Park. Together we just fitted into Ash lock. The event was the first of our regular exchange visits with the Hilperton Boat Club from the K & A. The sun shone and as usual the company was good.
Whitsun saw a contingent of BCBC boats at Taunton for the National Trail Boat Rally for which we received the runners-up award for the most boats from one club.
Then came our major event of the year - Fleet Canal Carnival. Some 40 boats decorated in the theme 'A taste of Europe' were moored at Reading Road wharf. There were stalls and dragons on the grass area and the annual Raft race. The sun shone all day and great fun was had by all, especially those tasting the 15 different European wines on Xanth. In the evening we moved to the 'Fox and Hounds'. As darkness fell 30 of the boats turned on their illuminations and set off to the wharf once more, lead by a jazz band on one of the work boats. Even at that late hour the tow path and wharf were packed with spectators. £1,200 was raised for local charities and we have been asked to repeat our performance next year.
In August we returned the Hilperton visit and had a picnic on the K & A. The sun shone again and here was another moving rally during the bank holiday but restricted to the summit pound.
In September there was a gathering of boats at Eelmoor Flash to watch the air display/traffic jams. No club
year would be complete without a September 'Fox and Hounds' rally. Again the sun shone.
October saw us once again cleaning the canal in Fleet. This time we found a complete bus stop ! Our next event is the annual mince pie gathering a Chequers Wharf on Boxing day with plenty of fresh air, mince pies and mulled wine after the Christmas day binge.
Other events during the year have included two rounds of the interclub waterway quizzes with Byfleet Boating Club and the Wey Cruising Club. Byfleet won the first and BCBC the second. There is now the traditional loo seat - The Seat of Learning - awarded to the winner of this competition which is dedicated to Pat Saunders.
We have installed a water point at Winchfield dedicated to Tom Griffin our first treasurer.
Don't forget our joint meeting with SHCS at Woking on 8th December when we have Dave Dare from the hotel boats which visited the canal in May talking about his work.
Point to ponder - who is the righteous member of the BCBC upon whom the sun always shines ?
Gill Heather - Secretary
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4th September 1994 heralds the 200th Anniversary of the Basingstoke Canal. The Society is offering a prize for the most original idea on how to celebrate this anniversary. Ideas please (in writing) to Peter Jones, 54 Wharf Road, Ash Vale, Nr Aldershot, Hants, GU12 5AY. (0252)313076.
This is a once in a lifetime chance to do something spectacular on the
canal; lets have some spectacular ideas!
A Canadian-type canoe was stolen from Broad Oak on 30th October. It is dark green in colour and has an eagle emblem at the bow end. Any information about its whereabouts would be gratefully appreciated. Please telephone Philip Riley on (0252) 384850 (Office hours) or (0256) 702109 (evenings and weekends).
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Philip Pratt by Peter Coxhead
Since the last issue of the News we have lost Philip Pratt who died on 27th April after a long fight against cancer during which he retained his ever cheerful outlook on life. He was 77 years old.
Philip was bom in Birmingham, the family home being close by the Gas Street Basin and it was here that he first developed his interest in canals which climaxed when he became associated with the Basingstoke over half a century later.
His parents hoped he would become a silversmith but this didnt suit the young Phil and at 17-1/2 he joined the Army, enlisting in the 60th Rifles. He saw service in Belfast, India, Burma, finishing up doing his bit against Hitler from France right through to Germany and victory.
After the war he became a linesman with the Great Western Railway based at Swindon. By now he was a married man with four daughters but life must have been tough going on £3/10 a week.
He and his wife then started up a nursing home in Bournemouth but this didn't work out too well so having got a taste for medicine he joined the operating theatre staff at Poole General Hospital.
In 1973 he and his second wife, Joyce, moved to Cove nursing Lord Skelmersdale. It was here that he got to know the Basingstoke Canal. A move was made to Woking where he worked for Norwich Union until his retirement after which he settled in West Byfleet.
For several years up to his death Phil was Exhibitions Manager. This involved travelling all over the place to various shows and rallies to set up display stands. He also spent a lot of time giving talks to schools. He was always popping up at working parties along the canal with either his still and cine cameras or artists sketch book and much of our restoration work was recorded by him.
When not working on the canal he spent many hours ferrying mentally handicapped and sick people to and from hospital.
Philip was always cheerful and keen to help right up to the end of his life. The word 'No' just didn't exist in his vocabulary. He was one of nature's gentlemen and will be greatly missed by all of us.
We will shortly be erecting a seat in his memory which will be positioned close by lock 3, a favourite spot for Phil and Joyce. This tangible gesture would, we are sure, have been appreciated by Phil for who knows, a budding artist may one day sit there and sketch passing boats.
Peter Cooper by Peter Jones
Peter Cooper died recently, aged 55, after a long illness, leaving a wife and young daughter aged 7. Frank Jones represented the Canal Society at the funeral. A donation was sent to the Hospice where Peter spent his last days.
Sometime during the mid seventies Peter appeared on the canal at Deepcut. No one can quite say for sure when they first met him. A reserved, quiet person, he was happy to do anything he was given.
From 1979 his name appeared on 'Working Party News' in the News Letter and later in BC News. Long hours were spent phoning working party leaders and organisers. Finding a new slant to the column must have been difficult after 10 years. He also kept the flag flying in 'Navvies', the organ of the WRG. His passion was steam and in particular the London South Western Railway. This follows the canal from Woodham to Frimley and passes over it again near Basingstoke. He has written various books on locomotives and rolling stock of the LSWR.
In 1982 he surprised us all by marrying a beautiful blonde nurse. Three years later Lucy was born. He was quite graphic in his description of his daughter. 'Mind you I see a lot of her, as I am awake most of the night'.
While walking near Curzon Bridge recently, where the Canal and railway are side by side, Peter Cooper came to mind. Perhaps that is where his spirit lies.
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A boat counter has been installed at Zephon Common Swing Bridge. It will count large boats but exclude dinghies canoes etc.
King John's Castle
The John Pinkerton made a successful trip to the castle on 17th October.
A donation of £200 has been received from Midland Bank Inland Waterways Cruising Association following the winding up of that association.
A video of all aspects of recreation on the canal has been made by Fleet Video Club. This video should be available for viewing shortly.
Robin Higgs, our retired chairman, has been appointed a Society Vice President.
Southern Canals Association visited the Basingstoke Canal in the spring. They inspected the Goldsworth flight of locks, Ash lock and the western end.
Zephon Common Swing Bridge
This bridge is now structurally complete but not yet operational due to legal issues. It was paid for by Martin Grant homes as a planning gain.
Old Pondtail Bridge
This bridge is being refurbished by Hampshire County Council after many years of pressure from the Society.
Hart District Council
Councillors cruised on the John Pinkerton to inspect the canal from Fleet to Crookham Village.
Work is almost complete on draining and levelling the towpath at Malthouse cutting . A new type of plastic piling has been used. This work was carried out by BCA Rangers.
The Information Line is now operational. It covers the current navigational situation of the canal and services available. It is updated regularly. The number is (0252) 343667. The BCA's number remains unchanged at (0252) 313810.
A Complete Guide
The Complete Guide is a newspaper style publication covering all aspects of the canal and is published by a newspaper company for the Canal Authority. It is available from newsagents along the canal corridor at a price of £0.20p or free at the Woking monthly meetings (2nd Tuesday). We have enclosed a copy of it with this Newsletter.
There are still no bye-laws (sic) in force for the Canal despite Society pressure for 12 years ! If you feel strongly about this issue please talk to your local Councillor and ask him/her to bring some pressure to bear on the Joint Management Committee (JMC) Councillor.
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Copy date for Next BC News: 15th January 1993
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.
Editorial Team: Kathryn Dodington, Brian Fox and Peter Jones
Editorial Offices: Sequoia, Sheets Heath Lane, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey,GU24 OEH (0483) 473630
Brian Fox 60 Dinorben Avenue, Fleet, Hants, GU139SH (0252)613147
Peter Jones 54 Wharf Road, Ash Vale, Nr Aidershot, Hants, GU125AY (0252)313076
Chairman: David Millett 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Hampshire,GU139SW. (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, Camberley, Surrey, GU165DU (0276) 65622
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hampshire, RG25 1AH. (0256) 702109
Membership Secretary: Edwin Chappell The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1QR. (0372) 272631
Dredger Manager: Mike Munro 46 Malthouse Close, Church Crookham, Hampshire, GU13 0TB (0252) 624643
Special Projects Manager: Stan Meller 101 Branksome Hill Road, College Town, Camberley, Surrey, GU14 4QG (0276) 32096
Working Party Information: Peter Redway 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1SL (0483) 721710
Trip Boat: Ann Bird 25 Farnham Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU139HZ (0252) 622758
Sales Manager: Gill Heather 11 Holland Gardens, Fleet, Hampshire, GU13 9NE (0252) 624612
Mail Order Sales: John Greenfield 9 Mistletoe Road, Yateley, Camberley, Surrey, GU17 7DT (0252) 873167
Talks Organiser: Arthur Dungate 187 Ellerdine Road, Hounslow, Middlesex, TW3 2PU No Telephone
Exhibitions Manager: David Junkison 4 Thames Meadow, West Molesley, Surrey, KT14 6BE (081) 941 0685
Audio Visual Producer: Arthur Dungate 187 Ellerdine Road, Hounslow, Middlesex, TW3 2PU No Telephone
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ (0252) 715230
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