No. 164 Winter 1993/4
Floating weed, especially in the Woking area, has been an unpleasant sight for some years, but it became a major problem in 1993. It developed to such a thickness that it clogged outboard engines; inhibited the growth of other forms of flora and fauna; and was a profound nuisance to anglers. It is so offensive to the eye that it causes questions to be asked as to whether the canal is being maintained properly. Moreover it can be a safety hazard, especially to children.
The problem is not, of course, confined to the Basingstoke canal: the Kennet and Avon suffers similarly and so do other waterways. It is reported that at the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port several people have mistaken the duckweed for solid ground in recent years. What happened to those who made such a mistake is left to the imagination ! The causes of the growth of duckweed in such abundance are not well understood. It does not grow higher up in the Hampshire part of the canal. We are told that slow flowing water combined with low boat traffic and the presence of nutrients in the water are all contributory factors, but this cannot be the whole story. Research is going on, by British Waterways amongst others, and hopefully this will result in measures to keep it in check in due course. Meanwhile, credit goes to the Basingstoke Canal Authority for their efforts to try to clear the weed. A mechanical weed cutter employed by them reduced the thickness of weed in a section of the canal at Woking, but unfortunately did not clear it sufficiently to make a visible difference even on that limited stretch. And the cut weed soon recovers from such partial measures. To clear it thoroughly by these means would be prohibitively expensive. There might be a case for the Canal Society to train volunteers in the use of the BCA's weedcutter to
deal with this problem, but the BCA seems reluctant to allow unrestricted operation by volunteers in case their equipment is damaged.
Chemicals are said not to be a good idea, because they result in killing other things than just the weed. Whether any weedkiller could be developed which does not have such undesirable side effects is questionable, but work is going on at Liverpool University into the lifecycle of the weed and this could result in some effective control measures. But clearly this could be some way off.
Grass Carp ?
One other possibility is to introduce a fish which feeds on the weed. There is such a fish - the Grass Carp. These feed
voraciously on weed, and have been used to control it in enclosed waters. The introduction of these fish has to be licensed by the National Rivers Authority and the Ministry of Food and Fisheries, because of the danger of their escaping into the wild and breeding, when they would cause undesirable damage to the ecology. Under controlled conditions they have been used on canals, confined by grilles. They could not be used on a canal whilst it is being used for navigation, unless there were sophisticated means of limiting their migration: bubble barriers are under investigation for this purpose, but are not yet proven.
With the closure to navigation of the canal at Mytchett this winter for repair of the road bridge, there is an ideal opportunity for at least trying to solve the problem with the use of Grass Carp. With the use of grilles, section by section of the canal could be populated with these fish, after which they could be removed by stunning electrically. Alternatively it should not be beyond wit of man to devise some floating cage to contain the fish whilst they devour the weed. Let us not lose this opportunity to at least do some trials along these lines, and hopefully to find some way of ridding the canal permanently of this obnoxious weed.
Parliamentary Waterways Group
I have attended the first two meetings after the Group was opened to outside bodies. The October meeting was addressed by Edmund Whelan, the Legal Adviser to the Royal Yachting Association, and his presentation covered the subject of 'Are Rivers for Boats ?' and legal rights of navigation. This has a bearing on canals as well, especially the Basingstoke Canal.
The December meeting involved a presentation by two senior officials from the Department of Transport regarding the new regulations for passenger carrying craft (over 12 passengers) coming into force as a result of the Marchioness disaster.
We heard of many new rules and costs that could affect the operation of the Pinkerton, but the new regulations are well over the top as far as canal trip boats are concerned, especially those run by charities with volunteer skippers and crew.
Continued on page 7
Divers Ray Taylor and Phil Brevett securing cables under Perseverance
Photograph courtesy of Aldershot News
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The day after the headline 'Bid to reopen the Town's Canal' was
blazoned across the Basingstoke Gazette on 17th September, a party of 18 people - local councillors, members of the Basingstoke Heritage Society, ramblers as well as members of the Canal Society - walked the 1-1/2 miles from Penny Bridge to the western portal of the Greywell Tunnel to review the remarkable progress which has been made by the Society's volunteers in restoring the towpath. From the basin at Penny Bridge, where the canal bed is now looking remarkably like a canal again, past Brick Kiln Bridge to the Brickworks Arm is now a good footpath, topped for the most part with rolled stone. At the Brickworks Arm, where the Society has replaced the old lift bridge, there are still indications to show that it was once the scene of intense activity. The remains of the brick kilns are still discernible; the Seagull, an old wooden barge with 70' elm timbers running the length of it, lies sunken and waiting to be restored; bricks larger than any now in use, made some 200 years ago; a boundary post erected in 1794 showing BCN, the limit of the land owned by the canal company.
Just beyond the Brickworks Arm is Slades Bridge, ownership now uncertain, being restored brick by brick, incorporating the large original bricks wherever possible. Volunteers are repointing the original brickwork where it is sound: where it is not, they are cutting out and replacing the bricks painstakingly section by section. Then on the towpath goes to Eastrop Bridge, where trees are still being cleared to enable the towpath to extend to the portal of the tunnel. This last section is hard going, especially in wet weather, but Peter
Redway hopes to have it cleared by the Spring, and the whole length from Penny Bridge to the tunnel by the
autumn of 1994. Construction of a footpath extending to the remaining 3-1/2 miles from Penny Bridge into Basingstoke is in the hands of the Heritage Society, but there are problems of ownership to overcome first. It may be that the footpath will not be able to follow the route of the old canal all the way, because of the building which has taken place, but there is little doubt that some route will be found to restore the link between the canal and the town it once served.
As for the restoration of the canal itself into Basingstoke, there has been an exciting development. Basingstoke and Deane Council has backed the idea of bringing the canal back into the town and has voted the sum of £30,000 to commission a full engineering feasibility study to look at the implications and practicability. It will cover issues such as the obstacles of the M3 and A30, land acquisition, water supply and economic viability. All these are important considerations, and the Council deserves congratulation for tackling them. The Council was right to feel that the town lacked a good centre feature, and that a canal basin would satisfy this need in a similar way to that at Stratford on Avon, with overnight moorings, lawns and parkland, flowers and trees, with perhaps a waterside pub or a floating restaurant. A colourful and attractive feature such as this would do much to dispel the grey image with which the town is widely viewed.
1994 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
NOTICE is hereby given that the SEVENTEENTH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Limited will be held in the Mytchett Community Centre, Mytchett Road, Mytchett, Surrey on SATURDAY 23rd APRIL 1994 commencing at 6:30pm.
All of the Society's Directors (known as the Executive Committee) retire automatically each year at the AGM and are eligible for nomination if they wish to stand. However, it is essential that more members come forward to spread the load of running the Society. It has been very disappointing that almost no volunteers have come forward to fill positions, such as Social Secretary, which are vacant. Please consider whether you can help as the Society can only be as good and effective as its members, and if you want a strong Society with a wide spread of activities, it is up to you, the members.
To act as guardian and supporter of the canal there are still many problems to tackle and campaigns to be fought. If you would like more information about serving on the committee 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 11th March 1994.
Hon. Secretary, Philip Riley, Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hampshire, RG251AH.
National Rivers Authority (NRA) Emergency Hotline
If any member should notice any pollution of the Basingstoke Canal from any source please contact the free 24 hour emergency hotline of the NRA (0800) 807060. In addition, report the matter to the Basingstoke Canal Authority whose number is (0252) 370073 (Answerphone out of office hours). Any other emergency, i.e. bank breaching, flooding, etc. should be reported immediately to the Basingstoke Canal Emergency Telephone line (24hrs a day) on (0850) 751347.
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On Wednesday 20th October, Perseverance, the Society's venerable old steam dredger, left the canal for her new home at the Boat Museum, Ellesmere Port. Although the day was tinged with sadness for all those who had known and operated her over the last twenty odd years, it was also comforting to know that she will be fully restored as a working exhibit, at the premier centre of our waterways history.
Now we can ensure, for all who care about such things, the opportunity to see her in all her working glory and learn something about her remarkable history, not the least being the story of her sterling service in restoring the Basingstoke. Neither does our involvement with her completely cease, as Society members have been invited to advise on the restoration, train museum staff in her operation, and hold our own Society operations day at the museum.
With the restoration programme already underway, the museum plans to have her working again by Easter 1994 and I will be keeping everyone informed of her progress through the newsletter, with the first aim of organising a Society trip to see her on her first day back in steam.
The alternatives to donating her to the museum would not, I feel, have been a fitting - and lasting - tribute to the hard work and dedication of her, and her crews. It would undoubtedly have cost many thousands of pounds of the Society's funds in attempting to put her back into safe working order and under our own steam (!) even supposing that we could have surmounted the near impossible, and lengthy, logistical exercise in order to achieve this.
Given these problems, allied to that of there being very little prospect of ever again being able to use her in anger for dredging on the Basingstoke (as I shall explain later), the probability is that she would have deteriorated to such an extent before we could have completed the work that restoring her to steam would have been impossible. I don't think anyone would have wanted to have seen her kept on the Basingstoke in such a condition, and I feel sure that the money can be better spent on more worthwhile projects to keep the canal viable.
Before I move on to the subject of the future for a volunteer dredging programme I would finally like to thank everyone who took part in the very involved dismantling and removal operation. We certainly had one or two moments of drama on the way but it is a tribute to their outstanding efforts that the operation was eventually concluded so successfully. Also, I would like to express my gratitude and admiration at their tenacity, to all the volunteer dredging crews that have worked with me since I became dredger manager.
Volunteer Dredging ?
What of dredging, volunteer or otherwise, for the future ? Well I must admit that I personally fear for the long term viability of the canal, particularly the Hampshire summit, as a navigable waterway under the present circumstances. Besides being hemmed in on all sides by legislation that, had it come into force 25 years ago, would have defeated any idea of restoration, we all have many other problems to contend with, not the least being the naturalists.
English Nature's current proposals for dredging defy comprehension or practical means of achievement. If put into effect they would ensure that the canal is indeed reclaimed -
but by nature, not for boating, angling or in any way which would be appreciated by anybody at all. However, apart from the naturalists, the problem at the moment is the lack of usabte licensed tip sites and regrettably, very little official forward planning to improve this situation. There is only one such site currently authorised for use (Broad Oak) which will probably not be ready for use until well into 1994. Unfortunately, this site also has an operating restriction imposed on it preventing any weekend working, thus precluding any realistic volunteer involvement.
Admittedly discussions are taking place concerning other sites (not ideally situated) but it will take at least another year before they could become operational, and similar operating restrictions could again be imposed without careful preparation in seeking approval.
The BCA, as the responsible authority, does not appear to have any significant budget for dredging, despite an authoritative report highlighting the long term need for this - at £100,000 per mile, if undertaken commercially. Under their straitened circumstances it seems that the BCA will try and manage with their current dredger, Unity, with government work schemes providing the costly labour element. It is difficult to see how such 'homespun' arrangements can be reasonably expected to cope with preventing further deterioration of the canal, let alone being able to address the backlog which has, in places, virtually halved the depth achieved during the restoration dredging.
As a practical solution to these problems the Society has put forward proposals to the BCA for a long term dredging operation, at considerably reduced cost, using volunteers. Its realisation is
continued on page 5
dependant [sic], however, on money being forthcoming for modern dredging equipment suitable for dredging in restricted depths of water, (which is why the Society's tugs and Perseverance were not considered as being a realistic proposition) - besides, of course, on tip sites being available.
The Society has intimated its willingness to play its part in funding this, according to our means, but the county councils will undoubtedly have to put their hands in
their pockets if this proposal is ever to see the light of day. As you will probably have anticipated, the response (surprise, surprise) has so far been less than enthusiastic. The ball, however, remains firmly in officialdom's court since we do not have either the authority or practical means to undertake anything on our own.
So, besides tip sites, money and equipment, what else do I want for Christmas ? Nothing much really, apart from an outbreak of commonsense.
To quote the famous line 'give us the tools and we will finish the job'. I know that given the wherewithal the volunteers can keep the Basingstoke canal property dredged to everyone's (including the naturalists) benefits. The alternative, as far as I can see, is to start mounting a restoration campaign for the derelict Basingstoke canal in the not too distant future.|
Dredger Manager (sans dredger !)
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(above) Perseverance being readied for the move to Ellesmere Port
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The BATTLE of KING'S HEAD BRIDGE
Located near Frimley Green this bridge is known generally as the 'King's Head Bridge' because of its proximity to the pub of that name. In common with its twin the Mytchett Place Road Bridge (MPRB) it was badly mutilated at the start of WW2 to strengthen it for carrying the weight of army traffic. The emergency nature of the work done was satisfactory for the purpose. This was achieved by removing the brick arch and replacing it with steel beams which were not treated in any way to resist corrosion.
Now, more than 50 years later the steel beams are badly rusted and considered only capable of supporting very lightweight road traffic. Surrey County Council (SCC) have provided width limiting bollards and traffic signals to restrict both size and weight of vehicles using both this and the MPRB.
It is about four years since the 'Battle of the King's Head Bridge' started. The opening shots were fired by SCC who published plans to demolish the bridge and rebuild it much wider and with a two lane deck which would carry the weight of the heaviest of vehicles using our roads. This proposal was regarded as totally unacceptable by the Society for several reasons.
One: the bridge is an original Pinkerton structure and deserves preservation. Two: it is one of only two bridges on the canal constructed principally of sarson stone (the other is MPRB). Three: although not listed, it is in the Conservation area of the canal. Four: being adjacent to the much used Frimley Lodge Park it is 'on show' to many people interested in the canal and its history. Five: we
consider building a wide bridge of two lanes able to accept modern heavyweight vehicles is a waste of money because the Guildford Road would require large amounts of money to be spent before it would be suitable to carry the same traffic to Brookwood and Pirbright. Six: the local residents don't wish to see a massive bridge and we are in sympathy with them.
Following publicity for the SCC plans the Society published a paper
criticising the proposal and offering an alternative. The paper was widely circulated and found acceptance by most recipients except of course the engineers from SCC. Our proposal was that since the foundations and abutments still seemed in good condition and fit to continue to support the load, the bridge should be repaired.
The repair would consist of cleaning and re-pointing the sarson stone of the abutments. This to be followed by building a new brick arch on the lines of the original albeit, if SCC think advisable, incorporating a concrete deck to carry the load. We offered to do the work of repairing the parapets. If this procedure was adopted it follows that traffic signals would need to be incorporated to control the direction of traffic using the bridge. Due to the narrow carriageway of the deck traffic signals should incorporate a pedestrian override to
stop vehicles for a period sufficient for pedestrians to cross. Since the towing path crosses the canal at this location we also suggested a small amount of 'land take' to allow for a ramp up from the towing path to the road level on each side of the bridge, for wheelchairs.
Currently the Compulsory Purchase Orders for the land required have been published and we have lodged an objection. We have almost been promised that there will be a public enquiry at which we will present our objections in detail. We have already selected a team to make our representations.
One of the principal objections that could be lodged against our proposal is the requirement of a suitable route for heavy traffic from Frimley to Guildford. Our response is that the Blackwater Valley Relief Road now under construction and the junction with the A323 will provide a first class route, and the short term alternative is via the Mytchett Place Road Bridge and the road over Tunnel Hill.
The contract for reconstruction of the Mytchett Place Road Bridge has now been let. The suggestions put forward on behalf of the Society, to ensure the appearance of the original, have been adopted. We were consulted by the engineers to advise how Pinkerton's elipsoidal bridge sides could be reproduced. It is good to report that excellent relations are being maintained with the Surrey engineers.
Stan Meller - Special Projects Mgr
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The Pinkerton made its last trip of the year on 18th November, taking guests invited to the BCA Canal Centre Press Day down to Lock 28 to view the Lock Gate Workshop. The result was a brief spot on Meridian Television and some newspaper space.
The boat is still sitting at the Canal Centre and we may do some of the winter overhaul there. We are booked into the dry dock in February for the usual bottom scraping and painting. If anyone is willing to help with this, Martin Bowers would like to hear from you (0252) 513095.
As mentioned last time, we held a Captains' Evening at the Fox and Hounds. This was widely agreed to have been a useful forum for exchanging ideas. These ranged from general matters to detailed items such as "Can we have a smaller kettle, please?" (The answer is yes).
Our end of season meeting agreed that operations next year should follow basically the same pattern as this year. We shall start at Easter in Fleet, then move to Odiham until 30 June. We then move back to Barley Mow for the rest of the year.
River Wey Trip
We intend to do another trip down to the River Wey on Friday and Saturday 6 and 7 May, returning on Sunday and Monday 8 and 9 May. If you are interested, please contact Ann Bird on (0252) 811707 (this is the new number for Pinkerton bookings). We shall be advertising the trip in the press nearer the time.
One thing that will change next year is Club night which will revert to Tuesday evenings. These will
start in May and continue through to the end of August. Do make use of these - it's your chance to get a ride on the Pinkerton for free that members of the public pay £4.00 for!
There will be some changes on the Committee. Kathryn Dodington will be joining and will be taking on some of the crew training that Gill Heather has been doing, allowing Gill more time for her other engagement. Robert Pring will be trying to co-ordinate our marketing and publicity activities, and Mike Munro, now that he no longer has Perseverance to play with, has agreed not only to repaint the sides of the boat but also to act as general handyman.
I shall be standing down as Chairman as from the next AGM in April, due to priorities of family and the unfortunate need to earn a living. I have had enormous pleasure and satisfaction from my time as chairman of the Boat Company, largely due to the hard work done by all the other people involved in it, to whom I am shall always be grateful. The thrill of the various pioneering trips into newly restored bits of the canal is something I will never forget; thanks to everyone who made it possible.
Members will recall the feature on Ted Hammond in the summer issue of the BC News but, sadly, Ted passed away peacefully in late September and condolences are due to his widow Kay and her family.
In addition to his canal interests, especially the Basingstoke Canal, Ted had many other talents, including being an accomplished musician, who could play the sousaphone, violin, double bass, flute and piccolo. He played in various dance bands and also the Warlingham Corps of Drums. He was an excellent target shooter with the Rifle Association.
Ted also loved railways and trains; the Railway Timetable, so I am told, was his favourite bedtime reading. Trams featured in his interests too; he even woke his daughter, Elizabeth, in the small hours to take her to see the last tram ever to run in Purley.
I have been pleased to have known Ted since the early 1970s when he first appeared on my offside bank working parties in Hampshire and many a yarn was told around the lunchtime bonfires.
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As a result a special meeting is being set up with the Chief Examiner of the Department of Transport Marine Examiners Department to discuss many issues which came to light mainly in respect of the new Boatmaster's Licence system. This meeting is being arranged by the IWA with participation from Societies and Trusts with volunteer run charity boats. We will be fighting to reduce the impact as far as this Society is concerned.
The January meeting of the Group is being addressed by Baroness Denton, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of the Environment responsible for Inland Waterways, and there are various questions to be raised with her at the meeting.
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'What a marvellous site for a national rally', exclaimed Ken Goodwin when, as chairman of the Inland Waterways Association, he first set eyes on Frimley Lodge Park at the reopening of the Basingstoke Canal. These days the venue for the IWA's annual boat gathering is chosen more for its riparian suitability to house the ever expanding land based needs than the attraction of the waterway itself.
That's why Peterborough was chosen for last year's gathering of nearly 500 boats, nowadays more properly called a Water Festival. Not that the association's founder, Robert Aickman, would have disapproved; he argued strongly for the first rally of its kind to be run as a festival. It was held at Market Harborough in 1950 and although it was intended to focus attention on the value of our inland waterways, like a good television commercial today, Aichman recognised then the essential value of entertainment to promote the association's message.
He would, however, have been less pleased with the demise of the campaigning element which was at the heart of former rallies. Back in 1970, for instance, the IWA held the event on the Wey Navigation in Guildford to support the Society's
campaign for public ownership and restoration of the Basingstoke Canal.
But times have changed. Perhaps the presence of hundreds of boats and the publicity they attract is sufficient to promote public awareness of our
|waterways and their value, with the main aim being to raise money to support efforts to restore those canals from which boats disappeared long ago.
Peterborough was certainly an excellent venue, with municipal lawns stretching down to the River Nene beside the theatre, so that it was possible to have a good number of boats afloat on purpose-built moorings, a large exhibition site and space for visitors to wander round but in a reasonably contained area. Not that all the visiting boaters were lucky enough to get moorings close to the main site; many found themselves well away from the town with distant pylons and factory chimneys across a vast expanse of desolate, flat fenland as their visual backdrop.
Why boat owners bother beats me. Breasted up, three at a time, bow to stem, always seems to ma the antipathy of what attracts most people to boating. And two weeks to get up the Nene from the south
and the same back meant, for most working people, complicated weekend stages with the hassle and expense of transport home. But thankfully the number of boats seems to increase and never ceases to attract the public and delighted local authorities,
although EC regulations and Health and Safety officers have rules which require fire 'breaks' between groups of boats and fewer breasted up, which may reduce the visual impact of future rallies, not to mention mooring problems for the habourmaster. And those boaters who found themselves far removed from the rally site are seeking a fairer allocation of moorings than having to
|queue at dawn for a prime position at the next 'national'.
Songs of Praise
As many campers as boaters set up their temporary homes in an adjacent field. And everyone arriving by car enjoyed free parking in Peterborough's surrounding car parks.
Publicity scoop of this year's gathering was TVs 'Songs of Praise', recorded at the festival with an inland waterways theme which was one of the best Sunday evening 'services' of its kind. But watching part of the lengthy rehearsal, which took several hours, erased my image of spontaneity which I used to associate with the programme.
Gill Heather and David Freeman erected the Society's sales stand, among those of other leading canal societies, IWA branches, clubs and associations, promoting their aims and selling their wares for funds. Michael Prince, David and Rosemary Millett, John Hulbert and Doug and Maureen Morgan signed up new members, sold canafware and provided tourist information about the Basingstoke Canal.
If you've never visited a IWA
festival, the 1994 event will be held on the Lee & Stort Navigation which is closer for southerners. With craft stalls, boats to see, chandlery, paintings to buy, books for sale, and many other products and services plus plenty of entertainer!, it is well worth a visit.
Songs of Praise being recorded at Peterborough
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Zebon Common Swing Bridge
The new swing bridge at Crookham Village was opened formally on 14th December by Hampshire County Councillor Alex Varden, in the presence of Peter Crawley (Chairman of Crookham Village Parish Council), Paddy Field (Canal Director), Annette Weiss (BCA Public Relations) and Stan Knight of the Society and several local representatives, four horses and two dogs. The horses were not able to cross the bridge, because at present it has a metal surface, but Paddy Field has assured their riders that a special rubberised surface will be laid soon which would make it quieter and safer for the horses. Cars will not be permitted across the bridge, and bollards are to placed in the tracks on either side to ensure that none can reach the bridge. The bridge was funded by Martin Grant Homes Ltd as part of an agreement associated with the Velmead Estate Development at Zebon Copse.
The last bridge was demolished in 1950 in what was described by the County Surveyor (quoting local opinion) as 'an unnecessary and
high handed act of destruction', following an argument between the County
Council and the New Basingstoke Canal Company as to whether there was a public right of way across the bridge. The bridge was originally built as an accommodation road to restore access to the few buildings in the area which were cut off by the building of the canal, but it fell into disrepair. In 1950 the Council and the Canal Company were each arguing that the other should repair it, when in July it was opened to let a small barge through, the Canal Company reported that it had collapsed. Rather than let it be a danger, they had sawn it up, and offered the timber to the county for the erection of a footbridge. The argument about responsibility went on and does not seem to have been resolved, though for some time there was a pontoon across the bridge (provided by the Canal Company) to enable pedestrians to cross.
Now, at last, it looks as though it has been established that there is a right of way for pedestrians and horses, and that the BCA has the responsibility to maintain the new bridge.
||The opening of the new swing bridge
Lt. Col. Sir James Scott, Bt
Vice President of the Society and Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir James Scott died early in November after a fall whilst out riding with the Hampshire hunt of which he was chairman.
'Jim' Scott retired from the Army in 1969 after a distinguished Service career and devoted himself to public service in his beloved Hampshire. As the first chairman of the Basingstoke Canal Joint Management Committee in 1981 when it was set up, he gave great encouragement to the restoration of the canal and followed its progress with interest. With his natural charm and indefatigable energy he was always very approachable, and always supported canal events including the Canoe Trials which he attended as a guest in Fleet one year. He lived at Rotherfield Park, near Alton, which he opened to the public during the summer.
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Preserved transport trips are enjoyable as far as they go, but that generally means no great distance. One excursion, which is not only the last of its kind, but also seems to retain the atmosphere of a bygone age, is a cruise aboard the world's last sea-going paddle steamer the MV Waverley.
Society members joined the Waverley at Tower Pier on the Thames for one of her last trips of the 1993 season. After the daylong trip to Chatham on the Medway, via Southend-on-Sea, the paddle steamer was heading for Bristol before steaming home to Glasgow.
After a week or two of changeable autumn weather, the Sunday booked in October was bright and fine, attracting some 800 Waverley supporters and Londoners looking forward to the sort of day trip out of London which used to keep steamers busy throughout the season until the 1950s.
Waverley was a Clyde vessel built at the Pointhouse, Glasgow, yard of Anthony and John Inglis. The 693 ton vessel, 200 feet long, and capable of carrying 1,000 passengers was one of twenty on the Clyde when she was launched in 1947. She was built for the London and North Eastern Railway Company but spent most of her working life under the flag of the Caledonian Steam Ship Co.
|The boat is the fourth to bear the name - the first was launched in 1828 - of a romantic soldier named Edward Waverley, created by Sir Walter Scott, who appeared in that became known as his Waverley novels.
By 1973 Waverley was the last 'paddler' on the Clyde and had her own supporters' club in the form of
the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society. By then in need of renovation, Caledonian MacBrayne sold her to the Society for a token fee of one pound for possible use as a static museum piece and as a restaurant. But to enthusiasts preserving steam engines, canals or any other historic utility, relegating the apple of their eye to a mere exhibit holds little attraction. In much the same way the Canal Society embarked on restoring the Basingstoke Canal to through navigation and nothing less, so the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society setout to restore Waverley to full working order. The Waverley Steam Ship Company was formed as a registered charity, and with £40,000 raised by public appeal and £30,000 from the Scottish Tourist Board, the vessel was back in service on the Clyde in 1975. How that was done is a longer story with as many triumphs and disappointments as experienced by the Canal Society in its battle to save the canal.
Waverley resumed its trade on the Clyde but gradually went further afield as passenger opportunities opened up,
until 1981 when she did her first
round Britain cruise, operating briefly from various ports and harbours.
The London to Chatham day out took the best part of 10 hours, calling at Greenwich, Southend and cruising up the Medway for a nostalgic rendezvous with MV Kingswear Castle. While we sailed abreast down the Medway among the Sunday afternoon yachtsmen, the passengers aboard the respective steamers gave each other three cheers. We hooted a salute and they responded. They took a close look at our distinctive shape, paddles thrashing amidships, and we did likewise. It was a meeting of two old survivors of a dying breed who, one suspects, will not be allowed to rest.
With upper and lower decks for passengers to enjoy the view, eat in the restaurant or drink at the bar, Waverley offers all the distractions of a cross channel ferry and a shop selling souvenirs (but no duty free goods) The trip also has the bonus of an periodic but unobtrusive commentary to provide information about features on the way.
Landmarks such as Wapping Police Station where the river police are based. The Isle of Dogs, once
marshland and pastures edged by windmills, then the West India Docks built by William Jessop and opened in 1802, and now surmounted by Canary Wharf Tower, London's highest building, heralding the 21st century. Opposite is Convoy's Wharf, now the highest point up river cargo vessels venture, carrying newsprint. Then the mouth of Deptford Creek from which Eagle Steamers once emerged as late as 1986. The famous tea clipper Cutty Sark and Sir Francis Chichester's yacht Gipsy Moth IV are preserved at Greenwich also famed for Wren's Hospital built in 1705 to become the Royal Naval College in 1873. Down river on the north bank the Royal Docks, the biggest enclosed dock in the world, which closed in the 1970s and now the site of the city's
airport. Through the Thames Barrier, protecting London from the danger of
flooding from high tides
whipped up by easterly winds. Passed places noted more for their names than the
scenery, such as Barking Creek, Fords of Dagenham and the Belvedere Power Station.
More spectacular is the 200ft high Queen Elizabeth II suspension bridge, linking Dartford with Thurrock, opened in 1990.
After leaving the 1-1/2 mile long Southend Pier we crossed to the River Medway, with the sinister masts of the sunken munitions Liberty Ship Richard Montgomery to port. Apart from the Olau Lines' pier at Sheerness and a thriving new container wharf on the Isle of Grain opposite, there is little sign of commercial life.
Across the mudflats sharp eyed passengers spotted the funnels of the passenger steamer
Medway Queen which snatched 700 soldiers to safety from
Dunkirk. We turned at Chatham whose former naval dockyard, like so many other
industries, has been reduced to a tourist attraction. Back in London the city
lights presented a changed environment. A long, thin shaft of green light from the Royal Observatory pierced the night sky dramatically marking the line of the Prime Meridian. As Tower Bridge opened, so ended one of the most
profitable end of season trips for Waverley, helped by a coach party of Society members. Raffle tickets sold during the trip raised £900 which will go towards the £350,000 currently needed to provide new safety equipment and bilge pumps to enable the 26 year old paddler to continue bringing pleasure to her passengers.|
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After a long illness, borne with great fortitude, Bert Scammel passed away in November aged 68. Bert, Betty and son (Andrew) joined the Society in the mid 70s to help with the early restoration of the towpath and offside bank for they lived at Ash Vale and wanted to see the derelict ditch, as it was then, brought back to life. The three of them worked on my bankside working parties as a family, Andrew being his late teens at the time. Later Bert and Betty became working party leaders, working in the Ash Vale area on bankside clearance. Andrew is one of Peter Redway's stalwarts to this day.
After being a grocery manager, Bert joined the supplies side of the NHS and, when water returned to the canal acquired a trailboat, Susie, which was used extensively on the canal, attending rallies and festivals. Our condolences are with Betty and Andrew.
Donations to Marie Curie Foundation would be appreciated.
Let us not say that Basingstoke Canal people are so besotted with their own canal that they cannot appreciate the merits of other waterways. During the last year the Society members were to be seen at the national rally at Peterborough, cruising down the Thames on the Waverley, crossing the Pennines on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, and on 21 August taking a trip down the Kennet and Avon on the narrowboat Lancing, with the crew, Norman Briggs and John Rolls.
The Lancing has had a chequered career. Built in 1936, it plied between Birmingham and London -and no doubt many other ports of call - with a variety of cargoes. In 1968, at Limehouse, whilst its load was being transferred, it capsized. Worse, there was a little girl trapped inside the cabin. But
fortunately there was a pocket of air in
which she survived long enough to be brought out alive. The basin had to be drained to recover the vessel, which was refurbished and brought back into service, and since 1977 it has been used as a trip boat on the Kennet and Avon. Anyway, blissfully ignorant of all this history, a party of Surrey and Hants members had a very enjoyable trip in her,
from Burghfield to Reading, pausing there to visit the Blake's Lock Museum with its fascinating collection of memorabilia before returning for a refreshing pint at Burghfield.
Help - Fleet Sea Scouts
Help is urgently required with the Fleet Sea Scouts in supporting the new leadership team and training Sea Scouts in specialist interests (conservation and boating). If you can spare one evening a week to assist with this worthwhile activity please contact Brian Biffin, Group Scoutleader on (0252) 616692.
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GIN and CRUMPETS at NINE
Xanth's crew - Kathryn Dodington, Alison Snell, Pam Wait and Gill Heather
What were four women, a couple of worried husbands and the S & HCS Press Officer doing in the winding hole at King John's Castle at 23:45 on a Friday evening in August ? There was no party, well not then, but rather a gathering of the four women before they attempted, at midnight, to boat the entire length of the Basingstoke in sixteen hours.
Why would they be mad enough to attempt such a thing you should be asking yourself by now. Well, it was really a combined need, primarily of Gill Heather to get her boat Xanth off the canal in time to attend the national in Peterborough and secondly to raise some funds for David and Judith Gerry's charity - Boats for the Handicapped; so it seemed (at the time) sensible to try and complete the trip inside one day and inside sixteen hours if possible.
Through the darkness
We duly set off on the stroke of midnight and were accompanied by the worried husbands and press officer as far as North Warnborough where we even refused help with the lift bridge and waved our good-byes as we set off into the wilds of Swan Cutting. It was very quiet there and the only sound above the comforting noise of the engine was a monotonous and worrying click from the region of the propeller. This was our first and definitely not our last detailed inspection of the weed hatch.
Colt Hill, Odiham at 00:55 was our first real look at civilisation in the dark where we disturbed the first of many fishermen. Onwards towards Winchfield and the John Pinkerton which we passed at 01:45 and quietly on to Fleet which we reached at 03:40. More anglers were disturbed by Xanth's progress and by 05:10, with the sun rising in the east we, approached Ash Lock.
We blessed the person who had the forethought to leave it set for us.
Ash embankment was the place we decided on breakfast and for those of you who remember Gill's bacon sandwiches on the Pinkerton trip through Deepcut after the Royal reopening it will come as no surprise to hear that we had bacon rolls, and very welcome they were.
Onwards to Greatbottom Flash where the blanket weed halted us in our tracks and it was 'down the weedhatch' for one and bowhauling for two. The fishermen were bemused by two women bowhauling talking to another whom they couldnt see because she was down the weedhatch ! At Mytchett lake we managed to set off an electronic alarm on a rod to the extreme annoyance of the fisherman whose words I am sure you have all heard before and therefore will not be repeated here ! We also woke some poor chap who was sound asleep in his sleeping bag on the towpath !
We reached Lock 28 at 07:30, some 30 mins behind schedule, because of the problems at Greatbottom but we were pleased to see BCA Ranger Peter Munt who was to guide us through Deepcut. We really got a rhythm going here
until at lock 25 a gentleman walking his dogs asked where we were trying to get to; 'not trying but going' we retorted, to the Wey Navigation' - 'With a dry pound' he smiled. Yes sure enough the pound between locks 21 and 20 was dry - we did feel grateful for a forced stop and Peter's expertise. We had a little problem in the bottom of lock 21 when we went aground and our steerswoman, Pam, got a nasty shock when the boat caught on the side of the lock. Whilst Pam attended to the problems Gill was inside cooking crumpets for morning tea (well it was 08:30 by then). With order restored we waited in the lock for the pound below to fill and when tea or coffee and crumpets were offered to the crew the steerswoman asked for gin and crumpets which was not refused by the Captain ! The rhythm came back after lock 21 and we arrived at Deepcut bottom lock at 10:00 and on through the Brookwood three by 11:00 where we said goodbye to Peter.
Plain sailing now to St Johns - well not quite as we did lose two buckets over the side (can the BCA or the working parties please trim the offside trees above St Johns this winter) but managed to recover them with minimal delay. Some trouble with blowing top gates at St Johns held us up a little but we
made up some time by finding the bottom three set by two Galleon Marine craft climbing the flight.
The end was almost in site as we entered the Woking pound and decided on lunch whilst we fought with the weed. After Woodham top lock it was all down hill and our captain took us over the finish line to the sound of champagne corks popping at the Wey Navigation at 14:50 some 14 hours and 50 minutes after leaving King John's Castle.
It was a trip to remember and our thanks go to the BCA for their help and to all the people who so kindly signed our sponsorship forms - we will be around to collect the money very soon ! Boats for the Handicapped has benefited to the tune of £500 and the crew are delighted
to have been able to support a worthy charity in such an enjoyable way.
The crew was - Gill Heather, Alison Snell, Pam Waite and Kathryn Dodington.
Canal on Film
If you should see the recently released film 'Foreign Affairs' with such eminent actors as Ian Richardson (The PM in 'To play the King' running recently on TV), Joanna Woodward and Stephanie Beacham, look carefully at the canalside scene, where a volunteer working party is at work on a lock. Looks familiar ? It should be -it's Lock 28 on your very own Basingstoke Canal. And if you look very carefully you might see Peter Munt, the BCA ranger, in the background amongst the extras. Quite right too - after all he lives in the lock cottage.
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This Autumn the Southern Canals Association were guests of the Chichester Canal Society. They promoted an extremely well organised function as a two day event spanning the weekend of October 16th and 17th.
On the Saturday evening there was a novel event of meeting at a hall in Chichester. John Cooper, Chairman of the host Society, chaired the meeting and Michael Handford was the invited speaker. As usual Michael was extremely entertaining and informative, speaking on the subject of waterway restoration in the next century. As Chairman of the IWA Restoration Committee he gave indication of how much more money is becoming available to progress schemes that would have seemed impossible a quarter of a century ago when the restoration of the Basingstoke Canal was first mooted. There are well over a hundred organisations now involved in recovering waterways, some very large, such as the Lancaster, and some very small but all destined to be a significant contribution to the need for more recreational amenity.
Following Michael's talk there was a question and answer exchange between the floor and the platform. This gave members of the meeting an opportunity to have their say. Based on the experience that has been gained over the last 20 years Robin Higgs made a significant contribution on various subjects.
The proceedings on Sunday started with a cruise on the dredged section of the Chichester Canal. Passengers were transported by the Chichester Association's
|trip boat and the two 'Bantam' tugs used as part of their dredging operation.
The cruise started at the terminal basin in the City and on reaching the extent of the dredged section
we walked the well tended towing path as far as the sea lock. In this location was the restaurant where lunch had been ordered for us. Following lunch a coach arrived, this was to be our transport for the afternoon.
The afternoon was spent touring the West Sussex countryside to see parts of the long abandoned Portsmouth and Arundel Canal. Restoration of this waterway is a long term objective of the Chichester Society. We started at the site in Ford where the Canal was joined to the River Arun. At one location near Yapton we were shown a canal bridge, a listed structure, in the middle of a small housing estate. The party left the coach to inspect this and Peter Beresford chairman of the Wey & Arun was able to talk to the owner of a house built on the filled canal channel with an approach framed in the view through the bridge hole. How the houseowner looked on a visit from a canal restoration group is unfortunately not on record !
The day ended with the usual tea and refreshments at the starting venue, where the customary 'reporting back' session took place. As part of this session the group suggested subjects for speakers at the Winter meeting in Devizes.
The meeting was well supported with representatives coming from all over the South of England and South Wales. Colin Powell who is based at Neath had stayed overnight, as had others, to be sure of attending both sessions.
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An Interview with DAVID GERRY
David, You are in the unique position of having been the first chairman of the Canal Society and the first Basingstoke Canal Manager. How did this come about ?
'I was one of those who responded to a letter in a local paper by Jim Woolgar, drawing attention to the appalling state of the canal and proposing that a society be formed to restore it'. I was one of the committee Jim founded and we arranged a public meeting in Brookwood, attended by a large number of people including Eric Errington, the then MP for Aldershot, and I suggested that we needed a chairman for the meeting. Someone said 'We've got one already', I said 'Who?' and they said 'you'. So that's how I got the Chairmanship of the Society, a post I held from 1966 to 1973'.
By then David had been made redundant three times in three years. He was a production engineer in his professional life, and staff were being taken on by Hampshire County Council to manage the canal work. He applied and was taken on as Canal Manager in August 1974, and thus began what he describes as a most rewarding part of his life.
What are the most pressing problems you face in managing the canal now ?
'The number one problem is undoubtedly funding. The present sources of funding from local authorities are not sufficiently stable to enable us to plan with confidence, especially in view of the uncertainties generated because of the impending changes in local government'. David listed maintenance work, especially the repair and replacement of lock gates which is being done wherever possible in conjunction with necessary canal closures needed for bridge work etc. He also stressed the problems caused by the closeness to the canal of many trees along its length. Trees are his worry in containing water in the canal: they need managing constantly, as water seeps out through holes in the canal bed caused by tree roots, especially from trees which are unstable or roots which die. Yet trees are loved by all and need to be preserved where possible.
The Rangers play a very important role here, in determining which trees have reached the stage when they need to be cut down. But David's nightmare is the thought of a tree being blown over in a gale and causing a major breach of the canal, allowing water to flow out over the surrounding land - and roads if they are in the vicinity. His point was given emphasis because the interview was being conducted on December 9th, after a very windy night, and reports were coming in as we talked of trees being blown across the canal.
Dredging was the next problem he mentioned. Silt disposal is now subject to license as for waste disposal. Whilst this is necessary in urban areas where chemicals and all sorts of undesirable effluent
may be discharged into canals, the silt from the Basingstoke canal dries out into valuable topsoil which has a market value. Yet we are subject to planning consents which were not needed when the restoration dredging was being carried out, and this has added an enormous burden in terms of management time and expense. 'Some £3,000 - £5,000 per mile is added to the cost of dredging, just for the paperwork involved' said David. He thought the County Councils hadn't taken the problem of finding disposal sites seriously enough. 'We would like to buy tip sites, where we can recover the silt and sell it on as topsoil. It's good stuff. It's tragic that it's called 'waste'. There is the Broad Oak site - but planning permission means that it cannot be operated at
weekends - and another site is
|in prospect at North Wamborough. 'But the biggest problem in silt disposal has got to be in urban areas. Where on earth in Woking are you going to find a site ? In twenty to thirty years time canal managers are going to be have an awful problem if we don't solve this one.
County Councils just don't seem to look that far ahead. Where there have been sites which would have been suitable, Councils have used it for a new school or some other facility! Existing sites are no good to Woking at all. If you move silt a mile, the cost is quadrupled, a mile and a half and the cost goes up five times. Everybody says, you must dredge the canal, but dont put it next to my back yard'.
The next problem mentioned by David was the question of legal status - whether it is a statutory undertaking or not. The last legal ruling was in 1912, when it was declared a statutory undertaking, and this is the basis on which the BCA has assumed it is working. This affects all its activities, - status of the towpath, tree preservation, the right to navigate, the right to
dump sift along the bank - and this deserves an article in its own right, because different lawyers have oposing views.
Clearly the BCA had a duty to strike a balance between navigation and the need to preserve the flora and fauna. In this role David was high in praise for the Rangers, They have a very balanced view between them. They do understand the wildlife, they do understand the canal. Their views have come together to produce the standards we work to. I cant claim credit for this: they have influenced my views, and all the credit goes to them'. Naturalists now accept that the Ranger team has got it about right; in the past they had opposing views and had been rather critical.
Water supply was a problem in the course of being solved. He hoped that a further scheme -'Hallam's Hole' - being worked on by Nick Hallam for bringing in 200,000 gallons per day of British Rail unwanted water above Lock 27 would come to fruition. If the Army reservoir at Bourley Hill could be afforded in addition, this would very largely solve the foreseeable shortages.
What about the problem of the duckweed in the Woking area ?
Weed was more intractable. David was not sure that Grass Carp were the answer, nor volunteers, mechanical aids or manual methods. The BCA had not been able to do as much weed clearing as they would have liked this year, because of shortage of resources, but it was a national problem and they would take advantage of research being done elsewhere.
Will the proposed SSSI cause many management problems ?
David thought not. Naturalists had to recognise that the canal was a
waterway and that it was necessary to keep it in such a condition that it was safe. Any work was bound to be disruptive to wild life. The question was how to minimise the disruption whilst maintaining safety and keeping navigation open, and that is what the management plan for the prospective SSSI was all about.
What do you think of the current enthusiasm for developing the Western End ?
Here David was for once neutral. He thought the project for a footpath for the 'last five miles' was admirable and would serve to tidy up an unsightly area. He thought there could be merit in a terminus the other side of the Greywell tunnel. But as for the restoration of the canal right into Basingstoke, he thought it would be right for Basingstoke and Deane to safeguard the route of the canal where it still existed, in case some future restoration project became viable.
David was far too modest to claim much for his own role in restoring and making the canal into a working waterway, but I came away with the impression that the community owes a great deal to him for the beauty and state of the Basingstoke Canal as it is now.
A volunteer, preferably but not necessarily with some conveyancing or surveying experience to assist the staff of the Basingstoke Canal Authority in maintaining their records of the canal estate, including the issue of garden and gate licences. The workload is anticipated to be one half day per week.
For futher details please contact the Canal Director, Paddy Field, on (0252) 370073
Saturday 26th February @ 7:30pm, Canal Centre Mytchett
Inter-Club quiz, hosted by the Society, for the 'Seat of Learning' trophy, won by the Society last May on the evening of the Canal Centre opening. Teams taking part will be the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club, Byfleet Boat Club, Wey Crusing Club, and the Society, bar and refreshments.
Friday 4th March @ 7:30pm, Canal Centre Mytchett
Video and Film evening featuring some 1970's 8mm films donated to the Society and various videos. Includes dredging and restoration action etc. etc. An evening of nostalgia. Coffee available.
Tuesday 12th April @ 8:00pm, St John's Memorial Hall, St John's, Woking
Paul Vine, Author of 'London's Lost Route to Basingstoke', the second edition of which is due out at the end of February 1994, will talk of the new information about the Basingstoke Canal that has come to light as a result of his researches since his first edition was published in 1968. Slides will feature as well. Paul Vine will be happy to autograph your books, whether first editions or your newly purchased second edition, which will be on sale.
The above are additional dates, with the Paul Vine talk filling the vacant April date mentioned in the last BC News.
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In compiling this report, it is proper that a review of the working party progress over the last six months is recorded.
The amount of work completed underlines the dedication of the volunteers who give their time and efforts for the benefit of the canal.
Dredging Work Parties
Mike Munro's dredging team, having celebrated the completion of the restoration dredging when they reached Pondtail Bridge last April have now submitted proposals to the BCA for a continuing volunteer dredging operation. (See elsewhere in the News - ed)
With the 'retirement' of Perseverance to the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port the volunteers prepared for her transportation by road from Fleet Wharf. The work involved the removal of the boiler, jib and side pontoons, these were loaded on transporters by mobile cranes, the main hull being loaded separately.
The tugs and barges are due for renovation and painting and have been moved to Ash lock; other barges were moved to the Dry Dock before Mytchett Place Road Bridge was closed to navigation.
After surveys, renovation work will be detailed and prioritised. This work will be the first stage in the modernisation of the dredging team's renewed operations.
Bankside Work Parties
Peter Jackman's team have progressed with offside bank clearance from Lock 15 to above Lock 16. The clearance work, which may seem severe, reflects the BCA policy of reducing transpiration losses due to waterside growth. Mature tress are being retained whilst undergrowth and small trees are removed from the canal bank.
Construction Work Parties Brookwood|
The construction of the first weir at lock 12 is 75% complete and only the final concrete remains to be placed. The piling on all the three locks has been completed and the excavation of the lock 13 weir has commenced.
Slades Bridge renovation has continued, the pointing of the eastern side of the bridge below the road level is 60% complete. New foundations for the bridge arch and offside wing walls, reconstruction of brickwork and wing walls has been carried out and only landscape work above the wing wails remains to be done.
Towpath clearance work has progressed to the western tunnel portal. We had set a target date of Christmas for this but managed it by the end of November.
Roots and large trees which have fallen across the canal have yet to be cleared; unfortunately the clay soil becomes very slippery when wet and we cannot use the machinery in safety when the towpath is saturated.
Future works include Brookwood, The Western End, Deepcut water supply, Fleet Wharf capping and seat bases along the canal.
Work Party Dates and Venues
Leaders: Peter Jackman PJ
Dave Junkison DJ
Dave Lunn DL
Peter Redway PR
2nd PJ Bankside clearance Deepcut
8th/9th DJ/DL Brookwood locks
15th PR Fleet Reading Road Wharf
16th PJ Bankside clearance Deepcut
22nd/23rd PR Western End
29th/30th PR/DJ Brookwood Locks
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|6th||PJ||Banksde clearance Deepcut|
|20th||PJ||Bankside clearance Deepcut|
|6th||PJ||Bankside clearance Deepcut|
|20th||PJ||Bankside clearance Deepcut|
|26th/27th||All||IWA Cleanup weekend|
|4th||PJ||Bankside clearance Deepcut|
|9th/10th||DL/DJ||Brookwood locks or Deepcut water supply|
|16th||PR/DJ||Brookwood locks or Deepcut water supply|
|17th||PJ||Bankside clearance Deepcut|
|or||PR/DJ||Brookwood locks or Deepcut water supply|
Due to the specialist nature of the tugs and barges renovation Mike Munro's team will continue to liase direct as and when the work arises.
WE would like to welcome the following new members of the Society:
Mr & Mrs KJ Boyce - Addlestone
Mrs G Bolt - Chineham, Basingstoke
Mrs RS Roberts - Hatch Warren, Basingstoke
Mr JB Mull - Henley-on-Thames
Mr & Mrs MD Adams - Woodham, Woking
Mr SJ Ryder - Camberley
Mr & Mrs Al Mills - Aldershot
Mr & Mrs KJ Boyer - Fleet
Mr JA Emuss - Mytchett
Mr FE Dolan - Cove, Farnborough
Mr RE Wheatley - Brookwood, Woking
Miss DMA Henshal - New Haw
Miss ADN Dunbar-Miller - Epsom
Miss CF Varndell - Oxted
Mrs H Jensen - Fleet
Mr & Mrs TWE Howes - Farnborough
Mr SJ Beswetherick - Camberley
Mr RB Montclare - Sheerwater, Woking|
Fullbrook Comprehensive School, New Haw
The Grand Draw for 1993 was held on 12th October 1993 at the social evening in Woking. I am pleased to report that there was increased support for the draw this year and the profit was £1429.75. I should like to thank everyone who supported it and helped me make it a success.
The prizewinners were as follows:-
|1st prize £200 Mrs Scott. Ticket no.||14934|
|2nd prize £100 Mrs Halpin||1324|
|3rd prize £50 Rev Murch||15721|
|Oil painting Mr Scammel||6529|
|Bottle of whiskey Mr Reid||3733|
|Bottle of wine Mr Wall||20781|
|Set of tea towells Mr Glass||31389|
|Pair of tickets for the JP B'stoke Ramblers Club||23359|
| " Mr Claxton||14740|
| " Mr Crook||8124|
| " Mr Turner||28028|
| " Mr Marsh||1464|
| " Mr Bailey||17176|
| " Mrs Mancey||11658|
| " Mr Hoyle||26183|
| " Mr Gosling||7163|
| " Mr Simmons||19958|
The prize for the member who sold the most tickets went to Mr Johnston of Aldershot, who joined the Society during 1993.
I should like to express my sincere thanks to Miss Barnicot, who dobated one of her paintings of the canal as a prize.
Caterer Needed at Canal Centre
The Basingstoke Canal Centre, located on the waterfront at Mytchett, opened in May 1993 and offers a canal exhibition, boat trips, boat hire and nature walks. We are now looking for someone to prvide onsite catering (refreshments) - drinks and light snacks) for next spring/summer.
If you are interested please contact Annette Weiss at the Canal Centre, Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett, Camberley, Surrey, GU16 6DD. (0252) 370073.
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Paul Vine's book 'London's Lost Route to Basingstoke' has been extensively updated and revised since the first edition was published in 1968. The new edition is being published in February by Alan Sutton Publishing and will be on sale to Society members at the special price of £12.99 as against £14.99 in the shops.
The latest draft of the Management Plan for the project SSSI covering most of the length of the Basingstoke Canal now clearly recognises the primacy of the waterway as a navigational, recreational and leisure amenity. However, it still seeks to limit the number of boat movements (past any one spot) to 1300 per year - less than the movements at Dogmersfield last year.
The three-span aqueduct needed at the Ash embankment to enable the Blackwater Valley Road to go under the canal is expected to cost some £1.7 - £l.9m, out of a total cost for the road of £130m. There will be stop locks either side of the aqueduct, with underwater stop gates
rising from the bottom. British Waterways will be subcontracted to monitor the work being done. The canal will be closed at that point from 30th September 1994 until 30th June 1995 to permit the work to be done.
A maximum of 400 boat licenses will be issued by the Canal Authority this year, plus up to 50 short term licenses.
Joint Management Committee
Councillor Alan Rice has been elected as Chairman of the Joint Management Committee, which comprises representatives of Hampshire County Council, Surrey County Council, Hart District Council, Rushmoor Borough Council, Guildford Borough Council, Runnymede Borough Council, Surrey Heath Borough Council, Woking Borough Council, English Nature and Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society.
A Weighty Problem
What did Brian and Angela Percy buy themselves for Christmas ? A brand-new narrowboat - Northumberland - delivered and launched by
crane near Malthouse bridge on Christmas Eve, and christened with champagne by Rosemary, our revered Chairman's wife. The launch was not entirely without its problems though: one (not foreseen) was that forward drive turned out to be reverse, the mechanism having been connected wrongly. Another (foreseen) was that, as Brian and Angela are to fit the boat out themselves, it rode higher in the water than it will when
complete: thus it was several inches higher than the space available below Reading Road Bridge, through which it had to pass to reach the Percy residence. So a series of telephone calls invited Society members to bring their weight to bear on the problem. Even before consuming their Christmas dinners, their combined poundage (tonnage ?) proved sufficient to lower the boat enough for it to pass - with an inch to spare - beneath the bridge. Let no one say that the Society no longer carries any weight.
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An artist's impression of the BVR aqueduct
Bi-Centenary Year 1994
Sat/Sun 14th/15th May 1994
The Society's Woking Canal Fun Weekend Festival at the Bridge Barn, Woking. Full details from Peter Coxhead, 17 Abbey Close, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey (0932) 344564 to whom all enquiries about boat entries etc. should be sent.
Details in next BC News.
Sat 11th June 1994
Fleet Canal Carnival organised jointly by the BCBC and the Society. This year the event has been brought forward a week to avoid clashing with the Fleet Children's Carnival procession day. This will ensure a bumper attendance for a rapidly growing successful event. Book the date now but full details later.
Sat/Sun 30th/31st July 1994
Boat Festival and Rally at lock 1 and Heathervale Recreation Grounds jointly organised by Byfleet Boat Club and Runnymede Borough Council. Details Later.
Sat/Sun 3rd/4th September 1994
The Bi-centenary Weekend Festival at the Canal Centre the Bi-centenary year. Enquiries to Annette Weiss at the Canal Centre on (0252) 370073.
Sat 21st September 1994
The Annual BCBC Fox and Hounds Boat Rally at the Fox and Hounds, Crookham Road, Fleet. In addition there may possibly be an event in the Ash Wharf/Ash Lock area involving, Rushmoor and Guildford Borough Councils and Ash Parish Council in the Spring/Early Summer period and a event at Colt Hill, Odiham in July. Details if and when available later.
All of the above events will use
the Bi-centenary year as the
theme and further suggestions
are very welcome.
Some of you have been missing out. The 200 Club has been paying
|Mr SB Carlyle||West Byfleet||£39|
|Mrs J Hunter||Fleet||£20|
|Mr & Mrs VG Trott||Woking||£10|
|Mr RG Ellen||Farnham||£10|
|Mr & Mrs FYR Macey||Ash Vale||£40|
|Mrs SA Goddard||Fleet||£21|
|Mr BC Smith||Byfleet||£11|
|Mrs EM Bevis||Woking||£11|
|Mr DA Smith||Bristol||£42|
|Mr FA Holley||Camberley||£20|
|Mrs M Beck||Fleet||£11|
|Mr & Mrs Crook||Brookwood||£11|
|Mr D Black||Fleet||£42|
|Mr G Rockfort-Rae||Wonersh||$20|
|Mr M Fry||Guildford||£11|
|Mr L Phillips||London SW12||£11|
|Mr & Mrs AH White||Crookham||£42|
|Mr RA White||Southampton||£20|
|Mr & Mrs M Marchant||Mayford||£11|
|Mrs M Knowles||Fleet||£11|
Why isnt your name on this list ? Could it be that you did not join - perhaps you mislaid the entry form ? Well now is the chance to sign up for 1994 and help yourselves and the Society. Remember that 50% of each subscription goes to the prize fund and all the rest is for the Society. You can have any number of annual subscriptions at £12.00 at time (or you can pay through a bankers order on a monthly basis although this may incur higher bank charges).
Application forms and cheques should be sent to Derek Truman, Compton Cottage, 11 Connaugnt Road, Fleet, Hants, GU13 9RA (0252) 613435 - as soon as possible please.
Canal Centre Mytchett opening hours
Winter (up to Easter 1994) Monday to Friday 10:30 -16:30
Summer (Easter onwards) Tuesday - Sunday 10:30 -17:00
(0252) 811707 - this is the only number for Pinkerton enquires / bookings
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One of your editors had the pleasure of spending Christmas day in Fleet with a well known husband and wife team from Pinkerton crewing. Your editor bought them Anthony Burton's Canal Mania and was delighted to receive the exact same book from them - no prior discussions had taken place !
To: Mr. May of Heatherly Close, Camberiey for the donation of some 8mm cine film taken by an unknown cameraman during the 1970s and featuring all aspects of restoration. The film found its way to the Camberley Film Club of which Mr. May is a member and it was passed on to him.
To: The Executors of the late Mrs 'Bunny' Bunyan of Park Road, Camberley for the donation of her extensive canal slide collection
together with a camera, projector, stand and screen. The slides were left to us in her will. Bunny Bunyan was a familiar sight of the early working parties in the 1970s.
Instep Walking Holidays
Mick and Ann Hartley of Instep Walking Holidays are organising, at our suggestion, a Basingstoke Canal Bi-Centenary Walk over the three days Saturday to Monday, 20th 21st and 22nd August 1994. The cost will be £28.00, including coach travel and full details are in an attractive brochure, which includes other walks on the Brecon and Abergavenny Canal, on the Downs Link between the South Downs and the North Downs (Bramber-Guildford) and a Challenge Walk following Wainwright's Coast to Coast route from St. Bees to Robin Hood's Bay, 190 miles across the North of England. Brochure from: Instep Walking Holidays, 35 Cokeham Road,
Lancing, West Sussex BNI5 OAE Tel: (0903) 766475
Parking at Reading Road
Hampshire County Council have been asked to look into what can be done to prevent parking of cars at the Reading Road Wharf, Fleet, by drivers who are using it to go shopping or for other purposes not connected with the canal.
Byelaws (sic) [should, of course, be 'bylaws']
Byelaws governing the canal are expected to be considered by both Hampshire and Surrey County Councils in February, with a view to their being implemented in the Spring of this year.
Anybody interested in buying a 4 bedroom detached house with canal frontage in Fleet please ring (0252)613665
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Copy date for Next BC News: 1st March 1994
Pubished 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. Executive members of the Committee are shown in bold type.
Brian Fox 60 Dinorben Avenue, Fleet, Hants, GU13 9SH (0252) 613147
Kathryn Dodington Sequoia, Sheets Heath Lane, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey, GU240EH (0483) 473630
Chairman: David Millett 14 Dinorben Close, Fleet, Hampshire, GU13 9SW (0252) 617364
Vice-Chairman: Peter Redway 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1SL (0483) 721710
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hampshire, RG251AH (0256) 702109
Hon. Treasurer: Jonathan Wade 30 Hanover Gardens, Cove, Famborough, Hampshire, GU14 9DT (0252) 524690
Membership Secretary: Edwin Chappell The Spinney, Meadow Road, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 1QR (0372) 272631
Dredger Manager: Mike Munro 46 Malthouse Close, Church Crookham, Hampshire, GU130TB (0252) 624643
Special Projects Manager: Stan Meller 101 Branksome Hill Road, College Town, Camberiey, Surrey, GU144QG (0276) 32096
Working Party Information: Peter Redway 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1SL (0483) 721710
Trip Boat Manager: Roger Cansdale 79 Gally Hill Road, Church Crookham, Hampshire, GU130RU (0252) 616964
Trip Boat Bookings: Ann Bird: 25 Farnham Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU139HZ (0252) 811707
Sales Manager: Gill Heather 35 Holland Gardens, Fleet, Hampshire, GU139NE (0252) 624612
Mail Order Sales: John Greenfield 9 Mistletoe Road, Yatetey, Camberiey, Surrey, GU177DT (0252) 873167
Exhibitions Manager: David Junkison 4 Thames Meadow, West Motestey, Surrey, KT146BE (081) 941 0685
Audio Visual Producer: Arthur Dungate 187 Ellerdine Road, Hounstow, Middlesex, TW32PU No Telephone
Talks Organiser: Janet Greenfield 9 Mistletoe Road. Yatetey, Camberiey, Surrey, GU177DT (0252) 873167
Distribution: Janet & George Hedger 7 Gorse Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU139NA (0252) 617465
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Famham, Surrey, GU103NJ (0252) 715230
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