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Newsletter of The Friends of The Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne

Chairman's Jottings Mick Butler

The following is a slightly abridged version of the review given by Mick Butler at the FoCM Annual General Meeting in November. IT'S BEEN A RATHER strange year for the Friends and the Museum, largely because we are all still somewhat in limbo – that is we cannot do all that we really want to mainly because the Heritage Lottery Fund bid has still to move forward positively. Very much on the plus side, however, is the fact that Full Accreditation of the Museum has been achieved after much hard work by all concerned – the Museum’s staff backed up handsomely by volunteers from the Friends Group. Confirmation of the successful bid for Full Accreditation – actually, it was to some extent a renewal process – came through in October and among those spreading the good news to the wider world was the Museum Manager herself, Louise Stockwin, who gave a very good resume of what it all involved and meant on BBC Radio Northampton’s Breakfast Show, hosted by Stuart Linnell. It was very heartening to read a message from Shabeena Anait, the Assessor for Museums Accreditation at Arts Council England. Writing to Vicky Martin (more

In this Issue Chairman's Jottings Sculptor Update Stoke Bruerne images 2018 Events

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about her departure later), Shabeena stated: 'I want to thank all the volunteers I have met along the way, particularly the good-humoured Friends Group volunteers at the Canal Museum. I only realised after I left how much effort they had put in prior to my visit and so I want to acknowledge and appreciate it.'

I always hesitate to name names – someone invariably gets left out – but I think I am on safe ground listing the two Brian’s, Mayland and Collings, Rodney Hardwick, Lorna York, Lynda Payton, Rob Westlake and Kathryn Dodington as among those being most prominent. There is so much constantly going on behind the scenes, especially with Museum exhibits, that makes it virtually impossible to identify all the individual activities. That all the required work was carried out in meticulous fashion is testament to the enthusiasm and skill demonstrated by those concerned. Thank you and well done. As Louise pointed out during her radio interview, one of the huge advantages of

Cover picture: Sculptor at a very cold Milton Keynes Illuminated Boats event in early December (Photo: KD)

© The Friends of The Canal Museum Registered Charity No 1121146 Page 2

Chairman's Jottings Mick Butler

achieving full accreditation is how it will impact positively on CRT’s bid for Heritage Lottery Fund grant funding. I am pleased to be able to report that real progress is being made with this and hopefully the bid will be in place shortly. I am sure the Museum’s bid ticks all the necessary boxes and so I am cautiously optimistic for a successful outcome. When? It would be nice to think we shall be somewhere near by the end of 2018. The sad news that Vicky Martin, the CRT’s South-East Waterway Manager, was leaving her post is a blow. In her three years with the Trust, Vicky has become a good friend and colleague to many. Very chatty and approachable, seemingly always arriving with a smile on her face, she proved to be a conscientious and able ally to all concerned with the waterways. I shall miss her greatly – in fact, we shall all miss her greatly, professionally and as well as a friend – as she takes up her new position with Welsh Water. Vicky – a sincere thank you and good luck over the border in the Principality.

Vicky Martin (R) with Lee King (L) and a CRT customer at the Open Day in February 2016 (Photo: KD)

The work of The Friends has continued actively during the past 12 months, but © The Friends of The Canal Museum Registered Charity No 1121146

Brian Everest (who has stood down as treasurer of The Friends) with Winston Churchill at Village at War (Photo: KD)

inevitably the loss of David Blagrove at the helm is undoubtedly still being felt. He was such a waterways fount of knowledge - well nigh impossible to replace. However, we soldier on. But what we do now seriously lack is a supply of active volunteers, those prepared to really get involved. If you, or you know of anyone, prepared to step forward to help, we shall be inordinately grateful. Because of this lack of active volunteers, the Friends were unable to stage the up to then annual Summer Festival in June. There were just not enough people to organise and run it. This is a dreadful admission to have to make. We get by with the Village at War, but here we rely on a sizeable measure of outside help. But, let’s face it, it’s not a very encouraging state of affairs. Two Council members stand down at the AGM. One if Brian Everest, our Treasurer Page 3

Chairman's Jottings Mick Butler

for the last three years, who got more fully involved with the Friends after an initial run out with the Village at War. His expertise has proved invaluable. We are delighted to welcome Paul Lynam as his successor. Then Roger Hasdell is hanging up his notebook as Minutes Secretary after many years involvement with the Friends in various guises. He cites advancing years as his excuse. I still think he’s got a few years left in him, but he is adamant. Our wholesale thanks to Brian and Roger. Then, too, I am standing down as Village at War chairman. I have had a 10 year

afternoon with its massive wind and rain storm, but even so we achieved a financial surplus of around £6,500. A large share of this goes into The Friends funds, now earmarked for HLF match-funding, but of course disbursements are made to a range of local organisations, a fact which we continue to explain via various local publicity outlets, although a small number of people continue to challenge us on this issue. Undoubtedly a disappointment during the year has been the lack of positive progress with the development of the Quarry Field site. Sadly, its surface leads a lot to be desired and we were unable to use the field as intended for Village at War. As a result, the supply of electricity to the site has been put on hold. Quarry Field is a challenge but hopefully things will improve over the coming months. Most definitely a work in progress. But what hasn’t been a

Village at War 2017 - not as profitable as in the previous disappointment is the news year mainly because of the weather (Photo: KD)

involvement with this, including seven years as its chairman, and feel it is high time to pass on the reins – apart from anything else, physically I am beginning to feel the strain. However, Village at War will continue – note the dates, the weekend of 8th/9th September 2018. The lead will be taken by the Museum’s Stephanie Furniss, for in no way does anyone wish to see the event cease. This year the weather was against us, especially on the Saturday © The Friends of The Canal Museum Registered Charity No 1121146

that our local MP, South Northamptonshire’s Andrea Leadsom, has agreed to become The Friends’ Patron. I was pleased to be able to welcome her at the Village at War and in her letter of acceptance to be our Patron, she indicated that if there was anything she could do to help in general, or with the CRT’s Heritage Lottery Fund bid, we were to let her know. All very encouraging. I’m sorry I’ve gone on a bit, but now in closing I have to voice my thanks to all my Page 4

Chairman's Jottings Mick Butler

Tav Kazmi

colleagues, both on the Friends Council and elsewhere, for all the hard work they have put in over the year. A special mention to Rob Westlake, who leads the Sculptor crew, so ably assisted by Kathryn Dodington as his Girl Friday, for Sculptor in many ways is the Museum’s shop window, but it is a shop window that moves and Rob and his colleagues are to be applauded for their tireless efforts in keeping the show on the waterway road. I would also like to personally thank Trevor Allum who continuously works so hard with preparations for the Friends biggest fund raiser of the year, that being our Village at War event. Thank you, all of you.

TAV HAS JOINED the SE Waterway team as Waterway Manager following Vicky Martin's move to Wales. Tav has joined at a time of great upheaval for Canal & River Trust as they announced a major reorganisation at the begining of December. Tav has met a number of members of The Friends; the request from him and from The Trust, as a whole, is that it is 'business as usual' until the consulation period is over (probably mid to late February) and the future of the SE Waterway becomes clearer.


Financial Update

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WITH OUR NEW TREASURER, Paul Lynam, getting his 'feet under the table', the editor thought perhaps it would be a bit premature to ask for a financial update at this stage.

* Students and those over 60 Remember - you can pay your subscription by way of BACS (the banks' internal payment process). The information you need is as follows: PAYEE A/C NO. 76021629 SORT CODE: 55 70 06 Please use reference SUBS:Your Name or send a cheque (payable to The Friends of The Canal Museum) to The Canal Museum, Bridge Road, Stoke Bruerne, Towcester, NN12 7SE.

© The Friends of The Canal Museum Registered Charity No 1121146

New Patron WE ARE DELIGHTED TO REPORT that the MP for South Northants, which includes Stoke Bruerne, the Rt. Hon. Andrea Leadsom MP, who is Leader of the House of Commons, has kindly agreed to become a Patron of The Friends of The Canal Museum. Andrea has offered to help in what ever way she can. We are delighted that Andrea has found time in her busy schedule to become our Patron. Page 5

Sculptor Update Kathryn Dodington SCULPTOR HAS BEEN really quite active over the last few months. In late September, the team was approached by the Canal & River Trust to see if we’d be interested in working with BBC Countryfile on a short item about the wartime trainees (sometimes known as Idle Women) to be broadcast on Remembrance Sunday. Sculptor being prepared for the day's filming (Photo: KD) Contact was established with a BBC researcher and an agreement that would be subject to a further discussion made that, in principal, we’d like to help but with the BBC. The BBC visited Stoke Bruerne in early October and an agreement was arrived at as to what we could, and perhaps couldn’t, do bearing in mind the BBC also wanted to include an actor and a poet (Kate Saffin and Heather Wastie).

Kathryn Dodington and Ellie Harrison (BBC Countryfile) on the counter of Sculptor in the Long Pound (Photo: SF) © The Friends of The Canal Museum Registered Charity No 1121146

26th October was agreed as the day for filming; Sculptor was up and running by 07:30 with the fire warming a very cold morning. Off we went down the flight with Kathryn steering (something to do with her being a volunteer and being a direct descendant of Daphne March who instigated the trainee scheme). The two Johns, Bannister and Wetherell, absolute stalwarts both, took care of the lock wheeling, with Steve Bagley (CRT) and Lorna Page 6

Sculptor Update Kathryn Dodington t o

Sculptor with her crew of 'trainees', from left, BBC Presenter Ellie Harrison, Kate Saffin and Heather Wastie (Photo: BBC)

York offering support of all kinds. Down we went to the pound between 18 and 19 with plans changing every few minutes and so back to the Museum for lunch – Steph, Louise and staff were most accommodating with the needs of the BBC. It was then back down the flight again for more filming and interviews. The resulting broadcast film was about eight minutes in duration but seemed to go down well with everyone I have spoken with (and the historic boat movement are a critical lot!) and the Museum received good coverage, too.

support their Illuminated Boat event – it was a great event but mooring for Sculptor, with her deep draft was challenging. We enjoyed the company of the FoCM Chairman on the trip down and I must say he doesn’t do a bad job of helming Sculptor. Sculptor is due some maintenance this year which may see her away for a couple of weeks. We are hopeful the Canal & River Trust will firm up on that shortly. We were very pleased to welcome Nick Scarcliffe from Blisworth (and The Friends of Raymond) to the Sculptor team just before Christmas – welcome Nick.

In December we were off to Milton Keynes © The Friends of The Canal Museum Registered Charity No 1121146 Page 7

Recent images of Sculptor Kathryn Dodington

Sculptor well covered up against the snow on Sunday 17th December (Photo: KD)

Sculptor in the lower Foxton staircase, with Cepheus above, at Foxton Vintage weekend last September (Photo: KD) Š The Friends of The Canal Museum Registered Charity No 1121146 Page 8

Stoke Bruerne Adoption Day Kathryn Dodington

Roger Cooper taking a well earned breather during a recent Adoption Day when the towpath was 'sided out' (Photo: KD)

The first opportunity the Adoption Team has had to display the well earned award won at the end of 2016 (Photo: KD) Š The Friends of The Canal Museum Registered Charity No 1121146 Page 9

Countryfile Day

Sculptor approaching Lock 15 on the first foray down the Stoke Bruerne flight for the BBC Countryfile programme (Photo: BBC)

Cameras, microphones and, most importantly, the two Johns as we head off down Lock 14 for Countryfile (Photo: BBC) Š The Friends of The Canal Museum Registered Charity No 1121146 Page 10

2018 Events February Half Term Events


Eggcellent Easter


Eggcellent Easter


Roses and Castles painting course



Ramblers Festival of Summer Walks



Mikron Theatre (Revolting Women)



Teddy Bears Picnic



Terrific Thursdays (Explorer Team)



Pirate Weekend



Roses and Castles painting course



Village at War


10th/18th March 30th April 1st/2nd May 5th/6th




The Museum and the canalside's former millworkers' cottages together with Sister Mary Ward's former house (now the Spice of Bruerne restaurant) reflected in the canal by a low sun on a beautiful winter's day (Photo: KD)

The Friends of The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne (The Friends) may not agree with the opinions expressed in this newsletter, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official statement unless so stated. The Friends accept no liability for any matter, errors or omissions contained within this newsletter. We will however gladly publish corrections if notified. The Editor reserves the right to shorten or modify articles published in the interests of space or clarity.

Š The Friends of The Canal Museum Registered Charity No 1121146 Page 11

FoCM Council Chairman Michael Butler - also a Trustee ( or 01604 473756) Vice-Chairman Lorna York - also a Trustee Treasurer Paul Lynam ( Membership Secretary Laura Sturrock ( Publicity & Website, Grant Funding & Awards Lynda Payton 01604 861205 ( and a Trustee Minutes Secretary Lynda Payton - (pro tem) Newsletter Kathryn Dodington ( Other Rob Westlake Museum Manager (ex-officio seat) Curatorial Group Steve Bagley (CRT), Louise Stockwin (CRT), Brian Collings, Rodney Hardwick, Brian Mayland, Lorna York, Lynda Payton, Olive Minney and Kathryn Dodington Non-Council Posts Roger Hasdell Terry Richardson Brian Collings

Photographic Credits Asst Newsletter Editor Asst Publicity Officer Curatorial Group

KD Kathryn Dodington FoCM SF Steph Furniss CRT

The inside of the Coventry Canal chest that's in the Museum (for which the key has been lost over the years) showing the intimate locking mechanism. (Photo: From a 1968 issue of a guide to the Museum)

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