Spring 2005

Cover picture info
Chairman's Report
Working Party
Pinkerton's Progress
Ian Brown - new Head

Membership Matters
Towpath Topics
Millett's Musings

Committee vacancies

Contact the Society

  bcnmsthd160 (14K)
No. 205 Spring 2005

front pic (85K)

page 2

I hesitate to venture into things that might be considered political because there is a good chance of offending at least 50% of the membership, but I do feel that currently a lack of common sense is sweeping across the country.

The BCA has been trying to go ahead and construct a mooring basin at the Canal Centre for over 2 years now. They thought that they had jumped through every appropriate hoop, including a newt survey, when up popped the local Sustainability Officer to demand yet another assessment of something or other. We are talking here of converting a bit of grassy field, currently used to park caravans and have car boot sales, into a bit of water to park a few boats. They are not chopping down a rain forest!

We need to protect our environment, but surely these assessments could be drawn together and done simultaneously rather than sequentially. Someone needs to get their act together!

* * * * *

The dry dock noise "problem" seems to show a similar lack of common sense. With the Freedom of Information Act now in force, the Society formally requested to see the noise measurements that Guildford Council made there, in order to compare them with those made by the Society.

The latter were made on the towpath opposite the dry dock and showed that ordinary electric hand tools when used in the dry dock made no more noise than bird song in the trees. Some data has been received now from Guildford, but not in the form of a proper report and we are having some difficulty in making sense of it; amongst other things, distances are quoted without defining the units.

* * * * *

The same absence of a sense of proportion seems to be afflicting the police. Happy elsewhere to spend £10,000 prosecuting some woman for eating an apple while driving her car, locally they seem curiously reluctant to do anything about the vandalism that has been taking place on the canal at St.John’s.

In addition to causing damage to equipment hired by the Society, which has cost us some £2850, local yobs recently fired a stone through the double glazed window of an old lady’s house with sufficient force to take a lump out of the plaster on the wall opposite; fortunately she wasn’t in the way. Promises of an increased police presence have yet to materialise and apparently their CCTV equipment is too cumbersome to be deployed there.

Perhaps if we reported a speeding problem there they might turn out…..

* * * * *

Sorry about all that - I feel better now. Perhaps I'll audition for a place on "Grumpy Old Men".

My editorial rants do however occasionally produce some positive results. In the last issue I deplored the lack of interest in doing some scientific analysis of the canal's water quality in order to find out what is really causing the decline in the SSSI.

Now one of our members who works for a local water company has offered to see whether they are willing to analyse samples from various parts of the canal taken periodically throughout the year.

One of the Society's strengths is the breadth of knowledge within its membership and the range of contacts that they have. A similar contact through work led us to the company that we may use to do the K&A link feasibility study.

* * * * *

It's all too easy to get depressed by lack of financial support for the canal, maintenance backlogs, shortage of water, etc, etc, etc.

However, it is also worth remembering that as far as the Basingstoke Canal is concerned, things have never been any different, and it still survived.

It was closed by a bank slip within months of opening, teetering on the verge of bankruptcy a couple of years later, in the hands of receivers off and on for a period of some 60 years and completely derelict 35 years ago.

At least it's in public ownership now, which gives it a measure of security.

And spring is just around the corner.

A belated Happy New Year to one and all!
Roger Cansdale
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Cover picture:
Saturday morning at the Canal Centre. Photo: Roger Cansdale
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page 3

The Winter canal bank cut has been completed, and the towpath is certainly wider now that last season's growth has been trimmed. Reeds are showing the first signs of growth, and longer days herald spring. The Society committee work has increased with a number of ongoing issues requiring attention; members' responses to some of these issues are encouraging and provide the incentive to move forward.

Campaign Rally 2006
A simple request on the requirements of a trail boat rally extended into discussions of events in general and a campaign event in particular. The Society's 40th year coincides with the IWA's 60th year in 2006 and the Committee decided to apply for a national campaign rally as a celebration of these anniversaries. The objectives of the rally are to improve access to the Basingstoke from the national canal system, recognise the volunteer efforts on back pumping installations and recognise the support provided by Woking Borough Council over many years.

The event will be hosted by the Society in partnership with the IWA, Canal Authority, Woking Borough Council, Byfleet Boat Club and the Basingstoke Canal Boat Club.

An open meeting is being arranged for interested parties to attend, details are given in the newsletter - come along, let's have your thoughts and join up.

Dry Dock
At best an uneasy truce exists on the operation of the dock. The residents have had meetings with the County Council and the BCA. The current "trial restrictions" were implemented last autumn but a review at Christmas was inconclusive and the status quo remains in force. We have concerns that users of the dock may be alleged to create noise which has originated from other sources. We have written to Guildford Borough Council requesting information on noise measurements taken. In the meantime, dry dock users should maintain a log of the times and activities in the dry dock; if needs be the information provides a cross check on the monitoring process in force.

Surrey County Council
The Planning Application for Brewery Road is subject to objections and various enquiries, whose reports will be considered when the application is finally resolved.

An application for a Fire Station on the land between the canal and Lockfield Drive at Lock 7 has been withdrawn. This followed public protests and representations by councillors. The Society had drafted objections but have not been specific in our general letter following the county decision to withdraw the application. The site has potential for canal use, and we are urging that the land is now purchased for this purpose.

My thanks to members who responded to my last Chairman's Comments; the consensus that we pursue the issue was encouraging. We support the Boat Museum in their efforts to improve grant aid and finances in general; we are also pressing forfull restoration to steam. Museum priorities are for boats at risk to be restored first, but Perseverance is not on this list, and we are seeking a programme date for restarting work on Perseverance.

Specific questions on Perseverance and the boat collection were asked at the Waterways Trust AGM thus raising the profile of the boat collection.
Peter Redway

We have just heard the sad news of the death of Ernie Pull, aged 81.

Ernie worked with the IWA group on the restoration of Lock 1 and then on other projects on the canal. His canal restoration exploits both before and after his work on the Basingstoke Canal need a longer account, which will appear in the next issue of the BCN.
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page 4

St Johns
Volunteer work on the St John's pipeline has installed the pipes, constructed the intake and pumping chambers and reinstated the excavations at Langmans Bridge. The final testing of the pipeline will follow removal of the piling from the outlet structure openings. A recent walkover with the BCA and Surrey County Council identified some remedial work required on the towpath and a final tidy up.

tidying up at Lock 7 (25K)
Reinstating the towpath (photo: Pablo Haworth)

The quotations for the pump installation and electricity supply are being updated. The route of the electricity cable may be altered as the original route is under private property; an alternative route in canal and public ownership is being evaluated.

Western End
Our return to Up Nateley presented a formidable task, as strong winds had blown down two oaks across the towpath and canal with the tops halfway up the off bank cutting. The insurance attitude was that our volunteers would not be covered for this work, but as some work party members are well qualified for chain saw work we negotiated. As a corporate member of the IWA we are covered by their insurance, and to obtain cover we submitted copies of our members’ training certificates, photographs of the site, a method statement and risk analysis. The insurers agreed we were competent and endorsed cover for the project.

We managed to clear both trunks from the towpath and reopen the permissive path from Greywell Hill to Penny Bridge. Cutting the trunks into rounds for removal was time consuming, while other work party members were continuing the off bank clearance work. The mini tractor flail was used to cut the towpath growth from the Tunnel to Penny Bridge, a good weekend's work.

Our next visits will continue the tree removal and bank side clearance work.

Sawing up one of the oak trees (27K)
Sawing up one of the oak trees

The Dig Deep consortium of visiting groups continue to support our projects, and planning for the spring working parties is in hand although not yet finalised. It is anticipated that infrastructure work for the 2006 Rally will be started this spring - details to follow.

12/13 MarPR/DJ/DL/KRUp Nateley
19 MarPR/DJ/KRWoking Canal Clean Up
25-27 MarPR/DJ/DL/KRBridge Barn Event
9/10 AprPR/DJ/DL/KRSt Johns bank protection
23/24 AprPR/DJ/DL/KRSt Johns bank protection
7/8 MayPR/DJ/DL/KRSt Johns bank protection
21/22 MayPR/DJ/DL/KRSt Johns - Bund removal


page 5

Record Profits
The Boat Company returned a record profit of £20,725 last year, quite literally keeping the Society afloat since payment of the IWA's promised grant tpwards the St John's backpumping scheme is still delayed pending the Environment Agency's agreement to the Abstraction Licence. The high profits are partially due to a good week at the Farnborough Airshow, but more to the continuous hard work throughout the year by both the organisers and crews. The Society owes them all a huge vote of thanks.

The boat company's AGM will take place at the Canal Centre, Mytchett at 7.30pm on Friday, 4th March. Thanks to the fact that new laws require the bar on the boat to be licensed, it can be used to provide refreshments for the meeting, so as well as the formal business of the day, it is hoped to have a bit of a discussion and social occasion. Anybody interested in joining the organisation in any capacity, be it as helmsman, galley slave or maintainer, is invited to go along and introduce themselves.

If this evening is inconvenient, the Club Nights on Tuesday evenings at Colt Hill, Odiham are an ongoing opportunity to meet the gang and could do with some more regulars to help with the weekly chores.

Winter overhaul
The Pinkerton has had its usual visit to the dry dock to inspect and black the hull and paint the topsides. It is currently back at the Canal Centre having the rest of the windows replaced in the latest attempt to cure a leak that has persisted off and on for the last 20 years! Work has also been done on the engine mountings.

Thanks again to the winter maintenance crew who turn out in often not particularly pleasant weather to ensure that everything is ready to start operations at Easter.

Right: Chris Guthrie and the rest of the winter maintenance gang with the JP in the dry dock.

Chris Guthrie etc in the dry dock (20K)

The ongoing success of the John Pinkerton is undoubtedly due to the crews and the fact that they are all amateurs doing the job because they are interested in the canal and want to help, rather than just be cause they are being paid to do it, is what makes all the difference.

The Boat Company spends relatively little on advertising, so word of mouth recommendation is all important.

A letter from the University of the Third Age says it all -

"Thanks to the volunteer members of the crew. They made us feel welcome and were courteous, helpful and polite. You are indeed fortunate to be able to call on volunteers of such calibre."

Hear, hear!

page 6

The canal has a new Head Ranger. Ian Brown, who has had a part-time job doing maintenance work for the last couple of years has taken the job. His rapid promotion is less of a surprise when you learn of his background.

Ian Brown (18K)
Ian Brown
He has lived all his life around this area and remembers his father taking him at the age of 3 for a ride down the towpath on the back of his bicycle. As a child he fished and played along the canal and now feels that he has come full circle and wants to preserve that happy environment that he grew up in.

He started his career at the Agricultural Research Centre at Pirbright, who put him through university, doing a degree in biology. He worked on animal viruses there and subsequently continued working in biological research, ending up in charge of a department of some 256 people based at Guy’s and St. Thomas’s Hospitals. The various NHS changes in recent years gave him rapid promotion to this post, but eventually left him effectively out of a job, or at least one he wanted to do.

He left the NHS and spent a year freelancing, setting up websites and doing related work. However, he didn’t feel like sliding gently into total retirement at the age of 49, so when he saw the job at the Canal Centre, he applied and got it. He enjoyed working there but admits that it was not very stimulating intellectually, so when the Head Ranger’s job came up he applied.

He is clearly not a man afraid of getting his hands dirty and believes in leading from the front. He has told the other rangers that he will not ask them to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. He believes in maintaining good communication links with all the other groups involved with the Canal and certainly seems very approachable.

Ian is now 51, with three grown-up children and five grandchildren. He says he is happy to contemplate doing this job until he retires. He is very aware of the canal’s problems, physical, financial and personnel, but intends to tackle them. Quiet determination seems to sum him up - He says that he has never failed in any of his other jobs, and doesn’t intend to start now!

We wish Ian well in his new job and trust that he will have the full support of the BCA management when it comes to doing some of the things that clearly need to be done.

The long hot summer of 2003 resulted in many of the lower Deepcut pounds ending up completely dry, revealing some dodgy looking brickwork on some of the locks.

Tony Beecher has now taken advantage of the winter lull to drain down the other Deepcut pounds to allow closer inspection of the locks and their brickwork.

Word on the grapevine is that this showed a pretty depressing state of affairs.

The problem basically is that the ground at Deepcut is largely sand, which does not make for easy sealing around locks to prevent watter seeping past them and causing erosion.

This in turn leaves brickwork and by-wash pipes unsupported and prone to collapse. The pipe at Lock 27 has done just this and will be replaced by an open channel.

Lock 28 is also in trouble with blocked paddle chambers.
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page 7

Annual General Meeting
NOTICE is hereby given that the Twenty-Eighth Annual General Meeting of the Society will be held on Saturday 16th April in the StJohn's Memorial Hall, StJohn's, Woking, Surrey commencing at 7 p.m.

The formal Agenda for the meeting is as follows:-

1. To hear apologies for absence.
2. To confirm the minutes of the Twenty-Seventh AGM held on 24th April 2004.
3. To approve the Annual Accounts for the year ending 31st December 2004.
4. To re-appoint the auditors, Hilton and Company.
5. To elect or confirm the appointment of the members of the Board of Directors (Executive Committee).
6. To transact any other business relative to the Annual General Meeting of the Society.

8th February 2005 By order of the Board of Directors
Verna Smith, Honorary Secretary

a) This Notice is issued from the Honorary Secretary's address at 63 Avondale, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants, GU12 5NE.
b) Every member of the Society who is entitled to vote at a General Meeting is entitled to appoint a proxy, who need not be a member, to attend and vote in his/her stead. Forms of Proxy can be obtained from the Honorary Secretary.
c) Only paid-up members are entitled to attend and vote at the meeting.
d) Copies of the Accounts can be obtained from the Honorary Secretary prior to the AGM upon receipt of an SAE. In accordance with normal practice the Accounts, when approved, will be published in summary in the Basingstoke Canal News.
e) Nomination forms for the election of the Board of Directors can be obtained from the Honorary Secretary.

Bridge Barn Rally
Easter Saturday and Sunday (26 and 27th March) will see the annual gathering at the Bridge Barn pub in Woking.

All offers of assistance to Verna Smith please.

Fox & Hounds Rally
This year the date of the rally is changing with it scheduled for the August Bank Holiday weekend (27 and 28th August).

Brookwood 2006 Rally
The Surrey and Hants Canal Society, Inland Waterways Association and Byfleet Boat Club are jointly proposing to hold the 2006 IWA National Campaign Rally on the Basingstoke Canal at Brookwood on 27th to 29th May 2006. Agreement and promise of support has been formally given by the BCA.

The campaign objective for the rally is to safeguard and ensure the long term future of the Basingstoke Canal as a Navigable Waterway:
# by improving daily access to and from the national network,
# by celebrating the voluntary sector's achievement in ensuring the water supply at Woodham and St. John's Locks,
# by acknowledging the support from Woking Borough Council.

The site of the rally has still to be formally agreed with Woking Council, but one exciting possibility is the old Brookwood Hospital site, scheduled to be turned into a country park. What better way to launch this!

The inaugural meeting to start the organisation of the rally is at 8pm, 9th March 2005 at Byfleet Boat Club, The Boat House, 4 Old Parvis Road, West Byfleet.

We need a team of volunteers to help make this event a real success at an important time for the future of the Basingstoke Canal. Your assistance will be very welcome. Organising a Festival is great fun with a whole variety of jobs where anybody can join in. Do come along to the inaugural meeting.

Looking forward to seeing you there!
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page 8

The monthly social evenings in Chobham have been proving very successful. The new venue is pleasant and the move doesn't seem to have deterred the regulars from attending. Just two more meetings this season, starting as usual at 8pm in the Parish Pavillion (sic) at Chobham. map of meetings location (22K)

Wednesday 16 March 2005
Eric Lewis of the Southampton Canal Society:-
Eric will illustrate a variety of cruises on different boats around the country in a logical sequence. The slides will show where fairly significant changes have taken place over the years.

Wednesday 20 April 2005
Robin Higgs:-
Barging through Eastern Germany:- Our own Vice President will be returning with another of his holiday shows, this time showing his cruise through Eastern Europe on his friend's barge.

200 Club Winners 2004
Well another year gone, hope you all had good Xmas and 2005 is going well. Unfortunately I got a bit behind with things in 2004 with moving office and moving house so I missed the last issue of News, so here are all lucky winners collecting a total of £558 and also contributing the same amount to Club finds. Enclosed should be a new membership form for 2005 and I shall try to progress things a bit faster this year. Good luck to all members.
Jim Johnstone
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2004 Winners:
109Mr WF Herbert£47
3Mr R Cobley£24
31Mrs PM Jenkins£11
60Mr A Hocking£11
90Mr & Mrs Redway£47
18Mrs MJ Marchant£24
85Mr & Mrs Redway£11
115Mr N Mayne£11
54Mrs BM Scammell£47
79Mr D Truman£24
107Mr & Mrs Redway£11
129Mr & Mrs D Newman£11
40Mr J Riley£47
5Miss J Gulland£24
65Mr J Meredith£11
51Mr & Mrs JT Lyddon£11
44Mr G Hibberd£47
25Mr DA Webber£24
83Mr & Mrs Redway£11
6Mr AK Jebson£11
91Mr & Mrs Redway£47
69Mrs SA Trot£24
35Mrs J Keep£11
108Mr WF Herbert£11

Mikron Theatre
The Mikron Theatre Company will be making their annual visit to the Fox and Hounds in Crookham Road, Fleet at 7.30pm on Sunday 17th July. Their performance this year will be "Wheel of Fortune - the story of the Falkirk Wheel".

Put a note in your diary now. Full details will be given in the summer edition of the BC News.

It is now time to renew your membership for 2005. The current minimum rates are as follows:
Adult Membership£10.00
Family Membership£12.00
Junior Membership£3.00
O.A.P. Membership£5.00
2 x O.A.P. Membership£7.00
Group Membership£15.00
Life Membership£120.00
If you pay by cash or cheque you will have received a form for completion and return to our Membership Secretary.

If you pay by Bankers Order, please ensure that you are paying at one of the above current rates.

If you are able to include a donation, however large or small, this will give the Society greater resources to achieve its aims.

Your subscription, as well as any donation you are able to make, are eligible for Gift Aid which will increase the cash received by the Society by nearly 30% without any extra cost to you and will benefit you if you pay higher rate tax. Please request a form from the Membership Secretary if you have not already completed one and would like to do so.

Thank you for your continuing support and we hope you are enjoying the benefits of your membership.
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We would like to welcome the following new members to the Society:
Miss Amanda CaddenBasingstoke
Ms Catherine EllisonBasingstoke
Mrs Penny MartinWater End
Miss Kate ThomasBasingstoke
Mr Eric PysdenWokingham
Mr Eryl WilliamsFrimley Green
Mr Jim JohnstoneChurch Crookham
Mr Stephen CastleWoking
Mr John BlackmoreAldershot
Mr Paul HopperWoking
Doreen Hornsey

Donations and Talks
After listening to a talk given by Mrs. Kathleen Sayles, the West Riding Branch of the I.W.A. donated £50 to the Water Appeal Fund.

Similarly, a talk about the Basingstoke Canal to the Burghclere Branch of the W.I. resulted in a donation of £30 to the Society.

This also marked the first real use of the Society's new projection equipment, purchased with the aid of a £2200 grant from Awards for All.

We now have a kit consisting of a 6 ft wide roll-up screen and two cases containing a Dell Inspiron 1150 laptop computer, a Dell 2300MP digital projector, all necessary connecting cables and a laser pointer.

The laptop is loaded with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and some photo editing software, so has everything needed to prepare presentations. It currently also has on it a presentation on the canal and its history, which is available for anybody to use, should they receive a request for such a thing. It takes about 1 hour to give, but could of course be shortened as required.

The equipment is not complicated to use, given some basic familiarity with computers. If anyone is interested in joining the Society's list of talk givers and would like to have a look at it, come along to the AGM where it will be in use, and have a word with Arthur Dungate or myself. Giving talks is a pleasant way of meeting people, publicising the canal and raising some money in the process.
Roger Cansdale
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page 10

K & A Link
Once again (oh, not her again…) I want to say how strongly I feel that connecting this canal with the K&A would be a long term lifesaver. And it needs to be done before some politician bungs a million houses there willy nilly. I would be prepared to give £100 towards the cost of the feasibility study if others would do the same. What about it?Cheers, Nancy (Larcombe)

Editor's comment --
Although progress on our idea of a link from the Basingstoke to the Kennet & Avon has not been exactly startling, we have not been entirely idle in the last year. Roger Reed has put a bit more work into his study and we have been actively formulating the next phase of the project.

It has always been clear that to enhance the general credibility of the scheme, we needed to commission a professional study. We have talked to three major civil engineering companies, who have all been involved in this type of work, and have a pretty good idea now of the one we would prefer to work with, largely on account of the enthusiasm that they have shown to date. This was manifested both in the personal contacts that we have had with them and in the care that they took in drawing up proposals.

Such a study, of even a preliminary nature, does not come cheap, and we shall have to find some £15,000 for this next step.

This is obviously a significant amount of money, particularly when we are trying to complete the latest back-pumping scheme, and it seems right that we should canvas the opinion of the Society’s members before embarking on a campaign to raise it. It has to be said that the euphoria that was around a few years ago, when new schemes were springing up all over the country and anything seemed possible, has evaporated somewhat. British Waterways has new management and seems to have come down to earth with a bit of a bump. Although major restorations, such as the Cotswold Canals, are progressing, the picture for new ones seems less promising. The Bedford to Milton Keynes link has run into trouble, with developers backing out and the Inspector omitting it from the Local Plan.

Should we therefore spend money on something which may not get anywhere?

One answer to that is that we shall never know whether it would have got anywhere unless we try. There are indications that we might get some external financial help and we have already had offers totally over £1000 from members keen to see the idea progressed. The February meeting of the Society's Committee was firmly in favour of proceeding. However, it’s your money we shall be spending, so we would like your views. It will be one of the topics for discussion at the AGM, but if you would like to express an opinion before then, please do so, either by letter or e-mail to me.
Roger Cansdale

St. John's winding holes
I can’t, unfortunately, answer Pablo Haworth’s question in the last issue of BCN relating to the reason for the existence of certain winding holes on the canal, but I would like to relate some information about the one which lies between lock 7 and 8 at Langman’s (or Goldsworth) Bridge, St Johns. Looking at this site today (occupied, as I write, by two barges being used in connection with the back pumping scheme) and comparing it with maps dating back to 1871, it can be clearly seen that this particular winding hole is only about a quarter of its original size. Maps published between 1871 and 1912 show, on the St. Johns Road or south side of the canal (i.e. the opposite side to the towpath), a triangular shaped winding hole measuring approximately 160 feet by 100 feet on its bank sides, and 160 feet on the canal side.

A 1916 map shows that a large part of the winding hole has now been taken up by a crescent shaped “islet”, and one twenty years later that the area had, apparently, been landscaped with two islets - one small and one large - with each connected to the non canal side bank by footbridges. I suspect that the landscaping would have been carried out by the owners of St James’ House (originally named The Vines), a then extensive property, on St John’s Road which had its northern boundary formed by the canal and the winding hole. dia old winding holes (7K)
(Incidentally, at the end of the Victorian era The Vines was owned by William Sydney Penley who had become well known as a comic actor prior to going on to make the fortunes of himself and its writer, Brandon Thomas, by both producing and playing the title role in the first staging of the farce Charley’s Aunt).

Maps as late as the 1960s still show the islets and bridges but, as the original survey on which these were based was probably carried out pre-War, it is difficult to say when they actually disappeared. I suspect that the proverbial rot set in during the War when the grounds of St James’ House would no longer have received the lavish attention they had pre-War and that this, along with the derelict state of the canal at the time, resulted in the gradual merger of the islets into the canal bank with the footbridges either being dismantled or, more likely, just falling apart. Post-War St James’ House, like many large houses, has been split into flats, and a large part of the original grounds, and the site of the larger of the islets, now has the houses of Cedar Tree Gardens built on it. The smaller islet would have been in the centre of today’s winding hole and must have been “dug out” during the canal’s restoration (I’m not suggesting it should be re-introduced - it wasn’t one of the canal’s original features and would serve no useful purpose, other than perhaps as a sanctuary to ducks and moorhens). The only trace that remains of the islets and the landscaping today is probably the bamboo thicket which grows on one edge of today’s winding hole. I have often wondered if there might be a photograph showing the islets and footbridges in their heyday, or even if anyone might remember them.

Regarding the problem of water quality I wouldn’t have thought that there is now sufficient agricultural land draining into the canal, certainly not until above Fleet, for nitrates to be a problem. A more likely cause of poor water quality, I suspect, would be the cocktail of urban pollutants that enter the canal through the various land drains. This does make me wonder whether any plans exist to prevent material draining into the canal if, heaven forbid, there should ever be a "chemical incident" in its vicinity.
Nigel Searle

Lock water usage
I did say that we should give this subject a rest, but I felt I had to print this letter from Adrian Birtles as probably the most definitive statement that we are likely to get on this subject, given Adrian's background in the water industry.

Dear Roger,
I know that you have said that you do not want anything more on this subject but, as each letter published seerns to have got further from the truth, I thought you might at least like to have something to file for future reference.

In fact, I was amazed to see this old howler resurrected (perhaps the French word "Canard" is more apt?), as I had thought it safely dead and buried generations ago. On reflection, however, I realise that, although it is easy to prove algebraically that the same volume of water is used in lock operation whether or not there are boats in the lock (see below), it is by no means easy to describe why in a few simple sentences.

Part of the problem comes perhaps from the rather inexact way we boaters use English when talking about lock operation. We say that a lock is "full" when the water level in the lock is the same as that in the adjoining upper pound, which is reasonable enough, but we then go on to say that it is "empty" when the lock level is the same as that in the lower pound! At that stage, the lock is, of course, actually far from empty, since it contains a depth of water sufficient to float the boats. This, I think, is the root of the conundrum, since in the "empty" lock, the boats are floating in this residual water, not in the water which has been emptied and passed down stream.

Putting this mathematically (see also diagram attached):-

Considering a conventional lock (no side pounds, etc), we can call the volume of the lock between the water levels of the upper and lower pounds VI. We can call the volume of the lock below me water level of the lower pound (ie, down to its structural floor) V2.

lock diagram (5K)

Now, if there are no boats in the lock, it is pretty obvious that the volume of water which goes downstream when the lock is operated is VI, but so as to be able to compare this case with the case in which there are boats, let us put this into proper algebraic form:-

CASE I, no boats in the lock
Total volume of water in the lock when the lock is "full" = (VI + V2)
Total volume of water in the lock when the lock is "empty" = (V2)
Therefore, volume of water used = (VI + V2) - (V2) = VI +V2 - V2.
= VJ (as predicted!)

Now to consider the case in which there are boats in the lock, we need to call the immersed volume of the boats (ie, their volume below the water line) V3.

lock diagram (6K)

CASE 2, lock with boats in it
Total volume of water in the lock when the lock is "full" = (VI + V2 - V3)

lock diagram (5K)

Total volume of water in the lock when the lock is "empty" = (V2 - V3)
Therefore, volume of water used
= (VI + V2 -V3) -* (V2 -* V3)
= V1 + V2 -V3 -V2 +*V3
= V1 (as before)

*note; mathematically, "minus a minus" = a "plus".

So there it is. I am afraid all the other suggestions have no bearing on the volume of water used when a lock is operated. Water does indeed pass out or into the lock chamber as boats move in or out, but this does not affect lock water used, nor does the size of the boat (worse luck!).

I hope this is slightly helpful, but may I conclude by saying how much I appreciate continuing to receive BCN, and being kept in touch with what is going on on "The Basingstoke". And may I congratulate you, and your team, on the continuing high standard of BCN; it is much appreciated.

Yours sincerely, Adrian Birtles.
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The Society is fortunate now to have the use of an office at the Canal Centre in which to store its archives. In addition to collections of newsletters, committee minutes and many other papers relating to the Society's time, we also some documents from earlier days.

These include Mrs Marshall's papers from the days of the New Basingstoke Canal Company. These are currently being transferred to the Local History Centre in Woking which will catalogue them and provide them with professional archive storage.

Recently an original copy of the auction catalogue from the sale of the canal in 1949 was put up for sale on eBay. We bid for it, but were beaten in the end by two people who pushed the final price to over £100.

It would have been nice to have this, but we already have a photocopy and there are probably other original copies around. If you know of one, the Society might be interested in acquiring it if the price is right. Equally, if you have collections of photos or other Basingstoke Canal memorabilia looking for a home, we would be happy to provide it.
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The Society is fortunate to have now the use of an office at the Canal Centre in which to store its archives. In addition to collections of BCNews, committee minutes and many other papers relating to the Society's time, we also have some documents from earlier days.

These include Mrs Marshall's papers from the days of the New Basingstoke Canal Company. Currently these are being transferred to the Local History Centre in Woking which will catalogue them and provide them with professional archive storage.

Recently an original copy of the auction catalogue from the sale of the canal in 1949 was put up for sale on eBay. We bid for it, but were beaten in the end by two people who pushed the final price to over £100.

It would have been nice to have this, but already we have a photocopy and probably there are other original copies around. If you know of one, the Society might be intererested in acquiring it if the price is right. Equally, if you have collections of photos or other Basingstoke Canal memorabilia looking for a home, we would be happy to provide it.

page 13

Tree felling
The towpath from Deepcut Bridge to Lock 28 has been closed for the last month or so to allow tree felling to take place. The bank behind the towpath is quite steep and a large number of trees had been allowed to grow much too big, with the risk of a fall possibly bringing down part of the road that runs down to the houses opposite the dry dock.

Deepcut tree felling (24K)

The result has been to brighten up considerably what always seemed a rather sombre part of the canal. Perhaps the Army might be persuaded to do something similar on their offside bank.

Crookham Mummers
The Chequers pub in Crookham Village, now renamed the George & Lobster, had a long association with the canal and for many years there has been a tradition amongst the local canoeists to meet at the nearby wharf on Boxing Day and then afjourn to the pub to watch the mummers perform.

They go back probably hundreds of years, but their performances stopped in the early part of the last century. Our late member Stan Knight largely was responsible for bringing them back to life in 1963 and played many of the parts himself during his long life. As a mark of respect, this year's performance began with a minute's silence in his memory.

After that, the performance swung into its usual mixture of sword fights and traditional words spiced up with topical asides, this year mostly aimed at the Turkish Knight concerning entry to the EC.

Crookham Mummers (21K)

Once Trim-Tram, the man from the Press Gang, had defeated Father Christmas, and the rest of the troupe had finished their beer, King George on the accordion led them away to the next performance up in the village.

Highly recommended as Boxing Day entertainment!

Four Seasons Hotel
The conversion of Dogmersfield House into a hotel continues, resulting in a good deal of contractor's rubbish being blown down onto the offisde canal bank between Double Bridge and Blacksmith's Bridge. Let's hope they clear it up soon for the benefit of both canal users and their visitors.

rubbish on canal bank (15K)


page 14

# Planning applications along the Hampshire section of the canal continue to need careful watching. Recently the Society have made detailed comments to Hart District Council on three applications. An application to build affordable housing on the long garden between the Jolly Miller and the towpath at North Warnborough was withdrawn. Another application to build two blocks of flats in place of two houses next to Reading Road Bridge, Fleet on the non-towpath side was turned down largely on canal grounds, being much too dominant for the site.

# Another application by Dogmersfield Park Limited to build a cantilevered jetty platform (to operate a private trip boat for hotel guests) just west of Sandy Hill Bridge, Winchfield together with an estate workers cottage, farmstead and storage facilities just 115 metres to the south partly behind Filler's Copse as viewed from the west, but within view if travelling west from Sandy Hill Bridge, is certainly contentious for a very rural part of the canal. Overall, because this is all in one application we have put in an objection.

# David Dare has sold his boats Merlin, Daydream and Astra, which operate at the Canal Centre at Mytchett to John Cale who will operate them this summer with his own boat Mayfly. John Cale Canal Cruises will, in addition to private charters, operate public round trips from and to the Canal Centre calling at Potters at Mytchett and Lakeside at Frimley Green. Tony and Jackie Haynes will continue to actually operate them. Telephone 01252 837165 for details.

# Good to hear that a Canal Watch Scheme is to be inaugurated from the Blackwater aqueduct to the River Wey to ask the general public to be alert and report incidents of vandalism which are increasing along the Surrey section of the canal.

# Good to see two new narrow boats have appeared in Fleet moored near the Fox and Hounds pub. Welcome to the new owners to the Basingstoke Canal.

# Best wishes to lan Brown on his appointment to be the new Canal Head Ranger to replace George Copping who retired from the Canal Authority last October.

# Disappointed to hear that a new delay has occurred to the plans to construct a mooring basin/layby at the Canal Centre this time, I understand, due to the objections of a Sustainability Officer at Surrey County Council. The way things are going, will it ever get built? The canal could be getting £30000 extra a year from mooring fees which would help the canal budget enormously, but there almost seems to be a conspiracy to prevent this happening.

# Whilst water voles have been disappearing from the Basingstoke Canal over the last few years (due to mink?), we hear from Peter Beckwith, Head of Environment, British Waterways, that they are increasing along the Kennet and Avon Canal. At the time of writing a mink has been spotted on the canal in Fleet.

# Good to hear that a Basingstoke Canal Campaign Rally is to be held in 2006 at Brookwood. This will help to give greater public and local authority awareness to the needs of the canal, both in financial and operational terms.

# Another hotel boat will be visiting the Basingstoke Canal during the course of its 2005 cruising schedule. This will be the third season for this family owned operation, owned by Steve and Steph Furniss who operate the wide beam 'Tranquil Rose' under the name of Thames & Chilterns Holiday Cruises. They won a Heart of England Tourist Board Excellence in Tourism silver award in 2004. They will be operating on the Kennet and Avon, Grand Union and Basingstoke Canals as well as the Thames, Lee and Stort. Details on 07966 248079.

# The winter cut along the towpath, on either side of the path, is to be commended as the work is much more thorough this year. A thoroughly good cut will encourage good new growth this spring. British Waterways have also launched for consultation proposed new guidance for the future maintenance of towpath vegetation. By 31 March 2005 on a full width cut will have been undertaken with some local exemptions.

towpath tidy (29K)A nicely tidied stretch of towpath between Double Bridge and Blacksmith's Bridge, by Paul and Andy.


page 15
Vice-President LOOKBACK

# The Society believes that to have any hope of getting the canal restored by 1980,and in the absence of any large increase in the funds made available by the County Councils, it will be necessary to form a Basingstoke Canal Trust, which was one of the recommendations made in the official working party report on the restoration and management of the Basingstoke Canal, published in 1973.

# A Basingstoke Canal Trust could appeal to a wide range of financial sources including commercial concerns, voluntary organisations, local authorities and other government sponsored agencies. The Trust would become an autonomous authority, free of other considerations and responsibilities.

# In connection with the restoration of the canal bridges on the Hampshire section, an order for 4000 coping bricks has been placed with the White Hill Tile and Brick Works at Arborfield, a business established in 1934 by Mr Oliver Barker and his brother Arthur. The family business specialises in hand made bricks made to order using local clay which is plentiful in that area.

# The Society was successful in obtaining a good selection of narrow gauge railway equipment, including 600 yards of track and 10 side tipping skips from the redundant Berrylands Sewage Works of the Thames Valley Water Authority. Working parties of Society volunteers lifted the track from its concrete base, stacked it and transferred it by road to Fleet and Odiham for future use.

# An initial amount is being laid on the towpath just west of Colt Hill, Odiham to enable dredging to start from the Society’s newly named steam dredger 'Perseverance'. The silt will be loaded into the skips and hand pushed along the towpath and tipped into the field behind the towpath a little way along.

# After members expressed concerns about the future of Little Tunnel bridge between Up Nately and Mapledurwell, the Society wrote to the Historic Buildings Department of the Department of the Environment and they agreed, after inspecting it, to place it on the Statutory List as a Grade II structure.

# On July 22nd 1975 Surrey County Council announced that the New Basingstoke Canal Company had agreed to sell the 15-mile eastern end Surrey section of the canal to them for £40000. The County Council have also agreed to make available £172,500 for restoring the canal to a fully navigable condition over a five year period sharing the cost on a 50-50 basis with the four riparian local authorities, Woking, Runnymede, Guildford and Surrey Heath.

# The 'Water Nobsurd' event on June 7th at Colt Hill,0diham organised by Stan Googe was a great success with over 1000 people attending. Activities included a demonstration by the Kingfisher Model Boat Club of Farnborough with their radio controlled yachts, tugs, cargo boats, and thrills galore from RAF Odiham and the 2nd Battalion 2nd Gurkha Rifles as they battled along the 'greasy pole'. Children enjoyed the swings and roundabouts in the New Inn (now Waterwitch) garden and many people had a ride on the Society's pontoon pulled by Alec Chorlton's horse, Alpha. The Society sales stand and the beer tent also did good trade.

# Working parties on the Hampshire section are progressing well. Bridge hole clearances are working eastward with Baseley’s Bridge next in line. Non-towpath bankside clearance will continue eastwards from Broad Oak, Odiham. Artillery Weir will be re-opened on August 17th and work on Farnborough Road Weir will be starting soon. Timber is on hand to build four sets of lock gates with more volunteers required.

# Hampshire County Council is well on the way to completing the repairs to the Hampshire section bridges leaving Coxmoor and Broad Oak for 1976. Work will begin on Ash Lock in September and will take a year.

# An old postcard received by our Museum Officer, David Robinson from a Mrs Wilson of Crookham Village, who as a child lived at a house near Chatter Alley, Winchfield, named the Boat House, had the following note attached:

‘When I was young my father, Harry Poulter, had 20 assorted boats for hire on the Canal at Chatter Alley and my mother served teas on the lawn at the Boat House. When there were reviews at Laffins Plain (now Farnborough airfield), my father tied one boat behind the other and had a horse on the towpath to pull them and their loads, having someone in each boat who could steer. I think the last time this occurred was when the Kaiser reviewed troops just before the First World War'.
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page 16
Committee vacancies

The Society's Board of Management, or Committee, has twelve members. These include the four Officers of the Society, the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. The remaining eight members are categorised as Directors.

For some time now, we have had only eleven members of the Board and we are about to lose another when David Venn finally manages to complete his move up north.

David has provided an invaluable link to the general boating fraternity, as well as doing a great job in setting up the safety management system, without which nowadays practical work of the type undertaken by our volunteers becomes uninsurable, not to say dangerous.

There is still a lot going on on the Canal and a lot of work for the Society to do. The Officers of the Society, particularly the Chairman, carry far too much of this on their shoulders and really we could do with having a full Committee.

We are not looking necessarily to fill the jobs that David did directly. What we need are more bodies to share the various jobs.

If you feel that you would like to get involved more with the running of the Society and, indirectly, the Canal, please contact one of the Committee members. We meet only one evening a month, and what else you do is up to you.

Give it a try - the more you put in, the more you get out!
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Date for next copy 30th April 2005

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
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: Doreen Hornsey 'Mallards', 94a Aldershot Road, Fleet, Hants GU51 3FT 01252-623591 e-mail:
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 & Mail Order Sales: Verna Smith* 63 Avondale, Ash Vale, Aldershot, Hants GU12 5NE 01252-517622
Exhibitions Manager: Position vacant
Website Manager: Arthur Dungate 39 Sian Close, Church Crookham, Fleet, Hants GU52 6BT 01252-622101 e-mail:
Talks Organiser: Position vacant
Press Officer: Dieter Jebens* 60 Middle Bourne Lane, Farnham, Surrey GU10 3NJ 01252-715230
Gift Aid manager & Lengthman Organiser: Graham Hornsey* 'Mallards', 94a Aldershot Road, Fleet, Hants GU51 3FT 01252-623591 e-mail:
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
Safety Manager: David Venn* 75 Carfax Ave, Tongham, Farnham, Surrey GU10 1BE 01252-668697
Director: Philip Riley* Wincombe Cottage, Broad Oak, Hook, Hants RG29 1AH 01256-702109
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

Basingstoke Canal Authority: Canal Centre, Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett, Surrey GU16 6DD 01252-370073
Canal Society Internet Website:

Printed by A3 Design & Print, Farnham
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Last updated April 2005