IN THIS ISSUE 178
Summer 1998

Contents
Editorial
Cover picture info
Chairman's Comment
AGM 1998
Bridge Barn report
Letters
Work Party News
Millett's Musings
Towpath Topics
Woking Talks

Contact the Society

    bcnmsthd160 (11K)
No. 178 Summer 1998
front pic (59K)

page 2
EDITORIAL

Your Society Needs You!
As the re-opening of the Canal approached, some seven years ago, there was considerable apprehension in the Committee that there might be a sudden plunge in the Society's membership after the great day, as had happened with the Kennel & Avon. In the event several key players retired from the scene, but overall nothing drastic happened.

Today, however, it is clear that whilst the Society has much the same number of members, the effort that they seem able or prepared to put into its activities has been in steady decline. This has crept up on us and may not be apparent to the general membership. Indeed, despite the bad news about the rejection of the our bid for Lottery money, the contents of this Newsletter present a fairly rosy picture of the Society. A very successful Bridge Barn event, working parties beavering away on Slade's Bridge, Crookham towpath etc., and all set to take on the Woodham backpumping scheme.

The reality, however, is somewhat different, as remarks made atthe AGM and in Ken Blake's letter inside indicate. To put it bluntly, the Society stands at a crossroads and one of two things is going to happen in the next few years, Either the current generation, which was involved with the original campaigning and restoration work, will continue to fade gracefully away taking the Society with it into history, or a new set of volunteers will come forward to take the Society and the canal into the next century.

Although the vision of those first few founding members of the Society was largely achieved when the canal re≠opened in 1992, there is still much to be done. Thirty years ago nobody was talking about global warming or envisaging the recent series of dry years which have seen the canal closed to incoming traffic by midsummer. The Woodham back-pumping scheme is the first step to ensuring that navigation remains possible throughout the year.

Compared to the Everest which faced the original Society of rebuilding 29 locks, Ash embankment and dozens of bridges, dredging miles of canal, etc. the back-pumping scheme seems a mere molehill. However, it does need people to organise and do it.

Another factor which seems to have slipped away is the social side of the Society's activities. Many of the older members will remember with great pleasure the weekend

trips which David and Rosemary Millett used to organise to explore the Kennet & Avon and Llangollen canals and many other places of waterway interest. Since David retired from this job, we have been looking in vain for a replacement. As well as providing a welcome fun element to the Society, these social functions enable members to meet each other and probably serve as a springboard for other activities.

The fact that the John Pinkerton has just completed twenty years of highly successful operation on the canal and is still going strong shows that there is still the interest and willingness to get involved in the Society's affairs. What we have to do now is to try to steer some of this towards filling some of the other posts that have, or are about to become vacant. We really do need more help with the running of the Society, or it will fade away. We don't need an army of people - half a dozen of the right sort would do nicely for a start, and the right sort is anyone interested and willing to get Involved.

One of the problems of having a Committee that has been in place for as long as ours is that it tends to look rather impenetrable from the outside, which may deter people from putting themselves forward. To try to overcome this we are having a "Meet the Committee" morning on the John Pinkerton on Sunday 19th July. We shall all be there at Barley Mow, Winchfield from 10.30 to 12, after which we will reward ourselves with a quick trip down to Blacksmith's Bridge and back.

The Canal may have re-opened, but the Society still has a worthwhile job to do. Please think about it, because time is running out. This year we need to restore the Society rather than the Canal! If you can't come along on 19th July, ring one of the Committee if you think you have something to offer and let us see if we can't talk you into a job. Try it - it's fun!

Roger Cansdale

Contents
Editorial2
Chairman's Comment3
AGM 19984
Bridge Barn Festival6
Letters8
Work Party News9
Millett's Musings10
Towpath Topics11
Woking Talks12


COVER PICTURE
A boat heading for Bridge Barn for the Woking Canal Festival.
Photo:
Dieter Jebens
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page 3
CHAIRMAN'S COMMENT

It is disappointing to report that the Heritage Lottery application for Backpumping and Canal Infrastructure works has been rejected.

It is possible that our application became a victim of circumstances, with the fifth good cause also being financed from the lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund has been significantly reduced. The reduced funding has, I understand, severely reduced the ability of the Heritage Lottery to fund larger schemes; canal projects which have been awarded lottery finance require annual payments which in turn reduce the ability of the fund to finance new schemes.

Our application was submitted in September 1997, and the letter of rejection was dated April 1998, a period of at least six months in limbo, which I consider a very unsatisfactory process for all concerned.

It is said that "every cloud has a silver lining", and perhaps this is the case when our lottery application was rejected.

It has been agreed and ratified by the S&HCS Board of Directors that the Woodham Backpumping Project should be progressed, the Canal Authority fully supporting this at the meeting arranged after the Heritage Lottery letter was received by the Canal Director.

A partnership between SHCS, Waterway Restoration Groups, BCA, SCC and Riparian Authorities is envisaged for the Backpumping Project. The volunteer input from Society and WRG will need to be expanded, available finance from partners confirmed and matching funding/sponsorship identified. Plans for volunteer works, visiting groups and the possibility of Work Camps have to be compiled, together with any training needs which are identified.

The project has the potential for re-kindling the Restoration Spirit of the Society - we should meet the challenge with enthusiasm.

The Bridge Barn event at Easter is reported elsewhere in the Newsletter, therefore I will not dwell on details. Attendance was poor on the Saturday with rain most of the day, but the dismal start was soon forgotten when the Illuminated Boat Cruise commenced in the evening, a very spectacular event indeed. Sunday, with better weather, was better attended making up for the previous day.

With 50 boats attending, Peter Jackman our boating organiserwas busy for the whole event, and after, most of the visiting boats decided to cruise the canal to Greywell and back. The boats made a colourful and interesting topic for towpath users and, more importantly, they continued the tradition of navigation. Boats have a unique role in the canal, maintaining the channel and helping to control weed growth.

The multi use of the canal includes boating and regular usage is essential. Hence the need for the backpumping to improve the chances of all year round navigation.

Waterlines
With our last issue, we circulated a copy of "Waterlines". the newsletter produced by the Canal Authority which also covers Blackwater Valley aspects. We do not intend to do this regularly, because it doubles the work for those few people who fold and envelope all the newsletters. Also, because the two newsletters are not published at the same time, the items covered by Waterlines may be long out of date. However, if anyone would like a copy of it, they are available from the Canal Centre at Mytchett


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page 4
AGM 1998 - Kathy Garrett reports

The Annual General Meeting of the Canal Society was held at the Mytchett Community Centre on Saturday 25th April. The business side of the meeting was conducted swiftly as there was, yet again, no necessity for elections to the Executive Committee as no new nominations had been received.

The society reports emphasised the continued commit≠ment of members of the society. Peter Redway gave a detailed account of the work undertaken by volunteers during the year, slides of the work clearly illustrating the enormity of the jobs undertaken. We heard first about the summer work on the Hart towpath using materials provided by the local council. Slides showed the difficulty of the work in some places such as on the ecologically sensitive West Hart embankment where new techniques were needed to ensure that rare plants remained undisturbed. The provision of access covers on culvert toppings has been a further major input this year together with off bank clearance. Considerable time has also been spent on the maintenance of the tugs and barges and members were greatly impressed by the slides of the work undertaken. Peter thanked all the volunteers for their efforts, the committee, especially the treasurer Jonathan Wade,for their support and also thanked the BCA for their help in the loan of equipment.

It was then time for Ron McLaughlin to update members on the John Pinkerton. Again his report spoke of a huge commitment from members which enables the JP to continue to operate. Although profits were a little down this year this was because of maintenance on the boat which has involved 240 man-hours of voluntary labour. Ron was extremely grateful to the thirty crew members who turned out in often bitter weather to assist in the winter refit when improvements to the galley and toilet were made as well as repairs to the hull, skeg and prop and painting throughout. The John Pinkerton completed 150 charters and 121 public trips during the year, which testifies to the commitment of the hundred crew members who work on the boat. Several charters involved joint trips with the Watercress Line and there had been some interest from coach companies. A party of children from Chernobyl had also greatly enjoyed a charity visit to the boat. Ron warmly thanked all his volunteers mentioning

particularly Robert and Mandy Knight who have for many years attended practically every Tuesday evening training and maintenance session. Ron reminded members that they were always welcome to come along on Tuesday evenings. It was now time for the awards presentations. First the chairman expressed the appreciation of the society to Chris Guthrie and Bruce White, the organisers of the sponsored walk which, as a result of meticulous organisation, had been the most successful ever. The Sponsored Walk Trophy was presented to Alison Snell who had raised the most money. Next to be presented was the Robin Higgs Award. Having heard earlier of the tremendous amount of effort put in by the working party teams over the past year it was with considerable satisfaction that members learned that this year's award was to go to a stalwart member of the working party team. The recipient, Dave Lunn, has given his time and effort to the support of the canal since 1979 when he started working on the restoration of the Woodham flight of locks and has had an input into many of the major canal projects during the subsequent years. He is a worthy recipient of this award and we congratulate him on his achievement.

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Robin Higgs (right) presenting Dave Lunn with the Robin Higgs Award
Photo
- Alison Snell

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Peter Redway presenting Alison Snell with the Sponsored Walk Trophy
Photo
- Dick Snell

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The interval gave an opportunity to visit the sales stand and archive display and to take welcome refreshment, an opportunity to remind ourselves again of the work done for the society by the members who give their time and energy to these activities.

After the interval, the raffle was drawn with generous prizes donated by the committee before an informal slide show was given of pictures taken both before and during the restoration . It was a reminder of howgreat a task it was and a tribute to those who had the vision to carry out this mammoth task. The reminiscences caused a lot of hilarity, as old faces were recognised and gory tales recounted.

Unfortunately the cheerfulness was soon calmed as the Chairman reported that the lottery bid had been rejected. He voiced his personal belief that, whilst alternative sources of watersuch as the redundant Greywell pumping station and a possible reservoir at Brookwood may become available, the back pumping scheme at Woodham was essential to the future of the canal and hoped that it could still be achieved. It would mean fund raising on

an enormous scale which would be a priority and massive volunteer input.

The Chairman appealed for help on the Sales stand during the summer to relieve David and Gill Freeman, for additional crew for the John Pinkerton and for fresh faces on the committee which would bring new ideas and share the load. Peter Coxhead reported on the success of the Bridge Barn event with over 50 boats attending. Although inclement weather had caused reduced attendance on the Saturday, the sunny Sunday had brought thousands of people to the event. The illuminated boat cruise had been particularly successful and watched by many. Boaters contributed £400 and Peter thanked all who had helped to raise money in various ways including the bucket collectors who had been major contributors to the final total.

The evening ended with a short open forum which focused largely on the water supply issues.

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.

Canal Society Sponsored Walk - 20th July 1997
[not included]
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page 6
BRIDGE BARN CANAL FESTIVAL -

at Bridge Barn (17K) A busy scene at Bridge Barn - Photo Dieter Jebens

As most of you will remember, last year's Bridge Barn had to be cancelled because of low water levels in the canal, so it was decided to bring it forward to Easter this time. Well, as I write this at the end of April, the signs are that this has turned out to be the wettest since records began. Indeed, we certainly experienced some of that dampness on Saturday, the opening day of the event and this showed itself in the reduced numbers of visitors on that day. We are grateful for those hearty souls who braved the elements, and in particular the Mayor of Woking, Councillor Mrs Irene Matthews and her husband, who, I would add, like her predecessors in this role who attended the Festivals in previous years, showed great interest and pleasure in our efforts to publicise the Basingstoke Canal. The weather on Sunday was good and this brought in the crowds, which boosted everybody's spirits and I am pleased to say, saved us from financial disaster.

From the boating point of view, and after all, this is what the Festival is all about, it was the most successful of the five events to date. Without question this was almost entirely due to the tireless efforts of Peter Jackman, whose persistence and enthusiasm produced a total entry of 54 craft of various sizes, coming from the Shropshire Union, Kennet & Avon, Grand Union, Regent's and Oxford Canals, the River Lee plus, of course, the ever-welcome "locals". Many were bedecked in Easter livery, this being the theme for the weekend and the "Best Decorated Boat" competition. The judging of this was carried out by the Mayor who was transported between the lines of boats moored on both banks of the canal in "Maggie G", a boat owned and run by the Woking Boating for the Handicapped Group and incidentally named after a previous Mayor, Margaret Gammon. At the end of the trip, Mrs Matthews announced her choice of winner as "Tristan III", owned and of course decorated by Shirley Trott. A pewter tankard suitably engraved was subsequently presented to Shirley.

When darkness fell on Saturday evening, Woking was treated to a feast of moving lights as some 12 of the Festival boats made their way from Brewery Road wharf back to the Bridge Barn,

where they were greeted by crowds of boisterous well-wishers. John Ross with his 14 ft boat "Elizabeth Rose" was awarded the accolade of Best Illuminated Boat, with Peter Jackman and his boat Triggs" coming a close second. Dick and Allison Shell's "Athai" came third in the competition, being highly commended. It certainly was grand to see so many people on the bridges and towpath. I felt it was a night to remember.

On the landside, we had Dick Harper White demonstrating his painting skills on numerous items of canal ware. Dick and Allison Snell were also there with a wonderful display of rope fenders. The plant stall was popularwith the gardening fraternity, whilst that important section of our community, the children, were well looked after by our face painter, the Dickie Richards Childrens Show which was a mixture of magic, balloon modelling and Punch and Judy. Another rather unusual experience was provided for the youngsters, who under the watchful eye of Dave Lunn, were allowed to operate a real live digger, kindly loaned to us by Elmbridge Plant Hire Ltd. Edwin and Joan Chappell ran a games stand, mainly for the nippers, combined with a cake stall. Our thanks go out to all members who contributed the cakes. Byfleet Boat Club were there in force, this time also providing a games stand together with books and records for sale. The Society sales stand was efficiently manned by Janet Greenfield and Anne Proudfoot. Our archivist, Jill Howarth, had an interesting display of historic material on show. Music was provided by fair ground organs, and on Sunday we were treated to some lively entertainment in the form of the Yately Morris Dancers. The Basingstoke Canal Authority stand manned by Jo Pocklington was on site for both days and Terry Hoare ran trips to and from Woking in his boat "Painted Lady". Everybody was kept informed about the show throughout both days through an excellent public address system, supplied and run by Peter Harman.

Our thanks go out to Woking Borough Council and, in particular, to their Public Relations Department for the assistance with the posters and the advertising generally.


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(Page 7)
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Top left: Easter Bonnets winners Alison Snell and Graham Wright.
Top right: Rope fender maker, Dick Snell, displays his new Basingstoke Canal Token design horse brasses to the Mayor of Woking who proudly shows Dick her chain of office.
Right: Best decorated boat winner, Shirley Trott (left) being presented with a trophy for her narrowboat Tristan III by the Mayor of Woking with Gordon St John, manager of the Bridge Barn Restaurant.
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Above left: Gill Haworth, the Society's archivist, dressed in period boat-woman's costume, shows the Mayor of Woking a cast iron mile plate found at Broad Oak.
Above right: Yateley Morris Dancers entertaining festival visitors at Bridge Barn.
All photos: Dieter Jebens

We are grateful for the use of the venue at the Bridge Barn and my personal thanks to the managers, Gordon (Singe) and Jackie St.John. They had only been in residence for a few weeks and I think I can say they were more than pleased with the weekend and indeed they are already talking about the next one.

Finally, a grand total of £925 was passed to the Basingstoke Canal Authority in respect of the very good value short term licenses, and a further £400 was donated by the boaters towards our Backpumping Water Appeal, plus £40.! from Dick Snell as a result of sales of special horse brasses. I understand that in order to keep the boats moving, some Canal Rangers were on duty until 8.30 pm. Well done everybody and thank you again. The Basingstoke certainly came alive at Easter.
Peter Coxhead
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page 8
LETTERS

Dear Editor

Any person attempting rubbish clearance from the canal is immediately presented with other well established problems, weeds and reeds.

Reeds are rapidly spreading along both sides of water's edges, holding and concealing rubbish with slow decay rates. The green carpet of floating residues of parent plant rapidly spreading below and is presenting a difficult object to clear. It has reached the St. Johns locks and seems trapped at present but signs of advance along towpath by shear volume of body. Those who object to sight of rubbish can be party to its clearance by coming forward to form groups as Friends of Baslngstoke Canal, meet in weekdays and enjoy results at weekends.

Reeds - will English Nature allow cutting, perhaps thinning? There are many varieties, some short, others very high suitable for thatching. The removal of floating weed blanket is very difficult; raking pushes much below to reappear an hour later - enough to break one's heart. A fisherman's keep net would be more rewarding, gathering a greater volume with a quick release string at the other end after harvesting.

Rambling in the Friday Street area I observed a simple device used to extract leaves drifting down from woods above, A chute at the centre of a weir allows leaves to descend into a catchment basket of chicken wire below. As lock gates are wedge shaped an insert chute with water level adjustment would have to be designed.

The downturn of Peter Redway's health should draw attention to the ageing of the Society's work force. Much to do, but the numbers are very few. We need to have an intake of younger blood for the future.

K Blake
London SE5

BOATS FOR THE HANDICAPPED
Boats forthe Handicapped are pleased to tell their many supporters in the Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society that they have been successful in their bid to the National Lottery Charities Board and have been granted £34,750 towards the cost of their new day boat.

The existing day boat, the "Mildred Stocks", has now been running for 12 years and is looking very shabby indeed. It is hoped that she will last out for the rest of this season, and that the replacement will be running in 1999. She has given so much pleasure to thousands of disabled people and their helpers, and it is hoped that the new boat will continue to do this.

The new boat will be quite different to the "Mildred Stocks". It will be built on traditional narrow boat lines, but will be wider, with a lift, and will have the luxury of a pump-out toilet and small galley for making cups of tea, etc.

The committee are busy visiting boatyards and finalising designs, and it is hoped to be able to tell you more in the next newsletter.
Judy Gerry

Newsletter Editor
Having announced last issue that the Newsletter would be coming out on time in future, it looks as if this one is going to be late. The reason is that sadly, we have lost our editor.

Kathryn Dodington had held this post for some years and had done a fine job of maintaining the tradition of editorial independence established by Dieter Jebens, the original editor. Kathryn was never afraid to speak her mind, and whilst not everybody may have always agreed with her, it made for a lively publication and sufficiently pleased at least one member to attract a letter of congratulation and a £25 donation after the last issue.

Unfortunately Kathryn's job has changed, which leaves her with less free time and means that she no longer fells able to continue with the job. She has kindly agreed to help with the actual production of this edition, but we need to find a replacement.

We have an editorial team to assist, which consists of Kathy Garrett, who contributes articles, Dieter Jebens, who provides advice and photographs, and myself, who offered to collect and pre-process articles ready for the desktop publishing process.

We need someone to put it all together, preferably someone with experience of desktop publishing on a PC or at least sufficient competence on one to have a go at learning to use PageMaker or a similar programme. Failing this, we may have to pay to have it done professionally, but we still need an editor.

Please give us a ring if you feel that you could have a go at doing this vital communications job for the Society.

So, goodbye and thanks very much to Kathryn (and may your 2CVs continue to thrive), and welcome to ... you?

Roger Cansdale


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page 9
WORK PARTY NEWS

My last Work Party Report briefly mentioned Grant Aided work at Deepcut and Mytchett.

The Deepcut work required a dedicated team for the alteration of the upper jackheads and the provision of the upper culvert access covers. This work provides a valuable access for clearing blockages in the paddle culverts from the lockside, obviating the need for draining lock pounds or top cills in order to gain entry into the culvert.

The work has been time consuming and repetitive, but Dave Junkison's team kept at it until the Easter opening of the canal. Well done Dave and his team! Looking forward into the Summer, the result of having our lottery application turned down means that we need to complete a number of commitments made with our partners, as work on the Woodham Backpumping Project should start in 1999. Towpath works in Hart, Slade's Bridge and Frimley Bank Protection have been programmed for this year. Barge and tug work is also included.

The turning down of the lottery application has provided a focus for thought about how the Backpumping Project can be implemented. Following our AGM, the S&HCS Board has agreed on negotiations with our lottery partners, WRG and Riparian Authorities so that the scheme can proceed.

Volunteer input will need to be increased, therefore assistance from WRG and the Dig Deep Group will be part of our plans. Matching funding and sponsorship are also two key requirements in our planning and negotiations. Starting work on site in the Spring of 1999 is an achievable target. This allows time to work through our current commitments whilst planning work/logistics for starting the backpumping project. New volunteers (or old) are always welcome. Anyone interested, please contact one of the Work Party leaders or myself. The Working Party programme up to September is below, and this provides a good mix of skills and interest. Come along and help.
Peter Redway

Work Party Dates and Venues

DateLeaderVenue
4/5 JulyKRTug/Barge Ash/Deepcut
11/12 JulyDJ/DL/PRSlade's Bridge
18/19 JulyKR/PRCrookham towpath
25/26 JulyDJ/DL/PRSlade's Bridge
1/2 AugustKR/PRCrookham towpath
8/9 AugustDJ/DL/PRSlade's Bridge
15/16 AugustKR/PRCrookham towpath
22/23 AugustDJ/DL/PRSlade's Bridge
12/13 SeptDJ/DLSlade's Bridge
13 SeptKRTug/Barge Ash/Deepcut
19/20 SeptKRCrookham towpath
26/27 SeptDJ/DL/PRSlade's Bridge

Work Party Leaders

Dave Junkison DJ 0181 941 0685
Dave Lunn DL 01483 771 294
Kevin Redway KR 01483 722 206
Peter Redway PR 01483 721 710

Note: Midweek Working Parties will be arranged for Slade's Bridge and other projects whenever possible in order that progress achieves completion before backpumping work parties commence in 1999.
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page 10
MILLETT'S MUSINGS

Many of the fifty plus boats that visited the Canal to take part in the very successful Bridge Barn Canal Festival at Easter took the opportunity to cruise to the head of navigation at King John's Castle, and made an excellent sight. One night fourteen narrow boats were moored at Crookham Wharf!

What a relief to the canal given by the record April rainfall this year. Hopefully, the navigation will now be open for longer this summer before the inevitable closure.

Best wishes to the new lessees of "The Chequers Inn", Crookham Village. Let's hope that they are able to make a go where three previous lessees have failed in recent years. The pub now has an excellent selection of real ales, and the food is reputed to have improved.

Thanks to HCC for replacing the capping blocks which vandals had knocked off Old Pondtail Bridge in Fleet. Divers had to be brought in to recover three of them and one new block had to be made, the original having been stolen. Just what pleasure do mindless individuals get from this wanton destruction?

Talking about bridges, a young motorist had a narrow escape when his car skidded and demolished the wooden balustrades on Reading Road Bridge, Fleet. The car was left hanging over the edge. HCC have now completed the repairs.

Congratulations to David Junkison on the new exhibition display which has excellent text. Whilst mentioning this, if any member can arrange for the display boards to be exhibited in an empty shop window, library etc., please let David know. His phone number is on the back page.

The new piling at the Fox and Hounds, Fleet and opposite the slalom poles near Reading Road Wharf is a great improvement and will stop the erosion which was getting very bad at these locations. Similarly a short section of

piling has been completed on the towpath opposite the dry-dock at Lock 28, where wash from turning boats was particularly damaging.

Sorry to hear the Heritage Lottery bid was unsuccessful. The priority must now be to get funding together to at least get the backpumping at Woodham installed.

Good news that the Canal Authority are issuing a new Cycling Code intended to educate cyclists (especially the fast mountain bike fraternity) in being courteous to towpath walkers and anglers. It is essential to slow down and give a warning when passing them on the towpath.

An example of how the towpath deteriorates with increasing mountain bike use is the section between Norris Bridge, Pyestock and Eelmoor Bridge, Aldershot, which is now in a very bad state. How about Rushmoor Council emulating Hart in providing the funds for its upgrading and, ideally for the rest of the towpath through Rushmoor Borough?

Welcome John McGovern
The newly appointed managerof Football Club, John McGovern has recently taken up residence aboard a houseboat on the Basingstoke Canal. This will enable him to retain his home in Sheffield whilst at the same time providing a pleasant venue for his family to visit during school holidays. We wish him well in his new position and hope he will enjoy his stay on the canal.

Countryside Strategy for Woking
The recently published consultation draft of "The New Countryside Strategy for Woking" (Dec 1997) makes a powerful case for the continuing support of the canal in Woking. It notes that the council regards the enhancement of water supplies to the lower pounds of the Canal as an essential step towards improving the visual, recreational and ecological qualities of the canal. Copies of the document are available from Woking Borough Council and local libraries.

Diary event

The annual visit by the Mikron Theatre Company to the garden of the "Fox and Hounds", Crookham Road, Fleet. The performance this year will be a revival of "Imogen's War", the story of wartime trainees on the inland waterways. This celebrates the women who helped the war effort by working on the commercial narrow boats all over England. They were known as "the trainees" or ironically, as "Idle Women" after the badge which wartime workers on the Inland Waterways received.

Please support this performance as this excellent touring group can only survive with good attendances, other grants being reduced with local authority and Arts Council cutbacks.

Bring folding chairs or rugs, or just sit on the grass.

Don't miss it. Make a note in your diary NOW!


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page 11
TOWPATH TOPICS

Peter Munt
The Basingstoke Canal again featured prominently in the pages of the February issue of Waterways World with an article about the life and work of Peter Munt, ranger at Deepcut.

Cycling The question of cycling on the towpath continues to be a matter for concern owing to the inconsiderate actions of a minority. The BCA has set up a Cycling Working Group to try to address the problem of cyclists racing along the towpath. Members who would like to contribute to this debate can contact Jo Pocklington at the canal centre. 160 signs regarding cycling on the towpath are being erected in an effort to reduce speeding. They will require cyclists to give way to other towpath users and to dismount at bridges. The results of this initiative will be monitored over the coming months.

Canal Walks
It was a pity that the BCA Canal walks did not feature in the Autumn/Winter issue of Surrey's Environment News. This paper is valued by many who enjoy the countryside and the absence of advertising for the walks was particularly sad as this issue included an article on the rebuilding of the Guildford Road Bridge, increasing awareness of the canal. It is good, however, to see that the canal activities are once again featured in the Spring/Summer edition.

Bottles and Cans
Cruising along the Woking pound on sunny weekday lunchtime in March demonstrated just how much the canal is appreciated by the people of the town. It obviously provides a welcome break for many of the town's workers who enjoy a quiet stroll along its banks during their break. It is sad that the numerous bottles, cans and packets lining the water's edge mar their enjoyment. How can the anti≠social droppers of litter be re-educated, and if they cannot what can we do about it?

Notice Boards
Notice boards say a lot about the organisations advertising on them. It is very easy to put notices up but often a chore to remove them when they become outdated or tatty. Since the canal and all involved in it will be judged by the quality of this publicity it is important that a regular check is kept on notice boards along the canal. It may seem that leaving four rusty drawing pins will not cause much of a problem but if everyone does so it soon becomes very unsightly and material with peeling edges doesgive a very poor impression.

Twinning Party
A party from the Canal d'Orleans will be visiting the canal on the weekend 19th - 21 st June. The group will meet up with their host families at the Canal Centre on Friday evening and will visit the eastern end of the canal on Saturday morning followed in the afternoon by a cruise aboard the John Pinkerton. A barbecue will be held at the Waterwitch in the evening and the visitors will have lunch at the Canal Centre on Sunday before returning home.

The First Lock Gates
In May 1789 the Basingstoke Navigation Company advertised in the Hampshire Chronicle for oak timber for building the 29 locks. It is interesting to note that the advertisement states that "The locks will be built, six on New Haw Common, five near Brookwood stumps, three upon Woking Common, fourteen near Purbright Ponds, and one near Dead Brook Farm." One cannot help but wonder why, over the ensuing years, these descriptions for the flights were lost and, for example, the New Haw Common locks became the Woodham flight.

Sponsored Bike Ride
A sponsored bike ride was organised on Sunday 24th May to support the Adult Centre at White Lodge, Chertsey (The Centre for Living). The event started from the Canal Centre at 9am and entrants cycled along the towpath, travelling downstream.

Looking Back
Our archivist, Jill Haworth, gave a most interesting talk to the West Surrey Family History Society in April. Her talk covered the ways in which historical records from the Basingstoke's past could be utilised in tracing relatives who had connections with the canal in its early days. The talk was very well received and it was good to see several members of the Family History Society visiting the Bridge Barn Canal Festival afterwards.

An Ageing Society
Particularly noticeable at the AGM was the maturity of the majority of the current members. If the society is to continue with the level of input from volunteer work which we have become accustomed to then it is essential that many more new younger members are encouraged to join and take part. If any members have any ideas on how this is to be achieved please let us know. This is a matter which must be addressed and soon.


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WOKING TALKS

At the January meeting Robin Higgs entertained us with slides and anecdotes about his visit to China, giving us a very personal viewpoint of this enormous country. Perhaps of greatest interest to members were the pictures of the Grand Canal connecting Beijing in the north with Hangzhou in the south. The Chinese government dredged, repaired and modernised the canal in the 1960's and it is a major trade route in China. Robin's pictures, taken from a boat on the canal, showed fascinating sights of the barges, often as many as thirteen pulled by one tug. The Grand Canal is the world's longest canal system.

Unfortunately Arthur was unable to be with us in February and so his talk on the early days of television is a subject yet to look forward to. At the last minute Tony Harmsworth very kindly stepped in and gave a most enjoyable talk about the canal in the days of his Grandfather's ownership supported by delightful photographs from the family album. The second part of the evening was devoted to a question and answer session, and again we are grateful to Tony for offering this opportunity.

In March David Gerry shared more of his early lantern slides with members giving a remarkable insight into life in the early part of the century and enabling comparisons to be made with scenes today, it was a rare opportunity to see photographs of this age and made a fascinating evening.

The final event of the season was a pictorial journey along the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union Canal with particular emphasis on the Foxton Locks and the history and plans for restoration of the Foxton Inclined Plane.

The Woking Talks have again been enjoyed this year by a large number of people and we are grateful to Arthur Dungate and Peter Coxhead for their efforts in organising these evenings. We would also like to extend our thanks to all who have assisted with refreshments, raffles, sales stands and exhibits. It has all helped to make a very successful winter season which has been much enjoyed.


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Copy date for Next BC News: 30th August 1998

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:
Roger Cansdale*. 79 Gally Hill Road, Church Crookham, Hampshire. GU13 0RU (01252) 616964
Kathy Garrett. 122 Lovelace Drive, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey 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
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Last updated September 2005