No. 182 Summer 1999
When I accidentally fell into this job a year ago, I was very worried about the apparent unwillingness of the membership to help with the running of the Society and my first attempt at an editorial was binned at the request of the Committee who deemed it too apocalyptic.
One year on and some of my concerns became reality at the first Committee meeting after the AGM when, for the first time that I can remember, the candidates for the main positions were not immediately obvious. True, the posts have been filled, but it is clear that we are running out of the "Restoration Generation" of members who want to continue to be deeply involved and can find time to do so.
However, all is not gloom and doom because we have the immensely heartening result of Edwin Chappell's membership questionnaire before us that you can read about elsewhere in this issue. This confounded many people's expectations by producing a rate of return already in excess of 40%, with many constructive ideas and a very healthy number of people expressing a willingness not only to crew the trip boats but to help organise social events and even to serve on the Committee!
Even if only a fraction of these offers are converted into action, it looks as if the future of the Society should be a good deal more secure than the usual absence of proposal forms for new Committee members before the AGM was suggesting.
We owe a big vote of thanks to Edwin and Joan for organising the questionnaire and we shall be following up the returns in the months to come. The future of the Society really does hinge on this.
There seems to be general agreement amongst those who heard him speak that Michael Goodenough's talk at Woking on tackling the water supply on the K and A was extremely relevant to our situation. His message was simple - the success of the K & A in overcoming its considerable problems had only been achieved by the development of a partnership, in which everyone with an interest in the canal worked together, and by an insistence that the long term sustainability of the canal as a navigation was paramount and that no one group could be allowed to jeopardise this.
If we are successfully to balance the need for the Basingstoke to be
simultaneously a country park, SSSI
and a working canal, the same philosophy must be recognised.
A report prepared for the Canal's Conservation Working Party by Dr John Eaton of Liverpool University notes a reduction in the number of species of aquatic plants in the canal. Amongst other factors, it attributes this to an increase in shading from trees and proposes the development of a strategy for reducing this.
This tree growth is also bad for the navigation because it consumes huge amounts of water and, if left unchecked, won't do the banks any good either.
The BCA already had plans to reduce the new growth along the banks and rely on natural wastage to move the tree line back as the older trees died. However, since some of the trees are species like oak which may live for hundreds of years, this may not be a viable policy to rectify the results of neglect 40 years ago and some felling may be necessary.
Having recognised this, the Society must ensure that those planning the activity accept that much of the canal's charm for the general public lies not in submerged plants which they never see, but in the glorious tree lined stretches through places like Coxmoor Wood. Whatever is done must be done with sensitivity and a desire to preserve the aesthetic qualities of the canal as far as possible.
I think we should press to have any major trees scheduled for felling marked well in advance to allow time for any objections and overall plans available for public discussion. Certainly no one ad-libing with a chain saw!
|Bridge Barn Rally||7|
|Lookback / Work Party dates||14|
|A new Dawn||16|
The John Pinkerton on its 21st birthday cruise to the River Wey and back
Photo: Roger Cansdale
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We have no Chairman's report this issue, since he exhausted all he had to say at the AGM and this was too long to repeat in full here. However, for those who missed this occasion, here is what he had to say about the most significant problem facing the canal - water supply.
Water supply is vitally important for the canal. A revised and smaller Heritage Lottery Fund application for the Woodham Backpumping Scheme being made by Surrey County Council, A decision is expected in September. The Society is now a registered organisation for operating Landfill Tax Credits and has already received £30,000 which has enabled infrastructure works to start at Woodham. These are things which can be justified on their own merit, but which also form part of the water control and access requirements for the scheme.
This second application includes a higher volunteer content, the value of which will be included in the Partnership Contribution calculations. Assistance has already been received from visiting working parties following discussions with WRG and Dig Deep last year. The Society teams are working on the detailed designs for the pumphouse and infrastructure and pipeline design is being sponsored by Pims Pumps, including hydraulic analysis and materials.
Should the Lottery Fund reject the second application, there is a determination by all parties that the scheme will proceed, albeit at a somewhat slower pace. We will need to support fundraising for the project and any other water supplies that may be identified. We have commissioned the design for a Water Appeal brochure and obtained estimates for its production. We aim to launch the appeal in July with a target of £2 million. Corporate sponsors will need to be sought for a figure like this, but a second initiative is being planned by Pablo and Jill Haworth in the form of "Buy a Pipe" sponsorship for members and friends.
Details of the administration of the appeal have still to be finalised to ensure that proper records are kept for accounting purposes.
Adequate water supplies for the canal will require more than just backpumping at Woodham. The Canal Authority and the Society have already investigated Bourley Reservoir and sources in Ash, Greywell and Itchell, so far without success. The Environment Agency favours a summit level reservoir, filled in winter and drawn down in summer and a close eye will be kept on the availability of Bourley.
In closing I wish formally to thank
I think we would all say "Hear, hear" and also thank Peter for the astonishing amount of effort that he has devoted to the Society and its affairs, despite his personal health problems.
Peter Coxhead, our retiring Vice Chairman, for his support and help during the last three years.
All Committee members, co-opted members and family for their support and assistance during the past year.
The Canal Authority for their help in planning our various events and functions.
Finally my wife and family for their support.
It is with great sadness that we record the sudden death of John Brain on 7th March, aged 64.
John first worked on the canal with Alan Grimster's group, starting in about 1977 on lock restoration at Deepcut and then at St John's. After a heart attack in 1981, he had a rest period and then began work helping to build lock gates, thinking that this might be less physically demanding. Frank Jones organised this task, and after the M.S.C. schemes ended in 1984, the work was done by the Society's 4 full time team members aided by volunteers. John worked on Sundays and at one period on weekday evenings as well.
I met John on these Sundays and he never mentioned his previous heart problems. Work on the gates could at times be quite tiring but John never complained. Volunteers like him managed to sustain the rate of lock gate production and it still amazes me that all the gates for the 28 Surrey locks were made in slightly over 10 years.
John was one of those who made this happen. We express our deep sympathy to John's widow Marina and his children Alex, Laurence, Abigail and Russell.
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1999 AGM REPORT - Kathie Garrett
There was a much more up-beat atmosphere about this year's AGM which was attended by 100 members. The minutes and accounts were accepted without question and no board election were necessary. Although Peter Coxhead is leaving the board he will continue to organise the Bridge Barn Festival. Co-opted member Verna Smith has now become a full member. Members are urged to come forward to fill the remaining three vacancies.
Ron McLaughlin reporting on the John Pinkerton,
explained how bad weather and the World Cup had
affected bookings for
evening and weekend
bookings had increased.
In spite of a lower turnover economies had
meant that a profit of
over £12,000 had been
made. Much of this
surplus had been spent
by the Society on purchase of a new engine
which was installed by
Reading Marine. Slides
showing the lifting and
transportation of the JP
to Reading and the
boat's journey back down the Thames were enjoyed.
The new Beta Marine Kubota engine is said to be
quieter and smoother.
On the publicity side Ron spoke about the increased liaison with coach companies and the Watercress Line, and was hopeful that the new small trip boat would be ready for use on the Brookwood pound by the late May Bank Holiday. He expressed thanks to the crews, winter workers, committee members and the BCA for all their assistance.
The Working Party Report presented by Peter Redway yet again demonslrated the huge commitment of volunteer work in maintaining the canal and its environs. Work included that on the Grade 2 listed Slade's Bridge necessitating the use of best match materials, engine work on the tug, and refurbishment of the society barge which later did sterling work in moving vast quantities of materials for the refurbishment of Crookham Towpath. This work was hampered by problems caused by war defences and the incessant rain. Slides were also shown of the work at Lock One installing the enormous byewash [should, of course, be bywash...] pipes which was featured in the last issue. Both society and visiting volunteers have assisted in this
massive project. It is unfortunate that additional work has been created at
lock one by the thoughtlessness of vandals whose stupidity resulted in a rush of water into the lock overnight causing the barge to lift the gate.
Peter ended his report by thanking all the work party members, in particular the leaders Dave Lunn, Dave Junkison, and Kevin Redway and also the BCA for their support of the work parties which had been considerable.
George & Janet Hedger, Robin Higgs
The next item was the presentation of the Robin Higgs Award to George and Janet Hedger who, since the
early 1970's have worked tirelessly for the society in a number of roles, from newsletter delivery organising and fund'raising, to off side working parties and since the late 1970's having a major involvement with the John Pinkerton, George on engine work and Janet in the galley. It is a richly deserved award and very fitting that in the Jp's 21st cruising
year the award should
go to a couple who have been so much a part of its success.
Another stalwart of the boat company has been Martin Bowers who was on the first trip of the John Pinkerton having worked previously on the preparation of the boat. Since then he has constantly been involved not only as a crew member and Captain but also on winter painting and maintenance. Martin is stepping down from his position of Director of the company but will still be captaining the J P. In recognition of his years of service a presentation of an engraved decanter was made on behalf of the society by Ron McLaughlin.
A thankyou to Martin Bowers - Dieter Jebens
An opportunity was available during the interval to look at Arthur Dungate's web site development, to visit the displays of both archive and recent material and to purchase from the sales stand. The dedicated volunteers who work in these areas also deserve our thanks. Their efforts, although perhaps not as obvious, are nevertheless crucial to the well being of the society as is that of the many other unseen members who carry out tasks during the year. Our chairman said in relationship to donations that small amounts are just as welcome as big ones since together they grow. This is no less true where volunteer work is concerned.
It was good to hear from Peter Coxhead thai plans are already in hand for the year 2000 Bridge Barn Rally and that this year's event, as well as fulfilling its main aim as a good public relations event had also made a profit of £675. Peter also gave details of the summer events based on the canal.
Paddy Field, reporting on the BCA work on the canal,
commented on the near completion of the dredging programme for the Western end of
the canal. From the Whitewater
to the Thatched Cottage west of
the Barley Mow has been
completed and the last bit from
Barley Mow to Tundry Pond will
be done this year before sights
are set on the Woking area.
Sampling is already taking place
to assess the quality of silt for
use as agricultural improvement. The winter rainfall has
resulted in plenty of water and
the Director had been pleased. A thankyou to Martin
by the number of boats visiting
the canal and noted how good it was to see five boats
moored at Reading Wharf recently.
He went on to confirm the BCA's total commitment to seeing through the Woodham Backpumping Scheme and noted that a reduced lottery bid was currently at Surrey County Council and would be submitted very soon. If successful the major work would be carried out during next winter. If the bid is not successful then the commitment remains but there would necessarily be a twelve month delay. Revenue for continuing costs of pump usage would be met by ceasing use of the Rive Ditch pump and increased revenue from boats. Paddy felt that, given the present canal budget, it was unlikely that backpumping up the Deepcut flight would be possible and suggested that perhaps it would be more realistic to think towards reaching the new Brookwood Country Park as the next step. The swing bridge, funded by Surrey Heath Borough Council, is now in place. A new cut has been made which will accommodate the boats displaced by the bridge building and has enabled a start to be made under the planning consent for the new mooring basin. In the coming year the authority will concentrate on re-planking lock gates and limit building of gates to one set unless other unforeseen problems arise. Towpath work will be undertaken from the Blackwater Valley Aqueduct to Ash Wharf funded by a special grant from Guildford Borough Council.
Confirming his retirement at the end of August Paddy thanked members of the society, particularly Peter
Redway and his predecessor David Millet for their support of the canal and announced that his successor would be Lee Thornton who would start at the beginning of August.
So full had the reports been that the Chairman complained that his script needed editing to avoid repetition. He stated his firm accord with Paddy that an
adequate water supply was absolutely essential. Although the canal had plenty of water at the moment it was still expected to have to close to through navigation by mid-July. The revised lottery bid which was for under £500,000 makes submission simpler and will enable results by September but will need a much higher involvement of volunteerwork. Meanwhile visiting groups and three work camps will continue with preparatory work whilst work is undertaken
on the design of the pumping
system. Contingency plans in the event of failure of the lottery bid were in place and a brochure to initiate a water appeal for £2 million pounds is being prepared. Pablo and Jill Haworth are organising a buy a length of pipe scheme details of which would be available before the May launch of the water appeal.
A meeting of key members of the society and the committee had proved useful and resulted in the recently circulated questionnaire to survey members' views. The committee are grateful to the Chappell family for their assistance in preparation of the questionnaire and pleased that 40 per cent of surveys had been returned. Desmond Briscoe from Berkshire was the lucky winner of the draw.
Peter warmly thanked Peter Coxhead, the retiring Vice Chairman, committee members and their families, the BCA and his own family.
An Open Forum session followed, which covered water supply issues together with questions relating to annual licences for boats not moored on the canal, towpath maintenance east of Ash Lock, responsibility for house boats, fish stocks, trip boat franchises and emptying locks after use. In response to a query about the safety of the present lock ladders the Canal Director stated that the length of lock ladders will be increased this year.
It had been a successful and positive evening.
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Saturday 10th July, 11am to 11pm
Canal Society Members Day at the Canal Centre,
Sunday 18th July 8pm
Mikron Theatre Company in the canalside garden of
the Fox and Hounds, Crookham Road, Fleet.
The show is entitled 'Just In Time' and this exciting production tackles the topical subject of transport. As our roads become more congested and polluted and our waterways remain under-used, under-developed and under-funded, the presentation is a lively, controversial show focusing on this dilemma. It features Alison who hitch-hikes everywhere - why? Follow her travels and the people she meets, who lead her towards the resolution of her problems and possibly ours.
They will bring you the roar of the motorways and the smell of the canals and will leave you humming the tunes and crying at the injustices of life and pondering the question - WHERE ARE WE ALL HEADING AS WE DRIVE INTO THE 21ST CENTURY?
Come along and support the show as their Arts Council and Local Authority grants cutback means they rely on you and me even more; a collection will be taken. Come by boat, car or walk and bring folding chairs or rugs or just sit on the grass.
Fox and Hounds Boat Rally, Fleet
Saturday 30th October. Diary Dates 7.45pm
A Jazz and Supper evening (ploughmans) has been organised at the Bisley Village Hall as a fundraiser towards the backpumping scheme. Full details are on the sheet enclosed together with an application form, so make a note in your diary now and apply for tickets as soon as possible as numbers are limited.
The evening is being organised in conjunction with the Basingstoke Canal Boating and Canoe Clubs, the IWA and Byfleet Boat Club. Bring your own beer, wine or soft drinks.
Forthcoming events in 1999 organised by the Canal Centre
Thursday 29th July
Guided Walk along the Deepcut Flight with Peter Munt. Meet at
Deepcut Bridge at 9.30am.
£1 per person.
Tuesday 3rd August
The Lockmaking Experience Walk & Talk with Rangers Andy Loader and Tim Down. Meet at Deepcut Bridge at 2pm. £1 per person.
Saturday 14th August
Dragonfly Walk with Canal ranger Pete Bickford. Meet at Lock 15. Pirbright. 11.30am -1.30pm. £1 per person.
Thursday 26th August
Bat Slide Show at the Canal Centre
followed by a bat walk along the canal. Meet at the Canal Centre, Mytchett at 7.30pm. £1 per person.
Sat/Sun 11th/12th September
Cavalcade of Transport. Canal Centre, Mytchett.
Family fun event with attractions
for all ages, including Punch & Judy, live music and kiddies go-karts. For more details, ring 01252-370073
Wednesday 23rd Sept
Bat Walk along the Canal. Meet at Colt Hill Wharf, Odiham at 7.30pm. £1 per person.
Sunday 31st Oct
Spooky Halloween Walk. Canal Centre, Mytchett. For children of all ages. Sold out in 1998 so pre-booking required. Ring 01252-370073.
Ideal canal boat. 16ft fibreglass cruiser, complete with trailer and 10hp 4-stroke Honda outboard motor. Canopy over cabin to allow open-top boating when the weather permits. £1200.01252-624612.
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I think I can honestly say that most of us that attended
this year's boat gathering at the Bridge Barn in Woking
came away with the feeling that the result was well
worth the not inconsiderable effort involved in getting
the show on the
road (or in this
case, water). What
me was that two
people who were
duty bound to make
a visit namely the
and the Woking
News and Mail's
returned in their
own time, the
Mayor on Saturday
evening to watch the Illuminated Boat Cavalcade and
Bill on Sunday to show his grandchildren the boats.
Society Officers with the Mayor of Woking Cllr Rosemary Johnson
Our Harbourmaster, Rodney Wardlaw, made a very good and diplomatic job of marshalling the 30 or so craft that were all trying to moor at the Bridge Barn. The Mayor paid her official visit on Saturday and after viewing the various stalls, she boarded "Maggie G" owned by the Woking Boating for the Handicapped Group and reviewed the fleet, finally choosing Paul Garrett's "Vega" as the winner of the Best Decorated Boat. He received an engraved tankard, kindly sponsored by the Bridge Barn management.
On the land side, we saw many familiar faces as well as a few new ones running the various stalls. David Junkison and Chris Guthrie were kept busy explaining the proposed Woodham back-pumping scheme and Dave Lunn initiated a lot of people, including our ex-chairman Robin Higgs, into the mysteries o( operating a digger, kindly loaned by Elmbridge Plant Hire. Just after lunchtime we were entertained by the Chobham St Lawrence Morris Dancers. The Phoenix Model Boat Club's radio controlled boats and,
in particular, a very
realistic duck were also popular.
When darkness fell on Saturday evening, the canal came alive as the Cavalcade made its way from the
wharf in Woking back to the festival site, passing bridges and towpath packed solid with spectators. A new attraction this year was a folk group on the lead boat who kept singing the whole time and certainly gave the evening a carnival atmosphere. The scene from Arthur's
Bridge was a
blaze of coloured lights, with people clapping and cheering as each boat passed. The boaters put a lot of effort into their individual lighting layouts and Paddy Field and Singe of the Bridge Barn had the hard job of judging the best one; in the end the award went to Dick
and Alison Snail's "Athai" - Well done.
Sunday saw a vast increase in the number of visitors. Further prizes donated by Dyno-Lock were presented as follows:- Best Dressed Boaters - David and Sue Venn, and Easter Bonnet, a child from the boat
"Merlin" (sorry, no name recorded and a very late boat
entry without a form).
Best Dressed Boaters, Sue & David Venn - Dieter Jebens
Thanks are due to everyone who took part and, in particular, my organising team comprising Edwin and Joan Chappell, Dick Elder, Peter Harman, Bobby King, Verna Smith and Rodney Wardlaw; Gordon St.John (Singe) also joined the meetings when he could. We are already planning for next year when we hope to bring in some new ideas and participants, so hope to see you all on 22nd & 23rd April 2000 at the Bridge Barn.
Peter Coxhead, Festival Chairman
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Firstly, a big thank you to all those members who returned their questionnaires. Currently, I have had 480 replies - which is over 40% response rate.
The Committee have been greatly encouraged by the responses given and the variety of views expressed will give us much to think about over the coming months. There were a number of common views expressed and one of these was members apologising for not being able to do more for the Society or be an active member. They have nothing to apologise for - simply being a member is the most important fact and your support for the Society is greatly valued.
Many members particularly gave their support to our current projects and there were also many ideas for new projects that the Society might undertake. These will be carefully considered.
Interestingly, ideas for the Millennium ranged from "ignore it" to building a dome at the Canal Centre!! The Committee is currently looking at the best way to mark the Millennium.
Scores of members have expressed an interest in supporting local branches in Woking, Mytchett/Ash, Fleet and Basingstoke and, even better, a good number indicate that they are prepared to help organise them. We shall endeavour to launch these local branches this autumn.
We have a couple of dozen potential new crew members for the John Pinkerton and a similar number interested in crewing the new boat at St John's when it is launched. The names have been passed on to the Boat Company.
One of the things that has been less strong in recent years than we would have liked has been the social side of the Society. It was very pleasing therefore to have about a dozen people volunteering to organise some of these activities. Perhaps we can get them together with David and Rosemary Millett for a "teach-in" to pass on some tips learnt from the very successful trips that they used to run.
Finally, half a dozen members have put their names forward as possible Committee members of the Society. This response is very encouraging and I believe that this 'new blood' will bring with it fresh ideas and talent. We shall be getting together with them very shortly to see if we can fill the vacant posts on the Committee.
I hope to bring you some more news about the questionnaire and the ideas springing from it in the next newsletter. Once again, thank you to all who replied, and to those who have yet to do so, it is not too late!
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When the last newsletter came out, the boat was at Aldermaston undergoing an engine transplant and there was some concern about the narrowness of the window of opportunity for its return between the re≠opening of locks on the Thames on 7th March and the beginning of the season at Easter on 30th March.
In the event, everything went without a hitch. Reading Marine completed the engine work in time for the boat to pass its annual DOT inspection whilst still at Aldermaston and the return journey began on the morning of Sunday 21st March. The K&A made an interesting contrast to the Basingstoke, with its alternating stretches of quite fast flowing river and calm canal. Lunch was taken at the Cunning Man at Burghfield and the concrete jungle of Reading was successfully negotiated by 5 o'clock. Rather than risk overnighting in the town, we carried on to the Thames and moored above Sonning Lock.
Monday took us on down to Windsor with a few pauses for photo opportunities on the way and by Tuesday afternoon we were onto the Wey. We had picked a venue for dinner which proved to be the only pub in the area which did not do evening meals, so we pressed on and did better in New Haw, finally sneaking up in the dark onto the Basingstoke. By the end of Wednesday we were tied up safe and sound at the Canal Centre.
Many people crewed this return trip, but thanks should perhaps particularly go to Chris Guthrie who spent every night on board acting as night watchman.
The new engine performed extremely well. It has plenty of power to both go and stop and it delivers this very smoothly and quietly and without the smoke that had become a feature of the old engine. The general consensus is that it makes the boat much more pleasant for both passengers and crew, even if it "doesn't sound right!"
Easter operations from Ash Wharf started quietly but the Monday was busy and the Pinkerton then returned to Odiham. We had a couple of special occasions in April, with a trip for the Hampshire mayors and the launching of the new Boats for the Handicapped boat "Dawn" at Crookham, which for the first time, saw the John Pinkerton breasted up with Madam Butterfly.
The May Day Bank Holiday weekend was the date for our 21st birthday cruise down to the River Wey and back. We were blessed with four days of glorious weather and the canal was at its most beautiful. We hope that the passengers enjoyed it, because the crews certainly did!
The Pinkerton's 21st year seems to have started very well indeed so we look forward to a bumper season.
Boat Company phone numbers:-
Trip Boat Manager, Ron McLaughlin 01252-672189
Crew Organiser, Janet Moore 01483-771843
Day Crew Organiser, Mike Hammersley
Booking Manager, Marion Gough 01962-713564
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L.A.Teddy' Edwards, one of the early campaigners for the waterways, who was closely associated with the Basingstoke Canal, died on 27th March aged 82.
He was a Vice President of our Society and, in the words of his widow Pat, "regarded the Basingstoke Canal as his baby". Indeed, as general secretary of the newly formed Inland Waterways Association which set up a purchase committee to bid for the canal when it was auctioned in 1949, he could be described as the falher of the movement to save the Basingstoke. We extend our deepest condolences to Pat and the rest of his family.
Jim Woolgar, Teddy Edwards.Paul Vine and Robin Higgs cutting the cake at the Canal opening in 1991 (Photo by David Robinson)
With kind permission of the editor of Waterways World and the writer David Bolton, we publish a profile of Teddy Edwards which appeared in the August 1991 issue:
CANAL PIONEERS - LA.Teddy' Edwards - by David Bolton
There is no other living person whose breadth of experience and depth of knowledge of the waterway restoration movement in Britain can rival that of L.A. 'Teddy' Edwards.
Although he was not one of the nine people who attended the inaugural meeting in 1946 of the Inland Waterways Association at the Gower Street apartment of Robert and Ray Aickman. his own personal experience of derelict canals already equalled thai of Tom Rolt. The only reason why he was not present was that the date clashed with his birthday and he joined soon afterwards.
Indeed, Teddy is one of the few
people who can recall that the IWA was not the first body to fight for the canals - the National Inland Waterways League was started in 1924 by George Westall (who had published a guide to inland cruising in 1908), but it only survived for some ten years.
Edwards was also one of the few early IWA members who had not been influenced
|by Tom Rolt's book Narrow
Boat, though he read and enjoyed it subsequently.
Born in Ashtead, Surrey, in 1916 and christened Lewis Arthur, his father had a holiday lodge near the Grand Union and young Ted soon acquired a dominating passion for canoeing. In those
now far distant pre-war days, however,
the Grand Union was still too busy with commercial traffic for a schoolboy canoeist to be tolerated.
So Ted used to carry overland by rail his much loved Canadian canoe and, using a 1918 Bradshaw, explored the canals and rivers that were already derelict and disused like the Huddersfield Narrow, Basingstoke and Kennet & Avon. On one such trip along the Oxford in 1937 he met Tom Rolt, six years older than Ted, on holiday with his uncle Kyrie Willans on Cressy.
By the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Edwards had already traversed about half of Britain's neglected water-
ways so that he was ideally qualified when in 1949 he was asked to bring out a totally revised edition of Inland Waterways of Great Britain, first published by Colonel Eric Wilson in 1939. This unrivalled compendium of information has since reached its sixth edition.
After missing the IWA's inaugural meeting, Teddy Edwards was not among the Association's initial hierarchy. His first semi-official duly arose in 1948 through the auction of the Basingstoke Canal when, in view of his Surrey connections, he formed and led a preservation committee of local enthusiasts, including Mrs Joan Marshall, who eventually bought the canal as a private investment. This event gave Ted his first taste of the internal bickering that blighted the IWA's formative years since he was partially blamed for not securing the Basingstoke as an IWA project.
It was the sad personal vendetta between Robert Aickman and Tom Rolt that finally brought L. A. Edwards to senior office when in 1950 he was selected as joint honorary secretary to ease some of Tom's pressure. Two months later. Rolt resigned from office and the Council and Edwards was left to carry the burden alone until the appointment of a paid administration in 1958 when the membership reached 3,300. He has retained the title of Honorary Consultant from then until the present day.
During those eight years, Teddy looked after much of the day-to-day work of the Association as it grew in stature to an organisation with a national voice and influence in Parliament. While Robert Aickman led the public campaign to save the waterways up and down the country and undertook many of the speaking engagements. Edwards - backed always by his loyal wife Patricia - kept the administration going and sometimes edited the quarterly Bulletin which became increasingly professional in presentation. They were far from easy years as there were recurring disputes about policy among the leaders and Ted proved to be one of the great survivors!
Ted also had his own favourite campaigns, including the Rochdale, LLangollen, Stratford and Lower Avon, but his most consistent involvement has
been with the East Anglian waterways. From early days, he was active in the fight lo save Constable's river Stour as a navigation and he remains a Vice President of the Trust. The IWA always had weak links with eastern England so that Edwards helped Charles Goodey and others in forming the Broads Society in 1956. and Alan Faulkner and others to revive the moribund River Great Ouse Society in 1959. The Society did sterling work aftenwards in ensuring the survival of the Ouse navigation and its restoration as far up river as Bedford. Ted arranged for the Army to clear miles of the Old West River.
Ted worked strenuously for the reopening of the Broadlands navigation links to Bungay and Aylsham. At the reopening of one of the Fenland locks, John Humphries, then IWA Chairman, said: "Whenever work has been done on restoration, one will usually find Teddy Edwards had a hand in the process".
Perhaps the Edwards hand had its most far-reaching effect on the other side of the Irish Sea. In 1953. the Northern Ireland government was busy closing down most of their navigations and Dr V.T.H. Delaney called on Robert Aickman to seek his advice and backing. Since Ted had canoed in 1935 from Enniskillen to Carrick-on-Shannon. Robert asked him to look after this issue. A few months later, the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, representing the whole of the island, was formed in Dublin. The Association went rapidly from strength to strength, forming branches and fighting threats to the rivers and canals, and before long it was rivalling the successor its English counterpart. It fought to save the headroom through the Shannon Bridges.
In 1957, Ted assisted the Bord Failte (Irish Tourist Board) in setting up their first hire fleet on the Shannon, and he has made many boating and walking trips to campaign for different parts of Ihc Irish network. For many years he pressed for the reopening of the cross-border route - the Ballinamore & Ballyconnell - which would restore the marvellous connection across the entire country from the River Erne in the north to the Shannon in the south. The recent decision to go ahead
with massive EEC funding is an encouraging, tangible sign of the potential for north/south co-operation.
One of Ted's great strength has been his interest in waterways from many different angles and this has enabled him to keep a sense of humour and balance about issues when others may have become partisan. He claims to be a member of 37 boating societies so that it is impossible to do justice to every aspect of his untiring involvement. He served, for instance, on the General Purposes Committee of the Royal Yachting Association and acted as adviser for many years, to the Earl's Court National Boat Show.
Acting on a suggestion of the late Sir Peter Scott, Ted helped to set up the Surrey Amenity Council (now the Surrey Society), County Branch of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England. After serving as secretary for some years, he is now a Vice President along with Lord Nugent. Ted's ability to wear more than one hat has often proved useful to waterways' interests. At a recent enquiry into the Basingstoke Canal, objections were raised to his presence as being partisan; so Edwards had to remind the chairman that he was there as CPRE's representative! He now takes pride in the fact that his son is in the Environment Unit of Surrey County Council's Planning Dept.
Though he has had to battle through some personal problems of ill-health in recent years, Teddy Edwards maintains a cheerful and buoyant outlook on life, and an active role far beyond. most men of his age. It was his passion for canoeing more than 60 years ago that introduced him to a lifetime's involvement in the waterways movement and he retains a valued link with the Open Canoe Association as its President. He still lives with Patricia in Ashtead in the house in a quiet side road off the busy thoroughfare thai they have occupied since he was Honorary Secretary on the IWA in the turbulent 1950s - it is a house packed with memories and records.
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We were disappointed last year when Arthur Dungate had to postpone his promised talk on the early days of television at Alexandra Palace but it was all the better for waiting for. It was a really nostalgic evening as Arthur reminded us of our early experiences of television from the Coronation, which for many of us was our first memory of this new medium, to the Potter's Wheel interlude and old favourites such as Andy Pandy and the Flower Pot Men. Arthur's humorous tales of the goings on at the "Palace" were much enjoyed together with his wonderful collection of sound recordings and clips from bygone programmes. We applauded his foresight in collecting together these items and envied him his "place in history".
March brought another outstanding evening when Frank Greenaway, from the natural History Museum, showed us his remarkable slides of bats. It was quite incredible to view the moment when a bat succeeded in catching an insect on the water surface and to be able to watch the life of bats in their roost, the movement of the bats triggering the lighting and cameras. We felt it was a privilege to have shared in this experience and to have learned so much more about these remarkable little creatures. So engrossed were we that question time was almost over before the issue of the bats in the Greywell Tunnel was broached. Frank was not optimistic that the dual needs of navigation and the bats could be resolved in the near future but we watch the progress of the Ash Bat Cave with interest. It seems that already bats are visiting but not, as yet, roosting.
The final talk of the season was perhaps one of the most significant in recent years. It was given by Michael Goodenough, who gave a very clear and frank presentation on the tackling of water supply problems on the K and A. Starting from a discussion of the methods by which the water need was established and the costs involved, through slides showing the installation of pumps and other measures to combat water wastage and on to pictures of the present work being undertaken on the canal, we were constantly reminded of the similarities between the K & A and the Basingstoke. Listening to Michael speak it became very apparent that the success of the K & A in overcoming its considerable water supply problems had only been achieved by the development of a partnership, in which everyone with an interest in the canal worked together, and by an insistence that the long term sustainability of the canal as a navigation was paramount and that no
one group could be allowed to jeopardise this. An initial survey along the length of the canal looking at the impact of development of the canal for recreation on the local communities had proved essential in persuading local councils of the benefits which would accrue to offset their spending. Commitments of funds had been
on a long term basis so that planning could be made for a number of years ahead knowing where the money was coming from and when it would arrive. This had been absolutely crucial.
Michael also emphasised the need to look at water supply throughout the waterway and to put in place plans for the whole canal rather than concentrating on just one area even if money at the moment was forthcoming only for that one part. This is necessary since any future work will have an effect on that already in place. Emphasis was also placed on the need for the simultaneous tackling of problems of water leakage to maximise the effectiveness of the pumping schemes.
The key words seem to be SUSTAINABILITY for the future, PARTNERSHIP and the need for LONG TERM PLANNING AND FUNDING.
Michael expressed a willingness to share the knowledge gained on the projects completed and happily answered questions from a very attentive and positive audience. It was a very illuminating evening.
On behalf of all who have attended the Woking Talks this season we would like to thank Arthur and Peter for their hard work in arranging the evenings and give our thanks also to the often unseen team of refreshment makers whose efforts make the social interlude so pleasurable. We look forward to seeing you all again in the Autumn.
Woking History Festival
The canal was well featured at the History Festival held in the Peacocks Centre over the Easter period. On Easter Saturday John Ross, with the assistance of Rosie and Jim, and Bill Finlay with his steam powered boat drew attentive crowds. The Society stand depicted the history of the canal whilst also bringing the story up to date with excellent photographs of the work being done at Lock One. Two other stands also featured the canal. The Surrey Industrial Archaeology Group showed items from both the River Wey and the Basingstoke Canal whilst the canal through the town was represented in the Horsell section.
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# Encouraging to see all the visiting narrow boats this spring from many parts of the country. At the time of writing five narrow boats are moored for the night at Reading Road Wharf, Fleet including four boats from the Erewash Canal in Nottinghamshire. Lets hope the rains in mid April will enable the canal to be kept open for longer this summer, especially with the wet autumn and winter having refilled the underground aquifers.
# Basingstoke Heritage Society in conjunction with the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council have revived the scheme to create a footpath from the town centre in Basingstoke to Old Basing, following as far as possible to the line of the canal although deviations will be necessary. Interpretation boards will be placed at strategic locations. Excellent news.
# With funding from Surrey Heath Borough Council, the new swing bridge has been opened at the Canal Centre, it was always said that this was needed to save the climb up the steps from the towpath to Mytchett Place Bridge and the detour round the road. The finished bridge looks fine in its setting, and should enable more people to visit the Centre.
# Fine weather greeted the arrival of the new 12 sealer 'Dawn' at the Coal Pen at Crookham. With the 'John Pinkerton' and 'Madam Butterfly' moored alongside each other all three boats looked very colourful in the sunshine. The new 31ft by 9ft boat will be much more practical than the 'Mildred Stocks' it replaces.
# A familiar sight at the Canal Centre is no more with the 'Lady of Camelot' restaurant boat having departed for its new home in Manchester. To be renamed the 'L.S.Lowry' it will operate from the new art centre being created in the old Salford Docks. Its replacement is a 70ft narrow boat, with 47 fixed seats and tables, previously named the 'Saucy Sue' but now to be called 'Merlin' II.
# Spring is the time of year when the canal comes to life after the winter with the growth of the plants and the new buds and leaves on the trees. How fortunate this area is to have this amenity navigation running right through it, with its delightful towpath walks. If only certain dog owners would respect it and not allow their pets to foul it. There is a Bylaw for owners to remove the fouling but most people are not aware of this or choose to ignore it.
The Parliamentary Waterways Group
The Parliamentary Waterways Group (PWG) was reformed in 1993 so that outside organizations and individuals could take part in the meetings, which include a presentation followed by questions and discussion of waterways topics. It is an All-Party Group drawing members from both Houses of Parliament and has wide terms of reference to consider matters relating to most canals and navigable rivers. Associated members come from Canal Societies, Canal Trusts and other waterways organizations from all over the country including the IWA. I have represented the Society at these meetings which take place in a Committee room at the House of Commons about five or six times a year.
Recent speakers have included Bernard Henderson, Chairman of British Waterways (Freight on the Waterways), Baroness Young, Chairman of English Nature (Nature and the Waterways), David Blagrove of the Commercial Narrowboat Operators' Association (Commercial Carrying on the Canals) and Alan Meale MP, Minister for the Waterways (Future of BW and the Integrated Transport Policy as it affects canals and rivers).
The benefit of these meetings is that they are opportunities to hear decision makers speak and to question them afterwards so that they hear about the strong issues and concerns from the grass roots bodies around the waterways. Before and after the meetings it is also an opportunity to make informal contacts with a wide range of representatives of canal organizations.
On two occasions I have raised issues with the Chairmen of English Nature, most recently of our concerns about the future viability of restored waterways in SSSI's, such as the Basingstoke Canal, if English Nature requested heavy restrictions on boat movements (hence boat numbers) thereby restricting the opportunity to increase income from boat licences. Baroness Young replied that the Basingstoke Canal was the single most diverse freshwater site in the country and it would be deplorable if the management of the canal was driven by financial pressures. A balance had been achieved by research and negotiation and everyone involved with the canal must work together to continue this in the future.
The main issue for the future is, therefore, sustainability as without sufficient income to maintain and operate our canal for navigation, then the nature conservation importance will suffer too over the longer term.
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(from Society Newsletters No. 85 - June 1979 and No.
86 August 1979)
# With the election of a new Tory Government, job creation schemes may come under threat, but Society believes canal restoration schemes should be a special case. This is because they satisfy the demand for more recreational facilities, especially those involving water resources. Since 1977 the Society has received nearly £228,000, including £136,000 this year for work on the Deepcut flight of locks.
# A pair of upper and lower lock gates, built by Society members in 1969 and 1973 have been recovered from the canal above Silvester's Bridge, where they were submerged five years ago to preserve the timber. Tony Harmsworth, HCC's Senior Canal Warden, who with his father showed the volunteers how to construct lock gates, reported that the gates will be installed at Ash Lock in the autumn.
# HCC's work to fill the breach in Ash Embankment is well advanced. The breach occurred during the September 1968 floods. Sand material is coming from a disused railway embankment purchased from British Rail.
# Fifty volunteers took part in the IWA's Kent and East Sussex branch sponsored dig at Lock 19, the proceeds of £400 to be split between the IWA and the Society. An IWA member from Boston, USA and a 79 year old member took part.
# 386 canoes and kayaks took part in the Westel Canoe Trials based at Reading Road Wharf, Fleet, where the Society organised the site, car parking and catering arrangements. 25 gallons of soup were consumed.
# After a leaflet drop to 6000 houses in the Woking area, 500 people attended the subsequent public meeting, when 40 new members were signed up. Was this a record?
# The peace and quiet at Colt Hill, Odiham with the backdrop of the cricket ground about to be changed forever with the start of construction of the Odiham by-pass. The Society may have won the campaign to save the canal but another piece of its environment has been lost.
# Bob Benford's boat station at Colt Hill, with a dozen or so neatly turned out skiffs and punts, has caused a headache for Hart and Hampshire planners, who
say the operation is 'premature' and prejudicial to the preparation of a development and management plan for the Colt Hill area.
# Seventy two members on two coaches visit the Kennet and Avon Canal for a cruise on the 'Ladywood' from Bradford upon Avon, a visit to Limpney Stoke and the Claverton Pumphouse. Two hours in Bath were followed by a walk up the main 17 locks of the Devizes flight.
# Fleet weir footbridge is in urgent need of repair and repainting and volunteers are required to undertake the work. The footbridge was installed in 1974 and is an ex-ships gangplank. The late Sir John Verney, a Society Vice President, was instrumental in acquiring it.
# A local member from Fleet is now commuting to work by rowing boat from one part of Fleet to another. Very environmentally friendly.
Work Party Dates and Venues
26/27 June||DJ/DL||Slades Bridge|
|3/4 July||DJ/DL||Winchfield towpath or Woodham Work Camp preparations.|
|9 July - 2 Aug||All.||Support KESCRG & WRG Work Camps at Woodham.|
|14/15 Aug||DJ/DL||Winchfield towpath|
|21/22 Aug||KR||Tugs, Ash Lock.|
|28/29 Aug||DJ/DL||Slade's Bridge.|
|4/5 Sept||KR||Tugs, Ash Lock.|
|11/12 Sept||DJ/DL||Deepcut access covers.|
|18/19 Sept||KR||Tugs, Ash Lock.|
|25/26 Sept||DJ/DL||Slade's Bridge.|
Work Party Leaders:
Dave Junkison. DJ. 0181 941 0685
Dave Lunn. DL. 01483 771294
Kevin Redway. KR. 01483 722206
Note: Please contact Work Party Leaders before
the weekend in case of last minute changes.
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Cavalcade of Transport|
The BCA will be holding a second Cavalcade of Transport at the Canal Centre, Mytchett on 11th and 12th of September. The event will raise awareness of the canal as an amenity amongst both local people and those further afield and will also hopefully raise funds for the ongoing work on the canal. It will bring together all forms of transport and will also welcome trade and craft stalls. It will be open from 11am until 5pm. Please give it your support.
Visitors from Kenya commented on the very happy atmosphere at Bridge Barn and noted how much enjoyment was gained both by the people of Woking and visiting boaters. They were, however, saddened by the amount of litter on the banks between the town wharf and Woodham and wondered if the residents could not be persuaded somehow to take their cans away with them. If you have any ideas on how this miracle can be achieved please do let us know.
It is good to see that boats visiting previous Bridge Barn Festivals are featured on two of Woking Borough's postcards which are available from the library and information centre. Issued by the council it indicates the degree to which the canal is appreciated as an amenity,
Residents of Burford, Oxon, became concerned when an amorous male manadrin duck on the River Windrush began to cause havoc amongst the local bird population. He apparently lived quietly throughout the winter but then, becoming aware of his single status in the springtime, caused chaos by trying to mate with anything that flew, male or female. Locals noted that he was even starting to eye up the swans!
An Eye to Danger|
Research at the Indiana State University amongst dozing ducks has shown that ducks can be awake and asleep at the same time. The research shows that each hemisphere of a bird's brain works independently of the other, so that in risky situations one hemisphere of the brain can be asleep whilst the other is alert and an eye can remain vigilant. The team found, when studying rows of mallard ducks, that those at the end of the row who faced the greatest danger from predators were more likely to stay half awake and tended to use their awake eye to gaze outwards.
ChiChester Channel Cruise
The Inland Waterways Association Solent and Arun Branch is organising a cruise of Chichester Harbour from Itchenor to Fishbourne on Friday 16th July. If any member would like to take the opportunity to see this beautiful harbour details are available from Alan White on 01243 573765.
A Good Samaritan
It was reported in the local press recently that an eight year old boy fell into the canal by Kiln Bridge whilst riding his bicycle. Fortunately a passer by was on hand to give assistance and soon both rider and bike were on dry land.
An interesting suggestion from David Gerry in the local paper that the MOD should release Bourley Reservoir for use by the canal in compensation for the disruption to the canal and the loss of open land that will be caused if DERA's proposals for a second Morris Bridge and a new road corne to fruition. Seems very reasonable considering that the BCA wasted several thousands of pounds a few years ago by surveying Bourley, only to have the MOD change its mind about releasing it then.
The John Pinkerton descending Deepcut on its 21st Anniversary Cruise|
Photo - Dieter Jebens
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Boats for the Handicapped's new day boat Dawn being
christened at Crookham in April by Neil Murrell after his
It was built with the aid of a National Lottery grant. The boat has a lift and power assisted steering and is designed to take 12 people, including up to 5 in wheelchairs.
The hire cost is £75 per day or £45 for half a day. Enquiries to Peter Bridle on 01252-683778
Date for next copy 31st July 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.
Editor: Roger Cansdale*. 79 Gally Hill Road, Church Crookham, Hampshire. GU13 0RU (01252) 616964
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
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: Verna Smith*. 63 Avondale, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants. GU12 5NE (01252) 617622
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 Organiser: Peter Coxhead*. 17 Abbey Close, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey. GU22 8PY (01932) 344584
Director: Kathryn Dodington*. 8 Sheets Heath Lane, Brookwood, Woking, Surrey GU24 0EH )01483) 473630
Director: Verna Smith* 63 Avondale, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants. GU12 5NE (01252) 517622
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