Autumn 1997

Cover picture info
Chairman's Comment
Waterwatch - Kingfisher
Peoplewatch - Water

Woking Winter Talks
Pinkerton's Progress
Work Party Report
Millett's Musings
Nicholson's Guide
News items
Queens Road Bridge
Towpath Topics
Gongoozler's Gossip

Contact the Society

            bcnmsthd160 (11K)
No. 176 Autumn 1997

front pic (80K)

page 2

It's been a very odd year from the point-of-view of weather with the hottest and wettest and probably the coldest months 'on record'.

It is a shame therefore when one sees parts of the canal in need of Tender Loving Care - perhaps an appropriate phrase to use as this editorial is being written when the media is full of the dreadful events surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Flotsam and jetsam
The canal in Brookwood seems to be full of flotsam and jetsam of all kinds from visitors' fish and chip papers to bits of fence carelessly discarded by a gardener further up the canal but perhaps more importantly lock 15 at the start of the Deepcut flight just full of odd bits and pieces; the lower gates free to swing back and forth; full of weed and in fact not unlike some of the pre-restoration photos of Dieter Jebens and David Robinson. This seems especially sad when the cottage adjacent to the lock is now used to accomodate a Canal Ranger.

Early Closing
With the early closing of the canal yet again this year one wonders what the rangers are doing ? Surely their role when not escorting boats through the locks (and one wonders if that really should be part their role) is to maintain the canal. Yes, there are things that are more important than to make sure the locks are clear of anything that is a difficulty to the passage of boats. But just because the canal is technically closed to boating doesn't mean that others will not come and enjoy it for walking and fishing and perhaps go away with an impression that no one cares for the canal except the Society. It is not just the rather grandiose 'Canal Centre' that needs attention but everything to do with the canal. There are probably more visitors to parts of the canal other than the Canal Centre and these parts should receive at least equal attention. If the rangers were otherwise occupied on planned work one wonders how far in advance that work was planned and if the summer closure of the canal has become an annual planned event.

Canal well used
There is a tremedous amount going on the canal, the vast majority of which

appears to be angling matches and your editor would put more of the information, from the comprehensive list compiled by the Basingstoke Canal Authority, in this magazine if the Canal Authority would send the information but regrettably, despite repeated requests, no information is forthcoming. I don't suspect it is copyright but it is somewhat frustrating to ask for the information, which is obviously carefully complied, and not to receive it. Likewise there are a number of events which take place, mainly at the Canal Centre, which your editor is not advised about and consequently these events pass without knowledge and without the opportunity to request the Press Officer to report on the events concerned which may be of interest to members.

Society Watchdog
The Society has a valuable part to play in all canal activities and the Newsletter is the voice of the Society and its main means of communication with its members. It is through the Newsletter that we can inform you of anything that may be happening or be planned to happen or that has happened on the canal. It is our job to be a 'guardian of the canal' whilst not diminishing the valuable hands-on work that so many members of the Society undertake on a weekly basis. It is important that the editor gets as much information as possible and the current editor would be grateful to receive any information concerning the canal that can be published. Please send any information that you believe other members may wish to know about to the address on the back page.

Chairman's Comment / Water levels3
Waterwatch - The Kingfisher4
Peoplewatch - Water Nomads5
The AGM6
Woking Talks/200 Club7
Work Party10/11
Millett's Musings12/13
Nicholson's Guide review14
News Items15
Abbreviated Financial Statement16/17
A bridge of beauty - Queens Road18
Towpath Topics19
Gongoozlers Gossip20

[back to top]

One of the smart new lamp standards on the recently renovated Queens Road Bridge, Aldershot - Photo Dieter Jebens
[back to top]

page 3

Chairman's Comment
A summer day, sunshine, a light breeze, at least in the morning, made the day for the organisers of this year's Sponsored Walk on 20th July. The number of walkers on the towpath fully justified the event and although the final results are not available at the time of writing, the walk was well supported and all that we had hoped for. I know that the organisers and marshalls started early and finished late; without them the walk would not have taken place. Provisional results are encouraging and the final tally could be comparable with some of our better achievements. A thank you'to all who made the walk possible and also to all of the participants.

Turning to navigation issues. I have recently received a letter from Tony Morgan on the Lengthsman scheme. This scheme has the potential for early warning of navigation problems, passing the information on to the Canal Authority and enabling them to take appropriate action. Unfortunately the scheme has lost some key members, resignation due to ill health and the unfortunate death of the Hampshire organiser has left us with a denuded organisation. We urgently need volunteers for both the Hampshire and Surrey Lengthsman co-ordination posts, it is essential that these are covered if we are to revitalise the scheme. Any member who is interested in taking on a co-ordinating role please contact a committee member or myself.

Water Supply, or lack of it, is still affecting the use of the canal, the rains in June certainly filled the canal, unfortunately the aquifers were not producing sufficient volumes for the Canal Authority to re-open the locks for through navigation. July sunshine has had an effect and water levels are again dropping, the Hampshire summit having dropped by some three inches (75mm) by mid July. The Canal Authority have confirmed their criteria for water control measures, this has been included in this news letter for your information.
Peter Redway

Water Control on the Basingstoke Canal
The following is taken from a letter sent by Brian Percy of the IWA to the Society's Chairman, Peter Redway and to Dick Elder, Chairman of the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club.

Paddy Field has supplied the following information which is the criteria for closing the canal. I have shown it to Dave Gerry who advises he used a similar method.

When the water is running over the side weirs on the Hampshire pound, all sluices and bypasses are fully opened and the maximum amount of water that we are able to pass down is delivered to the lower pounds of the canal (at this stage the canal is full and our water supply is exceeding our demand).

When the water levels drop to weir level on the Hampshire pound (an early indication that water demand is exceeding supply), bypass sluices are partially closed to allow sufficient water to continue to pass down the canal to maintain levels without allowing any water to run to waste.

When the water level reaches 2" below side weir level on the Hampshire pound, restrictions are placed on the use of locks, initially for visiting boats only (i.e. allowing some internal movement between pounds, particulalry down to the Woking pound, without loosing water from the canal to the Wey Navigation).

Once the water levels reach a point at which they are 4" below the Hampshire weir level, navigation throughout the whole canal is placed in jeopardy and the Mytchett pound is likely to become unnavigable.

The Hampshire and Mytchett pounds together give 20 miles of navigation out of a total of 32 miles of canal. Our prime concern is to ensure that these major stretches are kept navigable even in the dryest of summers.

For Sale

Canal Books, Magazines - I'm having a clear-out. 5 x 20p stamps for a list of over 200 including many Basingstoke related articles. Full set of Newsletters and a copy of the original act.

Donation to Waterway Recovery Group.

Please contact Jim Woolgar, 37 Sheldon Road, Ickford, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP18 9HT

[back to top]

page 4

One of the great pleasures for visitors to the Basingstoke Canal is the sight of a Kingfisher. Although not an uncommon bird it is elusive and lives a secretive life. As it can often be seen only as a flash of brilliant blue it can be easily missed.

kingfisher (16K)

Kingfishers prefer slow moving rivers, canals, lakes and ponds particularly places where there are shallows and overhanging trees. High vertical banks are needed for nesting and so Kingfishers do not breed on the canal itself but they can regularly be seen along most stretches of the canal, a particularly good place for spotting being on the Deepcut Flight between Lock 28 and Curzon Bridge. They do, however, sometimes appear unexpectedly. During the last winter one perched frequently on the top gate of Lock 6.

Kingfishers are territorial birds and when flying between perches will make a penetrating high pitched whistle to declare their territory. Only in the breeding season do male and female share the same stretch. Once breeding is over they will separate and lead a solitary life although they may come back together the following season. The size of the territory will depend on availability of fish and how well the bird can patrol the area but is usually about a mile. This will ensure that there are a number of different types of fishing sites. Young Kingfishers are chased away by their parents and will have to find a new territory, usually within 10 miles of the nest. If unchallenged after catching a few fish and making some territorial calls the newcomer will regard the site as its own and defend it energetically. If a whistle does not frighten away a trespasser then a display battle will take place in which the two birds perch about three feet apart and try to stare each other out, swaying their heads and dipping down until eventually the weaker bird gives way, although this can take several hours. On rare occasions, if they are equally determined, they may actually fight, slabbing and pecking until one is dislodged from the branch.

Although the staple diet is fish, insects and amphibians may be taken occasionally. Minnows, small chub and roach seem to be enjoyed particularly and are swallowed whole, head first to prevent the fins and scales being caught in the bird's throat. An adult will eat 17-18 minnows a day, just over its own body weight When a shoal of fish is spotted from its perch the bird prepares to dive, selecting a particular fish and waiting until is in a catchable position before flying at the fish with wings beating. To make a streamlined entry the wings are folded just before it hits the water and an inner eyelid is pulled across the eye. The bird will have worked out the aspects of the dive in detail, judging the depth and allowing for refraction and the movement of both water and fish and so once under water it opens its beak and grabs at the place where it knows the fish will be. In less than a second it will be out of the water to prevent its feathers

becoming waterlogged. Young Kingfishers have difficulty in getting in and out quickly and may die as a result of getting wet and cold. Most fish are caught from the top six inches of water, an adult catching a fish once every two or three dives. A youngster will need eight or nine attempts before being successful.

As good insulation is crucial, Kingfishers spend much of their time preening their feathers to distribute oil from the preen glands and to keep the feathers in good condition. As evening approaches the bird will return to its roost in an area of dense cover. Careful observation will find these places marked with white excrement.

Breeding begins in February or March when a pair of Kingfishers will take part in courtship flights, flying high over the treetops with lots of enthusiastic calling. This is followed by courtship feeding when the male, after catching a fish, return to the perch, turns the fish on a branch and offers it to the female after turning it to face head outwards. This helps in building up the females' condition for egg laying and strengthens the pair bond. Courtship feeding continues to the end of incubation. During this time the male will display himself to best advantage to his mate to encourage her, and soon they will seek a nest site.

Kingfishers nest underground in a chamber at the end of a tunnel so an ideal site is a bank of soft clay soil. At first they fly at the soil all over the bank and peck at it but will soon find a suitable spot to tunnel in, taking turns to work and building a straight tunnel two to three feet long and sloping slightly upwards for drainage. Whilst one bird works, pecking out the soil and scraping it backwards with its feet the other bird keeps watch and will screech to warn of danger. A new nest chamber is made each year although they may have two to three broods in the same tunnel. It can take between one and four weeks to complete the nest and then copulation takes place. The white eggs are laid in early April, one each day until the clutch of around seven is complete and the incubation period of nineteen to twenty days begins. Incubation is shared, the birds spending about 1-1/2 hours underground. When the chicks hatch they are completely naked and pink apart from a bluish tinge around the eyes which are not yet open. They are brooded by one parent whilst the other fishes. The fisher will call when returning and the brooder will emerge to take over the fishing whilst the chicks take turns to be fed. The chicks are demanding, constantly calling to ensure the attention of the parents and within a few days eating up to 15 small fish a day each. At twelve days the eyes open and the feathers, each protected by a sheath to stop it rubbing against the chamber wall, pierce through the skin. During the last days in the nest the sheaths split at the tips and the chicks nibble until all their feathers are exposed. By this time the tunnel is very messy from the accumulation of fish bones and regurgitated pellets.

After 24 days they will leave the tunnel and fly but still rely on the parents for fish. The parents, who do not teach them to fish, will chase them away after only three or four days even if they haven't learned to fish so it's not surprising that half the juveniles die before they are two months old and only a quarter live to breed. The survivors will breed for three or four seasons. Many juveniles drown and others get so wet they die of cold.

The main hazard to adult Kingfishers is the winter when icing of water cuts off fish supplies and many die of cold and starvation.

[back to top]

page 5

Many hours of work were put into the Basingstoke Canal by volunteers whilst all over the country similar bands of dedicated people have toiled tirelessly to ensure that our waterway heritage was not lost. The majority of these volunteers worked with one aim in mind - that the canals be re-opened to navigation. But who are the modern day navigators who reap the rewards of their hard work ?

To start with there are the hirers enjoying short breaks or one or two weeks aboard. Within this group are the novice crews to whom all is new and adventurous. They are enthusiastic and jolly and can be recognised by the shouts and laughter emitting from the large number of people rushing around pulling ropes and waving windlasses. Many of these go on to form the second group of seasoned and experienced crew who have visited many different waterways and have as wide a knowledge of the system as many private boaters, hiring on different canals each year and building up their quota of rings completed. A third group of hirers are those who come over from the continent from Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia or from further afield, from the States, Canada and Australia. They are frequently identified by the country flags they fly from the stern of their boats. One American family we met had hired for thirteen years consecutively it being a holiday so much appreciated by the blind father of the family.

A New Zealand couple over for a year's sabbatical did it differently. They bought a boat and resold it at the end of their stay having had a very economical year in which they had learned much about England having been able to visit all the main tourist venues in their floating home, London, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, York, Stratford, Worcester and many more as well as having seen much of rural England; not the people who live there.

For some would-be waterway explorers a gentler and more cosseted pace is desired and for those the hotel boats offer a wonderful opportunity, like Rose and Castle from the Basingstoke. Most of these work as a pair travelling around the country picking up passengers at different places each week. Restaurant boats provide for those whose desire to be waterborne is more limited in time or who wish to celebrate that special event in a very special way.

Many less advantaged people who would not normally experience the pleasures of travel on the waterways are introduced to them by community boats operated by a variety of charitable organisations. Their skippers have some tales to tell. One of our favourites is that of the gas alarms being set off by the girls' over-use of hairspray to protect their latest styles from the ravages of the wind. On another occasion we were assisted down a flight of locks by a group of lively youngsters from another boat. Only afterwards did we leam that the boat was owned by a "naughty boys' school" and that the most helpful and pleasant young man had a history one

shudders to recall. Many young people are introduced to the waterways on communal holidays and hopefully the experience will encourage them to value both their heritage and the environment.

The disabled are not forgotten. Most canals now have boats like Madam Butterfly which are specially designed to cater for the disabled with lifts and wheelchair space and specially designed bunks. For some who are very restricted on land because of lack of mobility, life on the water can offer a much greater social life. One lady we have met several times can steer her boat in and out of locks without difficulty whilst her husband works the locks and can enjoy meeting other boaters and passers by, whereas at home she would have very little company being restricted by her inability to walk unaccompanied.

The privately owned boats are as varied as their owners, from the busy little white cruisers with swishing outboards to the smart lengthy narrowboats carrying everything plus the kitchen sink and providing a degree of comfort many would be grateful to have at home. Many are owned and cruised by families at weekends and holidays and tend to be used within an area accessible within a fortnights' cruising. Some will be week­ended around the system, the owners returning home for work by public transport or by judicious ferrying of cars. A relative newcomer to the scene is that of the shared-ownership boat where cruising time and maintenance and mooring costs is shared by several families. Outside the weekends and main holiday season the canals are cruised to a are extent by the "third-agers" -the large band of over 50's who spend most of the summer wandering the canals far and wide. Many will be "out for the season" starting off in April and returning home in October, others will be out for two or three months. Most will return home in winter although it is surprising how many people there are who have sold up homes to buy their dream and will either cruise around the winter restrictions or, more usually, find a suitable winter mooring nearto the conveniences of life.

Surprising too are the people who buy boats without having first experienced life on board. Luckily since it is so agreeable few have regrets. We once met an elderly gentleman on the Macclesfield Canal who had bought a little cruiser the previous day and was off to visit his daughter in Oxford! That he had not boated before, was weaving from side to side as he had "not got the hang of the outboard yet" and had left his windlass at the top of the locks did not deter him one bit!

A further group of boaters are those proud owners of old working boats, some of whom endeavour to keep the cargo moving by carrying coal and the like from place to place.

Those who have devoted their leisure time to restoring the derelict canals can be sure that their efforts are appreciated by all who travel the waterways today.

[back to top]

page 6

Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of the Canal Society was held at Mytchett Community Centre on 26th April and was attended by some 85 members. The business side of the meeting was completed fairly rapidly as an election for the Executive Committee was not needed. It was pointed out that there remain three places vacant and members were asked to consider whether they could offer their services as new ideas are always welcome and needed. Comment was also made on the necessity to ensure that publicity costs for events are relevant to the profits to be made.

Positive Contribution
It was time then to hear of the very positive contribution the Society has made to the canal in the last year. The Society reports were yet again presented with the assistance of Arthur Dungate's expertise in audio-visual presentation. The working party report included scenes of fitting of inspection hatches, towpath work, development of moorings for the John Pinkerton and Madam Butterfly, work on the Western End, bankside clearance and research into water supply. This is a large amount of activity carried out by a relatively small number of members and their continued commitment is much appreciated. Idyllic scenes of the John Pinkerton's travels accompanied the report on the trip boat com­pany and members heard that in spite of being beset by engine problems the year had been very successful with few trips having to be cancelled. Highlights had included visits by the mayors of Hampshire and Surrey, lively wedding celebrations and crew member Dennis' 80th birthday party, culminating in the filming by BBC South which hopefully some members will have been able to see on television. For the future we heard of plans to link cruises with visits to the Watercress Line. Again all this activity is dependent on the strong commitment of the management and crew in raising this money so vital to the success of the canal.

Now it was award time and firstly a presentation of the Sponsored Walk Trophy to Ian Moores for achieving the greatest amount of money on last year's sponsored walk. We hope he will have lots of competition this year! Next Robin Higgs was invited to present the Robin Higgs award to retiring Special Projects Manager Stan Meller in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the society's work as reported in the last issue of Basingstoke Canal News. Stan was also presented with one of the few remaining copies of Adelina, a reminiscence of life aboard a Basingstoke boat.

Members were disappointed to hear of the necessity to cancel the Bridge Barn event due to the earlier than usual closure of the canal locks preventing access by the boats which are a major attraction. On a positive note the chairman was able to report good co-operation over the Queens Avenue Bridge and steady progress with dredging, with slurry now covering the fields at Lodge Farm. On the downside he reported that the army will be keeping the water from Bourley Reservoir for their use, giving impetus to the search for other water sources and the necessity of both obtaining a lottery grant to make this possible and the continuing need for the society to raise money to support the matching funding. Open Forum
The Open Forurn session gave members the opportunity to comment and raise issues. The water situation predominated with questions about the use of water from Greywell Hill, the difficulties arising overthe abstraction of water from the Cowshot Stream and the ongoing question of the re-opening of the tunnel. The Society was thanked on behalf of the Boats for the Handicapped for their work in providing the Madam Butterfly mooring and the chairman was asked to clarify the society's attitude to commercial operators to which he responded positively. The Vice-Chairman stressed the determination of the committee to bring to fruition the back-pumping scheme for Woodham by some means in order to ensure the continuation of navigation on the lower part of the canal.

Archive and sales
A major source of interest to members during the break was the excellent exhibition of archive material prepared by archivist Jill Haworth. Jill is anxious that members should be made aware that todays happenings are tomorrows memories and that we should all ensure that canal records do not go astray but are passed to her for safe keeping. The sales team were also very much in evidence displaying the very extensive range of material now available. The Society is indeed fortunate in having so many willing hands to share the tasks but there is always room for more and members who would like to help in any way are asked not to be shy and to come forward. There is no doubt that your work will be both rewarding and companionable and will result in a much greater understanding of the life of the canal. There is much still to be done.

I am sure that all members would wish to thank the present committee for their contribution over the last year and for the enjoyable presentation of their report to members. If you didn't get to the AGM this year come next year. You won't be disappointed.

[back to top]

page 7

Illustrated Talks in Woking
Each winter season on the second Tuesday in the month, a series of illustrated talks takes place. The venue is the Westgate Centre, Woking, alongside the canal, just by Chobham Road Bridge. The meetings start at 8pm. Admission is free. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided.

October-Tuesday 14th Bernard Potter - From Greywell to Westminster
Bernard Potter, LRPS has had a keen interest in photography for a number of years and is a member of the Royal Photographic Society. Living all his life in Fleet, he used to have his own printing business and printed a lot of the Canal Society's literature in earlier years. An interest in natural history will flavour his talk which describes a walk along the canals and river all the way into London.

November - Tuesday 11th
Richard Thomas - The River Lee

Richard Thomas visited us last season when he gave a fascinating insight into a day in the life of a Thames Tug. This time he is going to present the first of his two talks on the River Lee navigations to the east of London.

December - Tuesday 10th
An informal Social Evening

If you have any slides to show, please bring them with you. We may even have some more of those hot mince pies which disappeared so quickly last time!

January-Tuesday 13th
Robin Higgs -A Visit to China

Robin Higgs was Chairman of the Canal Society for many years during the restoration period and campaigns extensively on behalf of our inland water­ways. He is also President of the Mid-Hants Railway (the Watercress Line), and his interest in railways worldwide has resulted in a number of trips to see railways in foreign lands. He has given several talks on his visits in previous years.

February - Tuesday 10th
Arthur Dungate - Direct Television from Alexandra Palace

Arthur Dungate worked in the BBC Television Service in the 1950s. This talk recounts some of his experiences of Television in those pioneering days.

March -Tuesday 10th
John Humphries - Panama (provisional)

John Humphries in association with Hugh McKnight has in previous years presented 16mm films of his voyages

along the canals of the continent, which have proved very popular. Although for the last few years circumstances have prevented him from visiting us, hopefully next February he will be able to present another of his 16mm film trips, possibly on Panama.

April-Tuesday 8th
Mike Beech - The Foxton Inclined Plane

Mike Beech is Curator of the museum of the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust, and his talk will detail the Trust's plans to restore and rebuild this engineering marvel to full operation.

SHCS 200 Club

As you know, SHCS always needs as much money as it can lay its hands on. Can you help? Do you have a few pounds to spare ?

1998 sees the 13th year of the 200 Club. So far it has raised over £8,000 for the Society; well worth while. But it could have done even better if we had managed to persuade 200 people to join instead of an average of btween 100 and 120. Of course we are not talking Lottery size money here but you get the chance to win a useful cash proze every two months and the Society gains welcome extra income - in fact half of all the proceeds. The more who join, the bigger the prizes and the more money for the Society.

If you already have a subscription, thank you very much for your support.

Please renew it even If you haven't won any of the prizes so far in 1997. If you have never joined before, please do so now and help us hit the 200 target in 1998.

Just £12 will do, payable either by cheque or monthy through a standing order. You can have as many memberships as you like - 10 is not unknown. The bigger the number, the better your chances of winning. It's a particularly good way of supporting the Society if you don't have much time or for any reason you are unable to provide more active help.

All information from Derek Truman, Compton Cottage, 11 Connaught Road, Fleet, Hants GU13 9RA (01252)613435.

The 1997 winners (so far) are detailed on page 17 of this Newsletter.

[back to top]

pages 8-9

Dear Editor,

In April 1970 author and canoeist R C Anderson wrote to me about his trip on the Basingstoke Canal in September 1906. I referred very briefly to this trip on page 178 of the second edition of my book but members may be interested to read extracts from his letter and the log of his cruise which vividly recalls the state of the canal 91 years ago.

Mr Anderson who died in 1976, aged 93, wrote "You may like to have the enclosed copy of my log (opposite) on the Basingstoke canal in September 1906. This was just after I came down from Cambridge. Two of us planned a journey Weybridge - Basingstoke - Train to Laverstoke - Down Test - Up Itchen to Alresford - train to Alton and so to Weybridge. As you will see we never reached Basingstoke but had to train from Hook. Having been very firmly refused permission to start from Laverstoke, we had to train to Whitchurch. Down Test all right and Up Itchen as far as King's Worthy. Then stopped by fishing owner. Train to Guildford and down Wey. I don't know why we abandoned the Alton idea. It is certainly possible from a geographical standpoint." "I see our trip was just when the Hooley-Bottomley swindles were going on. We didn't know this and certainly someone was paying lock-keepers although the locks weren't working and long stretches almost empty. Towing' meant walking on the bed of the canal one on each side with perhaps a width of 5 ft of shallow water between us".
Yours sincerely
P. A. L Vine. P.S. The log perhaps explains why when he wrote his Canoeing and Camping Adventures (1910) that he termed his cruise 'by no means an overwhelming success' but I am not clear why he referred to it in his book as a 10 day trip.

Dear Editor,

I wish to put on record my gratitude to the Executive Committee for selecting me to be the holder of the "Robin Hlggs Trophy" for 1997/8. Additionally I appreciate the support that the members present at the AGM also gave to this decision. It all came to me as a very pleasant surprise and I consider the award a great honour.

With my resignation from the post of "Special Projects Manager" I would like to record my sincere thanks to all those members who so readily gave me professional advice and assistance with the problems that arose from the several projects in which I have been involved. It all started with running a railway in conjunction with John Peart and developed from there. I have made friends with so many people over the years, and hope these will not be lost in my "retirement".

Best wishes to all
Stan Meller

Dear Editor

Mr Ludgate has a point, but so do I. I would not have contributed to the Society over the years with little prospect of myself enjoying the fruits of its labours had I realised that the object of the exercise was to enable power boats to invade the peaceful Hampshire countryside which I thought I was helping to preserve. Surely the internal combustion engine, with its attendant noise and fumes, is what most people acknowledge is spoiling our once green and pleasant land; and to depend on it for leisure as well as commerce is in my view perverse when what most of us need is to escape from such effects and get some exercise in fresh air. It is a bit like smoking by proxy and with the same danger to health let alone well-being. That said, it would be unreasonable to object to the passage of limited numbers of motor powered narrow boats such as the John Pinkerton which cause minimum disturbance as they chug along.

But I realise that I am in a minority comprised of the rather old and the idealistic young - like my hero, Swampy. It's just that I feel sad that I have unwittingly contributed - to quote Wilde - to killing the thing I love (and which my father did much to preserve before the Society came into being).

Yours sincerely
John A Davis

R. C. Anderson's log 1906
Sept 22nd 1906 Hired canoe at Weybridge. Portaged into canal above Wey Bridge lock and started on trip 12.10 p.m. Proceeded up Canal portaging at locks. Into Basingstoke canal. Portaging at locks. Lunch after two of Woodham locks 1.15. Met a barge coming down in No.3. Helped over two locks by lock-keper. Then two more close together. Started above locks 3.25 Reached Woking and found first bad weed. 4.45. First of Goldsworth locks 5.15. After second very little water. Towed (one each side). Through last lock 6.0. Still very shallow. Passed bridge and got water 6.10. Poled and finally towed through weeds. Camped below Brookwood bridge 7.15. Dinner and bed (10 miles in 7 hrs.)

Sept 23rd Up 6.0. Breakfast. Off 7.0. First of Brookwood locks 7.30. Very little water between them. Mainly portaged, but did a little poling and towing. Through and loaded 8.15. Towed, poled and paddled. Arrived Pirbright locks 9.0. Tried to get a cart, but failed. Portaged and off 9.50. 13 Frimley locks with very little water between and all upper gates open. Poled, towed and walked upstream; pulled canoe over upper sills. Help from lock-keeper. Over last lock and loaded 12.40. p.m. lots of water. Lunch just above bridge 1.15. Off 1.40. Plain open paddling to Aldershot lock 3.30. Here cleaned up and proceeded. Camped at Fleet 5.30 p.m. (16 miles in 10-1/2hrs.)

Sept 24th Off 7.30 a.m. In stages of 1 hr. Good paddling to Odiham. Ashore for refreshments. On to N. Warnborough where arrived 11.15. Shopped and sent P.C's. Started 11.40. Lunch 12.0 opposite John of Gaunt's Castle. Weedy. Started again 1.20p.m. End of Greywell tunnell 1.35 1/2. Through 1.48. Towed and paddled. Carried over dam at brickworks and another soon after. Water shoaling and weeds increasing. Towed. Finally water gave out altogether. Went ahead and found next water about 1/2 mile off and bad. Towed back to brickworks 3.45 walked to Hook for cart and carted to Hook station. Slept at Raven Hotel. (10 miles, 7 hrs.)

Dear Editor,

I, like many of your other readers I suspect, was very concerned by the suggestion in the BCAA press release that all other activities should cease while the national angling match is taking place. This suggestion was never raised or suggested at the last Canal Advisory meeting, probably due to the fact that no one from the Angling Club had bothered to come.

The effects that this suggestion may have on other users, particularly hire craft, is beyond belief, can you imagine the furore, if anglers were asked not to use the canal when we hold boat rallies.

Perhaps the 5th of July may be the ideal time to run a horse drawn narrow boat down the whole length of the canal, but then, we would not be allowed to do that.

When I first moved to Fleet I could fish the canal from the bottom of my garden, and I often had good catches of Bream and Tench.

Now I am not allowed to. If I wish to fish from the bottom of my garden, I must get into my boat, cross the canal, and use a designated concrete numbered peg opposite my house. Even though I may have all the appropriate licences. Naturally I have now given up fishing the Basingstoke canal; not only for this reason, but the continued increase in match fishing leaves only small roach and perch left to catch. This year there are 31 angling matches on this canal alone while the average canal supports no more than 2 or 3 matches a year. It appears that the BCA do not have, or do not wish to have, any control over angling on the canal at all.

Yours sincerely
Brian Percy.

[back to top]

page 9

The John Pinkerton has had a much improved season when compared with last season. Mainly from the point-of-view of Ron McLaughlin and Bill Homewood who, along with their stalwart helpers held the boat together so well last year in such trying circumstances.

The winter refit was a terrific example of working together with more helpers than ever before assisting with the maintenance tasks. This year it is hoped to get the maintenance completed early and Ron McLaughlin and his team would welcome help from anyone who can assist; skills range from being able to wield a paintbrush to helping realign the shaft between the engine and the propeller. If you can offer assistance

please do call Ron on (01252) 26722; the John Pinkerton is the main source of income for the Society.

This year's operations have proved popular with a lot of repeat business and the move of the Easter trips from Reading Road Wharf, Fleet to Ash Wharf (using the new aqueduct) proving very popular. Initial thoughts suggest that the income will at least be as good as last year.

The Society is always looking for people to help crew the John Pinkerton; you don't have to want to steer but if you would enjoy time out in the open air from April - October helping the Society raise money for various activites please give Ron McLaughlin a call on (01252) 26722 now - it's never too early for next year.

[back to top]

page 10

Towpath Works
Longer days and better weather signalled a return to Towpath Improvement Works, continuing the partnership with Hart District Council and the BCA. Starting at Pondtail Bridge we completed the section eastwards as far as the Hart/Rushmore Boundary near Morris Bridge. The work went well with deliveries being made on the MoD Training Area which has direct access onto the towpath. We required a licence to use the Training Area, this was issued with a minimum of "Red Tape", in fact, we had a faxed copy of the licence before we had sent off our cheque.

Unfortunately, the last of the stone deliveries contained a larger quantity of stones than fine material, this prevented acceptable compaction and the fine material washed out when it rained leaving a very poor surface. Remedial action has been taken, this last weekend we resurfaced the bad section with limestone dust, the intention being that the dust fills voids between stones, binding them together whilst providing a smooth surface for walking.

We have made a start on the Towpath west of Crookham Wharf, a sensitive section with listed plants and woodland along the embankment. The old war defences are of historical interest and we need to achieve a balance between surfacing the towpath and retaining the historical interest value of the wartime structures. Access is by water and summit levels will dictate progress. The finished towpath will be narrower than usual through the rural countryside as trees and structures govern operations.

Tugs and Barges
The renovation of Pledge continues, the engine is now reassembled, prop shaft and stern gear are next on the list now that the new parts have been made and

the rudder straightened. Repainting inside and out is scheduled as weather conditions permit. Contaminated water from degreasing the engine room and bilges has been pumped into drums and left to settle, water can then be pumped off and the contaminated waste removed by an approved agent. The first barge is being worked on at Deepcut The hull is basically sound but some welding work is required on the hold, hatch covers have been straightened, access ladder made and large quantities of dredged materials removed from the buoyancy compartments. New mooring bollards are being made and inspection covers will need some work.

Slades Bridge
David Dixon, Hants County Council, decided to take early retirement at the end of March His support of the Canal has been over many years, culminating in a partnership agreement on Slades Bridge. Footpaths and Rights of Way were also David's responsibility With some persuasion from the Society, David made some funds available for the partial restoration of Slades Bridge. The Mapledurwell and Up Nately Parish Council also applied for grants. The County Bridges Engineer designed strengthening works for the arch and issued a contract. The work on the arch is finished and the Society can now commence the renovation of the brickwork. The Bridge is a listed structure and a planning condition is the "Best Match" materials are used in the restoration. Basingstoke and Dene B.C. have been supportive and a grant for the Society's work is possible.

The Wey and Arun Canal Trust have loaned us some scaffolding and we have made a start on putting it up. David Dixon worked behind the scenes and was not known to many of our volunteers. I am sure that you all wish him well in his retirement.

[back to top]

Working Party dates and venues

Working Party Leaders
David Junkison - DJ
Dave Lunn - DL
Kevin Redway - KR
Peter Redway - PR

25th Oct
26th Oct
PR/DLSlades Bridge
1st Nov
2nd Nov
KRTugs Ash Lock/Deepcut
2nd NovTBACrookham Bankside
5th NovAllBonfire/Barbecue Canal Centre field
8th Nov
9th Nov
DJ/DLCrookham Bankside
15th Nov
16th Nov
DJ/PRDeepcut Covers etc
16th NovTBACrookhamBankside
22nd Nov
23rd Nov
PR/DJSlades Bridge

Slades Bridge (20K)
A work party preparing Slades Bridge
Photo - Dieter Jebens

GEOprojects Inland Waterways of Britain map. Scale 1:625:000. Price £4.75

Such is the proliferation of waterways restoration projects throughout the country that GEOprojects have included works in progress on a new broadsheet map of navigable rivers (and others) and canals throughout Britain.

In common with GEOprojects' growing list of waterways maps, clarity is this cartographer's hallmark.

Easy identification of river navigations, tideways, broad and narrow canals both navigable and under restoration or no longer navigable, is clearly set out by colour coding, and meticulously done such as showing those parts of the Kennt and Avon Canal that are river navigations. The complex Birmingham canals network is clarified by an inset map (the Birmingham system is the subject of a separate GEOprojects broadsheet published earlier this year).

On the reverse side of the map GEOprojects have listed waterway authorities and societies with addresses and telephone numbers. The map serves as a fascinating introduction to Britain's waterways system, and particularly restoration projects, including the last five miles of the Basingstoke. With inclusion of mileages and locks, the map also serves as a cruise planning guide. Features of interest are marked (Greywell Tunnel and the Canal Centre) and feet above sea level showing the Basingstoke to rise by 200 feet from 50 feet at Weybridge to 250 feet at Basingstoke.

For anyone wanting a comprehensive map of the waterways system of the past, today and in the future, this is an unusual map to study.
Dieter Jebens

page 12

Steam Dredger Perseverance
Members will remember that after finishing her service on the Basingstoke Canal at Pondtail Bridge in April 1993, our steam dredger Perseverance was hauled back to Reading Road Wharf, dismantled and was donated to the famous Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port, being taken there on two low loaders.

Their intention was to restore it to its original condition when it was built in 1934 and use it for demonstration steamings in and around the Boat Museum complex.

Progress has been much slower than was envisaged, due to pressure of other work and restorations of other craft at the Museum but some work has been carried out.

The work on the Perseverance (No 14 of the Grand Union Canal maintenance fleet) is under the supervision of Jim McKeown, the Workshop Supervisor at the Museum.

Work tackled so far includes the following:

The boiler room has been cleaned out and re-painted inside.
The feed water system has been overhauled.
Work has been undertaken on the crane mechanism.
Both pontoons have been dry-docked and patched where necessary.
The hull and pontoons have been blacked.

Information on the progress of the work will be given as and when important segments of the work have been completed, but there is no time limit for completion, as the work proceeds as and when finance and labour is available.

When restoration is finally complete, a coach party visit will be organised to see her in action and to enable some of the dredger crew to operate her again.

Basingstoke Canal Authority Visitor Promotions Manager
Since the post of Visitor Promotions Manager was established some years ago the position has changed hands three times.

The first person appointed was Bridget Tribe, followed by Annette Weiss who left last autumn to become a Marketing Lecturer at Southampton Institute. The current holder of the position is Jo Pocklington who came from Hart District Council where she was Marketing Manager in the Leisure Department. Previously she had been Recreation Officer with Colwyn Bay Borough Council.

Any issues to do with the marketing side of the canal, including events, should be referred to Jo who produces a regular updated events diary throughout the year.

From the Society Newsletters - 30 years ago-1967
A press circular from the Ministry of Transport to various organisations asked for views on the future of the nationalised waterways system. Views to be sent to Mrs Castle.

The Society requested permission from the then owners of the canal, the New Basingstoke Canal Company, to work on sections of the canal. In view of their objections, the Society reviewed its Objectives and sent them to the company.

Fleet and Crookham Amenity Society cleared out some rubbish from the canal in the Fleet area. Amongst the objects found was a brand new lavatory pan and a sack full of decaying horses' heads!

Hampshire County Council plan to build a new bridge across the canal near the (then) present Pondtail Bridge with a height above water level of 4ft 6 inches.

Members asked to write and complain that the headroom should match the (then) existing bridge headroom of 6ft 6 inches. Subsequently increased to 5ft 10 inches to match Reading Road.


An article in the local press mentioned that Surrey County Council were meeting the canal owners to discuss possible purchase of the derelict canal.

Entry of three trailed boats duly decorated with members dressed as navvies with wheelbarrows planned for the Fleet Carnival procession.

In July, the Canal Company issued their long awaited plan to eliminate the nuisance factor of the canal as a barrier to development.

Committee immediately replied stating all the reasons why the canal should be retained and restored of navigation. Individual members asked to write to the press and the two County Councils.

Government published White Paper on the future of canals in this country.

[back to top]

From the Society Newsletters - 25 years ago-1972

Both County Councils have now agreed to apply for compulsory purchase orders to acquire their respective halves of the canal from the New Basingstoke Canal Company, although it is hoped that it may not be necessary in Hampshire.

Working party set up consisting of representatives from SCO, HOC, the Army and the Society to make plans for the restoration and the future management of the canal.

Society decided to build a second pair of lock gates.

Two dozen members from the Society joined the 1000 enthusiasts at "Ashtack 72" to begin the Cheshire Ring Restoration Programme. They were given "their own" crane, skip, buckets and tipper lorries to use. The bridgehole clearance undertaken led to finds such as perfect railway lamps, a box of spanners, a gun sight and an anti­aircraft shell.

With an eye on future dredging, the Society looked at a steam dredger being used by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust near Reading. Other alternatives to dredgers also being investigated.


Members of the Crookham Village Residents Association turn out on the night the canal wall was leaking at Crookham. Partial success to plug the leak achieved by 3.30am.

Assistance also given by Society members and two canal company employees.

From the Society Newsletters - 20 years ago-1977
Watercress Line re-opened between Alresford and Ropley. By bringing steam back, the enthusiasts are not only preserving an important era in transport history but will also be giving pleasure to thousands of people in the increasing leisure age. This is an example of why it is important for the Basingstoke Canal to be restored for leisure use. Hampshire County Council debate whether the Society should be allowed to operate the


John Pinkerton, (as it was eventually named) on the newly restored section of canal between Colt Hill, Odiham and North Warnborough. Some councillors objected to the proposal, luckily in the minority and mainly due to misunderstanding so the proposal was passed. However, the Planning and Transportation Committee were concerned about the extra road traffic being generated and were worried about parking arrangements for cars and coaches.

Job Creation Scheme reached its half-way mark for the year. In conjunction with volunteers, dramatic progress being made on Locks 26, 27 and 28 of the Deepcut flight.

Narrow Gauge Railway underthe leadership of Stan and David Meller and John Peart at Deepcut vital to the success of the Job Creation Scheme as without it, transport down to the locks would have been a daunting undertaking.

Steam dredger hard at work in Hampshire near Broad Oak Bridge, Odiham.

Later in the summer of 1977 the Society's trip boat is launched after £1,000 raised in less than six months. Still objections to the detail of its operation coming forward in spite of the agreement in principle. By the intensity of the debates anyone would have thought that the Society was planning to operate an invasion fleet rather than a harmless pleasure boat!

Over 50 volunteers who helped to restore Lock 25, the first canal lock to be restored and situated at Curzon Bridge on the Deepcut flight, celebrated with a barbecue. One of the youngest members of the team, 14 year old Alan Mummery, marked the occasion by ceremoniously burying a Jubilee crown in the lock chamber.

Led by Peter Jones, the volunteers put in a total of 2,000 man hours on the lock, valued at about £4,000. This was the lock on which Society volunteers cut their teeth and learned how to restore locks. Lessons learnt here were put to good use on later locks.

Society's Annual Sponsored Walk raised over £1,000 with around 100 walkers taking part including the Chief Executive of SCO, the County Valuer and Estates Surveyor and the County Countryside Officer.

SCC launch a canal exhibition unit, housed in a portakabin, to be used for a tour of the riparian towns. Society historical photographs and artefacts used to support the exhibition, the unit included an audio­visual display.

page 14

Nicholson/OrdnanceSurvey Guides to the Waterways. Pub­lished by Harper Collins. Price £9.99 each.

Among the growing number of waterways guides, the Nicholson series remains the 'bible' of waterway user. Robert Nicholson published his first Guide to the River Thames in 1969. The link with Ordnance Survey came 1984 with the introduction of south, central and north waterways guides. At the same time the Wey Navigation was included in the Thames edition. Since then Harper Collins have taken over as publishers, spiral binding was added and the guides periodically updated, but the blue and black printing remained.

Revised format This year the guides have undergone a major re-design, moving to an A5 format and introducing full colour mapping and photographs. A useful addition is the inclusion of a back cover flap which makes a useful pager marker when cruising if weather conditions do not allow you to lay the guide flat.

The Basingstoke Canal is included in the Thames, Wey and Kennet & Avon edition, though it is not identified on the front cover or the title page. At least, being early in the alphabet, the Basingstoke is covered in the first 15 pages. Starting with a potted history of the canal, the Society and Inland Waterways Association are acknowledged for their part in its restoration.

The Basingstoke
Curiously, half a page is devoted to the 'Ups and Downs of the Basingstoke', starting with: 'The Basingstoke is sometimes portrayed as a restoration failure but this is borne out of a misconception'. All those who toiled to turn the derelict eyesore into a navigable waterway will agree with the second half of the of the statement if not the first. The section goes on to re-write the history, telling the reader: 'at the outset the objective of the two county councils involved was to create a 32 mile linear country park for the benefit of a wide variety of users, of which the boaters were to be one (albeit significant) group'. Small wonder that the Canal Society continues to recruit new members fearing, perhaps, that through navigation is less assured in the future.

Water Shortages
The 'downs' of water shortages and supplies are explained at some length, leading to the advice that the navigation is best done in winter months - maintenance permitting - and between February and mid-June. While the Canal Authority 'is happy to accept booked passages', visitors 'must understand its constraints, together with the way it has successfully fulfilled all the aims of its restorers and delighted 1-1/2 million diverse visitors annually'.

Bikers, walkers, anglers and wildlife conservationists apart, I am not sure that the navvies or boaters would agree. But if they think back pumping will answer their unfulfilled dreams, here is the rub: 'back pumping is always a possibility but costly to install and operate' the reader is told which might be taken as a gypsy's warning as much as a simple statement of fact.

Navigation Guide
As a navigation guide Nicholson provides all essential information and more besides. Mile markers for journey planning, winding holes, services and navigation warnings are all there although the need for a British Waterways key to open Zephon Common swing bridge has escaped the editor's attention. As has the fact that cars for sale parked alongside Brookwood bottom lock have long gone. The best part of a page devoted to army museum listings and coverage of Brooklands and Elmbridge museums might have been better given to a picture or two to show just how attractive the Basingstoke is. It also seems odd that Horsell gets more coverage than the fine old Georgian town of Odiham. Features of interest along the canal also seem to have been edited, compared with previous editions, to make space for extensive pub and restaurant listings including the Star at Wych Hill, Hook Heath {where is that ? you may well ask) and the Garibaldi at Knaphill, both some distance from the canal.

Four navigations in one book
Given the coverage of four navigations in a single book, attractively presented with coloured maps giving a much better lie of the land, the new edition is a big step forward and good value at £9.99. There are a total of seven in the series. The others are (1) London, Grand Union, Oxford & Lee; (2) Severn, Avon & Birmingham; (3) Birmingham & Heart of England; (4) Four Counties & the Welsh Canals; (5) North West and Pennines; (6) Nottingham, York & east and (7) Thames, Wey, Kennet & Avon and the Basingstoke Canal.

Dieter Jebens
front cover (17K)

[back to top]

page 15

Cheap and Cheerless Lodge Farm Bridge (7K)
After the splendid recreation of John Pinkerton's Guildford Road Bridge and the magnificent renovation of Queen's Avenue Bridge at Aldershot this year comes Lodge Farm Bridge to the west of Odiham.

The original swing bridge was replaced by a fixed deck bridge in 1954. When the canal was dredged and with the advent of the John Pinkerton trip boat service, the deck was raised to give greater headroom. In recent years the farm accomodation bridge which is also a public footpath was deemed unsafe. A deal was struck with the farmer to replace the deck in exchange for the use of his land to dump dredgings.

Visually the replacement is hardly an improvement although, given an air draft of 6' 8" (2m), it provides acceptable headroom. But the dilapidated piers have remained in place and abutments have been crudely built of sandbags.

A hump-back bridge would have made an exciting new feature. Belter still, a swing bridge in character with the past would have been welcome if not so practical.
All photos on this page Dieter Jebens

Dredging restarted
Following dredging operations from Colt Hill to Lodge Farm Bridge last spring, dredging restarted at the end of September to clear the channel westward to North Warnborough winding hole. The work is scheduled to be completed by the end of October this year to give a depth of 4' 6" (1.5m).

dredging (16K)

Above Dredging at North Wanborough and (right) offloading silt on farmland

Stepping Out
The Jolly Miller at North Warnborough has never been a canal users obvious choice of pub. Now it may well become the chosen stopping place in the village for boaters and towpath walkers. The landord has erected a five barred gate with steps leading down from the towpath to cross a field to the inn offering a welcome at any time.


By contrast, the Swan, better known as a canalside village pub, where barge horses were once stabled, can only be reached from the towpath by crossing the busy B3349. There is a flight of concrete steps on the west side of the bridge which once gave access directly from the towpath. Now partially overgrown, the steps are fenced off at the top with a minute plot of land not owned by the pub, so you have to leave the towpath at the eastern side of the bridge and face the traffic.

bridge steps (22K)
offloading silt (10K)

[back to top]

page 16

[Not online]

[back to top]

page 18

Members may have recently travelled along Queens Avenue between Aldershot and Farnborough and noticed the magnificently rebuilt and restored bridge over the Basingstoke CanaL If you have not yet done so please do so; you will be surprised by the high quality of the workmanship.

Queens Rd Bridge (10K)

The very first bridge at this site was built at the time Aldershot Camp was constructed in the 1850s and was designed to carry horse drawn mainly lightweight army transport and equipment. It was made of wood.

In 1898/99, to cater for the increasing weight of army transport and equipment a replacement iron bridge was designed and built by the Army authorities and cost a total of £4,134; three contractors were involved. The iron castings were manufactured in 18S1 by McFarlanes Saracen Foundry in Glasgow so perhaps were made for another bridge but not used at the time.

Lack of adequate maintenance, deterioration and decay due to water percolation meant that the bridge was increasingly unable to carry modern traffic and about two or three years ago the MoD (Army) decided it must be upgraded to meet the DoT loading of 40 tons.

Plans, based on the still available original plans, were drawn up to recreate the original bridge, as seen by the casual observer, but using modern standards of materials and construction techniques. The decking was increased from seven to twelve girders to meet the new loading requirements. The new steel girders are simple rolled sections with no requirement for the plated construction originally used.

bridge railings (13K)
A close-upof the detail work
Photo - Dieter Jebens

It was decided to re-use the remaining decorative iron railings where possible,

although the odd panel was beyond redemption and some had been destroyed in traffic accidents.

A specialist firm of ironwork contractors called Dorothea Restorations - who are a leading UK firm in this field - was used. They have their own foundry where the reusable ironwork was shot-blasted and repairs and new panels cast. The project architects were Guttridges of Portsmouth - again specialists in this field and the contractors were Hochtief; the project was managed by Taylor Woodrow.

The MoD and the architects specified very high quality materials in order to recreate the bridge which includedthe following:

6,000 imitation rivet heads welded under the new decking to recreate the original plated appearance at a cost of £16,000

York stone for the new caps to replicate the old

23% carat double standard gold leaf for the rosettes

Replacement lamp standards which are as close as possible to the originals (removed in the 1940's)

Special paints (many coats) with the top coat in Brunswick Green which was considered to be most appropriate

The writer was advised that a painter had to lie on his back for three weeks painting the underside of the steel decking due to the narrowness of the scaffolding under the centre to retain headroom for navigation.

The vertical metal bars on the brick abutments have been freed and painted; these were worn away by the horse drawn barges passing under the bridge.

The wooden towpath piling at this location is original and was reputed to have been obtained from the Royal Engineers yard on the opposite side of the canal.

All in all an excellent job and every­one involved can be justly proud of their involvement. The Basingstoke Canal has been very lucky in recent years with the standard of bridge reconstruction which has been of the highest quality.

The Society acknowledges the help given by Tim Sage of the project architects, Guttridges, in the preparation of this article. Tim has also supplied, for the Society archives, a copy of the 1898/99 plans together with a copy of the Viability Report and Schedule of Works for the refurbishment and replacement of the architectural features.
David Millett

[back to top]

page 19

Division 5 National Angling Championships
The Division 5 championships attracted over 900 anglers in teams of twelve, one angler fishing on each of twelve canal sections. The top weight caught by an individual was 25lbs with Team Image winning the championship. The best local club was Cove Angling Club who were 9th. Coaches were all over the place, yours truly being held up for 15 minutes at Double Bridge about 4.15pm whilst anglers were loading their gear, the coach completely blocking the road.

The main complaint I have heard is that there was not enough local publicity just before the event to warn local people from using the towpath that day.

Sponsored Walk
It was good to see many more walkers this year on the canal towpath. I enjoyed my walk, walking with a member from Rochdale, who came down just for the event. However, it was very disappointing to see the mount of dog faeces on the towpath. Even with bylaws in operation (but not advertised) there is no improvement over many years ago. Also the appearance of the locks and lock bridges on the Woodham Goldsworth and Brookwood flights leaves a lot to be desired. Cleaning off the algae and repainting the white painted areas would give the public the impression that there is pride in the canal even if the locks are closed). At present many locks look uncared for which is a great shame. BCA please note.

However, it was very pleasing to note that the canal throughout the Woodham and Woking area has very little duckweed on the surface. The closing down of the sewage pumping works at Pirbright Camp seeks to have done the trick with no nutrients now coming into

the canal via the Cowshot stream at Brookwood.

In addition what a relief to see that the towpath through the Deepcut cutting has been levelled and scraped. In wet weather it was like a mudbath and people walking to Peter Munt's excellent tea-rooms at Lock 28 now need not get their shoes filthy in wet weather. By the way, what a boon to have an excellent cup of coffee on the way through.

Fleet Canal Carnival
The Fleet public attended the Fleet Canal Carnival in great numbers this year and all the stalls were well patronised, including the Society's Sales and Exhibition.

Steam Train Attraction
Darlington has a new attraction. Sculptor David Mach has built a 30ft high steam train out of 180,000 bricks. Of interest to readers of Basingstoke Canal News will be that 20 of these bricks are "bat bricks". Supported by the Durham Bat Group, six pipistrellas have already been introduced to their new home in the specially designed bricks. Paul Freeman of Durham Bat Group describes the venture as a "Brilliant Idea" and says the sculpture will provide "an absolutely perfect winters roost for the pipistrellas! Is this perhaps the answer to the problems of the Greywell bats? Do readers have any suggestions for an appropriate sculpture?

This time to Lt-Col HC Davies of Crookham Village who, after 26 years of delivering the Newsletter, has decided to retire. Without people like Lt-Col Davies the Society would not have prospered as it has. Roger Cansdale has volunteered to step into Lt-Col Davies well worn shoes - thank you Roger.

[back to top]

page 20

Deepcut Treasures
You don't need to walk far along the Deepcut Flight to be rewarded with a wealth of experiences. If you are less than an expert yourself it does help to be with one and there is none better than canal ranger Peter Bickford. A recent walk included sightrngs of a long-tailed tit's nest in a gorse bush within feet of the towpath, squirrels dreys, a Roe Deer racing along the opposite bank and the fascinating experience of watching the reaction of three Black-cap to the approach of a Sparrow Hawk. Peter's expertise in bird call enabled many species of birds to be sighted including a Tree Creeper whilst his talks about territories and adaptability proved engrossing. Plant life was not forgotten including the Yellow Loosestrife essential to one of the rare bees on the canal. Details of Peter's walks can be found in Surrey's Environment News or from the Canal Centre. They are recommended.

To Kerrie Bird (daughter of Nigel and Ann Bird) and Mark (Tango) Lockwood who were married on 7th September.

Thanks from the IWA
Tony Firth has written to the Newsletter as follows:

A big THANK YOU from Tony Firth, Hon. Secretary, IWA Guildford as Reading Branch to all those Society members who donated their unwanted items, large and small, to the Branch's Sales Stand. These items were sold at the Boating and Caravanning Jumble Sale.

This event was held on the morning of 24 August at the National Waterways Festival, Henley and had been organised by the Guildford and Reading Branch with the aim of raising funds for the Basingstoke Canal Backpumping Scheme.

Despite unfavourable weather the sales team had a very busy morning with sales of well over £700. In this respect thanks to 'Hon. Branch Sales Assistant' for the morning, Alec Gosling, who has the happy knack of parting customers from more of their cash than they intended !!

Two for One Offer
The Canal Authority have offered Society members a two-for-one offer when visiting their museum at the Canal Centre.

Please take some proof of membership of the Society with you - this issue of the Newsletter should be quite adequate. Please contact the BCA on (01252) 370073 for more information.

Copy date for Next BC News: 1st December 1997

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. Executive members of the Committee are shown in bold type and Directors of the Society have an asterisk (') after their name.

Editorial Team:
Kathryn Dodington*. Sequoia, Sheets Heath Lane, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey, GU24 0EH (0483) 473630
Kathy Garrett. 122 Lovelace Drive, Pyrford, Woking, Surreyv GU22 8RR (01932) 341993

Chairman: Peter Redway*. 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1SL (0483) 721710
Vice-Chairman: Peter Coxhead*. 17 Abbey Close, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey, GU22 8PY (01932) 344564
Hon. Secretary: Philip Riley*. Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hampshire, RG25 1AH (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
Working Party Information: Peter Redway*. 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1SL (0483) 721710
Trip Boat Manager: Ron McLaughlin. 94 Guildford Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hampshire GU12 6BT (012520 26722
Trip Boat Bookings: Marion Gough. St Catherines, Hurdle Way, Compton Down, Winchester, Hants. SO21 2AN (01962) 713564
Sales Manager: Gill Freeman. 35 Holland Gardens, Fleet, Hampshire, GU139NE (0252) 624612
Mail Order Sales: Alec Gosling. 12 Mole Road, Hersham, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. KT12 4LV (01932) 224950
Exhibitions Manager: David Junkison*. 4 Thames Meadow, West Molesley, Surrey, KT146BE (081) 941 0685
Audio Visual Producer: Arthur Dungate. 187 Ellerdine Road, Hounstow, Middlesex, TW3 2PU (0181) 737 4896
Talks Organiser: Arthur Dungate. 187 Ellerdine Road, Hounstow, Middlesex, TW3 2PU (0181) 737 4896
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens. 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Famham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ (0252) 715230
Archivist: Jill Haworth. Sheerwood, Woodham Lane, Woking, Surrey. GU21 5SR (01932) 342081
Woking Area Director: Peter Coxhead*. 17 Abbey Close, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey. GU22 8PY (01932) 344584
Director: Roger Cansdale*. 79 Gally Hill Road, Church Crookham, Hampshire. GU13 0RU (01252) 616964

[back to top]


Last updated September 2005