No. 198 Summer 2003
Good news and bad news.
The number of boats attending the Bridge Barn Rally was up to over 50. The number of people attending the Society's AGM was down to under 50.
It is difficult to know what to do about the AGM, or even whether we need to do anything about it. Perhaps the 150 plus attendances of the past were an aberration. I certainly don't know of any other club or society that managed to get such a high proportion of its membership to its AGM, so maybe we have just slipped back to the norm. However, the AGM is the main opportunity to communicate with the members, so we have been trying to attract them.
Having a guest speaker at the last two AGMs seemed a good idea, but at least one person said that they were glad that there wasn't one this year. Hard to please everyone!
Next year it is likely that the meeting will take place in the room at the Canal Centre, which will provide a somewhat cosier atmosphere and better acoustics. It is capable of accommodating 60 people, so what is the betting that about 80 will turn up?
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Despite the poor turn-out for the AGM, in other respects the Society seems to be in pretty good shape. We had 10 nominees for the Committee and another, Peter Wright, who missed the nomination paper deadline, will be co-opted onto it. Only one more to go for a full house!
Having more people on the Committee does mean that jobs can be spread around a bit more. Our Chairman has been acting as the Society's representative on a variety of other committees, which is bad for his domestic life and also runs the risk of the Society being viewed, both internally and externally, as a one man band. Peter goes to considerable efforts to keep the rest of the Committee informed about what goes on at the meetings, but it will be good to offload some of it from his shoulders.
As part of the job sharing, we intend to re-form the subcommittee structure that used to exist but had largely died. This will hopefully reduce the length of the monthly meetings of the main Committee and address some of the issues that we never seem to have time to get round to.
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Although we moan about the BCA from time to time, it is hard not to feel sorry for Leigh Thornton trying to run a canal
on a budget which, mile for mile, is about one third of what a BW manager would have, and which is reduced by a further
10% by the fact that not all the riparian District Councils pay their full share.
I have criticised Hart in the past for this and they came close to providing no funding at all for this year. Some prompt and intensive lobbying by our Vice President David Miliett succeeded in getting £20,00 restored (against the £59,000 calculated as their share of the budget).
Everyone agrees that the canal is a wonderful amenity, but it is less widely recognised that it is also a potentially very serious liability. During the last century at least four major breaches occurred, caused by collapsing culverts, trees blowing over in storms, and overtopping of the banks.
Similar things will occur again and the only way of preventing them is by constant maintenance and vigilance, neither of which come for free. Presumably the District Councils'view is that this is the responsibility of the Counties, as owners of the canal, but I'm not sure that the public would see it that way if, say, bits of Fleet suddenly found themselves under water.
One also feels that it also only a matter of time before the councils that do pay their full share start objecting to the BCA spending their money on dredging and towpath maintenance of parts which are not fully funded. Perhaps the BCA should let nature take over the towpath in Hart and see what happens.
The BCA is trying to fill the hole in its budget by taking on David Dare's trip boats that are based at the Canal Centre. Whilst it is good that the profits will be coming to the canal, is this really an appropriate use for their capital budget, and is it really what a navigation authority should be having to do?
Some District Councils have, however, been very supportive of the canal, with Woking being one of the foremost. They put a lot of money into the Woodham back-pumping scheme, but will be looking to see some return in the form of less restricted access to the Woking pound. The ideal would be for boats to come and go as they please, as they would on the majority of canals. With the pumps now operational, leaking gates should be less of a problem, so do the rangers really still have to shepherd boats through locks? Simpler boat booking in procedures have been introduced this year and it would make a huge difference to the perception of the canal if the extra step towards normality could be taken.
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Some people will have heard thatourVice-Chairman Dieter Jebens suffered a stroke on Easter Monday. We all wish him a speedy and full recovery.
Bridge Barn rally in Woking.
Photo: Roger Cansdale.
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Good evening ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our 27th AGM.
I have pleasure in reporting on the past year, a year of consolidation and achievement.
The Woodham Backpumping Project has been officially opened on 29th March 2003. A joint opening by the Mayors of Runnymead and Woking Borough Council was well attended, with guests represented all partner organisations and voluntary groups. The opening was the fruition of some 12 years of negotiations and voluntary effort in the planning, financing and execution of the project. This first phase of our water supply strategy is operational and ensures year round navigation into Woking.
St Johns Backpumping
Steady progress was been maintained during last summer with the pipeline now 50% installed. Fundraising is a key element, as money is raised we purchase more materials, our accounts show a significant spend in the last year. Members support for this project has enabled steady progress to be made, and a recent £20,000 grant from I.W.A. is allocated to the purchase of the pipeline materials required to finish the pipeline this summer.
The condition of the towpath west of Greywell Tunnel had become overgrown and access was becoming more difficult. The County "Rights of Way" management had restricted cutting to Public Footway sections only. Last October we proposed a management change so that the B.C.A. became responsible for the canal from Greywell to Penny Bridge. The proposals were endorsed by the Canal Joint Management Committee and at the
recent spring meeting it was confirmed
by the County Council that the change was in progress. The change will facilitate Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council being invited to join the J.M.C. as a full and active partner.
Noise complaints on works in the Dry Dock made by neighbours, resulted in restrictions on noise generating work from Saturday 13.00 to Monday 07.30 and also on Bank Holidays. The restrictions imposed prevented the use of domestic D.I.Y. Power Tools and metal fabrication. We have carried out noise level measurements on the towpalh; a large number of power tools are not, in our opinion, creating a noise nuisance and we hope that the B.C. A. can negotiate the use of such tools with Guildford Environmental Health Officer.
Aquatic Plant Survey
The lack of annual monitoring for 4 years prior to this years survey was, with hindsight a disaster. The latest survey indicates increasing turbidity of the water and reduced species numbers. Passible causes include American Crayfish, higher Nitrate concentrations and Tree shading. The need for scientific data and analysis is essential before any action is implemented, the prime cause has to be identified rather than initiate any wrong subjective reactions.
The presentations which follow, build on what has been achieved since the canal reopened, and with your support, enable forward planning of the projects. We do seek your comments, either during the open forum, or in writing to the Secretary.
In closing, I wish to thank the committee, membership. Boating Clubs and the B.C.A. for the support given to me during the past year, thank you all.
I seem to have been suffering from banana fingeritis when I put the last issue together, as there were several errors.
Firstly, in the back page reminder about the new subscription rates, I gave our Membership Secretary's address as 8 Denning Close, when it should have been 9. It was in fact correct in the address list on the bottom half of the page.
Secondly, I incorrectly typed canal ranger Jon Green's name as a rather biblical sounding Job. Sorry Jon.
Thanks to a computer crash, the correction that Philippa Abell sent me to her letter was omitted, so that the Koi carp remained coyly lurking in the Western End.
Finally, Bill Hornewood chided me for not mentioning that the St John's Ambulance Brigade had provided the first aid courses for the Pinkerton captains at half price, saving us some £260. In fact I didn't mention it because I was not aware of it, but I am more than happy now to publicise their generosity. I gather that they will be getting a discount rate for a Pinkerton charter by way of thanks.
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ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - 12th April
The Society's 26th Annual General Meeting was held on 12th April in the Mytchett Community Centre. Attendance was down to under 50 people, but it proved a lively and interesting evening for those who did come.
As usual, the actual AGM business was over fairly rapidly, with the only hiccup being the absence of an audited and approved balance sheet for acceptance by the meeting.
The Treasurer apologised for this, which had never happened before in his 12 years in office. He explained that the books had gone to the auditors in mid-February, but that the lady responsible was only part-time. He had only received the draft accounts a few days before the AGM and they contained things that he did not understand. The major items were the omission of the IWA's donation of £11,500 and the Society's expenditure of some £15,000 on the St John's back-pumping scheme. He suspected that these had been subtracted from each other to give a net figure, but since he had not been able to confirm this, he did not feel able to ask the AGM to accept the accounts. An Extraordinary General Meeting would be called when he was happy with the auditors' draft; this might be done in conjunction with a Woking meeting.
The Treasurer ended by saying that he was confident that the final figures would show a profit of some £10,000, compared to a loss last year of £4000. However, the profit would soon disappear this year as more pipes for St. John's were already on order.
Despite the problems, the Treasurer recommended the re-appointment of Hilton & Co as auditors and this was accepted.
The Secretary (now Verna Smith, taking over from Philip Riley) announced that 10 nominations had been received for the 12 places on the Committee - Peter Redway, Dieter Jebens, Verna Smith, Jonathan Wade, Philip Riley, Roger Cansdale, Graham Hornsey, David Lloydlangston, Bob Malcolm and David Venn. All were consequently elected.
The Secretary wound up the formal business by thanking all those who had helped to organise the evening. She observed that some members may wonder what the Society does, but the BCA was very appreciative of the fact that £27,000 worth of man hours had been contributed to the back pumping project,
and the Mayor of Woking had
named the new pump house after Peter Redway in recognition of his part as the driving force behind the scheme.
Following a short coffee break, Robin Higgs was then asked to present his award. This year it went to Ron McLaughlin in recognition of his many years of work as Chairman of Surrey & Hampshire Canal Cruises, the Boat Company that runs both the John Pinkerton and Dragonfly.
Above: Ron McLaughlin receiving the Robin Higgs Trophy!
Robin also presented Philip Riley with a gift from the Society in appreciation of his 22 years as Secretary. (Below)
Although Philip has handed over the Secretary's job to Verna Smith, he is remaining on the Committee so that his legal expertise will still be available.
Chairman's report (Peter Redway)
This is printed in full on page 4.
Boat Company report (Ron McLaughlin)
Ron began by thanking everyone for his award. Last year had been a very good season with over £20,000 in profits and no major problems and no complaints at all. He thanked Mike Hammersley and Janet Moore, who had continued to organise the crews, and Bill Homewood who had kept the galley stocked. Bill would, however, be moving away at the end of this year.
Some problems were coming in the shape of increased regulation. There was already a Safety Management System in place and the Captains had First Aid certificates, but inspections would in future be done by MCA men.
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One positive aspect was the electrification of the North Warnborough lift bridge.
Above: Ron McLaughlin (r) with Hampshire bridge engineers at the opening of the newly elctrified lift bridge. (Photo: Dieter Jebens)
It was difficult to attract reasonable numbers of passengers for Dragonfly except at boat rallies and other events. There were not enough of these, so the boat only just broke even, but it kept the Society's flag flying at these events. The MCA had just published regulation for 12 seat boats, which were asstringent as for bigger ones, but not mandatory, although insurance companies might require them to be met.
The Pinkerton would be logging 25 years of operation in May, but the celebrations would be at the end of the year.
Work Party report (Peter Redway)
This is printed on page 7.
Brookwood Tree Project (Peter Bickford)
Canal Ranger Peter Bickford began by introducing himself. He had worked on the canal for 9 years and his particular interest was conservation.
He presented the reasons for the tree felling, which related to the SSSI and had nothing to do with boating.
He apologised for the fact that, although the tree projects had been agreed in principle at the Conservation Working Party, the details of the Brookwood work had missed being mentioned because he had been away. However, he felt that the article in the last issue of the BCN had been wrong, because notice of the felling had been posted at the site 8 weeks prior to the work starting. He suggested that if members were unaware of this they were not walking the towpath often enough. He showed a number of photos of the Brookwood end of the project, which he felt showed that the comments in the BCN about the appearance of the canal
He explained that trees had to be taken
back from the water's edge by the same
distance as their height, some [16.4 yards]. 41 mature oaks had been felled, with a further 47 left further back. It was not his intention to take trees out unless it was necessary for the purpose of improving the amount of sunlight reaching the canal.
He felt that the current decline in water quality in the canal and associated loss of plant growth was almost certainly due to a combination of factors. He was in fact doing a degree based on research on this.
Western End presentation (Peter Redway)
The Society had ideas for work on several features at the Western End of the canal and would welcome members' views on their value:-
Penney sic Bridge. There was a need fora gypsy-proof car park adjacent to the canal for leisure activity use. A slipway giving access for trail-boats would be useful but would need negotiation.
Brickworks Arm. This was currently very overgrown and owned half privately and half by the county. If the wharf wall was transferred to county ownership, the Society could work on it. There was potential for a Heritage Lottery fund application to enable it to be restored. The work could include a proper water control penstock to reduce water loss over the current weir, allowing water levels to be controlled, and possible restoration of the original unique lift bridge. The remains of the boat Seagull were also of historic interest and should be preserved.
West Tunnel Portal. Although this had collapsed completely, photographs existed and it had significant heritage potential. Restoration would prevent further deterioration of the tunnel itself and replacement of the tunnel wing walls with best match materials would help to stabilise the cutting.
Little Tunnel Bridge. This was a Grade 2 listed structure but was subject to abuse. The farmer used it for hay storage and fork lift damage was apparent. There was a need to investigate owners' responsibilities and possible interim monitoring measures.
Environmental matters. In addition to the badger colonies
that existed, the Western End was still a potential habitat
for water voles. Improvements to the water quality were
needed and were the responsibility of the Environment
Agency. SSSIs were designated on the Western End and
consultation would be needed both with the owners and
English Nature. (Continued on next page)
Kennet & Avon link presentation (Roger Cansdale)|
Roger noted that a link to the K&A was far from a new idea. In the early days of the canal there had been many proposals for links to other navigations. When the K&A opened in 1810, there were several plans to connect it to Basingstoke. In 1825 the Berks & Hants Canal was proposed from Old Basing to Midgham, 13 miles long, 6-1/2 miles of deep cutting and embankment, a 1/2 mile tunnel under Tadley, an inclined plane at Sherborne, 3 aqueducts, 38 bridges and a dozen locks!
In addition to the original geographical problems, there were now also motorways and railways to cross. However Roger observed that the River Whitewater showed that it was possible for a route from the Odiham area to go under the M3, A30 (Below) and London-Basingstoke railway line. He had suggested in the newsletter that somebody might like to do a survey and had been delighted to receive the results of one from Roger Reed.
This indicated that there were a number of possible routes from the Odiham area to link with the K&A near Theale just where it came under the M4 (Above), All would be about 15
miles long with about 16 locks, which could be grouped into flights to facilitate back-pumping. An aqueduct over the
River Lodden would be needed and some embankments, smaller than those on the Basingstoke, but no long tunnels or other major engineering works.
There would clearly be many problems to address and no consideration had been given yet to present land ownership.
Increased traffic on the Basingstoke would be an issue, but Roger pointed out that the number of boats accessing the canal could be doubled whilst maintaining the same number of boat movements, because trips could be one-way rather than return.
Funding could come from developers and water disposal, as was planned for the new Bedford-Milton Keynes canal. He felt that in addition to the link to the K&A, an arm into Basingstoke should be included to generate interest from that source as well as reuniting it with the canal system.
The project looked feasible from an engineering point of view and attractive to boaters. The next stage would be a professional feasibility study, which would cost something in the region of £50,000. Did the idea catch peoples' imagination and should the Society pursue it?
Roger finally proposed a vote of thanks to Roger Reed for his efforts.
Peter Jones commented that if the Basingstoke Canal was in BW hands it would easier to connect it to the K&A. He suggested that it would be a good idea for the Society to promote this.
Dieter Jebens said that a paper suggesting this had been put before the Canal Advisory Group, but the idea had not been well received by Hampshire CC, although Surrey had been more open minded.
Jill Howarth said that she did believe in tree management, but was puzzled by the tree shading effects on plant growth. At Sheerwater the canal had been completely dry prior to restoration and yet despite tree cover even thicker than today, within a couple of years it had apparently grown enough plants to be designated as an SSSl. Peter Bickford disputed this.
In answer to another question, Peter said that it was hoped to use the timber from felled trees. The cost of removal stopped this being a commercial proposition, but the BCA's mobile saw mill should enable it to be used locally.
Dieter Jebens thanked Peter for coming to the AGM and suggested that he might be invited to one of the Woking meetings to allow further discussion of conservation issues.
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Working Parties have been as active as ever this last year. Society working parties have progressed our backpump projects, both at Woodham and St. Johns. The key task of setting up the Summer and Winter Work Camps for visiting groups and the later off hire of the equipment used was also carried out by our volunteers, one or two also joining in the camps.
A number of tasks had to be completed at Woodham before handover was possible, this was down to the Society as part of our matching funding work. The water supply had not been used by the Contractor for the construction of the pumphouse, and when it was connected to the internal watersystem we discovered major leaks in the underground pipe. After consultation with our water board contacts the "cut and cap" method was used; this is a very basic method involving location of the pipe at intervals, sealing a cut end and turning the water back on. The water meter indicated if a leak was repaired. In the event we spent three weekends locating and repairing pulled joints and damaged sections of the pipe.
Decorations and fitting welfare facilities were completed in time for the March opening. The Canal Authority arranged for cleaning the outside brickwork, a Friday job which survived intact for the Saturday opening.
Society volunteers and the KESCRG summer work camp contributed to St John's pipeline works, extending the pipeline clear of Woodend Bridge, and visiting groups helped to extend the pipeline to lock 9.
Excavations for the pipeline under the (bywash) outlet at lock 9 were suspended when the canal decided to flow from the (bywash) into the trench; a major leak from the (bywash) box was identified. Canal water levels needed to be lowered, unfortunately water levels were low and replacement of a pound of water could have stranded visiting boats; we therefore suspended work until conditions were right.
With other works also requiring resources, steady progress has been maintained at St John's, and pipeline works have restarted with a target completion of the pipework this year.
Lock 28 and Drydock
A replacement (bywash) at lock 28 for re-routing the (bywash) channel from the dry dock water discharge system was discussed with the B.C.A. and KESCRG who agreed that the summer camp would be able to carry out the work.
We did not realise this decision was subject to a continued dose of Murphy's law. A 200 year old brick culvert was on the line of the (bywash), and pile anchors were only [a foot]
long along the culvert. Construction of the (bywash) required removal of the old culvert and anchors, and the vibration resulted in the flooding of the excavation through the piles. Three days and a few tons of clay later the excavation was ready for the new base. At the end of the camp, the B.C.A. temporary bridge was placed over the now shuttered and braced excavation and the towpath reopened.
A return visit in September continued the work along the lockside, but unstable ground conditions required shuttering of the trench sides for the [2.75 yards] plus excavations. Our volunteers and visiting groups continued the project, replacing drainage pipes and more pile anchors along the route.
The (bywash) pipe is now in with final concrete thrust blocks being completed this weekend, with reinstatement and commission to follow concrete cure.
Dry dock access and infrastructure works have been carried out in conjunction with the lock 28 work so that improvements are available for the coming season.
Barge repairs by our volunteers over the Christmas period were subject to the noise restrictions which extended the timescale of repairs. We balanced steelwork with the infrastructure work to maximise plant hire usage.
Our volunteers and the waterway volunteer organisations have once again given us magnificent support, and without their combined assistance we could not achieve the progress that I have reported.
My thanks for a very successful year, both personal and on behalf of the Society, are to all SHCS volunteers,
BITM WRG, KESCRG, London WRG, and NWPG, my committee, BCA, and my family for their support.
7/8 Jun||DJ/DL/PR||St Johns pipeline|
|21/22 Jun||DJ/DL/PR||St Johns pipeline|
|12/13 Jul||DJ/DL/PR||St Johns pipeline|
|26/27 Jul||DJ/DL/PR||St Johns pipeline|
|6/7/8 Aug||PR/KR||Setting up St Johns workcamp|
|9-16 Aug||PR/KR||WRG workcamp, St Johns|
|18/19 Aug||PR/KR||Workcamp clear-up|
|22-24 Aug||PR/KR||IWA National Rally, Beales Park|
|13/14 Sep||DJ/DL/PR||St Johns pipeline|
|27/28 Sep||DJ/DL/PR||St Johns pipeline|
DJ - David Junkison 020 894 10685
DL - Dave Junn 01483 771294
KR - Kevin Redway 01483 722206
PR - Peter Redway 01483 721710
Please telephone the leader prior to the weekend to check that the venue is not changed.
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BRIDGE BARN RALLY, WOKING
This year's Bridge Barn Rally at Easter attracted a record number of boats, nearly 60.
The weather, which had been of Mediterranean standards for several weeks, unfortunately picked the Bank Holiday weekend to go into a traditional decline, so that the Saturday was cold and windy. Things picked up, however, on the Sunday and Monday and there were good crowds of spectators to enjoy the lines of boats which were double parked most of the way from Arthur's Bridge to Goldsworth Bridge. Dragonfly and Maggie G ran trips throughout the weekend.
Other forms of entertainment were also to be had from the various stalls and music for a variety of tastes. On the Saturday evening, the illuminated boat procession was led by Maggie G, complete with Mayor of Woking, Mrs Gosling, who earlier had judged the best decorated boat competition, and the Surrey Care Trust boat Swingbridge, whose volunteers had formed a jazz band to enliven the evening.
For the canal enthusiasts, an attraction was Tony Ciark's periodic demonstrations of the mysterious ways of a Bolinder engine, installed in his Tug No. 1, which had started its life about a hundred years ago working for Noah Hingley's Ironworks at Netherton.
Prize winners were as follows:-
Best Illuminated Boat "Two Micks" (Trevor Hider)
Best Decorated Boat "Lotus X" (F & S May)
Best Dressed Boaters Ray & Kristal Taylor ("Tigether")
Best Easter Bonnets Ryan & Emily McGrain ("Daizy V")
The event owes its success to the team effort of many people and organisations.
The BCA's Andy Howard did a great job of the publicity and rangers James Emmett and Jon Green worked flat out beforehand to make the locks as user-friendly as possible, James straining his back in the process. The BCA also paid for the hire of the marquee.
The new manager of the Bridge Barn pub, Alison Timbs, stepped in only 6 weeks before Easter and succeeded in getting all the entertainment and music organised.
On the ground, Dave Venn managed the site, Tony Clark and his wife Sabine acted as harbourmasters, Dave Lunn was everywhere and young James Tessider seemed to be helping with everything. The Society's new Secretary Verna Smith not only managed the overall organisation but also appeared in her traditional role of Easter Bunny.
Photos clockwise from top left:||A neat row of Buckby cans.|
Society Sales stand - James Tresidder and the Smith sisters with a customer.
Trip boats - Maggie G, Dragonfly and Swingbridge.
Dick and Alison Snell making money for old rope.
View from Goldsworth Bridge.
Ryan and Emily McGrain with their Best Easier Bonnets.
The Mays, winners of the Best Decorated Boat prize.
Tony Clark's Tug No.1     Photos: Roger Cansdale
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Above l to r: Peter Redway; Mayor of Runnymede, Mrs Peggy Broadhead; Canal Director, Leigh Thomton; Mayor of Woking, Mrs Mehala Gosling. Photo: Dieter Jebens
The complications of the abstraction licence were finally put to one side and the Woodham Back-Pumping Scheme was officially opened on 29th March.
A good crowd of boats turned up for the occasion, together with many of the people involved in making the scheme happen, for whom refreshments were laid on after the opening.
As is the way on these occasions, there were a number of speeches. Since the pumphouse is in Runnymede, it was appropriate that the ribbon was cut by Mrs Broadhead. However, the main beneficiary of the scheme, and also one of its chief supporters is Woking, so the main speech came from Mrs Gosling. She concluded:-
"It has taken a real team effort to achieve this backpumping facility. Borough Councils have joined with the County Council in providing the match funding for the project, the Canal Authority has co-ordinated the Heritage Lottery Fund application, British Waterways have applied their expertise in managing the contract on the ground, and the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society has provided an enormous con-
tribution through its own working parties, and by coordinating visiting volunteer work groups. It is usually unfair to single out an individual for special recognition. However, on this occasion, I am going to. Peter Redway, Chairman of the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society, whose vision, persistence and sheer determination that were invaluable in getting the Canal restored in Woking over twenty years ago, has brought the same qualities to the Woodham backpumping project.
Peter has been a driving force behind the Woodham back pumping scheme from start to finish. He has worked tirelessly to encourage, cajole and lead the many partners that have made this project possible. He has been involved throughout, often taking a characteristically hands-on approach; he has been involved at every stage, using his quiet, but nonetheless persuasive powers to bring partners on board, right through to fixing stubbornly leaking water pipes.
So it gives me great pleasure to present this plaque to Peter to acknowledge his invaluable contribution, and to name this building the 'Peter Redway Pumphouse'".
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Odiham Rally - Cancelled|
The annual rally at Colt Hill on the Late May Bank Holiday has been cancelled due to lack of boat entries, perhaps because of it coming so soon after the late Easter.
Festival of Transport
There is to be a welcome return for this event on 13/14th September at the Canal Centre in Mytchett. It should be the usual mixture of water and land transport, with boats, cars, steam engines and perhaps even the odd penny farthing bicycle. The organiser is Reg Connell(01252 656618)
Fox & Hounds Rally
The annual gathering at the Fox & Hounds pub in Fleet will be on 20/21 st September.
IWA Grand Boat Jumble
An appeal from the Guildford & Reading Branch
Having donated over £13,000 to the St. John's Back Pumping Scheme in the past year, the local IWA Guildford & Reading Branch needs to replenish funds so we can continue our help to local waterways projects.
Our major fund-raising effort this Summer is being focussed on the National Waterways Festival at Beale Park on the Thames (near Pangbourne) over the August Bank Holiday weekend when we shall be holding a Grand Boat Jumble.
But success will depend on having the jumble to sell, so we are appealing to you all to look out those unwanted boat-related bits and pieces (including books and maps, but not magazines) and to donate them for sale on our stand.
If you can help in this way, please contact Ray Carnell, 5 Heatherdene, West Horsley, Surrey KT24 6LH (Phone 01483 282806) or Mike Adams,15 The Gateway, Woodham, Woking, Surrey GU21 5SN (Phone 01483 773512).
Your support is vital if our fund-raising efforts are to succeed.
Please support the IWA as they have supported us.
DATE: Sunday 13th July 2003
VENUE: The Canalside garden of the Fox and Hounds, Crookham Road, Fleet
Indoor back-up in case of rain.
SHOW: 'A WOMAN'S PLACE... the fight for women's suffrage'
This production, last seen in 1996, charts the fight for female suffrage and focuses on the relationship between a Lancashire mill worker and Christobel Pankhurst and their increasingly divergent points of view. The revival of this show has been chosen to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Women's Social and Political Union in Manchester by Emmeline Pankhurst.
The Mikron returns to the Fox and Hounds after two years absence so come along by boat or car and enjoy the show. Bring a rug or folding chair or just sit on the grass slope with the canal as a background.
DON'T MISS THIS ANNUAL VISIT BY THE MIKRON THEATRE COMPANY AS YOUR SUPPORT IS VITAL TO ENSURE THE MIKRON'S FUTURE
Contact: David Millett, 01252 617364
Remember the long, narrow, illustrated map of the Basingstoke Canal by William Thomas?
It seems that supplies have run out and the printing plates have been accidentally destroyed. John Westbrook is keen to get hold of one, so if you have one that you are willing to sell, please give him a ring on01483-481372.
Inflatable dinghy for sale
David Snow has a Dunlop C-craft 10 ft long inflatable and a 3.5 hp Yamaha outboard looking for a new home! The boat is almost 30 years old but is equipped with an inflatable keel and floor boards. The engine was bought in 1979 and was last serviced in 1987 - but it has not been tested or run since about 1989, so no guarantee. The boat has been checked and it stays blown up OK.
David is not looking for much money, and this will be donated to S&HCS funds, but would prefer someone got some use out of it rather than it be taken to the tip.
Phone number 01420 23374.
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Your last editorial appeals for "short term objectives" to be achieved within "probably 25 years" with restoration to Basingstoke "on the back burner", i.e. first serious attention around 2028.
What a public admission of failure!
There are two key points here:-
1) Restoration is a very long term process anyway so starting in 25 years means completion is unlikely until 2053 always assuming of course major obstacles are not added between now and then. So "more pressing problems" means you are only thinking short term and not taking initial steps now to plan restoration. You thereby effectively rule out achieving your objective at any time - 2053 or 2500!
2) How can you justify keeping restoration to Basingstoke as an objective if you admit you propose to do nothing for two and a half decades? I am sure the Charity Commissioners would be interested and it seems to me that:-
a) either you must take initial restoration steps or
b) delete it from your constitution as an objective.
Failure to choose leaves you open to members and non-members petitioning the Charity Commissioners to investigate whether or not you are keeping to your constitution. As you admit publicly you are not progressing your key objective, I doubt if the outcome needs much guesswork.
Finally a question or two - how long has SHCS existed, why after all that time does it not even propose to try to protect the line (something every other successful restoration did decades ago) until 2028?
I was lucky enough to happen to hear Leigh Thornton talking
to Bill Buckley on Southern Counties Radio - laid back and
succinct as ever, with a blood curdling description of the
What particularly caught my imagination was Bill saying in amazement "So doesn't it go anywhere?" and Leigh having to admit that you do have to turn round and go back again.
It says it all. That link with the K&A would be money far better spent than that used on the Lancaster Canal - which still doesn't go anywhere - wouldn't it?
nb Nancy Bell
Hm, not sure about the Lancaster Canal comment. I don't want to start another War of the Roses!
(cont. at top of next column)
I find the tone of Michael's letter a little odd, coming as it does from a Life Member of the Society. He comes over as an outsider (you rather than we) and a somewhat threatening one at that (how would the canal movement benefit from the petition to the Charity Commissioners that he seems to favour?). His comments also seem to me to display an ignorance of the real world as it affects the Basingstoke Canal and to be full of assumptions about what the Society is or is not doing.
The fact that I don't think something is likely to happen immediately, does not mean that no one is doing anything. We do in fact keep an eye on planning application around Basingstoke that might impinge on possible restoration plans, but frankly, it is difficult to see what line we should be defending when about half a mile of it already lies under the M3 motorway and the terminal basin is beneath the new multi-million pound shopping centre. Michael will probably view this as a failure as well, but when the M3 was first proposed in the 1960s, we were advised that any objection would probably lead to the Department of Transport applying for the formal abandonment of the whole canal; we have since learnt that this was indeed the plan. Objecting to the new shopping centre shortly after Basingstoke's Heritage Lottery application for restoration of the end of the canal had failed would similarly have been a pointless exercise.
Had Michael attended our recent AGM, he would have heard
of our thoughts about a link to the K&A, with a new line going
in towards Basingstoke. I don't view this as failure and nor
do I think that the Charity Commissioners would find much
to complain about. Editor
At the recent AGM the hard working committee were much
in evidence, as were their partners. Equally noticeable were
the number of active working party members, trip boat
operators and ex committee members together with their
What was missing, I felt, was a sufficient number of, for want
of a better word, "ordinary" members. Now the purpose of
this letter is certainly not to chastise those who did not
attend. We all have busy lives and there are many reasons
why people stay away. It is rather to point out what a well
organised and interesting evening it was, giving a much
fuller picture of the society's activities than is possible
through the newsletter, excellent though it is.
I would like to recommend that when next year's AGM
arrives members should try to get along, both to support
their committee and to enjoy a stimulating and enlightening
evening at the same time. Let's see if we can give the
committee the encouragement that they deserve.
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Dear Peter (Redway),|
At the last meeting of the Society when I spoke to you I promised to put my ideas down in a letter to yourself. This I will now attempt to do.
I noted with interest the suggestion in 'The last five miles' on your website to connect the Basingstoke Canal's western end to the Kennet and Avon at Reading. I believe that this idea should be expanded to investigate the feasibility of also joining the Canal to a restored Andover Canal via Basingstoke and the Test Valley, thus providing an outlet to the South Coast and Southampton. This would have the advantage of making the Basingstoke Canal central to a waterways network between the Thames and the South Coast and also re-involve Basingstoke Council.
As you are probably aware, Andover, Basingstoke and Reading are all earmarked for future development, so European funding may well be available for such a proposal, as further recreational possibilities will be essential in connection with such developments. Even Southampton might be interested in being involved as it would ultimately benefit them too.
Such a proposal would also provide further impetus to restore Greywell Tunnel as it would no longer be towards the end of a 'dead-end' canal, but central to a waterways network incorporating the currently-detached western end of the Basingstoke. This must be to the benefit of the Basingstoke Canal in assuring its future. Now that the Ribble Link is open and such schemes as the Bedford-Milton Keynes Link and the Rother Link from the Chesterfield Canal to Doncaster have strong official backing, I feel that the time is right to float the idea of such a link in the South. The waterways press has long spoken of a Thames, Berks and Andover or a Thames, Basingstoke and Andover (note the initials), perhaps it is time to make such a canal link a reality, or at least look into its feasibility. You are probably aware that such a waterway link was proposed in the Canal's heyday, so it is not a new idea and there may be plans available that could be adapted.
I hope that the above is useful and fulfils what you intended. I look forward to meeting you again in the future and to learning of any developments.
I remain yours sincerely,
PS Since we spoke, I have learned that part of the original Andover Canal was used to build a railway and a small section lies beneath concrete in Romsey, but this should not stop future restoration - other Societies are facing and overcoming far greater problems and, with official backing for the overall link, the idea should still be viable.
Wow, I thought my K&A link idea was ambitious!
Reference the letters from Ken Blake and Philippa Abell
regarding the Western End of the Basingstoke Canal.
I am the lengthsperson for the length of the canal from the Western End to Swan Bridge at North Warnborough. In August 2002 I was asked by Graham Hornsey to walk this stretch of the canal and report back to him. This I did. The towpath from the Western End to the Greywell Tunnel was very overgrown with nettles and brambles, very muddy and uneven in places and both Canal Information Boards covered in green lichen and graffiti.
The two working parties of October and January have rectified these problems and the towpath is now a pleasure to walk and enjoy! The Information Boards have been cleaned up and so far remain untouched.
I walk this stretch with my Airedale dog 'Mac' at least once a fortnight, equipped with my "picker upper" and plastic bag and remove the litter which does occur. About two weeks ago I came across Mr & Mrs Brown from Heather Lane sanding down and varnishing Mary Smith's seat near Slade's Bridge. They told me that they are having a plaque made to put on the seat in memory of Mary, who kindly left land adjacent to the canal in trust to the Canal Society.
Everyone I have met during these past dry, sunny weeks has remarked how clean and tidy the Western End has become.
I very much agree with Philippa Abell - the wildlife is abundant. I have seen numerous pairs of mallards with their chicks, and coots and moorhens nesting. The bird life flourishes in the ancient woodland - I hear woodpeckers calling to one another every time I walk the towpath.
Yesterday (April 18th) I saw five species of butterfly - brimstone, orange tip, peacock, small white and large white. The wooded banks along the canal had a wonderful carpet of snowdrops in February and at present primroses, celandines, violets, wood anemones and wind garlic are in full bloom.
So, canal walkers, do come along to the Western End and enjoy this unspoilt part of the Basingstoke Canal.
I couldn't agree more. It is absolutely gorgeous at the moment and the freedom from litter is a tribute to Anne's efforts. What better way of spending a Sunday than a traditional roast lunch at the Fox & Goose in Greywell, followed by a walk over the hill and along the canal. The only thing wrong with the Western End is the quality and quantity of the water, which the Society is seeking to improve.
LOUTS & LITTER - Tony Haynes
Having winded up and down the Basingstoke more times than I care to remember between Ash Lock and Warfenden Lake during 2002, steering trip boats, I decided my passengers had seen enough of the litter bobbing about in the cut.
It is an eyesore. Unfortunately the bright colours of plastic bottles and crisp packets stand out starkly against bankside greenery. Then there are the more hazardous items. Anyone who has experienced a mattress, keep net, bin liner or carrier bag jamming the prop, or yards and yards of fishing line, wire or string wrapped so tightaround a prop shaft it has to be cut away with a sharp knife, will know what I mean.
Who's job is it to remove all this rubbish? In the end I decided that, with my society volunteer's hat on, I would have a go myself before the 2003 season begins. Thus, I harnessed on old steel rowing boat to the back of Daydream, the 12-seater trip boat, grabbed a keb, a boat-hook and a litter picker, and set off on a forage. Over a four day period, the haul between Ash Lock and Mytchett Lake was considerable. It included:
circa 150 plastic bottles, about 40 empty wine and beer bottles, several plastic crates, numerous lengths of timber, 4 large tree branches hazarding navigation, 2 of which had fallen in, and 2 that had been sawn off and thrown in, several carrier bags and bin liners, some full of rubbish, others not, crisp packets and chocolate bar wrappers galore, 3 Shepherds-Neame kegs (empty unfortunately), and another unlabelled keg, 2 gas bottles, 3 cooking oil drums (1 half full), a table and two chairs, a huge traffic cone, an iron gate (sighted on the bottom, but couldn't lift it), yards and yards of fishing line complete with spinner, a skateboard, and........well........someone is bagging their dog's mess.....fair enough.....but then they're heaving the
bags into the cut!
Feeling fairly satisfied with this effort, five days later we took our boat, Dreamcatcher, up to Ash Wharf, just to charge the batteries and heat the water. We were dismayed to find several more plastic bottles and crisp packets, another beer keg, a wooden bed, three Estate Agents boards, another cooking oil drum, a plywood sheet, and a bin liner full of garden rubbish floating in the cut.
Of course, none of this includes all the litter strewn upon the towpath, especially close to the bridges.
A few days after that, on another trip to Ash Wharf it was discovered that everything left behind the shops on the offside had been thrown into the canal. This included a dozen wooden pallets on their way down to Great Bottom Flash, four domestic wheelie bins, and one large commercial sized wheelie bin full of rubbish.
Then there are the escalating problems
stone throwing youths. Last year saw several quite nasty incidences, the worst being the yob at Ash Vale who tried to break windows on Merlin whilst passengers were enjoying a Summer Party aboard, and children at North Warnborough who threw stones at Madam Butterfly, actually hitting one of the passengers.
Already, this year, one of the first boats to visit the canal was stoned as it waited for entrance to Lock One, at Woodham. Is this the kind of welcome we want to project to our visitors? Obviously, this situation cannot continue, but what can we do about it?
The BCA are writing to shop managers at Ash, informing them that in future they will be charged for pulling their items out of the canal. Hopefully this will encourage them not to leave insecure items lying about.
The police in Surrey advise that stone throwing is attempted criminal damage, and therefore a 999 call reporting a crime in progress is appropriate. Photographs of culprits are useful. An OS map reference would also be very helpful. Police will then attend immediately, and the incident will be logged. To this end we have compiled a list of OS map references to every access bridge on the canal. This can be obtained from the Canal Centre, or from us by email.
But the presence of responsible adults on the towpath does seem to reduce the likelihood of boat-bound brickbats.
I have heard it said that many society members, like us, feel they are getting too old to take part in strenuous restoration and maintenance projects any more, but there is nothing to stop us adopting a short length of towpath, and patrolling it when we can, perhaps in rota, especially at weekends and school holidays. And whilst there, why not carry a bin liner and a litterpicker (The Canal Centre will lend them out), and remove some of the rubbish too?
I can hear the sharp intake of breath! "It's not my job!" No, probably it isn't, but those who's job it is are already busy enough on a tight budget keeping the canal open, so why not give them a hand? With a little forward planning, even the occasional presence of a couple of people obviously interested in countering the efforts of the idiots and returning our canal environment to a safe and attractive condition, may deter the vandals.
I am aware that litter parties do occur in the Fleet area, but the main problem is in Surrey. Forty years ago the Basingstoke was a linear rubbish tip. After all that restoration effort, can we now help to stop it reverting to the same, except with more water in it?
One thing is for sure. If we do nothing, the situation will escalate. Over to you.
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PRESS RELEASE: LITTER PICK ON THE BAS1NGSTOKE CANAL
On Sunday the 16th of March, forty volunteers from the Basingstoke Canal Angling Association carried out a litter and general rubbish clearance along the length of the Basingstoke Canal.
They went out in pairs to clear the rubbish from the Greywell Tunnel at Greywell through to the river Wey navigation in Woking, a total of 33 miles.
One of the reasons behind the event was to clear up anything left by the anglers who fish the canal from June to March and often get a lot of flack for the condition of the towpath. However the results of the litter pick were to prove that it is not so much the anglers but the general public that have little if any respect for this area of outstanding beauty.
Along with the expected discarded bits left by the anglers we found that we had to remove such items as mattresses, traffic cones, shed doors, contractors fencing and of course shopping trolleys.
In total over eighty-five dustbin bags of rubbish were collected, the contents of which ranged from sweet Wrappers to fast food containers and an alarming amount of beer cans and bottles. We also had boats going along the canal removing items from the water, one of which collected ninety-five bottles over a five-mile stretch.
The one thing that was really unbelievable was once again the amount of DOG MESS, I cannot for the life of me work out why so many dog owners feel they have the right to let their pets use the canal towpath as a toilet, it is not only unsightly but also very dangerous for adults and children
alike. If they are not bothered by the threat they cause to the public, why not let their dogs go in their back garden before they take them out, after all if we were going fora nice walk on a Sunday afternoon wouldn't we go before we went out?
I know that not all dog walkers are at fault but they are being let down by those who don't give a s##t if you will excuse the pun. Some of them even go to the trouble to pick it up in bags and then throw it in the bushes. Which slightly defeats the object.
The Basingstoke Canal is an area of outstanding beauty for all to enjoy which a rare thing these days and a vast amount of money is spent each year towards its upkeep. There is an old saying "you don't know what you have till its gone" and that will sadly apply to this wonderful public amenity if something is not done soon.
The Basingstoke canal Angling Association has over thirty volunteer Water bailiffs who spend their spare time looking out for the canal and its users but they cannot be there all the time. It is up to the public who enjoy the canal to be vigilant and to report anybody they see causing damage along the towpath or destroying its beauty in any way.
The BCAA will be organising another litter pick around the 14th of June if anyone would like to come along not only to help out but also to see for themselves what we are up against.
Anglers often get blamed for litter along the canal, not always justifiably, and it is good to hear of their efforts to do what Tony Haynes suggests.
The Society has also been active on the litter front, as indicated by this barge-load of bicycles, supermarket trolleys, etc moored outside our Chairman's house at St John's, and the pile of logs being removed from one of the Deepcut locks by the Pinkerton crew.
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BASINGSTOKE CANAL TRIP - 1959
I came across an account of this trip on an Internet News Group and e-mailed the author, Peter Bendall, who sent me an expanded version, which I sent to Tim Dodwell. His comments are on the page opposite. Peter wrote:
"I suffered a stroke in the autumn of 1999, an operation went wrong at the age of only 63! I have regained my speech, partly. I think that's all I can remember about the trip.
Jack did the negotiations with Joan Marshall alone. She lived in a house, which had no canal access, as I remember it, and didn't have a car! Instead she went by taxi everywhere! She visited once when we going up the canal".
+ + +
We were last on the Basingstoke Canal in January 1959, just after the blowing up of Lock 22. Blowing up, because in 1957, some troops returning from an evening exercise blew up the (lower?) gates entirely at Lock 22 at Frimley, causing the lock to hold no water. Our owner, Jack Howard of the "Prompt Corner", which was an outboard motored 22ft ex-bridging pontoon with a comfortable cabin, had a theory that if she was lifted round the empty pound she would go up the remainder of the canal without difficulty!
The whole canal was held on the top gates of the locks, because they were the strongest of the pair. The downstream gates were fully dried out and, sometimes, with holes as well! The lengthman carried a tarpaulin with him in case we couldn't get the lock to hold water. We hung around below the entrance lock waiting for the lengthman, who soon came. We soon took off, leaving the lengthman to set the lock down and waiting for him at the next lock.
All too soon we arrived at the blown lock and had to wait for promised hard work, which took place the next day. The boat was unloaded completely and she was lifted onto the bank, forward first. She was helped by the fact that she was flat bottomed, though hindered by the extended possibility of puncturing the hull! The rotation to nearly a right angle to pass the towpath was negotiated with rollers, and she was hauled up the slope by the whole gang! She rolled with a succession of rollers to the beginning of the water, and she entered the water like a boat being launched. We examined the hull for a break, but didn't find one, and loaded the boat again.
The 'portaging' was done with an exercise with a Sea Cadet Corps, if I remember rightly. It couldn't have been done without them!
We were in Fleet as we realised that the boat would not go through a bridge! The owner and the crew spent a half hour convicing passers by that that they could weigh the boat down so the craft could pass through. With passengers lining all the horizontal surfaces, including the floor, we passed though - just.
We went the whole length of the canal, the river Wey to Greywell Tunnel, although we changed boats to get there. We continued to the obstruction about 3/4 mile before Greywell. I don't think the Wamborough lift bridge constituted the obstruction, or did it? I remember that the bridgekeeper that the local council provided levered up a "manhole cover" on the bank, and revealed the workings of the bridge.
We changed boat to the Merry Miller, my 8ft sailing dinghy, that had towed behind the Prompt Corner the whole way. Rowing and bow hauling we continued. The River Whitewater crosses the canal at about half a mile to Greywell, just adjacent to Odiham castle. It crosses on a level! That means that the river has a 'hydraulic syphon' under the canal, the river has a tunnel under the cut to fully separate the waters, which obeys the rule that the canal should not use the water of the river! During the First World War, however, the river water was diverted into the canal in order to boost the water level.
We got the whole way to Greywell! We weren't able to enter the tunnel because the grill under the entrance wouldn't allow that. We followed the horse track to the top of Greywell Hill and saw the water filled hollow, which they say, was a sole remnant of the fall of the tunnel in 1932. We went down the other side to see the other portal. It was a dry brick built 'cave' into the hill. Nothing was left of the portal, or didn't it have an entrance? Its eastern entrance could be terminated with a course of bricks alone, and the small falls over the years would have crumpled the extended bricks away. The tunnel was the whole extent of the bore in those days, empty of water. I could see, and photograph inside, with no trouble. (A subsequent fall has since truncated the tunnel, leaving the tunnel behind the fall).
We returned to the boat, and returned to Prompt Corner. I wish I could have returned with them, but I had overstayed my holiday by one day and I and my boat reluctantly returned home with the railway.
Prompt Corner, and the other part of the crew, returned by Fleet Bridge and had a similar problems with the 'hijacking' of unwilling passengers. They were going down hill and had to get the lower gate, and the tarpaulin if it is needed, to hold water. The sort of problem is the tarpaulin does not have gate paddles....
They experienced a lot more problems with lock 22 as we had got on the up journey, as I heard later on.
Jack Howard was the replacement steerer for a time on the 'Jason Trip on the Regents Canal in London. I lost contact with him then and haven't got any idea where he went. I swapped the Merry Miller for a 16ft, 3 berth, cabin cruiser to cruise on the Cam and I didn't go again on the London and southern canals until 1970.
Yes, I knew about Jack Howard's trip in 'Prompt Corner' and portaging past one of the locks. Mrs Marshall used to talk about it, but I have never seen or heard the details, which are very interesting. It would have been about a year before I got involved, although I always understood it to have been earlier.
The article seems to be a reply to someone else's article or query. I can't think what the obstruction 3/4 mile before the tunnel was if it wasn't the lift bridge - unless it was the narrow channel to the west of the fixed bridge at N
Warnborough. I do remember working the lift bridge using the hydraulics in the manhole on one occasion. This could have been in September 1963, when we took my dinghy into the Tunnel - I don't remember any grill at that time. Tests were being carried out on the water-flow out of the tunnel, and my notes show that Mrs Marshall, Mr Buck, the Canal's
engineer and a Mr Newby came in along with Liz and myself who paddled the dinghy. We got about 600 yards in, and I climbed up to the top of the sloping pile
of clay that was completely blocking the tunnel - very sticky I remember - it was difficult to get off my clothes afterwards!
Many thanks for sending me the article. I hope my comments are of some interest. There should be a photo somewhere, but Liz think it was not much good, and it would probably not reproduce well.
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Subscription Reminders - We need your money!
Subscriptions are due in on 1 st March each year and we still have many outstanding.
A reminder of the subscription rates:
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Please write your name and address on the back of the cheque and include your correct postcode. Donations gratefully
Any queries, please call me on: 01252 684112.
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# Congratulations are due to Hampshire County Council's Bridge Department for the prompt conversion of the North Warnborough Life Bridge to motorised operation, in time for this years boating season. No more excuses not to cruise westwards from Colt Hill, Odiham by the John Pinkerton crews.
# Good to hear that the Canal Authority have worked with the Waterways Trust to put in a bid for approx. £80,000 Landfill Tax from Hemmings Environmental Fund. If successful the funds will be used for bankside revetment and conservation improvements and access works on the Hampshire section of the canal. Decision time is June 2003.
# Recent rains have been welcome after the very dry late winter and spring this year. Hopefully, as the rains occurred in the autumn and early winter, there will be little effect on water levels this summer, as the aquifers were replenished at the right time.
# The pumphouse official opening at Woodham was an excellent occasion and the naming of it as the Redway Pumphouse was a well earned tribute to our Chairman for the long hours he had put in throughout the design and construction period.
# Sorry to hear about a further delay to the construction of the mooring basin at the Canal Centre. As trees cannot be felled during the bird nesting season, work will not start until the autumn. Even then this is subject to a financial re-appraisal of the viability of the scheme and its added value to the canal. The report will do to the October JMC for approval. We have been waiting for a basin ever since the canal re-opened so it is essential that it is given the final go-ahead. If it is not built the Basingstoke Canal will be the only canal in the country without a mooring basin somewhere along its length.
# Good to hear that mink trapping is taking place along the canal; they have been responsible for the decimation of the smaller water birds along the canal such as little grebes, moorhens and coots, not to mention the poor old water vole.
# What a turnout of boats at the Bridge Barn Festival over Easter. A record number of nearly 60 meant that the whole length of canal between Arthur's Bridge and Goldsworth Bridge was used on both sides. A very colourful occasion and all involved are due congratulations.
Also the canal is to be used as a trial site for new types of signal crayfish trapping involving the use of pheromones. In places, these signal crayfish are digging into the banks.
# After using Reading Road Wharf in Fleet as its base since the Basingstoke Canal Canoe Club was formed in 1979, the club has now moved to the Canal Centre at Mytchett. making use of part of the barn as a canoe store. This active club would welcome potential new members from the Farnborough, Ash Vale, Mytchett, Frimley and Camberley areas. Details from the Membership Secretary Brian Gandy on 01252 622630.
# Funding for the canal is still a problem. Last autumn Hart District Council decided to cut out their contribution altogether, which was £23100 in 2002-2003. However, after the Society made strong representations to the Council, this decision was reversed and £20000 will be made available for the current year 2003-2004. All members can help by contacting their local councillors in their respective localities to emphasise the recreational, environmental and navigational benefits of the canal to this increasingly developed area. The canal is a green lung stretching for 32 miles from Byfleet to Greywell.
Dinghy for sale
Anne & Malcolm Pickett have a Thames Sailing Dinghy in Fleet which they would like to find a good home for. They don't use it much now and feel that someone else might get more enjoyment from it.
It is wooden and was hand built some years ago now by a boat builder and is very robust. It is flat bottomed with a centre board. It does need a bit of TLC and a coat of paint and varnish, but seems structurally sound. They have the mast, sails, oars, seats and duck-boards for it.
They do not want any money for the boat but a donation to the Canal Society would, of course, be appreciated. Contact them on 01252 812197.
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It is with great sadness that I have to record the death of George Hedger after several years of illness, during which he and his wife Janet took turns to nurse each through major problems.
George and Janet's membership of the Society went back many years and they, with their son David, were regular members of the family bank clearance work parties in the early days of the restoration.
Perhaps too unassuming to be one of the Society's "front men", George was the one they relied on to get things done. Once George had taken on ajob, you knew that you didn't have to worry about it - he just got on and did it, absolutely reliably, without any fuss.
So, while Dieter edited the Newsletter, it was George and Janet who, for 27 years,
organised its collating and distribution, only giving up due to ill health two years ago. Their evening envelope stuffing sessions were busy occasions but also very sociable ones, aided by consumption of George's homebrew.
They and their network of distributors must have saved the Society something in the region of £20,000 over the years and, at the 2001 AGM, they received the Robin Higgs Trophy in recognition of their efforts.
When the Society decided on the bold step of starting up a
trip boat in 1978, it was George who was relied upon to keep it working. It was thanks to his meticulous maintenance that the original engine kept going for 13 years until being
replaced just before the reopening of the canal in 1991, despite the fact that the final strip-down revealed that it appeared to have been built from spare parts; the three pistons were all of slightly different design! He only gave up the job when back problems made grovelling around in the engine room impossible.
George was one of the people selected to crew the boat when it was used for the official opening by the Duke of Kent (left). Although I was chairman of the Boat Company at the time, I have no recollection of any discussion about this - George just seemed the natural choice for the occasion.
He was a quiet man, but he had a dry sense of humour and when he did say something, it was worth listening to and he was always good company. He was one of those people who never seemed to have a bad word to say about anybody, and the reverse was also certainly true.
We shall all miss him greatly and we send our love and condolences to Janet and David and the rest of his family.
People who have donated since the last newsletter are :-
Robin & Mary Field-Smith
Jim & Sylvia Pothecary
David Wood of Horsell
Doreen Hughes of Kendal
The total amount donated is now £ 5063.
My favourite donor is donating £ 10 a month.
It's not too late to join in, and we still need more money to finish the job. A donation form is enclosed with this issue.
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Enquiries to Peter Jones (Evening 01252 313076)
Date for next copy 31st July 2003
Published by the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society Ltd., a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered as a Charity. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Society. Executive members of the Committee are shown in bold type and Directors of the Society
have an asterisk (*) after their name.
Editorial Team: Editor:
Roger Cansdale* 79 Gally Hill Road, Church Crookham, Hants GU52 6RU 01252-616964
Photos: Dieter Jebens* 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU10 3NJ 01252-715230
President: The Earl of Onslow
Chairman: Peter Redway* 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey GU21 1SL 01483-721710
Vice-Chairman: Dieter Jebens* 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU10 3NJ 01252-715230
Hon. Secretary: Verna Smith* 63 Avondale, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants GU12 5NE 01252-517622
Hon. Treasurer: Jonathan Wade* 30 Hanover Gardens, Cove, Farnborough, Hants GU14 9DT 01252-524690
Membership Secretary: Lesley Richards 9 Denning Close, Fleet, Hants GU52 7SP 01252-684112
Working Party Information: Peter Redway* 1 Redway Cottages, St John's Lye, Woking, Surrey GU21 1SL 01483-721710
Trip Boat Manager: Ron McLaughlin 94 Guildford Road, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants GU12 6BT 01252-672189
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 01252-517622
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 Molesey, Surrey KT6 1TQ 0208 941 0685
Website Manager: Arthur Dungate 39 Sian Close, Church Crookham, Fleet, Hants GU52 6BT 01252-622101
Talks Organiser: Arthur Dungate 39 Sian Close, Church Crookham, Fleet, Hants GU52 6BT 01252-622101
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens* 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU10 3NJ 01252-715230
Gift Aid manager: Graham Hornsey* 'Mallards', 94a Aldershot Road, Fleet, Hants GU51 3FT 01252-623591
200 Club organiser: Jim Johnstone 20 Hawkins Grove, Fleet, Hants GU51 5TX 01252-626749
Archivist: Jill Haworth Sheerwood, 501 Woodham Lane, Woking, Surrey GU21 5SR 01932-342081
Woking Organiser: Peter Coxhead 17 Abbey Close, Pyrford, Woking, Surrey GU22 8RY 01932-344564
Director: Philip Riley* Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Odiham, Hants RG29 1AH 01252-702109
Director: David Lloyd-Langston* 7 Fernhill Close, Upper Hale, Farnham, Surrey GU9 OJL 01252-723309
Director: Bob Malcolm* Little Willow, College Road, Ash, Aldershot, Hants GU12 5DA 01252-659876
Director: Peter Wright* Holly Lodge, 39 The Avenue, Crowthorne, Berks RG45 6PB 01344-772461
Canal Society Internet Website: www.basingstoke-canal.org.uk
Printed by Commercial Press Ltd, Farnham.
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