No. 180 Winter 1998
Looking back on 1998, it's been a year of somewhat mixed fortunes for the Canal and the Society. On the down side, the bid for Heritage Lottery funding for the back-pumping scheme was turned down, the 'Pinkerton' suffered further engine problems and we had a scare over the health of our Chairman. On the plus side, the water levels held up better this year enabling the canal to stay open longer, the BCA managed to do a useful amount of dredging and the Bridge Barn event was again successful. Moreover, we are determined to progress the back-pumping scheme, the boat is to have a new, and hopefully quieter, engine and Pete Redway seems to have bounced back with remarkable rapidity.
Similarly, having felt rather pessimistic aboutthe Society's future earlier in the year, I think that I am beginning to detect some hopeful signs. We have had two people offering their services to the Committee and we invited a numberof the senior members of the Society to join us for our November monthly meeting to discuss our future. Interestingly, Robin Higgs, one of our former Chairmen, said that a well recognised measure of the health of a voluntary organisation was whether at least 10% of its membership took part in its activities.
On this basis, the Canal Society appears not to be doing badly with an estimated 220 active members out of a membership of about 1900. However, of these 220, 130 are crewing the 'Pinkerton', 50 are involved with production and distribution of the Newsletter and 20 are on working parties, which doesn't leave many running the rest of the Society. We obviously need to make some of the other aspects more attractive and our meeting produced some lively discussion and a lot of comments and ideas. These are being sifted and compiled into some sort of intelligible form with the intention that they will be put before the Society members as a questionnaire early in the New Year.
In the short term, however, we are still looking for a few more people to boost our somewhat flagging organisation, so if you feel that you had something to offer, don't wait for the New Year. One of the letters this month suggests that the problem is that outsiders find it difficult to break into the organisation or to meet the Committee members. I think that this is a valid point but the monthly Woking meetings have started and these are one place where these elusive creatures are guaranteed to be found. However, if you can't get along to one of them, feel free to give one of us a ring - the numbers are all on the back page.
I have been persuaded, somewhat against my better judgement, to take my own advice and get more involved in the Society by accepting formally the post of Newsletter Editor. There were three factors in this decision, firstly that I have received one letter urging me to do it and none telling me not to, the second that nobody else has volunteered, and the third that I am beginning to rather enjoy myself!
I hope that this enjoyment is shared by the readership and that you will tell me if it isn't, preferably accompanied by a contribution for the next edition. The editor's job is not to write the whole newsletter and the more input from other people there is, the more interesting it will be. I have received a splendid amount of material for this issue and my thanks go to all contributors - keep up the good work! My address for offerings is on the back page.
IWA new National Chairman and relocation
The IWA has a new Chairman in Richard Drake, replacing Audrey Smith, and has announced the relocation of its Head Office to new premises at Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire. The move was effective from 28th Septemberand the new address for Head Office correspondence is:
Inland Waterways Association
PO Box 114
Telephone: 01923 711114
Fax: 01923 897 000
The continuing interest of local artists in painting scenes along the canal is again demonstrated by the inclusion of a picture of the canal in Woking in the 1999 Woking Calendar. Many of these calendars are sent overseas and it is good to think that views of this important aspect of Woking are spread far and wide.
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Westward bound. The steam launch Garlandstone passing the former lengthman's cottage at Chequers Bridge.
Photo: Dieter Jebens
In my last report I confirmed that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) application for enhancements of the Canal facilities at Mytchett and back-pumping at Woodham had been unsuccessful.
This decision by the HLF preceded the publication by the Inland Waterways Amenities Advisory Council (IWAAC) of a report on canal restoration projects. This report was commissioned by the Government and IWAAC Chair, Lady Knollys, initiated a comprehensive questionnaire to canal societies, trusts and navigation authorities. The HLF had suspended application decisions pending the IWAAC report, indicating that they would consider IWAAC recommendations when evaluating canal related project applications.
The IWAAC report evaluated the Basingstoke Canal (post restoration works) favourably, recommending that the project should be funded within the next five years; unfortunately this recommendation will not automatically generate the required funding. A revised HLF application for the Woodham back-pumping project alone will be completed during December. The revised application will need to meet current HLF requirements for both heritage content of the project and overall funding being requested.
The challenge for your Committee is twofold, firstly the preparation of detailed plans, specifications and drawings for the pump house, pipeline and services, and secondly to facilitate continued fund-raising and sponsorship for the project.
A fund-raising scheme has been suggested by Pablo Howarth, one of our members. Pablo has initiated a "Buy a length of Pipe" scheme, where members are able to subscribe towards the purchase of pipeline materials, very similar to our previous "Buy a Brick" scheme.
Our November Committee meeting included a review of the Society, with invited guests who joined in discussions on the way forward for the Society. A considerable amount of notes from the meeting now requires analysis and compiling into committee papers before being communicated to members. A questionnaire for members to complete was suggested as a feedback mechanism, so that the Committee can evaluate your wishes for the way ahead.
Award lor Chairman
Peter Redway was recently honoured by Surrey County Council for his many years of voluntary work on the canal. He and other similarly deserving citizens each received a citation and a cut glass decanter. Congratulations, Pete - richly deserved!
David Gerry letter - Response from the Chairman
'Dave has raised some post-lottery-bid-failure thoughts on back pumping and other issues in his letter published in the last Newsletter. Some of the issues, such as the location of the Canal Centre which was provided by the Surrey County Council, are now fact and with us for the foreseeable future. The back pumping proposals have been worked up over some considerable time. All aspects of the back pumping scheme as currently planned have been fully considered in consultation with the SHCS, BCA, Woking BC, and Surrey CC.
I understand that a similar scheme was considered when the Rive Ditch purnp was being planned but rejected on cost grounds. However, currently the future of the Rive Ditch supply is uncertain due to an ongoing dispute over access. The back pumping scheme as planned has been validated by independent consultants and deemed 'fit for purpose'. This was before a planning application was submitted. Surrey CC have considered the legal implications of back pumping and are fully satisfied that it is covered by existing case law. The recently published Inland Waterways Amenities Advisory Council (IWAAC) 'Prioritisation of Canal Restoration Projects' is an independent review requested by government and recognised by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The review is based on answers to a very detailed questionnaire. The IWAAC report shortlists and recommends the Basingstoke Canal water supply projects for funding in the short term.
The Heritage Lottery Board Case Officer is advising us on the revised application based solely on water supply requirements. I considerthe IWAAC recommendations vindicate the concept of back pumping, the policy which has been accepted by our partners in the project and also extensively implemented by British Waterways. We in the SHCS also have a policy of water supply enhancements, the ideal being a significant supply of water of acceptable alkalinity in the Hampshire pound. Other objectives are reservoirs, filled in winter and used when transpiration/evaporation is greatest.
We are fully aware of the need for water and acutely aware of the difficulties in obtaining sufficient supplies'.
The Editor has also now had the opportunity to talk to Paddy Field, the Canal Director, about water supplies and the proposed back-pumping scheme at Woodham
- See Page 9
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The work on Slade's Bridge restoration has progressed through the summer. Using lime putty mortar generated a decided learning curve for Dave Junkison and his team. Unlike cement mortar, lime putty mortar has an extended setting period, also in dry conditions bricks require soaking in water with the water being fully absorbed into the bricks before use.
TOWPATH RENOVATION: Society volunteers resurfacing the towpath between Crookham and Dogmersfield which has become muddy in wet weather. The towpath is also renowned for its potholes left after anti-invasion posts were removed after the second World War. Society volunteers moved 240 tons of scalpings by barge from Crookham Wharf to the work site. Materials and plant were supplied by Hart District Council (see Working Party report). (Photo: Dieter Jebens)
The western parapet wall of the bridge has been constructed up to capping brick height. As lime putty mortar should not be subjected to frost, a frost free three day period is recommended for the setting of the mortar. Recent frosts or rain have resulted in a decision to leave further work until next spring/summer. The parapet will be sheeted up to prevent weather
SIGNING ON: (L-R) Dave Lunn, David Junkison (working party leader) and Chris Guthrie displaying the illustrated notice board designed and painted by Mervyn Lipscombe, at Slade's Bridge, Up Nately, promoting the Society's restoration of the original brick arch bridge. (Photo: Dieter Jebens)
damage during the winter. The final cleaning of the brickwork will be carried out after laying the capping bricks and corner stones.
(L-R) Working party leader David Junkison, Chris Guthrie and Dave Lunn rebuilding one of the parapets of Slade's Bridge over the canal at Up Nately, using traditional materials including a lime mortar mix as used when the bridge was constructed over 200 years ago. (Photo: Dieter Jebens)
Other working parties have been busy on the towpath at Coxmoor Wood. The wartime defences had caused significant erosion of the adjacent towpath; this made consolidation of the stone more difficult than expected. All the materials were delivered to Crookham Wharf and transported by barge to Coxmoor Wood. So far we have had 18 lorry loads of stone delivered (360 tons), which has been stockpiled at Coxmoor Wood or laid on the towpath. Bank erosion has also required repair before towpath work can progress. Potholes were filled with stone before the top layer was put down.
The barge and tug repairs completed earlier this year provide a serviceable and environmentally friendly way of transporting the materials. If the quantities required had been moved by dumper, the damage to the canal bank and towpath would have been considerable.
Ourwinter programme will continue towpath work at Coxmoor, bank protection work and the fitting of access covers on the Deepcut locks. Our working parties are supported by regular volunteers, but new members are required to enhance numbers - remember many hands make light work. Bank clearance can be enjoyed by all the family on a winter day, particularly the warming bonfires. We urgently requires Working Party Leader for this work, also supporting numbers. Anyone interested, please contact me on 01483-721710.
Other Working Party Leaders are Dave Junkison, Dave Lunn and Kevin Redway, who can advise on times and locations. Contact numbers are provided in the work programme below.
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WORKING PARTY DATES
5/6 Dec KR||Tugs Ash Lock|
|12/13 Dec DJ/DL||Crookham towpath||20/21 Feb DJ/DL||Tugs, Ash Lock|
|19/20 Dec KR/PR||Crookham towpath||27/28 Feb DJ/DL||Frimley towpath|
|9/10 Jan DJ/DL||Crookham towpath||6/7 Mar KR||Tugs, Ash Lock|
|16/17 Jan KR/PR||Tugs, Ash Lock||13/14 Mar||Frimley towpath or|
|23/24 Jan DJ/DL||Crookham towpath or|
Frimley bank protection
|20/21 Mar DJ/DL||Deepcut Locks|
|30/31 Jan DJ/DL/PR||Crookham towpath or|
Frimley bank protection
or Western End
|6/7 Feb KR||Tugs, Ash Lock|
|13/14 Feb DJ/DL||
Work Party Leaders
Dave Junkison. DJ 0181 941 0685
Dave Lunn. DL 01483 771294
Kevin Redway. KR 01483 722206
Peter Redway. PR 01483 731710
MAY DAY 1999
The early May Bank Holiday weekend next year looks like being a busy one on our local waterways.
For a start, the 'John Pinkerton' will be celebrating its 21st birthday with a four day cruise down to the River Wey and back. More details in the next Newsletter and probably a booking form.
In addition, the Guildford and Reading Branch of the IWA are organising five events on five different waterways, which are open to everyone, not just IWA rnembers:-
Saturday 1 May Backwater Cruise on Old Woking Stream of the River Wey. Suitable for all boats up to 50 ft long; visit the site of the Tudor palace. There may be an opportunity for non-boat owners to hitch a lift there.
Sunday 2 May
St Patrick's Stream Cruise on River Thames, Circular cruise for unpowered and very small powered boats, upstream through Shiplake Lock and return via St Patrick's Stream, bypassing Shiplake Lock.
Sunday 2 May "Beyond the Tunnel" Walk on Basingstoke Canal. Greywell to Mapledurwell beside restored but non-navigable canal and return by country footpaths. Led by Peter Redway.
Sunday 2 May Canoe and Dinghy Paddle at Loxwood, Wey and Arun Canal. A rare opportunity to sample part of London's Lost Route to the Sea. Joint event with the Wey & Arun Canal Trust.
Monday 3 May Towpath Walk on Kennet and Avon Canal. Newbury to Kintbury to see various items of recent interest: at Newbury, low bridge, lock surroundings and bypass works, en-route view the antics of Hungerford to Newbury raft race. Return by train.
Bookings and full details of the IWA events: SAE please to Andy Simmonds, 6 Kestrel Close, Merrow Park, Guildford GU14 7DR. Tel: 01483 576176.
Special award to participants in three or more events. Don't miss this opportunity to make the most of your waterways, and entry is free!
Water Appeal News
Help for Backpumping
Runnymede Council has indicated its willingness to allot up to £13000 towards the backpumping scheme.
One of the first milestones in this scheme is the design and specification of the pumps and pipeline, a far from simple task requiring specialist expertise. The scheme therefore received a considerable boost when Phil Lawton of Pim's Pumps volunteered to do this for free as a contribution to the canal. He has assessed several options in terms of pipe diameter and pump capacity and has produced a report for the Society.
Stop Press! Landfill Money received.
The Society recently registered itself with the scheme under which landfill operators can offset tax against donations for suitable charitable work. As a result a cheque has been received for £30,000 from the Surrey County Council Landfill Trust for the Back Pumping scheme.
In the early days of the Society, we ran a successful Buy-a-Brick scheme. Now Pablo Howarth has offered to co-ordinate a Buy a Length of Pipe Scheme to raise money for the Back Pumping scheme. It is estimated that the pipe itself will cost £30 per [yard] to purchase and £150 per [yard] in total when installed. We need 2,300 [yards]! A register of subscribers will be kept and appropriate certificates will be issued.
Some of the 19 steam launches which attended the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club's rally at the Fox & Hounds. Fleet, on 18th-19th September. A warm, sunny weekend enaabled members of the Steam Boat Association of Great Britain and other boaters to enjoy cruising the canal in perfect weather. After rallying at Fleet and a sumptuous barbecue on Saturday evening, a flotilla of steam boats cruised to Colt Hill for lunch at the Water Witch. (Photo: Dieter Jebens)
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Hart calls for boat limit to be lifted|
Hart District Council's Leisure Services Committee has called for the BCA to press English Nature for 'a more flexible approach to the number of boat movements it will allow on the canal'.
The restriction led the committee to turn down a request for a contribution to the Woodham back-pumping scheme. The committee said that it 'would have been more favourably inclined to this request, if English Nature would allow a more flexible approach to the number of boat movements on the canal'. The committee pointed out that the constraint prevents the BCA from generating more income from motorised boating to help offset expenditure.
Although the number of boat licences issued fell below the prescribed limit, this has been due to the summer closure of the canal from the Wey Navigation which, hopefully, will be reduced when the back-pumping scheme is running. The boating limit agreed by English Nature is currently 400 powered boats. Last year the number of licences issued was 304 -124 annual licences and 180 visitors.
English Nature imposed the limit as part of their management plan when the canal was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. English Nature claims that anything over 1000 boat movements will affect the canal's ecosystem. The Society has always maintained that the extent of turbidity in the canal, which English Nature wants to limit, is generated by natural causes and not by motorised boats alone.
Last year boat licences and mooring fees accounted for £21,850, which was 17% of the canal's revenue of £127,400 and was second highest source of income to the Fibre Optics contract, which generated £41,500. English Nature contributes only to the cost of maintaining the boat counters.
Anyone who has walked along the canal recently will have noticed that there is certainly no shortage of water now. The total average rainfall over England and Wales in October was 5.1 inches. This was between 60-65 per cent above the mean for the standard reference period of 1961-1990. Although not a record it was the wettest October since 1987. There have, however, been five even wetter Octobers in the last 50 years. Hopefully our suffering last month will have been worth while if it results in more cruising next year.
200 CLUB - an Update|
The Club has proved to be "a nice little earner" over the years and we are hoping for even better things in 1999. The SHCS certainly needs the money. So what are the facts?
121 subscriptions have raised £1452. Half of this goes back to the members as prizes and the rest goes to the Society. Put it another way, on the present membership basis, we raise about £1000 for the Society every 18 months. It's good, but it could be better. True, we'll never be able to compete with the National Lottery for prize money, but on the other hand the Club has actually contributed towards some of the Society's activities over the past few years.
So please join the 200 Club or renew your subscription for 1999. These are still only £12 each and can be paid in a lump sum or by monthly instalments using a standing order. And there's no limit on the number you can have. There's a comprehensive form enclosed with this edition of the BC News. Contact Derek Truman, Compton Cottage, 11 Connaught Road, Fleet, Hants GU139RA (01252-613435)
PRIZES WON AT THE TIME OF GOING TO PRESS
Miss P M Ford-Young (Salisbury) £57
Mr P Lattey (Fleet) £28
Miss K Watkins (Leatherhead) £15
Mr P C Bond (Camberley) £15
Mr A Stumpf (Stratford-on-Avon) £58
Miss M Green (Chichester) £31
Mr & Mrs G Hedger (Fleet) £16
Mr & Mrs P Redway (Woking) £16
Mrs M Mann (West Byfleet) £58
Mr D Haycock (Addlestone) £31
Mrs P A Langworthy (Fareham) £16
Mrs J Holgate(Camberley) £16
Ms E Fairless (Teddington) £58
Mr G E V Rochford-Rae (Guildford) £31
Dr IC Moore (Woking) £16
Ms E Fairless (Teddington) £16
Mr & Mrs G Vine (Byfleet) £58
Mrs P M Jenkins (Woking) £31
Mr R A Knight (Southampton) £16
Mr D K Reid (Weybridge) £16
Next time - as they say - it could be you!
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BASINGSTOKE CANAL ASSOCIATION
The BCA's activities on the canal are obviously of interest to Society members. Tony Harmsworth, the Canal Manager, has recently written an article for the BCBC newsletter, so rather than impose on him again, he and the BCBC have kindly allowed us to reprint it.
News From the Centre
After a very successful Bridge Barn Rally with its associated cruises up the canal to Odiham we were very pleased to be able to continue welcoming visiting boats from the River Wey right up until the 24th of July. The last visiting boat did not in fact leave the waterway until Sunday 2nd August. This is the longest cruising season we have enjoyed since 1993.
The summer work programme on the canal has really centred on the Colt Hill Wharf improvement works. The amount of work needed to be carried out at Colt Hill turned out to be greater than anticipated as during excavation behind the wharf frontage it was found that many of the tie-bars anchored back into the soft clay below the wharf area had moved, allowing the wharf to move forward. This meant that all the brick coping had to be broken out, removal of bollards, removal of concrete backing, re-tying the wharf wall back to new tie-bars and replacing the concrete and the brick capping. We are afraid that due to the tremendous cost of supplying specially cast bollards to the site, mooring bollards will be replaced in the standard Basingstoke Canal concrete pattern. The original wooden bollards placed on site in 1983 have now mostly rotted away.
It is intended to start work this Autumn probably in the first week of October on the construction of the swing-bridge at the Canal Centre to allow disabled and wheelchair access from the towpath to the Centre. This project was identified some years ago as being a priority and is being entirely funded by a grant from Surrey Heath District Council for which the Basingstoke Canal Authority is extremely grateful. However, as the grant was made some time ago and the construction of the swing-bridge was delayed due to the lottery application and wishing to include it in the Planning Permission for various works at the Canal Centre included in the lottery bid. costs have risen and it is now proving something of a struggle to construct a suitable swing-bridge within the budget price.
The concept design is by the Basingstoke Canal Authority, piling to be carried out by T. Harrison Chaplin, The bridge design consultant is Designer Composites Technology Limited and the bridge will be of a modern design in rein forced plastic. The use of reinforced plastic may be controversial but it is now an accepted material for many major footpath bridges in Wales and other parts of the country where access to the
site is difficult and the weight of the bridge needs to be kept down to the minimum. Bridges of this design have been successfully constructed and one is being used across the Stroudwater Canal in Gloucestershire by 40-ton lorries. The advantages of using a reinforced plastic swing-bridge is that it is really quite light and
therefore foundations, turntable mechanisms etc can be kept quite light, also this has advantages in cost and construction of the bridge foundations. It is expected that this work will be complete by the end of February early March.
We are at present out to contract for our lock gate timber for the lock gate building programme and although the actual dates of the stoppages have not yet been decided it would appear that we will be building replacement upper gates for Lock 9, replacement lower gates for Lock 23 and replacement lower gates for Lock 26. It is still a matter of concern that the gates along the canal appear to be deteriorating faster than we can replace them within existing resources. As I write in mid-August we have recently suffered a spate of vandalism on the Woodham flight of locks - chains have been cut and locking devices "jemmied" off to enable a boat to pass in through Lock 1. This appears to have progressed up as far as Lock 3 and then turned around and gone back again. Amazingly nobody seems to have seen it. We again in early August suffered vandalism at Lock 6 where the locking devices on the upper end of Sheerwater Lock were levered off and a paddle drawn causing extremely high water levels in the flight of locks below and lowering Woking some 4-5 ins. We have also suffered some vandalism to our pumping installation at Sheerwater. The Basingstoke Canal Authority welcomes reports by members of the public who see anything suspicious and of course if any members of the Boat Club see anything suspicious we would ask you to contact us immediately.
I can confirm that the proposed dredging from Pillars Bridge, Broad Oak, to Thatched Cottage, Winchfield will now take place this winter. It was intended to dredge only as far as Baseley's Bridge but it is now thought that the fields upon which the sill will be deposited have sufficient capacity to dredge a bit further to Thatched Cottage or even just beyond. All the silt will go on fields adjoining the towpath and one field on the non-towpath side in the Sandy Hill Sprats Match area. This work may involve a towpath closure and diversion.
Tony Harmsworth- Waterway Manager
Since this article was written it has proved impossible to build the bridge as designed in reinforced plastic within the budgetary constraints. The bridge will now take the form of a traditional wood and steel bridge. The piling has already been completed.
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The big issue on the canal is WATER! Paddy Field & your Editor spent a lunch hour talking about it:-
It does indeed appear unlikely that the Wey Navigation would be willing to allow the canal to back-pump anything more than lockage water. There is believed to be a legal precedent for this situation which suggests that it would not actually be illegal for the canal to do this, provided that it did not harm the Wey Navigation's business. However, it would presumably also not be illegal for the Wey to put a set of gates across the end of the canal to stop it happening, so any such action without agreement would be futile.
Having said this, Paddy (and your Committee) believe that the pumping back of lockage water alone will enable greater use to be made of the lower reaches of the canal during the summer. If, say, the Byfleet Boat Club wanted to have a rally in Woking, it would remove concerns about how many boats could be allowed to come on, since the water they would use would all be pumped back.
Clearly the scheme will not solve all the water supply problems, in particular those of the Deepcut flight. However, it currently appears to be the only option for improving water supplies anywhere on the canal. Paddy is very aware of the need to continue the search for other sources and is obviously very frustrated that the efforts to secure the use of Bourley Reservoir were frustrated at the last minute by the Army changing its mind. Bourley has the advantage of being above the level of the top pound so that it could supply the whole canal without any pumping, and also of having the right degree of acidity so as to be acceptable to English Nature without any treatment.
The situation at the moment is that the Army now use mains water for domestic purposes and Bourley for more mundane jobs like washing down vehicles. Paddy does not dismiss the possibility of another change of policy, so if anyone knows of a way of persuading the MOD to move the Army to Catterick, our problems could be permanently solved.
Other options have been looked at but permission for any new abstraction of ground water is becoming increasingly difficult, even if a suitable source could be found. Paddy has attempted to follow up rumours about the closure of the Greywell pumping station and the possible availability of some of its supply, but has been unable to get any information. If any member has knowledge of what is going on there, we would like to hear about it.
Forthcoming events in 1999 organised by the Canal Centre
Guided walk along the January Deepcut Flight with Peter Munt. Meet at Deepcut Bridge at 9.30am. £1 per person.
Tuesday 9th February
Heritage guided walk with Paul Hope. Meet at Colt Hill car park, Odiham at 9.30am. £1per person.
Saturday 20th February
Roses & Castles Art Course, Canal Centre Mytchett. 1Oam - 5pm. £37.50 including materials, lunch and refreshments. Pre-booking required. Contact Tina on 01252-370073.
The Lockmaking Experience March Loader and Tim Down. Meet at Deepcut Bridge at 2.00pm. £1 per person.
Tuesday 30th March - Sunday 11th April
Easter Treasure Hunt, Canal Centre Mytchett daily 11am - 4pm. Activity & prize suitable for Under 8's. £1 per child.
Thursday 29th April
Guided walk along the Deepcut Flight with Peter Munt. Meet at Deepcut Bridge at 9.30am. £1 per person
The New Surrey Record Centre
Within easy reach of the canal at Bridge Barn is the new Surrey Record Centre which opened at the beginning of November. Although only limited Basingstoke Canal documents are held at the Surrey centre, as the main repository is the Hampshire Record Office there is much material on the Wey Navigation. Visitors with an interest in both history and art will find it very well worthwhile to walkup and see the spectacular fifteen [yard] tapestry in the foyer which depicts life in Surrey from pre-Roman times to the present day. Themes include the Magna Carta, Nonsuch Palace, Clandon House, Epsom Racecourse and the Woking Mosque. Guildford Cathedral, Brooklands motor track, wartime Surrey and the storm of 1987 represent the twentieth century. The tapestry ends with layers of text symbolising the wealth of information available to us today.
The Rev Mark Rudall placing a sign which Brian Butterworth used to display on his steam launch, on the canalside bench at the Fox & Hounds, Fleet, dedicated to his memory, with (left) Sylvia Butterworth and their son Adrian.|
(Photo: Dieter Jebens)
At this year's Fox & Hounds Boat Rally, organised by the BCBC in September, a canalside bench was dedicated to Cdr Brian Butterworth, who died on 12th August 1997, by the Rev Mark Rudall who bought the steam launch 'Hermione' from Brian.
Brian was a member of the Society and an outspoken critic of English Nature's imposition of a limit on the number of motorised boats allowed on the canal. By way of remembering a stalwart campaigner for the unrestricted use of the canal for the purpose for which it was built, we print here a part of Mark Rudall's dedication address:-
"As a member of the clergy I've dedicated my share of marriages, babies, and even buildings, but I've never pronounced formal words overa cast-iron seat by a canal-side.
But this is rather a special seat and this is not a particularly Christian dedication even though I happen to be a Baptist minister. What we're doing today is making a formal expression for a group of people who had, and still have, an enormous affection for a very enjoyable man, Cdr Brian Butterworth, who shared our interests, made us laugh and was the sort of presence we want to give thanks for and remember.
And that is done best and most appropriately beside a stretch of eminently steamboatable water - one of his favourite stretches. I met him just twice, incidentally, but like a host of others I carne to know him pretty well by the things he wrote in the steamboaters' newsletter, 'Funnel'- so as I thought about how we would make this
dedication today I realised that too much
pomp and solemnity would have been out of character for Brian.
I visualise him as a philosophical but practical and slightly self-deprecating character, more than happy to crack jokes at his own expense. He was also a passionate hater of stuffed shirts, dogma and quangos - not necessarily in that
order. I'm notsurprised he was like that: as a young man he survived the sinking of HMS Hermione while escorting one of the Malta convoys in 1942. In his last years he was the sort of bubbling character who, just for the fun of it, and to the surprise of his family, satdown at an old-fashioned typewriter to thrash out those priceless pieces of writing....
This seat has been paid for by subscription from those who admired him and it's a very practical and enjoyable memorial designed to give pleasure a long way into the future.
• It's a piece of furniture sited in such a way as to enable those who wish to do so to reflect on a scene of beauty and to watch the boats go by.
• Those who wish to can read here or chat comfortably. If Brian had designed it himself we all know it would have had a small compartment in which to keep pre-packaged gin-&-tonics and the ice to go with them.
• But most of all this seat is a place to realise with thankfulness that God allows into this world good, enjoyable people who leave their mark in a positive way, not just on their own generation of humanity but on the wider world as well.
So we dedicate this seat to the memory of Cdr Brian Butterworth, a creative, funny and kindly man of the water. May this seat give delight to all who use it!
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Canalside Travel Inn opens in Woking
Members of the Society attended a champagne buffet reception for the opening of the 200th Travel Inn at Bridge Barn Beefeater restaurant and pub. Formally opened by Sir Michael Angus, Chairman of Whitbread plc, the 34 bedroom hotel complements the attractive weatherboard design of the Bridge Barn, which was once part of Slocock's Nursery. Travel Inn's Managing Director specially mentioned the Society's association with Bridge Barn where the annual spring boat rally is held. Contrary to fears that the new hotel might detract from the site, the building blends in well.
Local boats attended the opening including the new trip boat for the handicapped "Maggie G" and the 12-seat passenger narrowboat "Painted Lady". John Ross brought his award winning Mirror dinghy "Elizabeth Rose" which, as always, was greafly admired.
Following the opening, Whitbread Hotels donated £500 to the Society's Back-Pumping Appeal fund.
The new hotel cost £900,000 to build and has created 25 new jobs. Rooms include en-suite bathroom and all the usual facilities at a cost of £38 a night for a single person or a family of four, making it extremely good value for money.
John Ross (far right) showing his Mirror dinghy Elizabeth Rose to Sir Michael Angus (centre)
with two local schoolchildren holding the celebrated rag dolls Rosie and Jim
at the opening of the new Travel Inn, seen in the background.|
National award for "Elizabeth Rose"
Congratulations to our member John Ross on winning the prestigious John Player Trophy for his beautifully decorated Mirror
dinghy "Elizabeth Rose". The trophy was awarded to the best amateur built boat at the National Inland Waterways Festival
and Small Boat Show, held at Salford over the August Bank Holiday.
John not only built the dinghy himself but also showed his skill as a graphic designer in the colourful canal art decoration
which has been greatly admired wherever "Elizabeth Rose" appears, including on the Society float in the Woking Carnival
(featured on the cover of the last Newsletter).
The appearance of Rosie and Jim always attracts youngsters who often get the opportunity to get afloat on the "Elizabeth
Rose", with donations going to the Woodham Back-Pumping fund.
John has an ambition to sail the dinghy across the English Channel, which he hopes to realise in the not too distant future.
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Following on from the piece in our last edition about the fisherman who had an alien encounter on the Basingstoke Canal, I have received two further contributions. The first a letter:-
I have read with interest the story of Albert Burtoo and his dog, featured in your "Comments" in the Autumn Edition of your "News" magazine. In my view this could have been written by Steven Spielberg and his cohort-star "E.T".
So I am pleased to find that my research of local war-time
history can now, and at last, prove to be of
value. For War Office records show that the
River Thames Defences were breached in 1943
by a German Z Class Mini-U-Boat. The 1943
records of Walton & Weybridge U.D.C. also
show that a "strange craft" had been sighted on
the Thames, and in fact had been traced as far
as the Wey Navigation cut but was then lost
At around this time residents of the Boundary Road and Horsell areas of Woking had complained to the Urbamn District Council and the Constabulary of the noise created by the use of locks at night. I think it fair to add that at this time the whole country was fully geared wit the preparations for the invasion of Europe, so the powers that be had no time for minor matters such as noise at lock gates.
|A Focke-Achgelis autogyro being flown as a kite behind a German U-boat during WW2.
But the two small entities sighted by Mr Burtoo (and his dog) in 1983 were in fact sub-mariners of the German Navy. Their apparel was standard issue camouflage battle-dress together with a standard steel helmet as supplied to the German Navy in 1942/3. Obviously they were not beckoning Mr Burtoo, but saluting him with the well known right-handed Nazi salute (coupled no doubt with a couple of "Heil Hitlers"), prior to taking off in a micro-light autogyro, into which I have serious doubts he was invited to enter!
This small aircraft had been carefully stored in the Z-Class Mini-U-Boat which had been navigated by the two submariners from the English Channel, after being launched by a mother U-Boat, until they reached their operational objective of the Brookwood area of the Basingstoke Canal. This aircraft was then witnessed by Mr Burtoo (and his dog) as it became airborne on August 12th 1983.
These intrepid German sailors had obeyed all of their orders and reached the objective from which they could attack targets adjacent to the canal, such as the Brigade of Guards Depot and then with further good fortune other military targets in the Farnborough and Aldershot area. But luckily for England, good fortune was not to be theirs for they had found themselves submerged with a serious list to
port and completely stuck in the very sandy and well reeded area of the canal known locally in those days as the Guards Reach. Folk will recall how this stretch of water was used for swimming both by soldiers and local alike in those days.
Of course, without any means of propulsion, the battery which powered the radio soon failed. Their one means of communication to the Fatherland was therefore lost. Sadly for them and in the course of time, they too were considered lost by the Third Reich. Neither were they considered a priority any longer by the German High Command who were busy trying to avert losing the war. As we know, they failed and the war ended.
These two sailors were of equal rank, well trained in the true discipline of the German services, and neither could nor would make a decision on what to do; one could not order the other. There were no Service facilities to meter punishment should the order be disobeyed, so no order was given. This meant they remained hidden in the Brookwood area of the canal. They lived off the land, fish, ducks, other game, deer, rustling the odd calf or sheep, gathering and storing rain water etc.
During the summer of 1983 and in spite of careful maintenance, the outer skin of their Mini-U-Boat was making their life unbearable. On 12th August, a very hot day (Met Office records), at the end of their tether they clicked their heels, shook hands and reached agreement to make use of the microlight autogyro,
head for the Fatherland and claim their long overdue
It is my guess that the rusty and dilapidated remains of this Mini-U-Boat have long been cleared by the canal dredger and probably logged as unidentified metal.
I can offer one other unsubstantiated fact, for I have been given to understand that the 1983 records of MI5 show that an Agent "had come in from a field assignment and presented lengthy reports of some midgets dwelling around the canal area on the borders of Surrey and Hampshire. Midgets whom he suspected of being foreign agents due to their very furtive movements". The reports were marked "No action needed".
I can but hope that this information will be of interest after all these years. My apologies for taking such lengths but I thought it necessary to substantiate as much of the whole episode as possible.
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X? FILES cont. / BATS & TUNNELS
In contrast to this, the 15th October edition of our local free paper, the Star, carried an article from its Editor claiming to have been the person who had interviewed Mr Burtoo in the first place and describing him as the most obvious liar he had ever met.
Anyone with an open mind will of course recognise this explanation as being far too facile. The aged Mr Burtoo may have been wrong in his interpretation of events, but Ron's story has a clear ring of truth about it. I believe, however, that he is in error with some of his facts.
I think that there is clear evidence that the submarine penetrated far beyond Brookwood. At Coxmoor Bridge there are to this day two large blocks of concrete either side of the canal with about 6" of wire rope sticking out of each. These were part of the wartime canal defences but the wire was obviously cut at sometime, and now we now know who did it.
I believe that because of their notoriously poor intelligence about England, the Germans were attempting to attack Basingstoke itself by canal, unaware of the closure of the final pound. I suspect that when they unexpectedly entered the Greywell tunnel (travelling at night for secrecy), they were flying their autogyro behind them like a kite (U-boats used them in this fashion for observation as shown in the photo) and it crashed. The submarine continued on and got stuck in the clay roof-fall: this would explain its disappearance.
When I began work at the Royal Aircraft Establishment. Farnborough in 1964, I came across just such an autogyro in a building on the airfield, and it is obvious that the breach in the canal bank, which occurred just before the 1968 airshow and flooded the main runway, was caused by the Germans tunnelling in to retrieve it. The following years until Mr Burtoo's encounter were presumably spent doing repairs.
Between the war and 1968, they must have lived off the land as Ron suggests and this may explain the demise of the canal's crayfish population (considered a delicacy in parts of Germany). It is likely that they lived in the pill boxes along the canal while searching for their aircraft. This would explain the MI5 reported midgets, and also perhaps some of the strange people one met in the RAE in the 1960s.
It is likely that the submarine was loaded with high explosives, or even biological weapons, which now could pose a deadly danger to the Greywell tunnel and its bat population. I feel that it is now essential to restore the tunnel in order to remove this threat and retrieve this valuable wartime relic.
Any further information about this fascinating episode would be most welcome, but nothing fanciful please.
The following letter comes from from "Bluebell News", the newsletter of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society:-
On behalf of the Bat Conservation Trust and the Sussex Bat Group, I would like to thank you and the Bluebell for allowing us to survey Sharpthorne Tunnel for hibernating bats on 3 February. My colleagues especially appreciated the way you barred the tunnel to passing trains!
I have to say that I now respect the tunnel permanent way gang even more, as I found the tunnel very wet and very cold. It must be an unpleasant place to work! However, it was ideal surroundings for bats who reduce their body temperature to that of their surroundings whilst hibernation, thus conserving energy and body fat during the lean winter months, a constant temperature of about 4 to 7 degrees being perfect. The bats hibernate from November to March.
As may be gathered from the attached, the preconceived view of some of my colleagues was that any hibernating bats were most likely to be too disturbed in the current conditions of a live steam railway and that a historically good bat hibernating site had been lost. One or two of my colleagues thought that no bats would be found.
However, I am pleased to advise that our final count was 18 bats, of 3 species, out of 5 or 6 cave bats we can find in Sussex (9 Natterer's bats, 8 Daubenton and 1 Whiskered/Brandt's bat). This may not seem many, but they are only the tip of an iceberg because many other bats would have been hibernating, out of sight. The bats had many likely sites within the tunnel.
Interestingly, the count was about even on both sides of the tunnel; so being close to passing trains did not seem to make any difference (the track, or eastern side of the tunnel always used to be their favourite wall). Most bats don't hang from the roof!
The Sussex Bat Group have surveyed the tunnel regularly since 1981 until its re-opening. Except for just after the hurricane of 1987, when many tree hibernating sites were lost, this was our highest ever count! Sharpthorne Tunnel jumps back to the top of East Sussex's most important known winter hibernating sites list!
We also (still) regularly survey other closed railway tunnels of West Sussex (West Dean, Baynards. etc.) and do find large numbers of bats, but there we have installed many wooden battens hung up to an inch or so proud of the wall in order to boost the number of available attractive places where bats can sleep during the winter.
The experience of Sharpthorne may have caused the "establishment" to re-think the resilience of hibernating bats and that other "live" tunnels must also be thought of in a different light. Maybe, the Channel Tunnel has a use after all!
In the light of this evidence, perhaps Hampshire County Council might like to reconsider their decision to reject for ever the reopening of the Greywell Tunnel? If bats are happy to roost in the draught of a '/ mile long, open-ended tunnel with steam trains passing through it, what possible objection can there be to the probably unpowered passage of boats through Greywell?
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A dream come true. On the 20th May Lord Montagu ofBeaulieu performed the naming ceremony of the newly fitted out 'John Pinkerton', sending a shower of champagne over her bows. This was followed by the VIP maiden cruise to King John's Castle. Speaking at the naming ceremony, Chairman Robin Higgs spoke of 'the widespread support for restoring the canal, and the 'John Pinkerton' symbolizes the purpose for which the canal was being restored - as a valuable and much needed recreational amenity'.
Lift bridge at North Warnborough converted from manual to electrically powered. Previously ittook 30 minutes to pump the bridge up by rocking a lever 600 times.
Steam dredger 'Perseverance' reached Sandy Hill bridge, near Swan Farm, Winchfield, three and a half years since starting out westwards from Colt Hill.
Restoration work taking place at Lock 6 (Sheerwater) Lock 1 (Woodham), Deepcut area (Weir restoration) and various bankside jobs in Hampshire. These are in addition to work on Locks 16 and 19 on the Deepcut flight and on the Deepcut Narrow Gauge Railway where jobs included track assembly and laying, maintenance of rolling stock, loco and track and moving materials and plant.
Second tug 'Pledge' joins 'Sparkle'as a result of a generous donation of £1,000 from Johnson Wax of Frimley.
Two Hymac excavators appear on the drained section from Farnborough Road bridge to Pondtail bridge, Fleet to start dredging this section.
Society successfully apply for a £30,000 grant to provide more training for unemployed young people under the new Project Based Work Experience Scheme. These people will join the existing older unemployed people working under Frank Jones as part of the Manpower Services Commission Job Creation Programme.
Social meetings and illustrated talks continue to be held in Woking and Farnborough. A two day coach tour takes place to Llangollen for a horse drawn boat-trip, to the Horseshoe Falls and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct with a ride on the Welshpool and Llanfair narrow-gauge railway on the way followed by a cruise on the Montgomery section of the Llangollen canal on the 'Powys Princess'. Overnight accommodation was at the Chain Bridge Hotel, Llangollen.
Society's fifth annual sponsored walk took place between Brookwood and Crookham and raised over £2,000.
The Waterway Recovery Group visit the canal for a four week work camp staying at Mons Barracks, Aldershot. Work included Lock 17 and the successful excavation and building of a bypass weir.
By the end of August the 'John Pinkerton' had carried 6612 passengers in twelve weeks on 145 cruises.
Society welcomed Surrey County Council's draft proposals for the recreation, landscape, conservation and management of their section of the canal.
Society submits to the County Councils a 109 page recommendation for setting up a Trust to be responsible for the completion and future management of the restored canal.
In October huge bonfires blazed on the Ash Embankment as 60 volunteers set about clearing small trees and dense undergrowth from the dry bed. The canal had been dry since the embankmentwas breached during the September 1968 floods.
After 15 months work, members of the Crookham Village Association celebrated the completion of repairs to Poulters Bridge, Crookham Village and a commemorative plaque was unveiled by Councilor Maurice Jones, Chairman of Hampshire County Council's Recreation Committee.
A derelict army swimming pool at Deepcut, built in the 1930's, has been converted into a lock gate workshop by Job Creation workers working under Frank Jones. A roof was built over one half of the 2250 sq.ft. area of the pool, including a store, mess room and office above.
Mr Tucker's Boat
In the last issue we were asking for information about the outboard motor donated by Mr Tucker along with his boat, which was being returned to him. Now, sadly, we hear that he has had a stroke and no longer wants either back. However, his generosity remains unaffected because he has told the Society to keep the £100 which he was paying for the boat. We wish him a speedy recovery.
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The Fleet and Crookham members received with their last Newsletter a letter from our Vice-President David Millett, suggesting the setting-up of a local group in Fleet. This brought forth the letter below.
Dear Mr Millett,
Your letter of 1 October to Fleet and Crookham members merits an answer from all 175 local members.
Had I been staying in Fleet I should have offered myself as a "reactivated" member of the local Society you so sensibly propose. In the event I will be moving from Fleet in the early part of next year and will hence be unable to take any further part in the development of the Society.
On leaving the Army in early 1989 I became a Fleet resident by force of propinquity. Our association with Fleet was limited to my wife's work and my finishing my service career in Aldershot. I was therefore looking for some local interest which could enable me to involve myself in local matters and meet local people. Since I had taken up an appointment abroad the organisation I was looking for was one which could be attended on a casual basis. Since 1989 I have spent a total of five and a half years away, which has limited the opportunity to involve myself but in the earlier days I did take part in some activities, crewing on the John Pinkerton, attending one Crew Night and as a "winter worker" on the last major overhaul. I have also managed to attend one AGM.
I could have become further involved but chose not to do so as I have to say that I have not found the Society "welcoming" and suggest that the problem is that outsiders find it difficult to break into the organisation (As far as I am aware, I have yet to meet an officer of the Society). It is one thing to be canvassed as a crew member or a worker, but I would suggest that once individuals have shown their interest, officers of the Society would be well advised to follow up such interest. The mere passage of written information, however well intentioned, will not get people involved in either the organisation or the social side of the Society - if indeed there is one.
I must acknowledge that lack of communication is a two way problem and that the blame may well have been partly mine but, as a new member, I was unable to identify a focal point. If one wished to crew one joined either a weekday or a weekend roster, there seemed to be no interplay between the two groups. I should stress that my comments relate to the Society and not to individual members.
I fully agree with the last statement in your letter but believe that if the Society is to prosper it is incumbent on the "old guard" to foster relations with those they wish to become the new, not just wait for them to come forward.
May I wish you good luck in your efforts to develop a "Fleet and Crookham" entity, it would be well worth the effort.
Your last editorial and David Millett's constructive note to Fleet and Crookham members suggesting a local group to improve interest in the SHCS, left me with a distinct feeling of deja-vu.
Unwillingness to be involved in the administrative and organising aspects of the SHCS has long been a problem. It must be years since we had 12 on the Board, let alone the luxury of an election. And I think we have toyed with and rejected the idea of smaller groups on the lines of the K&A, although I have always felt that it was a mistake not to have taken that further. Very many voluntary organisations, even apparently thriving ones, seem to have difficulty in attracting people away from relaxing in front of their TV's and into positions of responsibility. There is no simple answer to your problem - it's a reflection of modern life.
Membership of the SHCS seems to be fairly static, although rather mature. So if the Society is not attracting new members (who in turn might produce volunteers for the Board), we need to ask ourselves why. Since the BCA was established with overall responsibility forthe canal, it must be difficult for the average member - David Gerry's views notwithstanding - and especially for the general public, to understand why there is still a need for the SHCS at all (other than just possibly as a sort of supporters'club). And that doesn't have the same appeal as a campaigning group
- as Dieter Jebens has argued over the years. Maybe we ought to think the unthinkable about the continuing role of the Society - or rethink its objectives (although to change them would need the concurrence of the Charity Commission).
If the consensus is for no change and existing members don't want to do more then we have to attract new ones. To do that the SHCS needs to be seen to be alive and kicking
- to get regular mentions in the local press covering the length of the canal, and on radio and TV. (But there will be no press coverage without a good story). Then people might start to take an active interest. Would the Society attract additional members if it were more obviously involved in boating or wildlife or publicity-attracting local events?
You are right to argue that it is unacceptable to continue to over-burden the Chairman but the options, if people don't come forward, are very limited.
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New Crew Manager Janet Moore at the tiller of the John Pinkerton with Hugh Gough
The Society's trip boat 'John Pinkerton' has had another good season although the number of trips was down slightly on previous years, a disappointment shared by other similar services around the country due, it is thought to half the nation following the World Cup and a return to traditional English summer weather. The boat also suffered from engine breakdowns which meant a few bookings had to be cancelled at the last minute. Even so the service has made a profit of something over £8000 after running expenses and refit costs had been paid.
The 'Pinkerton's original engine, donated by Petters, did sterling service for the first 13 years of the service and was then replaced by another of the same design. This, however, has proved more troublesome, so, with spares becoming more difficult to find, a decision has been made to replace it with a new engine of more modern design. This may also enable soft engine mounts to be introduced which would quieten the boat considerably. A detailed specification is being drawn up to obtain quotations from potential suppliers.
The company has seen some changes this year. Martin Bowers, who was one of the crew on the inaugural cruise after the boat was launched by Lord Montague of Beaulieu on 20th May 1978, has stood down from the Board of Directors. Martin organised a number of winter refits and was instrumental in getting the new bottom plates fitted some years ago, and we are glad to know that he will continue to captain the boat.
Bill Homewood, who took on the winter refit programme and has been responsible for a number of recent improvements, has relinquished his responsibilities. He also serviced the boat weekly and often came out at short notice to keep it going smoothly. He too will continue to captain the boat and remains on the Board.
Margaret Marsh has stepped down from her job as Crew Bookings Manager for evening and weekend trips, but remains a director, whilst Mike Hammersley will continue organising crews for daytime weekday trips. Company Chairman Ron McLaughlin said "Our grateful thanks to Margaret for undertaking this key role so efficiently for several seasons, and to Martin and Bill for all that they have done to keep the boat'shipshape'".
A welcome to new trip boat volunteers John Abbott of Fleet and Bill Bowbrick of Farnborough who are managing the winter refit this year after working on the boat last winter. They have been busy this summer converting a cabin cruiser to a 12-seater trip
boat which will be operating from St John's, Woking, next season. The new boat, pictured in our last issue, is to retain its name Dragonfly in accordance with the wishes of Bruce and Roz White who donated it.
Janet Moore has taken over the position of Crew Bookings Manager from Margaret. By way of introduction we asked her how her interest started. Janet writes: "I first became interested in narrow boating and canals about
12 years ago. I was teaching in Hillingdon and the LEA owned two narrowboats for the use of schools. After one trip I was 'hooked', became a qualified steerer and led several parties of students and staff on the Grand Union Canal. On moving to Woking as a Deputy Headteacher in 1990, I was pleased that my new school had grounds bordering the Basingstoke Canal, but any interest was confined to walks along the towpath until I met Ian - later to become my husband. I suggested a boating holiday and was relieved to find he enjoyed canals as much as I did. We
became members of the Society and later volunteered as crew members on the 'Pinkerton'. Ian has now qualified as a Captain. Over the last 5 years we have taken two or three holidays a year on the canals. Until recently we were sharers in the first Dartline shareboat based at Bunbury on the Shropshire Union, but are now hiring again after their take-over by Anglo-Welsh. Since the birth of Gregory nearly two years ago, we have introduced both sets of grandparents to the delights of canal boating (and baby-sitting afloat). Having given up work, I now have time to devote to other interests and felt that organising the crew rota would be a good way of assisting the Society. I look forward to working with volunteer Captains and crews next year".
With plans for the Society to take a leading part with the Woodham back-pumping scheme, the trip boat operation becomes an ever more important contributor to the Society's finances. Calling for more crew members, Ron McLaughlin said:
"My thanks to all Society members who have crewed the boat and I hope you will continue to enjoy crewing the 'John Pinkerton', or the new trip boat at St John's next season. We are always looking for more volunteers both to serve as crew and to train as captains. It is a pleasant way to get afloat on the canal and meet fellow members while helping to raise funds for the Society. Please give me a call if you would like to know more about what is involved and if you would like to join the crew rota. I look forward to hearing from you". (Telephone: 01252-672189. E-mail: Ron@McLaughlinRH.Freeserve.Co.UK)
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'Inland Waterways of Great Britain' by Jane Cumberlidge.|
Published by Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson. ISBN 0 85288 355 2. 303 pages. £26,00
The definitive handbook to Britain's waterways has long been known as 'Edwards' since L.A. Teddy' Edwards compiled four editions between 1950 and 1985. This new, updated edition is more than welcome. It is a larger format, has colour photographs and 34 pages featuring the history of canals, engineering aspects, navigation and holiday cruising. What used to be a reference book will now interest the newcomer to waterways too. The bulk of the book, as
before, is an A-Z listing of existing waterways, both navigable and those being restored, giving a brief history, mileage table, vital statistics and custodian. In addition each waterway now has a detailed map and location sketch. A large, clearly printed loose broadsheet map showing the network of GB waterways, with detailed inserts for the Broads, Black Country, London and the North East, comes with the book.
The waterways 'bible' which is an excellent production and makes a welcome return. A small personal observation is that a page of pictures of children, pretty as they may be, would have been better used illustrating the beautiful Basingstoke Canal, which is written up but not illustrated on the previous page.
'Charles Hadfield: Canal Man and More' by Joseph Boughey.
Published by Sutton Publishing, ISBN 0 7509 1052 6.224 pages.£20.00
Students of contemporary canal history will welcome this book about the third man of the Inland Waterways Association's founding fathers. The lives of Robert Aickman and LTC Rolt have been well documented but not Hadfield, apart from being a prolific author of canal
histories and co-founder of the publishers David and Charles.
As a meticulous researched, Hadfield would have been well pleased with Joseph Boughey's book, both in recording
his subject's life and editing Hadfield's own accounts of episodes in his life. Hadfield was attracted to waterways after reading Rolfs book 'Narrow Boat' when it was published in 1944. Brought up in South Africa, the family moved to Devon where he finished his schooling and went to Oxford to read history, economics and politics. His publishing career started at the Oxford University Press, and after World War II manning a fire boat on the Thames, continued at the Central Office of Information. This book gives another angle on the turbulent birth of the IWA and the man who did so much to promote the popular interest in canals.
'Hadfield's British Canals' fully revised by Joseph Boughey.
Published by Sutton Publishing. ISBN 0 7509 1840 3. 343 pages. £12.99
This 8th edition of Charles Hadfield's major book on the history of canals, first published in 1950, has become an essential work for transport historians and the newcomerto canals alike. This eighth edition has been fully revised to include Irish canals by Joseph Boughey, who is a university lecturer and became a canal enthusiast in 1963 when, as a young boy, his parents took him on a canal holiday. He went on to become seriously interested in canals after reading Hadfield's works and later got to know him well. This new edition has been extensively revised to bring the history of canals up-to-date, including the 20th century. The coverage of the Basingstoke Canal, for example, ends with its restoration, the emergence of its water shortage problem and the designation of the best part of the canal by the Nature Conservancy Council (now English Nature) a Site of Special Scientific Interest. As Boughey observes, This seriously affected the newly re-opened Basingstoke Canal from 1991, upon which proposals for an extension through a rebuilt Greywell Tunnel were inhibited by the letter's use as an important roost for bats.' This is not to imply that the Basingstoke Canal has a section of the book devoted to its history, but that it is chronicled as all other canals, in the context of its place in the development of our inland waterways, their commercial downfall and their post World War II revival. A serious but readable book.
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BRICKS or 'UPNATELY BRICKWORKS AND BRICKWORKS ARM
(WEST OF GREYWELL TUNNEL)'
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UP NATELY BRICKWORKS AND BRICKWORKS ARM (WEST OF GREYWELL TUNNEL)
Brickrmaking had been carried out on a small scale at Up Nately before the Basingstoke Canal was built and opened in 1794.
In 1897 Sir Frederick Seagar Hunt Bt, who had a major interest in the canal, sought to bring trade to the upper reaches of the canal, and decided to expand the small scale operation and created, with a capital of £20,000, a major brickworks on 32 acres bordering the canal.
He therefore formed the Hampshire Brick and Tile Company and, on a strip of land on the north side of the canal above Slade's bridge he created a branch about 100 yards long to serve his new brickworks, which opened in 1898.
The initial shareholders of the Hampshire Brick and Tile Company included a Clerkenwell gas-meter maker, three city solicitors, an accountants cashier, a coal merchant, a theatrical manager, and Louis Simonds, the Reading brewer.
By 1899 over 2 million bricks were produced and carried away on the company's ten barges up and down the canal to wharves at Mapledurwell, Basingstoke, Odiham, Crookham, Fleet, Aldershot, North Camp, Frimley and Pirbright. Some bricks were used in the construction of extra barrack blocks at Aldershot and Frimley, but the quality of the bricks produced at Up Nately was poor so the company was wound up in 1901. Sir Frederick had already sold all his shares the previous year.
The brickworks and site was purchased by William Carter and small scale production of bricks under the name of Nately Pottery Co took place until 1908.
The total nurnber of bricks carried on the Basingstoke Canal (from other small brickworks as well as from the Hampshire Brick and Tile Company) was as follows:
Year ending 30 June
carried on Basingstoke Canal
The site of the Brickworks Arm is now completely occupied by a house, with the arches of two kilns and some sheds. The Brickworks
Arm survives and can be seen from the footbridge on the restored towpath from the western end of Greywell Tunnel to the winding hole by the site of Penny Bridge on the Greyweill - Up Nately - Mapledurwell road. Car parking at Penny Bridge.
Information for this article from 'London's Lost Route to Basingstoke' by Paul Vine 1994 and from the display at Bursledon Brickworks Museum (off A27 at Swanwick by the RiverHamble).
The Bursledon Brickworks Museum Trust has largely restored the derelict brickworks at Swanwick as a working museum and is the last surviving example of a steam-driven brickworks in the country. The site is also the home of the Centre for the Conservation of the Built Environment, containing a wide variety of exhibitions and educational displays explaining the history and development of building materials and building conservation practice. Well worth a visit. Open: May to September on Thursdays 1pm-4pm. Also special Open Days once a month on specific Sundays. Information leaflet and details from 01489 576248.
New Cody Display
Members who visited the Cavalcade of Transport at the Canal Centre in Septemberand enjoyed the opportunity to see the exhibition of material from the Cody Society's collection, including pictures of Cody's early flights over the canal, will be pleased to know that the Aldershot Military Museum has opened a new permanent display of early flying. It includes the "Cody Gallery" which is based on a recreation of Cody's workshop complete with tools and features a large collection of artefacts.
Changes on the Wey
The summer brought changes to the Wey when Walton Marine which runs the marina on the Thames by Walton Bridge bought the Pyrford marina. Berth holders at Walton and Upton Marina on the Severn, will be able to exchange with holders at Pyrford wishing for a change of scene.
Good to hear that 140 visiting narrow boats came to the canal this year from other parts of the national canal system. Perhaps we must thank 'ye gods' for the canal remaining open to the end of July, or, perhaps, it was global warming that was responsible for the increased rainfall. Who knows ?.
Glad to see that improvements to the Hampshire section of the canal are continuing apace. Our volunteers are working westwards upgrading the towpath towards Dogmersfield and Winchfield and contract work has started on dredging the remaining very shallow part of the canal eastwards from Pillar's bridge hole to, hopefully, the Old Thatch cottage. Also Colt Hill wharf work is now completed.
What a wonderful sight it was too see all the boats at the Fox and Hounds Rally in September. The glorious sunshine enabled the 19 steam launches and 6 other boats to be seen at their best. A highlight was John Ross on his 'Elizabeth Rose' playing a fiddle as he passed after dark with his boat all illuminated. Well done BCBC.
The cost of running the canal in 1997/98 was £546,793 which included £25,866 on maintenance and £32,033 on dredging. The budget was underspent by £6,127 and it is interesting to note that the wayleave rent of around £40,000 annually from Fibreway (under towpath fibre optic cabling) covered this year's dredging programme. Total income was £137,207.
Annual boat licences are going up by 20% over the next two years. Let's hope that rainfall over this period will enable the canal to be kept open for most of the boating season.
Good news that the canal may be benefiting from landfill tax credits now that the Society is registered as a charity eligible to receive them for environmental improvements such as the back-pumping scheme.
Changes are afoot at the Canal Centre with work having commenced on the new swing bridge and entrance channel for a future boat basin. Let's hope this encourages more people to visit the Canal Centre by crossing over from the towpath at Frimley Lodge Park, where the miniature railway seems to go from strength to strength.
Recent editorials have been appealing for members to come forward to serve on the committee or to fill the vacant posts. If this Society is to have a future then it is essential that people put themselves forward. A Society is only as good as its members. Over to you.
Disappointing that there will be a delay before the replacement toilets are constructed at Colt Hill, Odiham, due to the fact that Hart District Council have withdrawn their capital contribution of £55,000 as a result of having to make cutbacks. The scheme, in conjunction with a canoe store for Basingstoke and Deane Canoe Club, would have enabled the disgusting mess on the piece of land adjoining the wharf and opposite Galleon Marine to be cleared up.
Basingstoke Canal, Chobham Bridge, Woking. The Maggie G being used by a group from Cranstock Day Centre to clear floating rubbish.
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The winter season of Woking Talks started in October with a full house eager to share Peter Redway's memories of his holiday on "The Shannon Waterway". Peter's slides gave members an enticing introduction to this beautiful waterway and there must have been few listeners who did not feel at least a tinge of envy and a wish to experience for themselves the delights of the Irish way of canal life. It was good to see Arthur Dungate looking so well after his operation. We wish him well.
Full details of the remainder of the talks season were given in the Autumn edition but we can now conform that the April meeting will feature Michael Goodenough, Waterways Manager for the Kennet and Avon who will talk about the K and A pumping scheme. This will obviously be of very great interest to members as attempts to solve our own water problems continue.
January 12th "South America - Argentina, Patagonia & the Andes!" Robin Higgs
February 9th "Direct television from Alexandra Palace" Arthur Dungate.
March 9th "Roosting bats and waterways Frank Greenway
April 13th "K&A pumping scheme" Michael Goodenough
Date for next copy 31st January 1999
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.
Roger Cansdale*. 79 Gally Hill Road, Church Crookham, Hampshire. GU13 0RU (01252) 616964
Kathy Garrett. 122 Lovelace Drive, Pyrford, Woking, Surreyv GU22 8RR (01932) 341993
Photos: Dieter Jebens. 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Famham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ (0252) 715230
Layout: Nick Halford. Frimhurst Farm, Deepcut, Camberley, Surrey GU16 6RF (01252) 836160
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
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