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1 to attempt (eg the fulfilment of an obligation) by exertion of effort; 2 archaic to strive to achieve or reach ~ vi to make an effort to do something n a serious determined effort

Northampton Branch Newsletter - August 2013

Good media coverage as first Task Party goes to work at Lock 17 The first birthday of the Canal & River Trust on 2nd July was aslso an auspicious date for IWA Northampton Branch as it marked our first Task Party on the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal following the Arm’s adoption by the Branch — probably the largest canal adoption venture in the country so far. All of which prompted the attention of the media, with BBC Radio Northampton and an ITV Anglia News team turning out to interview volunteers and film them in action at Lock 17 at the bottom of the four-and- half- mile 17-lock Arm. Lock 17, near the heart of Northampton at the gateway to the River Nene, had been chosen for the first assault because it was arguably the area most in need of some tlc. It is also the entry point to the

At work on Lock 17

Continued on page 10 The IWA was founded in 1946 to campaign for the retention, restoration and development of Britain’s navigable waterways and for their fullest commercial and recreational use. The IWA is a registered Charity (no. 212342) , whose work is supported by members’ subscriptions.


AA unique opportunity to experience the delicate flavours of Indian cuisine at its best!





EDITORIAL MUSINGS One sunny Sunday a few weeks ago I took a friend who was totally unfamiliar with the local scene on a tour around Northamptonshire and nearby including, as you do, various waterways. He couldn’t believe what he saw – namely, several marinas packed full of boats lying idle at their moorings. “Why are they not out cruising?” he asked in wonderment. “What have people got them for?” Indeed, I ask myself this from time to time. Why, if you have a boat costing in some instances a relative small fortune, does it become an inanimate object for week after week, weekend after weekend? When I told my friend that one marina we visited housed almost a hundred boats he was even more incredulous and started doing a spot of mental arithmetic. At an average price of, say, up to a conservative £50,000 per boat – well, you can do your own sums, which makes you feel this country can’t be so badly off after all! Then he wanted to know what would happen if, by some quirk of fate, everyone wanted to go cruising at the same time? Chaos, I replied, but assured him this would never happen. This is the basis, one assumes, on which decisions are made when granting the go-ahead for new marinas – do I recall it was once claimed that officialdom worked on the belief that only 10% of boats were ever likely to move at the same time? Perhaps C&RT would like to put me straight on this one. Realistically, the canals around here are not that frantically busy. Braunston at certain times is an exception, chiefly because of the traffic build up around the flight of locks; similarly, at Watford flight. Braunston, of course, would undoubtedly get worse if new marinas were built in the area – the threat of this possibility, whatever the present situation, still lurks in the wings I would say. Stoke Bruerne escapes the worst excesses of lock queuing, thanks mainly to the lack of really large marinas in the immediate area. Compared to the waters of the northern Norfolk Broads, the canals are still sparsely occupied, even though over the last couple of decades the size of the Broads’ hire fleets has steadily contracted. An increase there in private ownership has compensated – but guess what, many of these boats only rarely move! In the 1970s, the River Bure at Horning was like the M1 at 5 o’clock on a Friday evening. However, cruisers were able to keep going while dodging sailing craft because there are no locks to hold things up and overall the situation is more manageable now. On our patch, particularly the Nene, we have little to grumble about in terms of overcrowding. At times, I would even like to see a few more boats on the move! Happy cruising …



August 6th—27th Explorers Holiday fun at The Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne (details 01604 862229). 10th —11th Blisworth Canal Festival (details 18th 10am IWA Northampton Branch Task Party on the Northampton Arm, meet at Lock 17, Far Cotton, Northampton. For more details contact 24th –25th Pirate Weekend at Stoke Bruerne (details September 10th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: Richard Thomas—Manchester Ship Canal. 14th –15th Stoke Bruerne Village at War weekend (details on pages 9 & 12). 17th 10am IWA Northampton Branch Task Party on the Northampton Arm, meet at Lock 17, Far Cotton, Northampton. For more details contact October 8th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: to be announced. 13th 10am IWA Northampton Branch Task Party on the Northampton Arm. Location to be arranged. For more details contact November 12th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: to be announced. December 10th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: to be announced .

Buckingham Canal Society Work Party Dates August 8th, 11th, 22nd, September 5th, 8th, 19th, October 3rd, 13th, 17th, 31st, November 10th, 14th, 28th, December 8th, 12th, 26th

For further details contact Athina Beckett on 01908 661217

IWA Northampton Branch web site Please visit it regularly to see any updates



Stowe Hill Wharf, Heyford Lane, Weedon, Northants NN7 4SF Tel: 01327 341365 Proprietor Robert Gudgeon welcomes you to Stowe Hill Workshop 

Full Repaints


Hull Blacking/Stern Gear


Inspection and Repairs


Engine Repairs and Maintenance


Complete Fit-Out and Woodwork Alterations


Plumbing Installations and Repairs


Electrical Installations and Repairs


Stockists of Morris Oils and Grease


Full range of Batteries always available (please let us know your requirements)

By road we are easily found, a few yards off the A5 at Stowe Hill towards Nether Heyford. By boat close to Bridge 26



Branch Chairman’s Jottings by Bernard Morton I am writing this in the midst of the July heatwave. When you read it, it could either a) still be hot, dry and sunny or b) the clouds and rain will have returned and we’ll be asking ourselves what has happened to summer? And the pessimists will undoubtedly be slipping into well-practised mode and forecasting drought or floods! Oh dear – such is an English summer … But it is certainly a pleasure to be writing these Jottings when we are not beset by water problems. Last year it seemed to be neither one thing or the other and, particularly for river users, it was difficult to establish any proper continuity for boating because of the high water levels. So enjoy what you have at that precise moment. As always you never know what is around the corner. One thing we do know which is around the corner is our continuing involvement with the Northampton Arm following our adoption of this sometimes challenging four-and- a-half miles, 17-lock waterway. David Higgins has made a positive start in his role as chairman of the new sub-committee set up to lead and liaise over this project, which will involve a close working partnership with the Canal & River Trust and other businesses and organisations coming on board in due course. David’s initial activities are reported elsewhere in this issue. Here, may I request yet again for members to come forward and volunteer to join the sub-committee David is assembling. You may contact me in the first instance if necessary. REGION CHAIRMAN. There is no doubt about it – it is getting increasingly difficult to find volunteers willing to fill the more senior posts within the Association. A case in point affecting Northampton Branch is the search for a Region Chairman. This position was filled for, sadly, only a year or so by Peterborough-based Alastair Chambers, but then personal circumstances dictated that he could no longer carry on and fulfil the role of Eastern Region Chairman to a level he felt adequate. I speak for all of us in thanking Alastair for his work during his all-too-brief tenure. We wish him and his family well. Remember, I am always happy to talk to any of you who might wish to get more involved in Association activities at whatever level. SUMMER WALKS. For a second successive year the Branch has staged a summer walk. Last year John Pomfret led an expedition in the Braunston area. This year in early July the two RH’s – Roger Hasdell and Rodney Hardwick – led a trek along the Northampton Arm during which a lot of information unknown to some came to light, especially in relation to the line of the temporary tramway between Gayton Junction and the river at Far Cotton before the Arm was opened on the 1st May 1815. We kept going until 1.45pm, the best part of three hours in sun and heat, when the cry went up, “Who’s for tennis?” and most hurried off to a television to watch Andy do his stuff in the Wimbledon final. Continued on next page

8 This item on the Arm gives me an opportunity to mention again that the Branch will be staging a major Gathering/Festival based at Becket’s Park in Northampton in 2015 to mark the bicentenary of the Arm. Hopefully, Northampton Borough Council will be major players on this occasion, which seems long distant now but will soon be upon us. It’s never too early to start planning these events. ENDEAVOUR. Those members receiving a printed version of Endeavour will have noticed various changes, the most obvious being the use of colour on the front and back pages. This is because we have switched the printing of the newsletter to IWA Head Office where this colour facility is offered and, more to the point, we can save on ever-increasing postal charges thanks to the arrangements Head Office have with the Post Office covering mailing in bulk. The Branch owes a sincere thanks to Chris and Jean Poolton at Design to Print at Norton, near Daventry, who have printed Endeavour at most competitive rates for many years and always most efficiently and promptly. But it’s a hard world and we have to save as many pennies as we can and savings can most easily be achieved by utilising the distribution process via Head Office. I am sure we will continue to use Design to Print for other Branch printing needs and I readily recommend their services to others. LOOKING AHEAD. This is the last Endeavour before the autumn season is upon us with our programme of monthly talks starting on Tuesday, 10th September at the Walnut Tree Inn at Blisworth. The guest on this occasion is Richard Thomas who will be speaking about the Manchester Ship Canal, a talk that has been rescheduled from April. Do please try to come along to these informal talks as often as you are able. Similarly, the Branch annual dinner is scheduled for Saturday, 19th October for a third successive year at the Heart of England pub at Weedon. Our questionnaire following the 2012 dinner had a very positive response and your committee sees no reason for seeking an alternative venue.. Numbers are limited and last year the dinner was fully subscribed, so I advise you to get your booking forms in as soon as possible. Please see page 11 for full dinner details. Best wishes and I hope to see as many of you as possible at our social meetings – if not before around the waterways. The IWA may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless so stated, otherwise the Association accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Neither the editor nor IWA can accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the magazine, and opinions stated are those of individual contributors. We will, however, gladly publish corrections if notified. The editor reserves the right to shorten or modify articles published in the interests of clarity or space. The Inland Waterways Association is registered as a charity (No. 212342)



Continued from front page

canal system from the river and first impressions count. Due to delays over a planned housing development, involving proposals to landscape the area around the restored and re-installed crane replacing an earlier shelved pub development, the area is looking distinctly overgrown and unloved. In a very short period of time volunteers were able to complete a number of tasks to tidy up the lock area, including litter picking, rubbish and vegetation clearance, weeding, applying paint to the lock gates and handrails, and painting bollards and the lock ladder landing. As a result the immediate area has been transformed, looking brighter, smarter and distinctly tidier. Interviews with Canal & River Trust Volunteer Co-ordinator Miriam Tedder and IWA Northampton’s Canal Adoption Officer David Higgins were broadcast live on BBC Radio Northampton’s Stuart Linnell Breakfast Show. As a result some listeners answered appeals to get involved and duly arrived at the lock offering to volunteer. Asked why volunteers want to give their time for free to help care for our historic canals, David Higgins said: “It’s a job that needs doing and we all feel really quite passionate about the canals. If we can help, we want to.” Dates for more Task Parties on the Northampton Arm will be announced shortly (see page 4). All are welcome, not just members of the Inland Waterways Association. The Canal & River Trust and Northampton IWA will be working closely with local companies, residents’ associations, community and youth groups to encourage participation. Strimming —and a tidied up Lock 17


IWA Northampton Branch

ANNUAL DINNER Saturday, 19th October, 2013 The Heart of England, Weedon, 7.00 for 7.30pm Please bring a raffle prize After the success of the 2011/2012 dinners, we are returning to the Heart of England at Bridge No. 24 on GU and have negotiated our meals at the same prices as last year! There will be no entertainment and numbers will be strictly limited to 50 to avoid overcrowding… so it’s first come, first served!

Please book early to avoid disappointment … and don’t forget to tell us if you wish to be seated with friends as there will be a seating plan to simplify the food service. Please see insert in this Endeavour for more details and booking form. Booking forms also available on Branch web site

GRAND JUNCTION BOAT COMPANY Boat Building and Fitting, Marine Engineers, Electricians, Agents for Yanmar Diesel Engines CANAL MAINTENANCE YARD, BLISWORTH ARM, NORTHAMPTON NN7 3EF Tel: 01604-858043


DUST DOWN YOUR GAS MASK AS STOKE BRUERNE GOES TO WAR AGAIN Saturday & Sunday, 14th & 15th September Stoke Bruerne’s annual Village at War event, the only wartime vintage themed canal festival, is taking place this year over the earlier weekend of 14-15th September. Pictured here are scenes of previous Village at War weekends. The 2013 WWII Weekend, organised by The Friends of The Canal Museum, kicks off at 7pm on Friday evening with the fabulous Lola Lamour singing some nostalgic songs of the 40s in The Navigation pub (table booking advised on 01604 864988). The wartime theme continues with tea dances and vintage fashion shows in the Church, a Black Market (get your nylons here), tanks and other military vehicles, a battle and firepower demonstration and other re-enactments from living history groups including the Pitsford Home Guard, Allied Assortment, UK Tank Club, Le Companie de Francois, Falling Leaves, Trucks, Troops and Stores, The Tommy Atkins Society, Foxhole Fugitives, BARS and the 7th British Infantry. In response to the latest Government initiative of ‘Holidays at Home’, the villagers of Stoke Bruerne will be doing their bit to save essential transport for the troops. As part of a nationwide drive to entertain the masses at home, events are being organised over the weekend to ensure everyone is entertained, keep morale up and travel down. Some will be throwing themselves into the spirit of things by camping along the canal; a couple of days in the fresh air and a chance to visit some of the stalls and shows arranged for this special weekend. Children will be watching the Punch

13 and Judy Show whilst some of the older boys plan to try a little ‘off ration’ fishing by the lock. With news of a band playing in the afternoon, dances which are so popular in the ballrooms these days, such as the foxtrot and a few novelty dances, will be taught at the Village Hall. Why not enjoy the fun and join our families Holidaying at Home? More musical entertainment and 40s glamour will be provided by George Formby (aka Paul Casper), and Lola Lamour while Winston Churchill (aka (Peter Austwick) will be very much in evidence inspecting the troops. There will be plenty to do for everyone with a Summer Produce Show and Health and Beauty Display (1940's style keep fit classes) on the Village Green (aka Museum Green) and as usual there will be plenty of historic boats in attendance, including the Museum boat Sculptor which saw action in London as a fire boat in the Blitz. On Saturday a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be buzzing the skies over the village and in the evening festival goers can attend a Swing Dance with Sticky Wicket’s big band sound at nearby Roade Village Hall

14 (tickets £18 each including a light supper + £2 for coach transport to and from Stoke Bruerne). David Blagrove, Chairman of The Friends, said: “This year is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Canal Museum and we are pulling out all the stops to make this the biggest and best Village at War Weekend ever.” The cost of a day ticket is £5 per person (accompanied children under 16 are free) and weekend passes are £10. Parking in village car parks is an extra £2 payable to the car park operator. All surplus proceeds from the event will be donated to The Friends of The Canal Museum registered charity and other village and not-for-profit groups also benefit. Full details of the Village at War Weekend and advance booking forms can be found on The Friends’ website

NEW BRANCH MEMBERS ARE WELCOMED We extend a warm welcome to the following IWA members who have joined Northampton Branch since the last issue of Endeavour Mr P J Wass & Ms A M Currell, Biggleswade, Beds Mr J G & Mrs A M Anderson, Hannington, Northampton

We look forward to meeting you all at Branch events RECEIVING ENDEAVOUR ELETRONICLY. To help keep the production costs

of Endeavour within acceptable and affordable limits, your Branch Committee requests that you consider receiving the newsletter electronically, thus saving on the most costly aspect—namely, postage charges. Some of you, of course, have already signed up to accept the electronic version, which means that you see the illustrations throughout in colour, but the numbers are still a low percentage of our total Branch membership. We realise there will always be many of you who will prefer to remain with the printed version, but those who wish to switch, then please email Geoff Wood at and he will do the necessary. Editor


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Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally Report and pictures by Tim Coghlan of Braunston Marina A total of some 87 historic narrowboats attended the recent 11th Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally. Just how many was the subject of some debate, as the surviving two halves of Bream both came, and both were officially included in that 87 figure. The original motor narrowboat, built in 1932 by Yarwoods of Northwich, was cut in half in 1961, and with new ends fitted, it was made into two smaller boats, each of which have now been extended and made to appear like working boats. This is the charm of our Historic Narrowboat Rally, with just how much of the boats on parade being original, causing endless discussion amongst the cognoscenti. The Rally was formally opened by veteran actor Timothy West (78) and his actress wife Prunella Scales of Fawlty Towers fame, who both donned traditional working boatmen and women’s costumes. Timothy West quipped, “We were thrilled to be David Blagrove steering Sculptor


Working boats waiting for the procession coming at last. We usually charge to dress up. But to support this unique and wonderful canal event, we waived our fee in this case!� With a little help from the Friends of President, Timothy West and Prunella Scales respectably helmed the last surviving steam narrowboat President towing its butty Kildare from the Grand Union Canal into the marina. As they passed under its famous 1834 Horseley Ironworks Bridge, they declared the 2013 Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally ‘Open!’ To manage the event at its present size, we have made a number of changes in recent years, including now having eleven volunteer harbour masters to manage the moorings and parades. One of them, John Boswell, was a working boatman in his boyhood in the 1950s and knew some of these boats in their working days. The stewards have much reduced the good-humoured chaos traditionally associated with those parades. We also had invaluable help from the Canal & River Trust in many ways, including closing the visitor moorings on the parade route and making them available for historic narrowboats. We were honoured to have the CRT Chairman Tony Hales joining us on President and Kildare for the opening parade. The newly-appointed Chief Executive Richard Parry visited the event on the Sunday. We also had great support from the recently formed Braunston Canal Society, both during the event and in the previous winter when they helped with cutting back the overgrown canalside vegeta-

18 tion along the parade route. This considerably widened the canal for the parades. The Society’s hands-on secretary Chris Burton was full of unqualified praise for the Rally, “It is the best canal event anywhere, in my humble opinion!” All profits, which exceeded £6,000, were donated as usual to canal causes. The main recipient were the Friends of President who received £2,000 for their important restoration maintenance of the last working steam narrowboat on the canal. A number of other donations were made to canal societies attending the Rally, including £1,000 to The Friends of The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne whose narrowboat Sculptor has recently undergone major restoration. It was seen in the parades steered by the Friends’ Chairman David Blagrove. A £500 donation was also made to the Salvation Army for their work in supporting canal down and outs. The Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally is sponsored by Braunston Marina and is supported by the Canal & River Trust. Braunston Marina will be hosting the event again next year on the same last weekend in June – the 28th and 29th. Timothy West and Prunella Scales on President and Kildare


BRANCH COMMITTEE MEETING REVIEW JUNE Adoption of Northampton Arm Bernard Morton, David Higgins and Sandie Morton met with CRT and the first Task Party date was confirmed as 2nd July at 10am at Lock 17.CRT would provide bankside staff members to train and certify volunteers on the use of strimmers. Miriam Tedder (CRT) would provide all equipment and be present all day. A list of community groups and businesses who might be interested in joining in with the adoption was tabled. A need for hi-viz jackets with IWA Task Group on back and logo on front was identified. Branch Meetings/Summer Programme It was reported that a walk down the Northampton Arm was set for Sunday 7th July. Roger Hasdell will lead the walk starting at lock two and walking to lock 14. The annual Branch Dinner was discussed and the date set for 19th October; different venues were suggested but it was agreed to return to the Heart of England at Weedon if the price is right. Branch Membership There are now 305 memberships with 475 members Local Societies/Canal Partnerships etc Friends of The Canal Museum. Gala Weekend will be 15th & 16th June. Sculptor had won a commendation in the Waterways Renaissance Awards; the Iron Trunk restoration at Cosgrove was the outright winner. Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership. A planning application for the removal of the weighing machine to the National Waterfront Museum at Swansea was noted. Plans for the boat May, sited beneath the weighing machine, showed that it was to be relocated to a point somewhere down the flight, with CRT seeking £15k to fund the operation. The aim is for the lock to be accessible to the public, showing the lock’s mechanism and an explanation as to how locks work.


Historic weighing machine begins its journey home Work began this summer on relocating an historic canal weighing machine from The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne to the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea. The machine, the only remaining example in existence, built for and used on the Glamorganshire Canal, is returning to Wales to allow it to be better interpreted in its

national context. The National Waterfront Museum in Swansea has some exciting plans to install the weighing bridge as part of future redevelopment of its Courtyard Garden. Dale Copley, Museums Collections Manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be returning the weighing machine to Wales to form a

21 centrepiece of a new feature at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea. Historic objects such as this tell their story better when they are in their right context, so we’re pleased that the long running plans to move this machine have come to fruition.” The machine came to The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne in 1963 and has sat in a disused top lock on the Grand Union Canal ever since. Weighing machines weighed a boat and its cargo to assess how much toll the boat should be charged for its passage along the canal. Steph Mastoris, Head of Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum, said: “The Museum is excited at the prospect of displaying and interpreting this landmark Welsh-designed and Welsh-manufactured weighing machine which, at 180 years old, is the last surviving canal boat weighing machine in the country.” Relocating the weighing machine will mean that the station boat May will be relocated elsewhere along the canal at Stoke Bruerne, thus remaining an important part of the collection of The Canal Museum. There will also be an opportunity for the better interpretation of the lock area at Stoke Bruerne and the local waterway partnership are developing interpretation plans. The pictures illustrate the various delicate stages in the uplifting of the weighing machine at Stoke Bruerne (report and pictures kindly supplied by the Canal & River Trust)


Old Stager recalls… SUMMERTIME ON THE NENE I have recently become re-acquainted with one of my favourite books dealing with the River Nene. Published in 1967 in hard back by Kaye and Ward at the grand price of 30 shillings (or, if you like, £1.50), it is A Summer on the Nene by Northamptonshire-born author BB (aka Denys Watkins-Pitchford), illustrated profusely with evocative wood-cuts, or engravings, by the aforementioned Watkins-Pitchford. It just doesn’t seem possible that such a handsome volume could have been produced at so modest a price in a year which, to grey-beards, is seemingly so recent. BB was the rector’s son at Lamport, a village midway between Northampton and Market Harborough, where the big crowd-puller today is Lamport Hall, the former home of aristocratic actor Sir Gyles Isham. Nearby, at the foot of the valley, runs an ever-enlarging stream – arguably the principal tributary of the Nene which springs from uplands around Naseby Battlefield. And it was in using this embryo river as the basic setting for a previous story, The Little Grey Men, that demonstrates the perception and ability of BB, a fervent naturalist, to record and enrich our understanding of the mysterious life of a river, so evident in his summer Nene book. The fly-leaf blurb of A Summer on the Nene tells us that the author conjures up for the reader “the fragrance of water mints, and the wild, wet weeds about the weirs, that ‘unforgettable, unforgotten’ river smell, through summer’s unfolding to the time when the mists of autumn cloak the water meadows and departing swallows hold their parliaments upon gold-lichened tiles of many an ancient mill”. I think you get the picture. BB found himself very conscious of the past – at Fotheringhay, for instance, where Mary Queen of Scots went to her execution; and at Lilford, where rich birdlife in wood, field and river, inspired its fourth Earl to become one of England’s most celebrated ornithologists. BB complements his own narrative with many recollections of an old lady, Mrs Julyans, which “re-embroider the faded tapestry” of rural life in this area at the end of the l9th century. A Summer on the Nene was the result of two separate voyages undertaken by BB in the summer and autumn of l966 on board the Jolly Enterprise, a four-berth cabin cruiser from Mr Newington, who built and developed Oundle Marina. (I am sure many of us met and chatted with him. I certainly did – in 1969 I think when we were marooned at the marina for two days with alternator trouble.) BB notes: “He builds boats as well as hiring them out and is now venturing into the fibreglass field…” But as the 21st century is now well established (actually, it seems to be whistling by!), I find the most pertinent recollections in this book are those of Mrs Julyans,

23 who died in hospital in Kettering in 1967. In view of the pounding the river has taken from the heavy rains and the cold of the past winter, I will let Mrs Julyans, of Aldwincle, recall the bitter winters of the 1880s which lasted from “December to March”. She writes: “In 1888, the Nene was frozen over. My father then worked for a farmer at Achurch. For six weeks he could walk to work over the river instead of going round by the bridges. The men from Aldwincle who worked at Lilford did the same for it was a short cut for them. “On the ice at Lilford, Lord Lilford roasted a bullock on the river for his tenants and farm workers, and all the fields which had become flooded were frozen hard…At Thrapston a man took a waggon and horses on the river under the nine arches bridge; my! but it was a winter to remember! “The men who had no work earned a little by sweeping the snow away for the ‘gentry’ when they came skating on the river from Thorpe to Thrapston – which must be about three miles.” Mrs Julyans continues: “When the great thaw came at last at the end of that long winter, the floods were heavy at Northampton. Two days later they reached Thrapston and Aldwincle. A farmer at Thrapston had the misfortune to lose some of his sheep in the floods and a butcher offered him five shillings for each drowned carcase. He skinned them out, dressed them, and sold it as ‘drowned mutton’, very cheap, and so made quite a decent profit.” By the way, if anyone out there has my copy of A Summer on the Nene, I would be grateful for its return. I loaned it many years ago to someone I forget, since when it has been walkies. (No recriminations, I promise.) Second-hand copies are now very difficult to come by. Two years ago I discovered one in what is claimed to be “Britain’s smallest bookshop” in Uppingham. Asking price: £150. So hang on to yours if you have one! The copy I used for this article is housed in the local history section of Northampton Public Library in Abington Street. It’s definitely not for loan!


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For further details, either visit or ring O1604 859726 / 07761 833049



SUPPLIES We are a family run, customer friendly business based adjacent to Bridge 32 at Nether Heyford. Our service point is clear of moored boats making your stop quick and easy. We offer the following services:

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Telephone/Fax: 01327-341202

01604 862428

RECYCLING REMINDER The Branch recycles ink jet cartridges and mobile phones to raise cash to help local projects. Please bring them along to Branch meetings or ring 01604 767212 to arrange collection. Please no Epson ink tanks.


Buckingham Canal Society Update by Chairman Athina Beckett It is an exciting time for the BCS at present. Having received a grant from WREN and the Aylesbury Vale DC Community Chest to re-water part of the canal at Bourton Meadow, near Buckingham, our volunteers have been making ready the site prior to contractors commencing operations. On 24th June the contractors, Waterline Solutions, moved onto site to start the work of preparing the canal bed so that it could be re-lined with Bentomat. This work went even better than expected with the contractors finishing early — the re-lining work wasn’t expected to be completed until August but was finished in early July. We now hope to get this section of canal in water, possibly by the end of August. Before this can happen our volunteers will install planking and coir rolls on the canal bank to give a soft edge to the canal bed and then non-evasive aquatic water plants will be added. At a later stage the hedge along one side of the canal will be re-planted with native species of saplings by our volunteers. The Society is planning to arrange a celebration open day on Saturday 19th October to celebrate the success of this project and everyone will be invited to share in the success of getting this part of the Buckingham Canal in water. At the Cosgrove end volunteers have started work to re-water this section of the canal as well. Bunds will be built at 250 metres and each section of the canal will then be re-watered in turn. At present volunteers have been building a bund by hand but negotiations are taking place with local landowners to allow access to site with excavators and dumper trucks, so hopefully by the beginning of next year, having speeded up the process considerably, the BCS should have two sections of canal in water by the early part of the year. As part of the adoption scheme with CRT we are required to keep the lock gates at Cosgrove and surrounding area in good condition. Our volunteers, working with a group from the Environment Agency, painted the lock gates at Cosgrove and litter picked the whole area over a two day period in June just in time for our annual festival held over the weekend of 13th-14th in July which we hoped some of you attended and enjoyed. (This year’s festival proved to be a great success with glorious weather and over 50 people attended our fish and chip supper on Saturday night). Team Building days with outside companies have been going well this year and those taking part recently have included groups from PricewaterhouseCoopers on Thursday 27th June and from Santander on Tuesday 23rd July. Both groups worked alongside our own volunteers improving the towpath and the canal bed. As you can see from the above a lot is happening at present and a lot more is planned for the future. We are always looking for more volunteers, so if you think you can help with this exciting project of restoring the Buckingham Arm, either by assisting at work parties or administration duties, please contact me.






Grand Union, Oxford & Leics Canals Rivers Nene and Thames RING: 07889 10 99 39

HIGH HOUSE MARINA LTD High House Wharf, Heyford Lane, Weedon, Northants NN7 4SF OUR SMALL MARINA (ONLY 24 BOATS) IS A VERY FRIENDLY PLACE TO BE MOORED, HENCE OUR CLIENTS TEND TO STAY PUT Our car park is quite secure and well hidden from the road WE DO NOW AND AGAIN HAVE A VACANCY, SO WHY NOT GIVE US A CALL? Contact Phil Gardner on 01327 349519, E-mail:



ADVERTISING All advertisements must comply with the requirements of the Trades Descriptions Act and avoid misrepresentation of goods offered for sale. The Business Advertisements (Disclosure) Order 1977 requires that businesses seeking to sell goods must clearly indicate this in an advertisement.

COMMERCIAL RATES (suggested donations) 1/4 Page (box) £12.00 1/2 Page (box) £25.00 Full Page £40.00 Discount of 10% for 4 issues Other sizes by arrangement

CLASSIFIEDS (suggested donations) £1.50 for 22 words, 15p each additional word £3.50 for box around classified advertisement (nb. telephone numbers count as one word) £3.50 for photographs

BRANCH SOCIAL MEETINGS Regular Branch Social Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month from September to May inclusive at

THE WALNUT TREE INN, BLISWORTH at 8pm All members and non-members welcome. Food and drink available

Next meetings Tuesday, 10th September Speaker: Richard Thomas — Manchester Ship Canal (this has been rearranged from April) Tuesday, 8th October Speaker: TBA Tuesday, 12th November Speaker: TBA Tuesday 10th December Speaker: TBA The next edition of Endeavour will be published November 2013


WHO’S WHO IN NORTHAMPTON BRANCH 2013/2014 Bernard Morton

Branch Meetings

07785 375787

Graham Treagus

E-mail: bernard.morton

E-mail: graham.treagus


Branch Secretary Sandie Morton E-mail: sandie.morton

Membership Secretary & Planning Officer Geoff Wood E-mail:

Deputy Chairman & Police Liaison Officer

Boat Gathering Chairman

Eric Young

Michael Butler E-mail:



Northampton Arm Adoption Chairman

& Planning Officer

David Higgins

Alex Madisons E-mail: alex.madisons

Newsletter & Website Editor Tony Clarke 07939 977859 E-mail: tony.clarke

Publicity Officer Lynda Payton E-mail:lynda.payton


Boat Gathering Sub-Committee members Michael Butler (Chairman), Catriona Butler, Tony Clarke, Roger Hasdell, Alex Madisons, Bernard Morton, Sandie Morton, Sam Samuells and Eric Young (also occasional members Ian Bekusch)

Non-Committee posts Sales: Catriona Butler 01604 473756 Archivist, Endeavour Advertising & Distribution Roger Hasdell 01604 767212

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Endeavour august 2013  

Newsletter, Inland Waterways Association, Northampton Branch

Endeavour august 2013  

Newsletter, Inland Waterways Association, Northampton Branch