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Manchester Packet Newsletter from the IWA Manchester Branch

Do you remember this?

Issue 37

September 2012

IWA Manchester Branch Committee President: John Fletcher OBE

Region Chairman: Alan Platt

Vice Presidents: Jim Ramsbottom, Chairman: & Editor:

Ian Price 16 Wyedale Close Buxton SK17 9RF

Vice-Chairman, Steve Connolly Navigation & 27 Hooten Lane Technical: Leigh WN7 3BY Exhibition: Planning:

T: 01298 78141 M: 07971444258 E: T: 01942 679310 M: 07710 554602 E: or

Canal Society & John Palmer Cruising Club 53 Southwood Road Liaison: Great Moor Stockport SK2 7DJ Treasurer:

Diana Price 16 Wyedale Close Buxton, Sk17 9RF

T: 01298 78141 M: E:


Denise Connolly 27 Hooten Lane Leigh WN7 3BY

T: 01942 679310 E:

Programme & Event Coordinator:

Sue Day T: 01457 834863 12 Oakwood View E: Lower Beestow, Mossley Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 9QL


Andrew Perry c/o The Boatyard, Worsley Dry Dock, Worsley, Manchester M28 2WN

Walks & Tours

Steve Broadhead 2 Holland Place Macclesfield SK11 7DD

T: 01625 616467 E:

Minute Secretary

Barry McGuinness 4 Pole Lane Failsworth M35 9PB


T: 0161 793 6767 E:

Editorial Ian Price In the last issue I asked for items for the Packet. Two typographical mistakes gained me two letters ‘to the editor’; I have reproduced one in full. Thanks to both correspondents for pointing out the errors. However they also yielded the NW Waterways Recovery Group schedule for the next few months which I am pleased to include in this issue. I’d like to thank our President, John Fletcher, for his contribution and apologise for editing it down a little.

Disclaimer The views expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the IWA or of the Manchester Branch but are included as being of interest to our members Branch website:

Branch Chairman’s Column Ian Price I have spent most of what has passed for summer on the Lancaster Canal, lured there by the desire to ‘do’ the Ribble Link and then being in position to see the Preston Guild Celebrations. They originally started in 1379 and were revived in the 19th Century and only take place every 20 years. Diana and I managed to see all four of the processions, each of which had between 130 and 170 entrants and up to 3,000 people as well as a selection of events held each day in the various parks. Running alongside was the ‘Tringe’ their name for fringe activities; all in all a busy 10 days but more that well worth the journey from Droylsden. Incidentally the mooring in Preston’s suburbs was in the Ashton District so we travelled from Ashton-under-Lyne to Ashton on Ribble?

We helped out with the IWA Campaign Rally celebrating 10 years of the Ribble Link working in the WOW tent: Diana making lace plates using paper plates and me making butterflies (it’s good to learn new skills in retirement!). A word of caution for those planning a trip to the Lancaster Canal. Negotiating the Ribble Link was not particularly problematic but do not dawdle in the Savick Brook remember you that initially are still on tidal waters; having waited for the boats ahead of us to enter the locks we nearly ran out of water before our turn came. Also we only found one boatyard/marina selling diesel and that was on a pump labelled ‘not for propulsion’. In amongst all of this Steve Connolly and I attended the CRT launch celebration on the 12th July at Deansgate. Professor Walter Menzies, chair of the Manchester & Pennine Partnership and David Baldachinno, CRT manager for Manchester & Pennine Region gave short addresses and a video was run. We then adjourned to Lock 92 of the Rochdale to see the Waterway name

board be re-badged and watch an old working boat lock up. I noticed that the former BW staff working us up the Ribble Link on July 2nd were wearing their new logoed sweat shirts and their van had the new logo as well; they were told to change uniform on the 2nd July. When we eventually reached the end to the navigable section of the Lancaster Canal at Tewitfield the BW board hailing ‘The Northern Reaches’ had also been re-badged. Note: Professor Menzies & Davd Baldachinno will be attending our January Open Meeting to discuss the emerging strategy for our region’s canals.

Region Chairman’s Report Alan Platt Currently we seem to be in a transitional period as regards the transfer from the old British Waterways to the new Canal and River Trust. The formal and legal transfer has taken place, staff are wearing new shirts and the vans are sporting the new logos. Apart from that I suspect things on the surface carry on much as usual. There are changes but the effect of these will be gradual and seen by the waterways user over a period. The main difference will be hard to spot, in that if the waterways had stayed under the umbrella of DEFRA, funding cuts would have resulted in deterioration of the waterways whereas hopefully the Charity’s funding package will ensure that this deterioration does not occur. One feature is that many people seem to find the formal structure and management of the new Charity rather confusing, so what I thought I would do for this issue is to try and set out simply the various groups and committees that will be involved in the running of the new body. Of course at the same time we must remember that a significant section of waterway within the branch, namely the Bridgewater and MSC, remain under the management of Peel Holdings and unaffected by all this change.

Canal & River Trust – Structure The structure of the Canal & River Trust (C&RT for short please, not CART) is complicated. I thought it might be helpful to try to explain it and to say what powers and duties the various bodies and committees have. Trustees As with all charities the Trustees are ultimately responsible in law for the management of the charity. The initial eleven Trustees were appointed by DEFRA, but in future they will be elected by the Council. They meet frequently and have executive powers, overseeing the management of the company. Trustees are unpaid but may claim expenses. Directors and Management These are responsible for the day-to-day management of the Trust, maintenance of the system, management of the property assets etc. They are largely the previous British Waterways management who have now transferred over to the new Charity. Under employment law (TUPE regulations) under a restructuring such as this all employees, including directors, transfer over with the same employment terms etc to the new employer. It has recently been announced that some senior directors’ remuneration packages are being reduced to levels that are deemed more appropriate to a charity. The C&RT is retaining the basic area structure of the old BW for the time being, but this may change, for example on the incorporation of Environment Agency navigations into the C&RT structure. Council The Council’s role is principally advisory: debating strategy, raising issues of concern, and being a ‘sounding board’. It also has limited (but important) constitutional duties in that it appoints the Trustees and acts as the guardian of the long-term values of the charity. It will meet twice a year. Some members of the Council, for example boaters and trade representatives, are elected and some are nominated by interest groups such as the Ramblers, Sustrans, the Wildlife Trusts and the Local Government Association.

Technical Advisory Committees Initially there are six Technical Advisory Committees: Navigation, Heritage, Freight, Environment, Angling and Volunteering. These are purely advisory, and meet as required. Area Partnerships Each C&RT Area has its own Partnership Committee under a Chairman who is also a member of the Council. There is also an All Wales Partnership and a Museums & Attractions Partnership. The Partnership Committees are advisory with no executive powers, and meet about every two months. Members are selected to give a wide range of relevant experience, not as representatives of various bodies, although they include many people who are already actively involved on canal matters. User Groups The long-established User Groups in each Waterways Area will continue to meet twice a year to discuss issues of local concern. Commercial Activities Charities by law are not allowed to indulge in commercial activities. The practice adopted by C&RT (as well as by the IWA) is to form a Commercial Trading Subsidiary to manage those aspects of the former BW’s operation, such as the marinas and the leasing of ‘non-operational’ property, and for this company to transfer its trading profits to the charity. Waterways Infrastructure Trust The actual ownership of the waterways system is vested in a separate Trust so that, in the remote event of the C&RT becoming financially insolvent or otherwise failing, the Government may transfer the management of the waterways to another charity. (The former BW’s non-operation property has been transferred to the C&RT.) Local IWA involvement I personally as well as being IWA North Western Regional Chairman and an IWA Trustee, am a member of the C&RT Area Partnership for North Wales &

Border Counties. All four of the Council members elected by boat licence holders are members of the IWA. These multiple allegiances must often seem confusing to IWA members; all I can do is assure members is that I have made it perfectly plain where my primary loyalty lies, but to date have encountered no conflict of interest. After all, the aims of both the IWA and C&RT are similar: to have a thriving, well-used waterway network; however there is a distinct and continuing role for the IWA as a totally independent membership organization, which is also concerned with the considerable section of waterways not under C&RT management.

Branch Secretary’s Report Steve Connolly There may be some of you wondering why it is that Manchester Branch is suddenly promoting canal cleanups. The simple answer is the launch of the Canal & River Trust. We on the branch committee have been conscious for a long while that volunteering will play a big part in the hoped for success of the new waterways charity, and also that those societies and associations that take an active part will naturally have a greater influence on their local system. The stumbling block has always been that IWA members usually have other waterway interests and it is to these that they give their time. So whilst IWA members are very active it doesn’t always reflect back on IWA as a body being active. When we were contacted by Alison Smedley, the new IWA branch support officer, we immediately saw the advantage of expertise, publicity and connections that Alison could bring, and decided to “dip our toes”.

Following an encouraging meeting at Portland Basin on the 19th July with Steve O’Sullivan and Hazel Mayow for C&RT, Alison Smedley and Steve Connolly from IWA, it was decided to do a small cleanup on the Lower Peak Forest Canal as a practice. However when it was pointed out that this year is

the fortieth anniversary of AshTac the entire programme took on a life of its own. The programme is to have a “taster day” on the 15th September, the aim of which is to prepare for a week-end cleanup on the 13th and 14th October. Numbers permitting, it is now planned to clean up the three sections of canal that radiate from Portland Basin on that weekend. During the initial meeting on the 19th July Manchester Branch specifically asked for an informal talk to allow people to “get off their chests” any negative issues with regard to previous canal management. This would then allow for a fresh, positive start to the new regime. I attended the first part of the day on the 15th September. As expected this highlighted some long standing aspects that were duly noted for action. The

volunteers were heartened to hear that C&RT will complete all Health and Safety paperwork and it was note worthy that the amount of previous volunteer paperwork was criticised from all sides.

In the afternoon some preparatory work was done clearing vegetation along a length of the Ashton Canal near Portland Basin.

Horseboating news from Sue Day The passenger boat Vixen (built 1990) was used during the Rochdale Canal Festival in August. She was started from Hebden Bridge to go to Sowerby Bridge for the start of the festival. She then travelled over several days from Sowerby Bridge to the Rochdale Summit level, carrying passengers on various occasions. An enterprising idea from Lucy Rogers, the Rochdale Canal Development Officer, was to invite the festival poet-in-residence Winston Plowers to hold poetry workshops on the horse drawn boat over two days. The result was an exchange of words and vocabulary, culminating in a poem written about horseboating from Todmorden to Walsden. On Friday August 24th Vixen was used to give public trips on the Rochdale Canal Summit amidst

spectacular Pennine scenery which the passengers enjoyed in glorious sunshine The resident lock keeper, Ray at Lock 37 is keen to see Vixen used again for horse-drawn passenger work on the summit, even including some limited lock use. The Horseboating Society and IWA, with others campaigned

successfully to prevent this towing path from going under tarmac as was planned a year ago. Photo credits: John Humpherson

‘Do you remember this? AshTac was the name given to a friendly attack on the Ashton Canal in 1972 by almost a thousand volunteers and BW staff. For those of us who may not remember or know of AshTac a here is a bit of background. The January 1964 British Waterways Board interim report on the future of their waterways also directly threatened the future of both the lower Peak Forest and Ashton canals on the alleged grounds of poor current condition and lack of useful future prospects. In addition in 1965 the Rochdale Canal Company applied, through a private House of Lords bill to close the Manchester Section of the Rochdale Canal. The IWA supported by four other interested bodies including the peak Forest Canal Society entered a

parliamentary petition against the de-navigation clause. A compromise was reached allowing ‘reasonable access’ to the Manchester Section until the Ashton Canal was legally abandoned.

Volunteer labour continued to make its mark in 1968 with work being done on Marple Locks on the Peak Forest Canal amongst others. In 1970 the IWA offered a £10,000 and unlimited voluntary labour towards the restoration of the Ashton Canal and it was this year that these volunteers became the Waterways Recovery Group (WRG). Following agreement on funding from local authorities in 1972, IWA, BW, and other volunteers were mobilised to take part in the restoration of the canal. April 1974 the Cheshire Ring was opened. The Cheshire Ring was the first circular cruising route to be called a "ring". This term came into use when the Rochdale, Ashton and Peak Forest canals were under threat of closure thus destroying the cruising ring that they (together with the Macclesfield, Trent & Mersey and Bridgewater canals) provided. That mobilisation of volunteer labour has become known as AshTac and involved almost a 1000 people. It demonstrated what could be achieved by cooperation between BW, local authorities and voluntary groups. C&RT, as

successor to BW, is keen to harness volunteer labour from all groups that have an interest in and gain benefit from our canals. The IWA is working with C&RT to reinvigorate volunteer working where it has declined in recent years and initially Manchester Branch is re-visiting AshTac ground with a clean-up weekend centred on Dukinfield Junction. Please support this first of a series of Working Events as we work with C&RT to improve our canals for all and change their image to potential visitors. Weekend 13th/14th October 2012 IWA Manchester Branch – Canal Clean Up – Dukinfield Junction Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Ashtac, the “Ashton Attack”, where the Ashton and Lower Peak Forest canals around Dukinfield Junction were worked on by nearly 1000 volunteers in one weekend in 1972. This contributed greatly to the re-opening of the Cheshire Ring to navigation two years later. Help to re-create the work 40 years on by clearing the debris that has accumulated since then, and helping to improve navigation for all boaters. Starting at Dukinfield Junction, volunteers will work in all three directions on the Ashton Canal, the Lower Peak Forest and the Huddersfield Narrow. Rubbish and debris will be pulled out of the canal and put into workboats. Those preferring a lighter task can have a go at litter picking. Bring your own lunch, or refreshments available from the Bridge View Café adjacent to the Portland Basin Museum. You are advised to wear stout footwear and bring waterproofs in case of rain. All tools will be provided. For volunteers from further afield wishing to make a weekend of it, accommodation will be available (WRG-style). For information on this please contact Alison Smedley, IWA Branch Campaign Officer, by email or phone 01538 385388/07779 090915 Local volunteers wishing to find out more information are asked to contact or phone 07710 554602.

A Waterway Summer(!) Without a Boat John C Fletcher – Branch President After my first wife died, I sold my boat – as IWA National Chairman, I had little time to spend on it and it was an expensive luxury to maintain on one person’s pension. Kate had lost her boat when she parted from her previous partner, but she worked on boats when I met her, managing two seventy footers for Trafford MBC. That disappeared when she was made redundant while on Maternity Leave, having our second daughter – Danni. Our waterway visits now tend to centre on what will interest Abi (now 3½) and one year old Danni.

On the 30th March we all drove to Middlewich for the funeral of Maureen Shaw, who had lived at the Wardle Lock cottage. I had known her for around thirty years – hire-boating and then boating out of Anderton. Kate, as a

Director of Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival, had also known her for a very long time, some 20 years plus; and Abi had visited her in her lock cottage. Although Abi is getting used to attending funerals, it was a great novelty to see the working boat with the coffin on board, coming down the Middlewich Branch. It passed Maureen’s former cottage, and went down to the narrow Middlewich locks to Town Wharf. At the beginning of April we spent a day at the Easter Gathering of boats at the National Waterway Museum. Abi wore her life jacket throughout the visit and was thus able to run off on her own. One of the WOW activities which Abi always enjoys is making a dragonfly out of rope on the International Guild of Knot Tyers stand, and this day was no exception. A photographer from Cheshire Life asked to photograph her and thus, when the May edition came out, there were a couple of photographs of her. Mike

Turpin saw Abi while Danni was being changed and invited her to ride down the locks on a working boat. Afterwards, she explored the hold of Saturn while Kate and I were chatting to friends. After lunch Abi sat on top of Brian and Anne-Marie’s Alton to eat hot cross buns and then went with them to deliver coal and diesel in the lower basin. Alton moored bow first and so Abi had to walk the top blank to get off the boat. She ran along it! Her face was appropriately sooty for a working boat miss. At the end of the day one of the

young friends she had made introduced her to face-painting and she came home with a Dalmatian face. At the beginning of May Abi helped me celebrate my 68th birthday and then at the weekend we drove to Skipton for their Waterways Festival. We met up with the Sayles family from Leeds with whom Abi had made great friends at the National Waterways Festival last year. Other highlights included a face-painting as a princess and steering herself in an electric boat floating in a temporary pool set up in the car park. In the middle of June we spent a very wet day at the Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival, of which Kate was a director for many years. We met up with the Holmes family (including their three children) who live in Middlewich and who had stayed with us in Portugal the previous year. Abi participated in a number of WOW activities – dragonfly making (again!) duck hat and brass rubbing – and had her face painted as a tiger. Danni was the centre of attention because it was the first time since she had been very ill at New Year that most people had seen her. On 23rd June we went to the Weaver Waterways Festival in Northwich – another rather damp day. Abi repeated her WOW activities and was also successful at knot-tying. We invited ourselves on to the boat of former IWA National Chairman Audrey Smith to feed and change Danni, and Abi had her face painted as a superb lion. John Foley from WRG North West had a ride on Abi’s trailer to Danni’s buggy! As there were no baby-changing facilities Danni was also changed in the back cabin of Saturn. We really missed having a holiday based on the National Waterways Festival this year, but the August Bank Holiday weather at times reminded us it was the 20th anniversary of the infamous Wakefield national. We spent the Saturday at the Campaign Festival in Preston. Kate relieved the IWA stand for lunch break and it was so busy she also fed Danni as well during one of the torrential downpours. Abi and I sheltered in the entertainments marquee and had baked potatoes and listened to a jazz band The park paths turned into rivers of sufficient flow to move Danni in her buggy along the path. But

it was nice to meet up with our friends from the Fylde who had returned from living in Spain; one of our waterway friends who had been bereaved recently; and a former work colleague of mine from thirty years back who lives in Preston. To that extent, only, it was a substitute for the “national”.

Letter to the Editor: CRUMPSALL North Manchester As the founder of the ANCIENT society for the Protection of QUILL SHARPENERS & INK POT THROWERS I feel that I MUST write to ask you to CAST ASIDE these so called modern aids and return to the TRIED & TRUSTED methods to disseminate information of local Societies as it was obvious to me that these invisible ‘Gremlins’ had been at work in the listed printed in the June 2012 (no. 36) issue of the Manchester Packet with the omission of the word ‘BURY’ from the name of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Soc. especially as the name was in full in the continuous line of letters in italics underneath! Similarly the letter ‘G’ had appeared in the name of the HOLLINWOOD C/S – easily done perhaps as there is indeed, a place of that name on the Chesterfield canal. However the absence of any reference to the NORTH WEST branch of the Waterway Recovery Group seemed to be almost unforgiveable considering that W.R.G. is a VITAL part of the I.W.A.!! Perhaps the fault lies with W.R.G. – NORTH WEST itself due to a misplaced sense of MODESTY though perhaps more to the point, the lack of a scribe to put pen to paper! So just to show that this enthusiastic mob are not gently resting, I list their activities for the next few months to which YOU and ALL Manchester I.W.A. members are cordially invited. Yours etc. ‘QUILL LOVER’

NW WRG schedule Sept 8 & 9th

Working Party weekend at Lichfield

Sept 29th

Waste paper collection in CRUMPSALL

Oct 6 & 7

Working Party weekend at DROYLESDEN, Hollinwood Canal

Oct 13 & 14

CANAL CLEAN UP at Dukinfield Junction, Peak Forest Canal

Nov 3rd

Waste paper collection, Crumpsall

Nov 10 & 11

Working Party weekend on GRANTHAM CANAL

Dec 8 & 9

Working party weekend on Lancaster Canal, (northern)

Dec 15

Waste Paper collection, Crumpsall

For full details of the above phone ‘Mr Mac’ (David McCarthy) on 0161-740 2179 (11 a.m. – 11 p.m.) or visit the NORT WEST own website on short address – (whatever that means!)

Manchester Branch area Canals The Bridgewater Canal, The Rochdale Canal, The Ashton Canal, The Huddersfield Narrow Canal, The Lower Peak Forest Canal, The Macclesfield Canal, The Manchester Ship Canal. In addition there are four restorations in progress within the Manchester Branch: Hollinwood Canal; The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal; The Stockport Branch Canal; Bugsworth Basin

Canal and Navigation Societies in the Region Macclefield Canal Society emal: Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal Society email: Hollinwood Canal Society email Manchester & Stockport Canal Society email: Inland Waterways Protection Society - Bugsworth Basin email:

Wooden Canal Boat Society on the Ashton canal in Greater Manchester. These craft are a vital but hitherto largely neglected part of the canal heritage. Less than 200 wooden working boats now survive on over 2000 miles of inland waterways. The W.C.B.S. is saving as many as it can, when restored they function not as dead museum pieces but as living working boats serving today’s community. As well as creating a fully functional heritage boatyard the Society is now involved in a range of activities aimed at preserving and using wooden narrow boats. The Wooden Canal Boat Society, 33 Beauchamp Street, Ashton Under Lyne, OL6 8LF Contact: Chris Leah, Telephone 0161 330 8422 or Mobile 07931 952037 Email:


The Horse Boating Society The Horse Boating Society was formed in 2001 at the Boat Museum, Ellesmere Port. The primary aim of the Society is to preserve and promote horseboating and has about 100 members and with other organisations also affiliated, the Society represents over 1000 in total. Email: Website:

EVENTS IN THE IWA MANCHESTER AREA 2012 For all events at Standge Visitor Centre see: 12 – 14 October 2012

Marsden Jazz Festival

27 October 2012

Standedge Winter Craft & Gift Fair, Halloween at Spookey Standedge

30 October 2012

Halloween kids Crafts Bats & Glow Monsters

17 November 2012

Standedge Winter Craft & Gift Fair

21 December 2012

Annual Summit Walk to celebrate the opening of the Rochdale Canal in 1804 Meet at Lock keepers house (Lock 37) for hot mince pies & mulled wine. Lunch at the Summit Inn

IWA Manchester Branch Winter Talks Programme October 2012 – April 2013 Our Open Meetings are held on the 2nd Monday in the month commencing 8pm prompt In the Brindley Room, At Dukes 92, Castle Street, Castlefield, Manchester (however note the changes on certain dates when Dukes sis not available) 8 October 2012

The Isle of Mann Ferries John Holey

12 November 2012


10 December 2012

Christmas Social – Member’s Reminisces of AshTac & 1970’s canals + Bring & Share buffet Venue: Ukrainian Club, 215 Stockport Road, Guide Bridge, Ashton-u-Lyne, OL7 0NP

14 January 2013

Pennine Waterways Partnership Prof Walter Menzies, chair & David Baldachinno, C&RT manager Venue: YHA Potato Wharf, Castlefieds, Manchester, M3 4NB

11 February

TBC The Sankey Canal David Smallshaw Venue: YHA Potato Wharf, Castlefieds, Manchester, M3 4NB

11 March 2013

Annual General meeting: followed by: Kinder Reservoir & Railway Derek Bromhead

14 April 2013

Restoring the wooden narrowboat ‘Spey’ Tom Kitching

Up to date information on meetings and directions to the venues are on the Branch Website

As Manchester Branch funds the Open Meeting venue [£75.00] and the speaker’s expenses [£40.00 approx] a donation on the night would be appreciated. If you would like a reminder of Branch Meetings, walks & events let us have your email address (HO does not pass any personal information to Branches)

IWA Manchester Packet - September 2012  

IWA Manchester Packet - September 2012