By the early 1960s, the Basingstoke Canal was still in private ownership and semi-derelict. In 1966 a letter was published in local newspapers by a resident of Brookwood named Jim Woolgar, enquiring whether anyone else was interested in trying to do something about the canal.
Half a dozen people responded and decided to form the Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society. A campaign was started for the Canal to be taken into public ownership and restored to navigation. The Society held public meetings and collected more than 10,000 signatures to a petition handed to the Surrey and Hampshire County Councils.
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