No. 184 Winter 1999
Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat - well, there were certainly at least a hundred pretty healthy looking Canadian ones paddling about in Tundry Pond last week when I went to see what the working party was up to.
I think that most of us tend to forget that there are still jobs for volunteers to do on the canal. The working parties usually consist of the same faithful bunch of people keeping alive the traditions and camaraderie of the restoration years.
It would be a sad day if this ever died and our Chairman is usually there trying to ensure that it doesn't. Several dozen of the returned questionnaires indicated an interest in joining a working party, the dates and locations are to be found as usual in the newsletter and there is a variety of jobs waiting to be done, so please get in touch and join the gang.
* * * * *
Looking back over 1999, it's been one of the most eventful for some years. The Canal has a new Director and the promise of over a quarter of a million pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Woodham back-pumping scheme. The John Pinkerton ventured off the canal for the first time and came back transformed by its new engine.
It would be an exaggeration to say that the Society itself has been transformed, but there are signs that the slide into oblivion that I feared might happen has been averted. The response to the questionnaire was very positive, as Dieter Jeben's article inside describes, and we shall be getting in touch with those who indicated a willingness to help organise things and, with their help, trying to follow up as many of the suggestions for activities as we can.
Inevitably, some suggestions were in direct contradiction to others! One person suggested an annual jazz evening with barbecue, whilst another wanted anything other than jazz, which they loathed. Personally, I think it's time we tried something other than trad jazz - perhaps we should drag ourselves out of the 50s at least into the swinging 60s and have an evening of good, old fashioned rock'n roll. One of my friends celebrated his 50th birthday with such an event and it was one of the most fun (and exhausting) evenings that I had had for a long time. There are some good local bands capable of playing everything from ABBA to ZZ Top, so let me know what you think of the idea. If there is enough support, I might even take my own advice and organise something!
* * * * *
The questionnaire response in relation to the Newsletter was quite overwhelming - I have a page of things that people don't
like and seven pages of suggestions for things they would like. There were some very kind things said about the Newsletter, which reflect more on the previous editors than myself, given the short time that I have been doing the job.
I hope that some of the things that people didn't like have been addressed, and in particular I have been trying to keep to a strict 3 monthly schedule for publication. There also seemed to be a feeling that the Newsletter was giving an impression of confrontation rather than collaboration with the Canal Authority. My inclination is definitely towards co-operation and I would rather offer praise than criticise, and this will be my policy unless I have good reason to do otherwise. Recognise, though, that there will be occasions when we do not agree with the BCA, and when we need to make constructive criticism.
The suggestions offered for Newsletter articles are enough to keep me going for years. Several people expressed an interest in the history of the canal and old photos of it, but I arn a bit reluctant merely to paraphrase Paul Vine's excellent book. However, there are other lines of research that we might be able to follow and perhaps I could persuade Tony Harmsworth to dig into his family's history whilst he is off work.
A couple of members wanted the letters page expanded - I would if I received more! I print virtually all the letters that I get, but if you don't write, I can't publish them. To encourage more communication I shall offer a small prize for the best letter in each issue (I'll decide what it is when I've seen the letters - editor's decision final as usual!).
* * * * *
And finally, may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Century!
Betty and Alec Gosling aboard their narrowboat 'Betty G' at Weybridge with the Pavilion d'Or trophy.
Photo: Dieter Jebens
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The long awaited decision by the Heritage Lottery Fund assessors on the application for the Woodham back-pumping has been published. A grant of £295,000 was confirmed on 28th October.
Total estimated cost of the project is £476,000, with matching funding being pledged by SHCS, Woking, Runnymede and Guildford Borough Councils, the County Councils and the Canal Authority itself.
The application was compiled by Paddy Field last March and signed by Paul Cohen (Surrey County Council Chief Executive) as part owners of the canal. The Society, as partners in the project, has played a significant part in the overall design. Planning consent has been obtained but detailed drawings will be required before any work can start.
This is a time for celebration before reviewing current progress and getting on with the project. Congratulations on the result and my thanks for their efforts go firstly to the design team, Peter Coxhead, David Junkison and Chris
Kew. My thanks also go to Paddy Field, who had, in my opinion, the most difficult task in compiling the application. Congratulations Paddy.
Dick Elder (BCBC), Tony Davis and Tony Firth (IWA) have been our consultees and partners in fundraising since the conception of the project in 1994 when seven people met informally.
The volunteer input for matching funding has been estimated at some £50,000, which includes "contribution in kind" and design validation fees for an independent assessment of our design as being "Fit for Purpose".
We have a challenging time ahead, fundraising, doing the detailed design and planning the work for volunteers. This is as important now as when restoration first started. Together we can achieve the first phase in obtaining a reliable all-year-round water supply for the canal.
From Paddy Field
My very sincere thanks to you personally and to all the members of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society for the lovely Terry Harrison painting of the Canal and the "John Pinkerton". It will, as you may imagine, have a very prominent place in the house and will remind me - not that I shall need any reminding! - of ten happy years that I have spent on the Canal.
May I also take the opportunity of thanking you personally for all the help, supportand co-operation that you have offered to me and the BCA, both personally and in your capacity as Chairman of the Society. Leigh faces a lot of challenges, but I am sure that with continued collaboration between the BCA and the SHCS, they can be overcome.
With grateful thanks for all your help, and to the Society for my wonderful retirement present,
The majority of our newsletters are distributed by Society postmen (and women), who between them save the Society many hundreds of pounds a year in postage. Some of them have been doing the job for many years and one such is Mrs J Dyson, mother of founder member Paul Dyson. We believe that she has been delivering the newsletter to members in Ash ever since Dieter Jebens started it, but she has now decided to hand the job over. So, from the Society and, in particular, the Newsletter team, a very big "Thank you" for all your efforts.
More observant members may have noted that Verna Smith is now our Sales Manager, and I have been remiss in not passing on the Committee's thanks to Gill Freeman for looking after this job for many years. Gill took this on whilst also looking after sales for the Boat Company. In addition, she produced quite a lot of the sales stock by using her traditional canal painting skills to decorate a wide selection of otherwise mundane articles. Thanks Gill, and good luck to you and Dave with your future boating plans.
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When I arrived for my lunch time interview with the new Director of the Basingstoke Canal Authority I found him sitting at a desk covered with a discouraging amount of paper. Leigh finds that he spends a considerable amount of his time dealing with correspondence from County Councils, Local Authorities, various interest groups, such as the Canal Society and English Nature and, of course, members of the public. He has, however, already walked the whole length of the canal in company with Paddy Field and gets out whenever he has the chance and I did not have too much trouble in dragging him away to the pub for an introductory chat.
Aged 38, married with three young children and now living in Farnborough, Leigh grew up in London. He studied geography and anthropology at Oxford Poly and spent four or five years running a nature reserve behind King's Cross near the Regent's Canal. He then joined the Blackwater Valley project for seven years prior to starting his current job. He has just completed an MBa, studying in his spare time for several years.
With his background in anthropology and geography, it is perhaps not surprising that Leigh sees his job as being aimed at managing people's environment to improve their quality of life. He seems very conscious of the need to strike a balance between the various interests on the canal
and recognises that this may mean that the Society may not always agree with everything the BCA does. He feels, however, that in principle we share a common interest and ought to try to present a united front to the outside world.
He appears to be interested in the canal's environment in much the same way as most of us are, enjoying it for its aesthetic qualities rather than for the rarity of, say, obscure underwater plant species.
He is keen to co-operate with the Society and to make use of its volunteer effort where appropriate. He made the point, however, that the Canal is much more heavily used by walkers, cyclists etc than it was in the restoration days, and that use of contractors may be preferable to volunteer weekend work that disrupts use of the towpath for extended periods.
He has a number of thoughts about where he would like more volunteer help, amongst them bankside clearance. There is a lot of this to do and it is very expensive to use contractors, so perhaps we can expand what we have been doing previously; it is a good activity for involving lots of people, because it does not require specialised skills.
Leigh would also like to see the Lengthsman scheme resurrected, because keeping an eye on the whole length of the canal is a time-consuming business for the rangers. Again, this is an ideal job for volunteers, particularly those who walk the canal regularly for pleasure.
He is keen to see the canal used and enjoyed by as many people as possible and recognises that as far as boating is concerned, water supply is the key to this. Making the canal navigable all year round might also enable him to pursue another scheme which he is enthusiastic about, a mooring basin at the Canal Centre.
I mentioned an idea we had for getting some customer feedback on the canal by means of a questionnaire to be issued to all visiting boats. He accepted that this was good business management practice and thought that this was something that the Society and the BCA could collaborate on. We'll get something prepared before next season.
So, what's the verdict on the new man?
Well, time will tell, but had he not been the Director of the Canal Authority, I would probably have been trying to interest him in joining the Committee of the Canal Society. He is young and enthusiastic and is interested in people and their environment, which is basically what the Canal is all about. He has been involved with groups such as the Canal Society before and probably has as good an idea of what makes us tick as we ourselves have.
He does not anticipate spending the whole of his working life as Director of the BCA, and has ambitions perhaps one day to manage one of the National Parks, so I think we need to make the most of his time with us. I look forward to working with him.
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Narrowboaters win international award
Society members Alec and Betty Gosling of Hersham, near Walton-on-Thames, were awarded the prestigious Pavillon d'Or trophy for travelling the longest distance to London on Water, held at West India Dock, London, over the August Bank Holiday. The trophy is presented by The Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM), the World's governing body for motorboating, which nominates a major event in a different country each year for the award. London on Water celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Association of Thames Yacht Clubs, attracting over 450 boats including a contingent from Holland.
Alec and Betty Gosling, members of the Thames Scout Cruising Club, clocked up 460 miles aboard the narrowboat 'Betty G' from Ellesmere Port, on the Ellesmere branch of the Shropshire Union Canal, through the canal system to reach the Docklands rally. They also won an award for the best boat's log for the trip.
The presentation took place at a banquet held in the famous Painted Hall at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, at which the guest speaker was Raymond Baxter, who is Honorary Admiral of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships, a number of which attended the rally.
'Betty G' is a familiar visitor to the Basingstoke Canal and Alec of course looks after the Society's mail order sales. Dieter Jebens
At the presentation of the Pavillon d'Or trophy in the Painted Hall at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich. (L-R) Dave Fletcher, Chief Executive of British Waterways, Raffael Chiulli, President of the UIM International Pleasure Navigation Commission, Peter Capel, President of the Royal Dutch Motorboat Club, award winners Betty and Alec Gosling.
Basingstoke Canal Boating Club
The Basingstoke Canal Boating Club was formed 12 years ago to encourage boating on the canal. Its membership includes owners of all types of craft - canoes, steam boats, dinghies, cruisers and narrowboats - and others who are not boat owners but enjoy boating and the canal. In addition to organised rallies and social evenings
members meet regularly in pubs adjacent to the canal to exchange news and enjoy some boating chat. The Club is affiliated to the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs (AWCC) which gives club members advantages when cruising elsewhere on the system.
The club always welcomes new members. Contact can be made via the membership secretary, Bobbie King, on 01252 325268.
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Following the summer work camps a number of tasks have required a finishing touch.
SHCS working parties have progressed the weir at Lock 4 with KESCRG helping with the concreting. Lock 3 weir is operational with only wooden whaling to be completed,
Towpath works at Dogmersfield and the last of the access covers at Deepcut need to be completed before the spring and our container store and replacement Portacabin at Deepcut are house-keeping tasks which we also need to finish.
Working parties are currently at Dogmersfield surfacing the towpath of the final length between Chatter Alley and Blacksmith's Bridge, which must be one of the most difficult sections to access.
Machinery (2 dumpers, an excavator and a vibrating roller) is off-loaded at Double Bridge and taken to the towpath via the farm and bridle path to Blacksmith's Bridge. Materials are loaded by another excavator into jay barges at Crookham Wharf and transported to Dogmersfield, where they are unloaded between Chatter Alley and the gabion wall. From there they are dumpered to site for laying. A round trip by tug and barge takes about 2-1/2 hours, giving a maximum of 3 trips a day at this time of year.
It has proved quite difficult to get the barges close enough in for unloading because of the shallowness of this section, and the towpath has had to be built up to allow the excavator to reach down into the barges.
A typical weekend might see 9 people working, typically 2 loading at Crookham, 2 manning tug and barges, 1 unloading, 2 driving dumpers and 2 laying (not to mention Kevin Redway's dog supervising).
8 men, 1 woman & a dog went
to lay a towpath...
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1.||A loaded barge at Crookham Wharf|
|2.||Unloading stone at Dogmersfield|
|3.||Loading a dumper|
|4.||Unloading a dumper|
|5.||Spreading the stone|
|6.||Taking back the empties|
|8.||The boss - 'Zak'||
Working Party Dates and Venues
|8/9 Jan||DJ/DL||Deepcut covers|
|15/16 Jan||L/WRG||Lock4/5 weirs|
|22/23 Jan||DJ/DL||Deepcut covers|
|29/30 Jan||KR||Tug maintenance|
|5/6 Feb||KR/PR||Lock 28 containers|
|12/13 Feb||DJ/DL||Deepcut covers|
|19/20 Feb||KR/PR||Lock 28 containers|
|26/27 Feb||DJ/DL||Deepcut covers|
|4/5 Mar||KR/PR||Lock 1 access*|
|11/12 Mar||DJ/DL||Lock 1 access*|
|18/19 Mar||KR/PR||Lock 1 access*|
|25/26 Mar||DJ/DL||Lock 1 access*|
Work Party Leaders
Dave Junkison DJ 0181 941 0685
Dave Lunn DL 01483 771 294
Kevin Redway KR 01383 722 206
Peter Redway PR 01483 721 710
Note: Please contact Work Party Leaders before the weekend in caseof last minute changes.
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The Woking Talks season began in fine form with a very well attended October meeting. There was much chatter as
members caught up with the news and the interval time was certainly enhanced by the scrumptious muffins provided by
David and Jill Freeman. There was one puzzle though. There were more muffins than people but by the end of the interval
the plates were almost empty. Where did the rest go?
David, assisted by Jill from her chair and a well loved blue teddy, gave us an interesting report with excellent slides of their cruise on the North American coast, including the inside passage to Alaska. The scenery was stunning and the wildlife fascinating. Equally fascinating were the pictures of the variety of food on offer making us all feel hungry - no doubt that accounted for the missing buns. We were then transported to Norway and took another arm chair cruise along the Norwegian coast, crossing the arctic circle and travelling as far as the North Cape. We were rewarded with some really spectacular views and enjoyed the variety of shore excursions. Our final destination was to the River Nile where we visited the Valley of the Kings and learned about the ancient tombs. It was a far cry from our Basingstoke Canal but was a most enjoyable evening and we thank David and Jill for all the effort they put into it.
November's meeting saw the return of Richard Thomas who is always a very popular speaker. Having journeyed down the Rivers Thames and Lee with him on previous visits it was time to move to Bishop Stortford and an exploration of the Stort Navigation. As before Richard's talk included fascinating insights into the history of the canal accompanied by both nostalgic slides of scenes from the past and the opportunity to view the same places today. There must have been very few members who did not learn something new about this waterway and future visits to the river will be much enhanced by our new knowledge. We look forward to seeing Richard again next year.
11th January 2000
Robin Higgs - "More travels around the World"
In previous years, Robin, a past chairman of the Society, has taken us on numerous railway journeys to far off lands. This time it could be Indian railways, or New Zealand, or.......
David Moore - "The London Canal Museum"
This is the only museum in London (at King's Cross) devoted to inland waterways, and David is Chairman of the Friends of the London Canal Museum.
Ron Cousens - "Birmingham and the Black Country Canals"
Ron is the Talks and Presentations Officerfor the Birmingham Canals Navigation Society and the talk will show some of the many and varied activities on, in and around the BCN.
Arthur Dungate - "An evening of audio-visual films on
'other' canals and things"
A chance to see some of the AVs Arthur has made on the Wilts & Berks and Wey & Aron canals, and for the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
The venue is the Westgate Centre in Woking, just by Wheatsheaf(Chobham Road) Bridge adjacent to the canal. Start time 8 pm. Free parking at the centre and in Brewery Road car park. Tea and coffee in the interval and entrance is free!
Jazz and Supper Evening
When the Jazz and Supper Evening was announced I had definite doubts about whether it would be an evening I would enjoy. Jazz has never really impinged on my life and the idea of a whole evening of noisy musicians was less than enticing. However with the thought that David and Rosemary were prepared to go to such a lot of effort and that the cause ofthe back pumping was a high priority tickets were duly purchased. How pleased I am that they were.
The evening was great fun, the atmosphere relaxed and the company good. The music I learned to enjoy and before long a number of members and friends were demonstrating their prowess with the jive on the dance floor. Other enthusiasts just enjoyed the music from the excellent group and made the most of the opportunity to catch up with old acquaintances and meet new ones. We were treated to a tasty ploughman's supper which kept us going for the second half of the programme. It was altogethera fun evening and those who were not able to attend missed a treat.
We are all very grateful to Rosemary and David for arranging the evening for us.
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Good response to the Society's Questionnaire. The Vice Chairman reports.
The Committee has nearly completed the job of sifting through the several hundred completed members' questionnaires and our thanks go to all who took the time to respond. Clearly a great many members think the Society and the wellbeing of the Basingstoke Canal continues to be worth supporting. The aim was to find what members wanted from the Society and, given some more volunteers, we'll try and increase the scope of our activities programme.
High on the list were more local social meetings in Fleet and Mytchett (Woking of course already has these). Social activities got a high rating with trips to other canals, coach outings, guided walks, pub evenings and meals, picnics and barbecues. Other suggestions were for a barn dance, canal treasure hunt, events to appeal to children and special cruises for members on the John Pinkerton.
The Committee would certainly like to see these ideas - some of which have been very well supported in the past - back on the agenda. But they need organisers. Your Committee has its work cut out running the Society, so we need volunteers to run events. So, if you are a walker, care to organise a coach outing, have ever arranged a barbecue or any other suitable event, call or write to a committee member (details on the back of the newsletter) and we will put you in touch with other like-minded volunteers to help get your chosen activity off the ground.
Under Working Parties, members indicated an interest in helping with lock maintenance, bank clearance, tug maintenance, structural repairs and litter collecting. We'll be approaching those who indicated they would like to do some work on the canal, but, remember, you don't have to wait to be asked. The Society already has an active, but all too small, voluntary workforce, whose activities are detailed elsewhere in this newsletter, so do please contact the organisers of parties listed. Your call will be warmly welcomed.
Fund-raising ideas included a raft race, auction of promises, sponsored walks or swims (not in the canal!), boat trip into Greywell Tunnel when the bats are not in residence, and video horse racing nights, to name but a few. If you have been involved in running any suitable fund raising event and would like to organise one for the Society, give us a call.
Millennium celebration suggestions ranged from a bat hunt with free life membership for anyone tagging 2,000 bats to another Water Nobsurd, two of which were held at Colt Hill in the early days. They were the brainwave of Stan Googe and attracted hundreds of people, and it was his organising abilities and the help of willing volunteers that made them so successful. Events do not happen - they need manage-
ment. A number of respondents suggested a boating event, which is already being organised by the local branch of the IWA at Woking, in addition to our popular Bridge Barn Boat Rally. Watch out for details and volunteer your help.
The Newsletter editor was relieved to note your enthusiastic comments about his efforts with one member even saying "It's perfect". Well, that's perhaps too generous, everything can be improved. Some members felt that there had been too many criticisms in the past of the Canal Authority and that there should be less grumbling about English Nature. But, as one member commented, editorial freedom is all important.
More photographs were suggested, past and present, historical articles, more boating news, wildlife articles, coverage of other canals, people profiles, and so the list goes on. The editor cannot please all the members all the time; the aim is to get a balance of news, future events and articles on various subjects, but there is always room for improvement and your likes and dislikes have been noted.
Once again, a reminder: editing the newsletter is a voluntary job and contributions are always welcome. Perhaps you can share some reminiscences of the canal in the past, write a historical article on some aspect of the canal, provide photographs of events, report on a visiting speaker's talk at Woking, write about your favourite walk, canalside pub or feature along the canal. Just put pen to paper or your fingers to the keyboard. The editor is waiting to hear from you!
A number of members said that they lived too far away from the canal to become actively involved. We understand that and value the continued support of these members. Strength in numbers is all important. But many of our members live close enough to the canal to lend a hand and get some of their ideas put into action. Give us a call - make it your New Millennium resolution!
1 bedroom first floor flat in retirement complex in Odiham (i.e. for over 55's). Pleasant views across open country and 10 minutes walk from Lodge Copse Bridge. Very convenient for shops, pubs, library etc. Large sitting/dining room and compact kitchen. Good loft space. Gas central heating and double glazing. Newly redecorated and ready for immediate occupation. £69,950 ovno. Telephone 01252 616964(Home) or 01252 395031 (Work)
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1999 was a record year for the 200 Club with 148 subscriptions, each of £12, and a turnover of almost£1800. In short, that meant another £900 for SHCS. Very many sincere thanks to all of you who joined and helped to boost our funds. I'm sorry that of necessity only four of you could win each month but if you're not in the following list, why not see if you can have better luck next year?
|Mr C Guthrie - Woking||£68|
|Mr D Morgan - Fleet||£34|
|Mr & Mrs T Howes - Farnborough||£17|
|Mrs J Potter - Woking||£17|
|Dr JA Holgate - Camberley||£73|
|Mr JT Lyddon - Woking||£36|
|MrsP Sampson - Camberley||£19|
|Miss IJ Connel - Weybridge||£19|
|Mrs A Pengily - Hook||£74|
|Mrs JB Keep - Alton||£35|
|Mr E Chappell - Ashtead||£19|
|Mr DA Webber - Farnham||£19|
|Mr DC Wright - Basingstoke||£74|
|Miss H Austin - Guildford||£36|
|Mr J Simpkins - Farnborough||£19|
|Miss P Lock - Farnborough||£19|
|Mrs J Greenfield - Yately||£74|
|Mrs JCR Tyrell - Godalming||£36|
|Mrs P Samson - Frimley||£19|
|Miss H Austin - Guildford||£19|
Some of you may wonder why the prize money differs from month to month and why some people win in successive months. First, subscriptions are still coming in during the first two or three months of the year - several are paid by standing order - so until April, or even later, we do not know the final size of the kitty. And it is that which determines the size of the prize fund.
Secondly, people may take out as many £12 subscriptions as they like. The more subscriptions, the more chances of winning. And all the numbers go back into the hat to be drawn every two months, regardless of the number of times they may have won before. So everyone has the same chance each time there is a draw.
Y2K - The Millennium Year
As you know, the Society is as desperate for money as ever, so why not renew your subscription to the 200 Club or give it a go if you're not already a member? It's only £12 for each subscription and you can pay by cheque or standing order at £1 a month. (If you can manage a cheque, it does make administration much simpler, thank you). Please help us to beat the record number of 1999 by completing the enclosed form and sending it with your cheque, if appropriate, direct to me, Derek Truman, Compton Cottage, 11 Connaught Road, Fleet, Hants GU13 9RA (Tel 01252-613435). Many thanks.
The Boats for the Handicapped Association were delighted to have a visit recently from their patrons, Prunella Scales and Timothy West, the well-known husband and wife personalities of TV, film and stage. They came for a two hour trip on "Dawn", the Association's new day boat, paid for by a Lottery grant together with donations from various generous charitable trusts and benefactors. Accompanying them on the trip were various Committee members together with Neil Murrell, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and after whose late wife Dawn, the boat is named. Dawn was an active member of Boats for the Handicapped Association, who sadly died of cancer last year.
Prunella Scales and Timothy West are keen canal enthusiasts themselves. Timothy took change of the steering and they pronounced the boat to be superb, and enjoyed cruising the Canal from Colt Hill, which they thought was a delightful way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.
"Dawn" is proving to be very popular, and in herfirst season bookings have been about 45% up on the old "Mildred Stocks" that she has replaced. "Dawn" is equipped with a lift to get wheelchairs into the cabin, a toilet with disabled access, a gas ring for making hot drinks, and central heating for cold weather. There are roll-up windows for hot weather, and these can be firmly zipped down in cold or wet weather. Enquiries for bookings should be made to Peter Brindle on 01252-683778; it is anticipated that the season will be extended well into autumn and spring with the very efficient central heating system on board.
Also operated by the Boats for the Handicapped Association is "Madam Butterfly", a 7 berth holiday boat based on the Canal at Colt Hill, Odiham. She is fully wheelchair accessible with lifts at bow and stern, and has a hoist for transfer from wheelchair to bed, shower and toilet. Enquiries for this boat to Judith Gerry on 01252-622520.
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Another season ends for the John Pinkerton and the good ship is put to bed for the winter. Well not exactly put to bed, because at this moment she is in the dry dock. Already all the exterior paint work has been pressure washed and rubbed down with an undercoat applied to the bottom half. Weather permitting, in an other couple of weeks the exterior will be gleaming again and she will be in the water with the internal refit underway. If you have any free time during the week, there is plenty of work to be done by willing helpers, and all volunteers are very welcome.
Once again, it has been a successful season. The new engine has performed very well and everyone, bar one or two, has said how much better the boat handles and is a joy to drive. It is certainly much quieter for the passengers, and the galley crew no longer have to listen to the constant tinkling of glasses. There was an increase in the number of charter trips this year over last and, whilst the accounts have not yet been totalled for the year, we are optimistic that we shall see a reasonable profit.
The joint days with the Watercress Line, where parties or groups can sail on the Pinkerton in the morning, then steam on the railway in the afternoon, have brought some extra business to about the tune of nine trips. In consequence we have now arranged some alternative joint activities so that a full day out can be arranged with a trip on the boat followed by a guided tour of Odiham, outlining its history, or a trip to the Rural Craft Centre at Tilford. In addition, a guided tour of King John's Castle with a talk on its history can be arranged. To support these activities, the John Pinkerton will be operating from Odiham for the whole season, except for Bank Holidays, where it will beat Ash Wharf for Easter and Reading Road, Fleet for the two May Bank Holidays. The August Bank Holiday will be at Odiham.
Janet Moore and Mike Hammersley in particular have asked me to thank all the volunteers who have crewed the boat this year and this is also echoed by all the Committee and myself. We are most gratified that so many people give their time so willingly. Thank you very, very much.
Finally news of dragonfly. The building of the small passenger trip boat has been completed. John Abbott and Bill Bowbrick together with their volunteer helpers through the summer are to be congratulated on the magnificent appearance of this new boat. It has been surveyed and accepted as a ten seater passenger boat, with a crew of two in addition.
A certificate of compliance has been issued so we are just waiting now to launch the boat at Easter when it will go into service. If you are interested in crewing this boat at St Johns, Woking, please contact me. Some people have already expressed an interest, but would they please contact me again to confirm that they would still like to crew.
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In the Spring of 1998 issue of BC News we advised that Angela Christian and George Thompson had agreed to be Senior or Head Lengthsmen for the Surrey and Hampshire sections respectively of the canal.
Due to the death of George earlier this year and to Angela's pressure of work and other commitments, the Scheme is once again in need of re-vitalising. The new Canal Director, Leigh Thornton and Tony Harmsworth, the Waterway Manager, are both very keen on the importance of the Scheme, as is the Society.
As I am going to co-ordinate the Scheme's re-invigoration, I would be
grateful if those contacted by George Thompson
could get in touch with me, as his file has apparently been destroyed. Similarly if those lengthsmen in Surrey who wish to continue would also contacl rne, it will help me.
If there are any other members who wish to volunteer, I will be very pleased to hear from you. The Scheme basically involves a walk, cycle or paddle along a chosen section of the canal on a regular basis and the reporting of any unusual situations, such as leaks, fallen trees, etc.
I can be contacted on Fleet (01252) 617364.
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'Britain's Waterways: A unique insight' by Brian Roberts. Published by GEOprojects, 9-10 Southern Court, South Street, Reading RG1 4QS. 128 pages. Price: £12.95
Award winning cartographers GEOprojects have become well known for their increasing range of waterways maps. The "unique insight" reference in the iitle relates to the author's selection of areas worth exploring on foot, describing features of interest and a detailed map to point the way.
Over 100 pages are devoled to a directory of our waterways network with maps for 55 selected canals and navigable rivers. 14 regional maps cover the entire waterways system, including canals being restored. The Basingstoke Canal gets the best part of a page, with a map, brief historical facts, not forgetting restoration, and selected features. These include Greywell
Tunnel, Eelmoor Flash, Ash embankment featuring the new aqueduct and Deepcut
|cutting and the flight of locks. Curiously, the canal's electronic boat counters are said to "ensure the water does not stagnate and that the wildlife is not excessively disturbed". In fact they were installed to warn conservationists when boat movements exceeded the prescribed number, but the objective, though
more controversial than the author suggests, is perhaps the same.
Other places briefly described are Crookham Wharf, Ash Vale Barge Yard and the Canal Centre at Mytchett.They are marked in red on the map so they can be easily cross-referenced in the text, which includes brief road directions to help the explorer find the way. The entry lists the Society's Guide to the Basingstoke Canal for further reading and the Chairman's phone number.
A 2 page introduction traces the rise, demise and revival of the network. Brian Roberts also picked out six topics for special featuring, ranging from am 1801 poster advertising Thomas Matthews Pickford's canal fly boat service to the 21st century Antonine boat lift which will connect the Forth & Clyde and Union canals linking Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The spiral binding makes for easy reference, especially where maps are spread across two facing pages. The author's style makes for easy and entertaining reading. A fresh, new approach to our waterways system, highlighting some of the features to look for. Brian Roberts lives at Weybridge and is an active member of the IWA. I shall follow his lead and keep a copy in my car to help me with my 'waterway spotting'.
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Frank points the way to Bankside
Since helping to complete restoration of the Basingstoke Canal, Society member Frank Jones has used the skills he acquired restoring locks and building gates on waterway projects throughout the country.
Always ready for a challenge, he undertook a contract for civil engineering contractor McNicholas Pic last autumn, constructing [6-1/2 ft] high letters for a BANKSIDE sign to identify the Thames tideway site of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the adjacent power station, which is being converted to the Tate Gallery of Modern Art. The sign was part of improvements made by Southwark Borough Council to identify the locality of Bankside for visitors.
After drawing the letters to scale, Frank made full sized templates in plywood, from which he constructed the letters in Ekki, a durable hardwood. Each letter was made in several pieces with mortise-and-tenon joints and then fixed
together. Working at Ash Lock, construction of the letters took a week to complete, working long hours to meet the deadline.
Frank lead the Society's first working parties clearing the
banks of the Basingstoke Canal in the Winchfield area, which started at the end of 1973
when Hampshire County Council
purchased the 15 mile length of the waterway. When Surrey CC bought their length, including all but one of the 29
locks, he started work in 1976 on restoring the Deepcut flight of 14 locks and managed a variety of schemes providing work and training for the unemployed. He went on to manage the Society's full-time team to complete 54 pairs of new lock gates, built at the Deepcut workshop, which was once an army swimming pool, close to Lock 28.
Frank Jones constructing the BANKSIDE letters at Ash Lock depot.: Dieter Jebens
BCA lock maintenance
As soon as the annual water shortage forced the canal to close to incoming traffic, the BCA embarked on an ambitious lock maintenance programme which will continue until the spring. The first job was to re-plank all the lock gates on the Brookwood flight. Next on the list was re-planking of the gates of Lock 8 and Lock 4 and lifting the damaged gates on Lock 1 for repair. The plan is to re-plank all the gates on Locks 4, 8, 12, 13,14, 15, 16, 20, 21 and 27 before Christmas. It is also intended to fit new lower gates to Locks 23 and 26 by the end of February and, hopefully, a pair of upper gates for Ash Lock.
Congratulations to our President, Lord Onslow, not only for retaining his seat in the House of Lords for the time being, but also for his spirited and entertaining performance on "Have I Got News for You" on BBC2, where he and his partner Paul Merton defeated Glenda Jackson and Ian Hislop by a short head. Difficult though it is to defend the hereditary system, one feels that parliament will be a less interesting place when their lordships are gone.
Our Waterway Manager is going to be out of circulation for two or three months following a visit to hospital for repair of an injury to his right shoulder. Although the delicate operation was a success, Tony's arm has to be kept immobilised for six weeks to allow things to mend properly. We wish him well for a full recovery.
Canal Fun in 1940
The Woking Review recently re-published a picture of evacuees from South West London searching for insects in the canal in 1940. Apparently the evacuees at Grove Court had their own nature club and being close to the canal it provided a good opportunity for their investigations. Hopefully they would have taken away with them happy memories.
Canal Promotion in Woking
The Millennium edition of the Woking Calendar is now available. Once again it features the Basingstoke Canal, a reminder to those faraway who receive these calendars that the canal is an important part of the Woking scene. Amongst twelve postcards of the borough displayed recently over half featured the Basingstoke and the Wey Navigation. The canal can also be found on the Woking tea-towel and on the bone china mugs.
A New Home
One of the old houseboats at New Haw recently acquired a new owner. It was then towed away from the canal by a wooden barge and was to be taken down the River Wey onto the River Thames to Brentford and then via the Grand Union to
Aylesbury. This would involve passing through many locks and would not be an easy task. We hope it arrived safely and then the planned restoration is underway.
A Near Miss
The problem of speeding on bicycles has not yet been overcome. Recently a retired couple were enjoying a stroll along the canal towpath on the Hampshire section when one was knocked by a cyclist barging past. Had she not recovered her balance quickly a nasty accident could have occurred. When remonstrated with the cyclist, by now far down the towpath, shouted back that she should have moved. As the approaching cyclist was not heard, there being no bell or word of warning it is difficult to see how this would have been possible. It is surely not asking too much to expect a cyclist approaching pedestrians to make their presence known. We would not wish to deter the many people who take pleasure in a gentle ride along the towpath enjoying its tranquillity but there must be other more suitable venues for those for whom speed is the prime essential. Those who do ride along the towpath must obey the rules and give way to pedestrians. Suggestions of ways to overcome these problems are always welcome.
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Find the answers to the following clues. When you have the answers take the first letter from each. Re-order the letters to make a phrase you will be very familiar with.
Junction from where the previously navigable Shrewsbury Canal left the Shropshire Union Canal.
Here you will cruise right underneath a row of timber framed buildings at High Bridge.
The last 19th century canal tunnel built in Britain which duplicated the Dudley route on the BCN. Situated on the right bank of the River Severn between Worcester and Tewkesbury.
River leaving the River Trent down-river from the entrance to the Chesterfield Canal at West Stockwith.
Canal which terminates at the Great Northern Basin at Langley Mill.
Tunnel and long flight of locks on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.
This arm leaves the main line of the Grand Union at
Marsworth Top Lock.|
The junction of the Ashby and Coventry Canals.
A network of navigable drains linking the River Nene
with the Great Ouse.
Present home of Perseverance and many other historic
Tunnel equipped with towpath on either side on the
North Oxford Canal.
Headquarters of the Stoke Boat Club on the Caldon
Canal and well known for its well-dressing.
Tunnel on the Trent and Mersey ventilated by powerful
fans at the south end.
Canal isolated from the main system but soon to be
City at the eastern end of the Caledonian Canal.
Date for next copy 31st January 2000
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
Articles: Kathy Garrett. 122 Lovelace Drive, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey. 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
President: The Earl of Onslow
Chairman: Peter Redway*. 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey, GU21 1SL (0483) 721710
Vice-Chairman: Dieter Jebens*. 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Famham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ (0252) 715230
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
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Press Officer: Dieter Jebens*. 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Famham, Surrey, GU10 3NJ (0252) 715230
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Woking Area Director: 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
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