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Endeavour Northampton Branch Newsletter — February 2019

John Faulkner Legacy update This is how your Branch Committee have so far distributed the Legacy left by John Faulkner: Paid and completed Islip footbridge over the River Nene — £10,000 Mosaic Trail down the Northampton Arm — £3,600 Friends of Raymond (Nutfield) — £5,000 Projects underway Buckingham Canal Society, Cosgrove Bridge — £10,000 Interpretation Boards, Northampton Arm — £8,400 installation Summer 2019 Murals under M1 Bridge — £2,400 side 2 in June 2019 (project also funded by Cummins Engineering) Friends of the River Nene — £4,263, machinery purchased, benches installed 2018, final benches 2019 Projects approved but not underway Northampton Sea Cadets, extension of building — £10,000 Projects submitted for approval Nb Sculptor for repairs — £5,000 submitted January 2019, works 2019 Projects under development Crusader Community Boating — £10,000 should be worked through in first half of 2019 Total spend: £68,663 Total Legacy: £83,740 Remaining: £15,077

BRANCH WINS ANOTHER AWARD IWA Northampton Branch volunteers have been named in joint third place in Towpath Talk Top Team Awards. All the details will be in the next edition of Endeavour.

waterways.org.uk/northampton Printed by Colour Image. Phone 01494 529999 email colourimage@aol.com


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Here is the new Flore /Weedon bypass bridge which spans the canal and railway just north of Weedon. As you can see, the railway is just a few yards from the canal at this point. The bypass opened after delays, in late November and is now being well used. The bridge is a stunning structure which I feel will soon blend into the surrounding countryside when nature takes over. There will be several new canal bridges countrywide when HS2 gets started properly, but will they be able to blend into their environment or will they stand out like a sore thumb?

Below is another recent new bridge, this time a footbridge, over the River Nene serving the University of Northampton’s Waterside Campus. It revels graceful bends as it sweeps across the river by Town Lock.


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DIARY DATES March 12th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch AGM at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Followed by Keith Adams — Restoration of the Stoke Bruerne Brick Wagon 21st 7.45 IWA Milton Keynes Branch meeting at Royal British Legion, Melrose Avenue, MK3 6PU. Speaker: Jane Hamilton —The Bedford & Milton Keynes Trust update April 9th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: Mike Partridge — Overnight Moorings...50 years on! 25th 7.45 IWA Milton Keynes Branch meeting at Royal British Legion, Melrose Avenue, MK3 6PU. Speaker: Richard Thomas — Manchester Ship Canal in Victorian times May

14th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker: Lorna York — Boating Families

NORTHAMPTON ARM TASK PARTY DATES March 3rd, 19th. April 7th, 16th. May 5th, 21st.June 2nd, 18th.

Contact: geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk or phone 01604 453932 BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOCIETY WORK PARTY DATES March 7th, 10th, 21st. April 4th, 14th, 18th. May 2nd, 12th,16th,30th. June 9th,13th,27th.

Contact athinabec@aol.com or phone 01908 661217/07721 319404 STOKE BRUERNE CANAL PARTNERSHIP WORK PARTY DATES March 13th. April 10th. May 8th. June 12th. Contact: stokebruernecanalpartnership.org.uk

IWA Northampton Branch web site www.waterways.org.uk/northampton Please visit it regularly to see any updates


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GRAND JUNCTION BOAT COMPANY GAYTON JUNCTION BLISWORTH ARM NORTHAMPTON NN7 3EF

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Branch Chairman’s Jottings by Bernard Morton As I write this in the middle of January, I feel it is not too late to wish you all A Happy New Year! May you enjoy good health, prosperity and “wellness” along our inland waterways, whether on foot, bike, boat or behind a fishing rod. In our part of the country, winter has yet to arrive although there have been various threats in the media about another “beast from the East” about to hit us … so far so good. No doubt CRT are watching their reservoir levels across the country and hoping for more rain. Mention of CRT brings me to reflect on the on-going reorganisation of their Regions – who’d have thought it would take so long? Our Branch has moved from SouthEast to East Midlands Region and this has meant identifying a whole new set of people and building relationships with them. Geoff Wood and Mick Butler, coordinators for our Northampton Arm adoption, have borne the brunt of this upheaval but have certainly been impressing our new “bosses” with our achievements and improvements on the Arm. My thanks to Geoff and Mick and to all our loyal, hardworking volunteers who turn out for each Task Party, whatever the weather. TOWPATH TALK AWARD. Because of our wor k on the Nor thampton Ar m, our volunteer team were nominated by members Sandra and Keith Tidey for the Towpath Talk Top Team Award and we were notified in early December that we had come joint third. Needless to say, we are delighted and would like to thank the Tideys for the nomination and anyone who voted for us. We await to hear when and where the Award presentation will take place. Someone who read about this Award in Towpath Talk is Neil Edwards, who is IWA Chief Executive. He wrote to me as Branch Chairman saying

“I regularly hear in the office about your team’s work along the Northampton Arm … Alongside the 2018 IWA Branch Achievement Award, presented at the AGM, your team’s efforts are being justly noticed. Congratulations to you and everyone involved and I wish you a very successful 2019.” UPDATE ON JOHN FAULKNER LEGACY. As you may know, Cr usader Community Boats (formerly St John Ambulance), and now a entirely self-funding charity, are keen to have a second boat in addition to the wide beam Mountbatten Crusader based at Blisworth Marina, and have launched an appeal for funds. We have agreed to donate £10,000 from the Legacy and it would seem that they are very close to raising the amount they need. Good news indeed for all the organisations serving people with physical and/or mental disabilities and care homes for the elderly that use them.


8 Another request for funding has been received from the Friends of the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne for urgent work needed to Sculptor, their floating exhibit just outside the Museum. This work is needed to enable Sculptor to continue to travel to boating events such as the Historic Boat Show at Braunston and Crick Boat Show. As you may recall, our Branch has supported appeals for Sculptor in the past and we are in the process of assessing the work needed with a view to a new grant from the Legacy. CRT LOCK OPENING ON NORTHAMPTON ARM. CRT ar e holding a Lock Opening Weekend at Lock 17 (Far Cotton) on 9 th – 10th March. The Branch will be there with a publicity stand and we hope lots of our members, along with local residents and the general public, will come along and see us – a great chance to see the results of our volunteers’ hard work! The area around Lock 17 is perhaps the area where we have had the greatest impact and by March the thousands of daffodils we’ve planted should be in flower. If anyone can donate an hour or two of their time on our stand over the weekend to support our Branch we would be most grateful. Please contact either me or Geoff via our contact details on page 30 BRANCH AGM – 12TH MARCH 2019. J ust a r eminder of our AGM at the Walnut Tree Inn from 8pm on the 12th March. As always, we will endeavour to keep the official proceedings as brief as possible. There will be the second draw of our 100 Club during the evening. If you haven’t already joined, please support this Branch fundraising initiative. You have until 28th February 2019 to apply and pay for your shares. Details can be found on our web pages or by contacting Paul Lynam, our Treasurer. (See page11 for details) The AGM will also feature a talk by Keith Adams on the Restoration of the Stoke Bruerne Brick Wagon which I’m sure will be fascinating for us locals. AND FINALLY … Following publicity about my invite to meet HRH Pr ince Charles, I was asked to appear on Radio Northampton Drive Time programme on 11th December. It was an interesting experience during which I wanted to promote the Branch and all that we do in Northamptonshire, but the presenter was more keen to discuss my meeting with HRH … I did my best! Also, I was contacted by Canal Boat Magazine and asked to be the subject of their Twenty Questions Page. I have submitted my responses so keep an eye out! As Spring approaches, do make time to get out and about on or around our inland waterways. I intend to get planning some trips, both short and long, for the year ahead. We hear and read so much about “wellness” these days – no longer does it seem to mean the opposite of “illness”. Indeed, the World Health Organisation defines it as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

I can think of no better place than our waterways to benefit our physical, mental and social well-being. I hope to see many of you out-and-about in the near future.


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It was a very busy time for the Northampton Arm adoption group last year. We started with the de-watering of lock 1 and with CRT in attendance, the rubble was removed from behind the top gate and now the gate returns into its recess when opened and is not hit by boats using the lock. We then continued with the more bread and butter jobs of completing the vegetation clearance of the lock by-pass weirs and channels, our large winter litter pick at the Northampton end of the canal, fence repairs in the M1 motorway area and lock painting. We completed three large projects in the mural on one side of the main motorway carriage, the mosaic nature trail from lock 1 to lock 17 and the new towpath at Wootton Brook before lock 14. Some of the highlights for last year: We have run in excess of 40 Task Parties which clocked up 2300 volunteer hours. We have been well supported by Cummins Power Systems, Santander and Network Rail both in their attendance of volunteers and their donations. We assisted with the erection and taking down of the marquee and other equipment for the Stoke Bruerne Village at War weekend. Looking forward to this year we have the off side mural to complete under the motorway and the installation of the interpretation panels at locks 1, 14 and 17. On the downside we have noticed a significant increase in litter around the Briar Hill area and we will be dealing with this on our annual large litter pick. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers and corporate partners for their efforts and support over the year, so if you would like to help, please come along. The Arm is looking all the better for the efforts and you will be made very welcome. Details of Task Party dates are on page 4.


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NOTICE OF AGM IWA Northampton Branch NOTICE is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Northampton Branch of the Inland Waterways Association will be held on Tuesday, 12th March, 2019, at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth, commencing at 8pm. AGENDA: (please bring this agenda to the meeting) 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8:

Apologies for absence Minutes of previous AGM held on 13th March, 2018 Matters arising Chairman’s Report Treasurer’s Report Statement of Committee size Election of Committee members AOB

Under the IWA Branch bylaws effective from 12 November 2007, there is no restriction on the maximum size of the committee. Geoff Wood retires by rotation and seeks re-election. Catriona Butler was co-opted during the year and now seeks election. It is no longer necessary for those who wish to stand for election to be nominated and seconded but all who wish to stand must agree to do so. Written consents from Branch members wishing to stand for election should be deposited with Branch Secretary Sandie Morton before the commencement of the AGM business. (signed) Bernard Morton, IW A Northampton Branch Chairman IWA Northampton Branch now has a Facebook page. It’s at https://www.facebook.com/IWANorthamptonBranch Members will find posts there about our talks, Task Party dates and much more, as well as being able to use it for discussion purposes. We’d like to hear your views. We also have a Twitter account @northamptoniwa where you can leave us a message or engage in discussion on what’s happening.


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NORTHAMPTON BRANCH 100 CLUB

ROLL UP

ROLL UP

THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO BE IN THE DRAWS FOR 2019

CLOSING DATE 28TH FEBRUARY We have launched the Branch’s own 100 Club to raise funds for Branch activities. It will run annually, so we are asking for a single payment for each year for each share. Each member can have up to four £15 shares. (A total of 4 for couples with joint membership.) Based on 100 members the prizes will be -

1st £500 2nd £200 3rd £100

(These prizes will be adjusted pro-rata up or down if memberships are less or more than 100)

For 2019 and subsequent years there will be two Draws — one at the AGM in March, the other at the Annual Dinner or at the November or December Branch meetings. The prizes in each Draw will be 1st £250 2nd £100 3rd £50

(These prizes will be adjusted pro-rata up or down if memberships are less or more than 100)

We will, of course, publish the winners in Endeavour and report on how the 100 Club is doing in terms of fund-raising. Application forms are on our website www.waterways.org.uk/ northampton or contact Paul Lynam details below If you have any questions, please call me on 07817 461842 or email paul.lynam@waterways.org.uk Paul Lynam, Branch Treasurer


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Letters from Canal & River Trust Dear Volunteer Partners, I just wanted to send a message to say a massive thank you for all the work you do in partnership with the Trust. Since starting in my role in September I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you out on site, be it cutting vegetation, towpath improvements, restoring bridges, litter collection, fixing fencing, clearing lock by-washes, restoring locks, gardening, and many more activities. I have spent my whole career working in charities that have volunteering programmes but I’ve never encountered the level of dedication and enthusiasm I’ve met at the Trust. The work you all do is so important and our wonderful waterways, towpaths, greenspaces, buildings and assets would not be in such good shape if it was not for the effort you all put in. I don’t want to single any group out, as you all contribute in different and important ways. My ability to do my job is enhanced by understanding the great work that you do and just how much you do, so please do invite me to visit you on site so my understanding improves further. I also want to thank Scott and Wayne for the great work they do in supporting you all. We always want to try and improve how we support you and offer ever wider volunteering opportunities so do keep feeding back to us. Here is an early New Year’s resolution from me – next year I want to visit at least one volunteering project a month – and hopefully many more. In return may I suggest that a possible resolution for you and your volunteers would be to tell someone new about volunteering either in partnership or directly with the Trust and encourage them to get involved? Many thanks again to you all. Phil Mulligan, Director, East Midlands Region. Lovin’ it. This is just such worthwhile work and what a top draw end result. Thanks everyone. Scott Miller, Volunteering Development Coordinator (Partner Groups), East Midlands Region.


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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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DIESEL – always competively priced PUMP OUT – no meter clock here BLUE TOILET FLUID ODORLOS – organic waste tank treatment CALOR GAS – all sizes of bottled gas including Camping Gaz. SOLID FUELS – all types of smokeless fuel or coal. Plus firelighters, sticks and logs. CHARNWOOD STOVES – all sizes of multi-fuel stoves with or without boilers MORRIS OILS – popular grades of engine oil plus water resistant grease FUEL SET FUEL CONDITIONER

Most Major Credit Cards Accepted. Open: 8.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 1.00pm on Saturdays

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Telephone/Fax: 01327-341202 Email : rhigginbottom@btconnect.com

Northamptonshire RESTAURANT º BARS º TRIP BOAT DINE IN STYLE IN WOODWARD’S CANALSIDE RESTAURANT SPECIAL EVENTS Sunday 31st March Mothering Sunday Monday 23rd April St George’s Day Celebrations

01604 862428 www.boatinn.co.uk NORTHAMPTON ARM PLAQUES We’ve just restocked with these lovely brass plaques to commemorate your visit to the Arm. Available from Northampton Marina or from Sandie Morton 01604 858294 sandie.morton@waterways.org. uk for £10.


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OUTSTANDING SUCCESS FOR FIRST BRAUNSTON LITERARY FESTIVAL Over seventy book-enthusiasts braved the December cold, to attend two book launches – with selected passages from them read by actor and canal enthusiasts Timothy West and Prunella Scales. The event was held at All Saints Church, Braunston, by kind permission of the vicar, the Rev Nat White. The first book was A Summer on the Nene by ‘BB,’ with illustrations by D.J. WatkinsPitchford. This was a facsimile reprint by the CanalBookShop - and sponsored by Braunston Marina - of a now scarce and important book covering two voyages in a small boat on the River Nene in 1966 in the twilight years of river carrying. Tim Coghlan of Braunston Marina chaired the presentation, talking to the Vice Chairman of the BB Society, Chris Coles. The book is available for purchase at £15.95 – online from The CanalBookShop or from the Braunston Marina shop. Following this book, was Andree’s War, How One Y oung Woman Outwitted the Nazis. It was written by her daughter Francelle Bradford White - based on her mother’s diaries and Francelle’s conversations with her. Tim Coghlan also chaired this session, interviewing Francelle, with selected readings chosen by her, which were read by Timothy West and Prunella Scales. Aged 19, Andree was working in the Police Headquarters in Paris in 1940, when Paris fell. The Nazis kept the Paris Police on, but increasingly turned it into an instrument of terror, including rounding up the Jews. Andree was asked by the French Resistance to stay on as vital informant and providing false documentation, which she bravely did, leading a dangerous double life. Later she was betrayed, but survived interrogation and the war. Prunella’s reading of Andree’s diary-entry for the day that Paris fell in June 1940, reduced Francelle to tears. After the war, Andree was awarded the French highest honours by General de Gaulle, the Medaile de la Resistance, the Croix de guerre and the Legion d’honneur. The book is her previously unknown story of extraordinary courage and cunning. Copies of the book can be ordered through Braunston Marina. (sales@braunstonmarina.co.uk or 01788 891373) David Laing, the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, who presided over the event, said in his closing remarks, “I congratulate the organisers for the success of the ‘First Braunston Literary Festival.’ It deserves that title in view of that success, which has raised over £1,000 for the two charities, Crusader Community Boatings and Dementia UK.” He encouraged the organisers to consider holding it again. Tim Coghlan said , ‘On reflection, a one day-event with say 4 -5 new books, on the waterways and the local history / countryside, could work well. But at a warmer time of the year!’ Tim Coghlan also said, ‘I would like to give special thanks to North Oxfordshire The first Braunston Literary Festival team Wine, who generously supplied the fine (from left) David Laing, The Lord Lieutenant of Chilean red for mulled wine, which Northamptonshire, Chris Coles of the BB Society, proved both delicious and a lifesaver in the bleak mid-winter.’ Tim Coghlan of Braunston Marina, and actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales


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Branch winners receive prizes

Above is Bernard Wilson who won 2nd prize in the 100 Club November draw. Below is Liz Coghlan the winner of naming the Northampton Sea Cadets new boat competition with Scooby Doo. Both were presented with their cheques by Branch Chairman Bernard Morton at the January Branch social meeting.


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VISIT STOWE HILL WHARF FOR ALL Y

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 NEW — Fuel Polishing Service 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

ALL WORK UNDERTAKEN, FROM SIMPLE TASKS TO COMPLETE FIT-OUTS


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YOUR ESSENTIAL BOATING SERVICES


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Old Stager writes… EARLIER DAYS AT STOKE BRUERNE, COURTESY OF DAVID BLAGROVE I first became seriously aware of canals in the early 1960s. Although a lengthy dissertation I wrote some years previously had focused upon the history and operation of the system, it did not reflect the intimacy and personal involvement I was steadily developing in the topic. Living at the time in Essex at Southend-on-Sea, the family came back inland for boating holidays (we were always boat-minded, then sailing dinghies on the Thames Estuary) to Fenny Stratford where we hired wooden cruisers from the old Bletchley Boat Company. We often mixed it, especially at locks, with the last of the regular working boats. And I also remember well the bitter winter of 1962- 63 when the sea actually froze at Southend, and when, travelling on business north by train from Euston, being well aware of the iced-up cut and its stranded boats. David Blagrove, in his classic book, Bread Upon The W aters, vividly recalls this Siberian-style winter, although realistically by comparison with, say, Canada, it only achieved Mickey Mouse levels. But to us it was unarguably very, very nippy! Nevertheless, we learn from David that it coincided with a moment near the end of his period asa professional boatman when gearbox failure led to his being stuck at Stoke Bruerne from Christmas ’62 until release in March. But prophetically this enforced stoppage gave him the opportunity to get to know the Stoke area better and meet its people. In particular, these included the legendary Jack James. David recounts how Jack, a boat captain on the “beer boats” running between the Guinness Brewery at Park Royal in West London to Birmingham, had fallen victim to an earlier hard winter in 1946-47, which had seen off the end of this trade. Followed quickly by nationalisation, the situation prompted Jack to come ashore. He bought a canalside cottage from The coloured illustration on the book’s Sister Mary Ward at Stoke Bruerne, dust jacket was also painted by David — subsequently taking up the role as lock Indeed, a very talented man keeper


19 David writes: “Stoke Bruerne at the time was an unknown Northamptonshire village whose canalside was generally in a state of decay and neglect. Jack, remembering the smartness of Thames locks before the War, began tidying it up. He painted the double arched bridge white in his own time, put in flower tubs and roses round the top lock, mowed the grass all down the flight, painted lock beams and paddle posts, weeded, gravelled and trimmed until eventually the BTC (British Transport Commission) recognised his work and he was awarded the trophy for the best-kept lock on the entire system. More and more visitors came, attracted by Jack’s handiwork, and this, combined with the growth of private motoring in the 1950s, began Stoke Bruerne’s popularity. “In the little lock office adjoining the pub, where once the leggers had sat waiting for boats to work through Blisworth Tunnel, Jack kept a few mementoes of his horseboating days, such as harness, painted cans and so forth. This became an attraction in itself and he was asked to lay on an exhibition in the schoolroom at Stoke. The interest that this generated prompted Jack to seek the use of the derelict mill building, used merely as a store, which was on the canalside. “The BTC refused permission and proceeded to plan their own museum in the very same building. The collection of boating items which Jack had assembled, along with a collection of historical and engineering relics assembled by Mr Charles Hadlow, the District Engineer at nearby Gayton, was obtained and formed the nucleus of the exhibition. Mr Hadlow was appointed curator while Jack, who was due to retire as lock-keeper, was to be given the post of caretaker when the museum opened.” Without doubt, Bread Upon The W aters, published in 1984 by J.M.Pearson and Son, is a canal classic. To us in Northampton Branch, it is of especial interest because so much of its contents concerns “our patch”. One could quote from the book ad infinitum. So just one more piece. On the possibility of a working narrowboat revival, David says it is a question of crew availability. He writes (it was then the early 1980s): “The family boat system which I saw and lived with could not realistically be revived today. It had its benefits of course. Speaking with the experience of many years teaching adolescents (at nearby Roade Secondary School) I would hesitate to condemn a system where the extended family was so strong a unit as either socially or educationally undesirable. The children I knew grew up, as their forbears had done, to be sturdy, independent and intelligent – or at least those whose parents had these qualities did. Some grew up ignorant and stupid but even these had a spark of individualism and character one looks for in vain among youngsters of a similar social background in towns today. “However, I think it both doubtful and unrealistic to think that men and women would voluntarily choose to live with a family in a minute floating box, no matter how comfortable, or that they could ignore the needs of that family for the benefits of education and its concomitant opportunities. It is fine to have a romantic dream of the good life and of a hard but satisfying life style, of which boating has a fair measure


20 admittedly but the problems beyond this cosy, bourgeois illusion are real indeed. If such a revival should come, the crews will perforce be single men and women without families and perhaps with a permanent home on the bank. This is how it frequently was in the heyday of canals, and this is how both ‘Number Ones’…..and large concerns, such as Fellows, Morton and Clayton, ordered things well into the third and fourth decades of the twentieth century.” David concludes: “One thing is certain. The way life, both on the canals and in the surrounding villages and towns, which I have described and which was recognisably the same world that L.T.C. Rolt so eloquently pictured in Narrow Boat twenty years earlier has passed away forever. Change there must be, otherwise humanity will atrophy; though whether it is for the good or ill is debatable. Many of the characters are dead and most of the places have changed out of all recognition. One thing still endures, the cut. May its real friends ever increase and cherish it.”

DEALING WITH THE DREADED DREDGINGS Tim Coghlan reflects on a major two-year dredging exercise now completed at Braunston Marina, a significant benefit from which has been a major improvement to the ‘track’ for the annual Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally

Towards the end of 2016, we finally decided that we just to re-dredge Braunston Marina, taking all seven acres of our water space to a minimum depth of 1 metre. Parts of the marina had not been dredged since 1992, and in places the water-depth was under two feet, which was causing havoc to boats when the water level dropped below that, as it suddenly can do on the canals.

Dredging the Old Arm from the quayside using a digger with a long reach. The dumper truck beyond is seen waiting to be filled

Dredging is an exercise that marina operators dread, especially if there is historic contamination to the silt, and / or you cannot spread what comes out onsite. But whatever route you go, it is extremely costly. We were fortunate not to have contamination, and also to have the space to spread the


21 silt on our nine acre field, which is principally used for parking during our annual Historic Narrowboat Rally. But this exercise, undertaken by contractors GJP Marina Developments, was still to see little change out of £200,000. It was also to take the best part of nearly two years in order to allow time for the several thousand cubic metres of clay-dredgings that were extracted, to dry out before we could spread and seed them. Last year’s hot dry summer helped enormously in drying up the various dredging heaps, which had been stored behind makeshift water-holding bunds for fourteen months. Though still moist, we were finally able to spread the waste fairly roughly over a wide area, to hasten the drying process.

But before we did that final spread, we also decided to give a proper dredging to what we call the ‘Old Arm.’ This is the remnant of the Oxford Canal which runs past our two dry docks and terminates in our 1911 FMC Wet Dock – where once the old Oxford Canal had continued winding its way to Napton along Brindley’s original line. Since 1792, this whole area has been called “Braunston Warf,” and the name is still included in our official postal address. Because the Old Arm is a dead end, with only occasional water movement caused by the emptying and filling of the dry docks, it seems to attract the depositing of silt. This comes in constantly, suspended in the waters that descend the six wide locks of the nearby Braunston Flight. Another source is the silt that is stirred by the engines of boats in the marina, and also on the move on the Grand Union Canal outside the entrance - which is the busiest stretch of canal in the country. In one corner of the Old Arm, deep drafted boats of the historic sort – of which we see a good few at Braunston Marina were starting to go aground. This was despite the Old Arm being thoroughly dredged to a good depth in 1994. The dredging of the Old Arm was carried out from the Wharf quaysides. We used a digger with a very long reach. To remove the spoil, we employed a pair of large dumper trucks, which were only halffilled at a time, to avoid slopping as they moved off down the road to the field. This was in contrast to the earlier dredging of the two marina basins, which had been done using a much smaller digger on a special barge. The spoil extracted from there was deposited into a floating

The handle-less King Edward VIII coronation mug found in the Old Arm dredgings


22 hopper, and then emptied by a digger on the bank, into the awaiting dumper trucks. For this exercise, we used a specially constructed concrete quayside, which cost £40,000. The spoil was then moved to the bunds. All in all, both operations were quite a cumbersome process. Once our contractor began the final spreading - telling me the result would look like a golf course – various boatmen artifacts began to emerge. There were the usual bits of clay pipe and old bottles, parts of dumped stoves and engine parts, old pennies, tobacco tins and the like. A local metal detector enthusiast asked me to let him have a go, which I agreed to on condition he showed me anything interesting that he found. But there was nothing, beside a pair of steel-rimmed glasses, which must have been a hundred years old. He kindly allowed me to keep them for our display in the marina shop, amongst the cumulated display of old artifacts that, over the years, had been found in and around the marina. But one thing of interest did emerge from the Old Arm, and this was where the working boatmen used to moor whilst their boats were being repaired or they were awaiting orders – something that carried on until 1970. The object that was found had once been a rather finely-made coronation mug for King Edward VIII, but it had lost its handle. The mug is somewhat rare because that king was never crowned, having abdicated in 1936 only months after becoming king. But here he is, in all his coronation finery that he never lived to wear - the mug scroll ironically proclaiming, ‘King Edward VIII, crowned 12th May, 1937’. Just when the mug lost its handle and was then thrown into the Old Arm is not known. But it proves that even the working boatmen could not resist dumping things in the Cut. Today the spreading exercise is complete, and the newly sown grass is coming along well. Soon you might never know it ever happened, and we will have the next best thing to a golf course – the temptation to put in a putting green being almost irresistible! The car parking for the Historic Narrowboat Rally will also dramatically improve, following the levelling of much of the slope. And hopefully we will have twenty five dredging-free years ahead.


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RICHARD GILL

BSc, MABSE

30 YEARS WORKING ON THE WATERWAYS

Grand Union, Oxford & Leics Canals Rivers Nene and Thames RING: 07889 10 99 39 rgbarcos70@btinternet.com

We extend a warm welcome to the following who has joined Northampton Branch since the last issue of Endeavour

MEMBER MOVED TO THE BRANCH Mr S Rogers, Bourne, L incolnshire

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CRUISE LONG OR SHORT, Write a report about your cruise, let others know the good and not so good places to moor, eat, drink, places of interest worth visiting and anything else that might help others to enjoy that area. Let us know of any mishaps or interesting things that happened on your journey. Include pictures of your cruise, unusual things, scenery and anything else that you want to add. In the August edition, Bernard and Sandy Morton told us about their trip along the K&A. In November John Pomfret explained the Northern canals. So please let me have your accounts for others to enjoy. Editor 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)


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Now fully open

**STOP PRESS**

WHILTON MARINA CHANDLERY

Mini Boat Gathering

Diesel

Pump out

Well stocked chandlery  Groceries Pay us a visit, just browse and see what we have to offer 

Open daily 9am –6pm ALL YEAR ROUND Tel 01327 844639 E-mail: marinachandlery@gmail.com

The Branch will be hosting a Mini Boat Gathering at the Stoke Bruerne Village at War Saturday and Sunday th

7 – 8th September 2019. Put the dates in your diaries! Free moorings and free entry to the event in exchange for assistance at the event. Further details in next issue of Endeavour.


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BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOCIETY Work continues on Bridge One at Cosgrove with our own volunteers and the students from Milton Keynes College. For those who don’t know much about our Cosgrove bridge project, the grant money will cover the costs of the materials to rebuild Bridge One but all the practical work is carried out by our volunteers. A lot of work has also been a carried on the towpath. Because of another grant we have been able to make quite a difference to the state of the towpath both before and after Bridge One and this work will continue over the next few months. Blue, our excavator, has a new bucket on it and by using it along the towpath we are able to speed up the work on the path which was done by hand before using mattocks. We are also hoping to re-water the next section of the canal up to Bridge Two in the next month or so. This will mean the whole section of the canal we planned to rewater will now be in water and will make a great deal of difference for the local wild life and people walking along the towpath. Work is also continuing at our sites at Bourton Meadow and Hyde Lane Nature Reserve and we have received several requests from outside companies who worked with us last and are eager to join our volunteers again this year.

Dates for your Diary BCS AGM Saturday 23th March 7.15 at Buckingham Community Centre with a talk by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Society Weekend of 20th – 21st July BCS Canal Festival & Craft Fair at Cosgrove Boat booking form are available to attend the festival from events@buckinghamcanal.org.uk. All IWA members would be very welcome to come and see the progress being made at Bridge One, Cosgrove and at our other sites. Athina Beckett Buckingham Canal Society


29 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 1/4 Page (box) £12.00 +VAT 1/2 Page (box) £25.00 +VAT Full Page £40.00 +VAT Other sizes by arrangement

10% discount for 4 issues paid yearly in advance 5% discount for 4 issues paid quarterly

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

Regular Branch Social Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month from October to May inclusive at

THE WALNUT TREE INN, BLISWORTH, at 8pm

All members and non-members welcome Food and drink available

NEXT MEETINGS 12th March AGM followed by Keith Adams — Restoration of Stoke Bruerne Brick Wagon 9th April Speaker: Mike Partridge — Overnight Moorings ...50 Years On! 14th May: Lorna York — Boating Families

The next edition of Endeavour will be published in May 2019


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Branch Chairman Bernard Morton 07785 375787/ 01604 858294 E-mail: bernard.morton @waterways.org.uk

Vice Chairman, Joint Task Party Organiser & Membership Secretary Geoff Wood E-mail: geoff.wood @waterways.org.uk

Branch Secretary Sandie Morton 01604 858294 E-mail: sandie.morton @waterways.org.uk

Joint Task Party Organiser Michael Butler E-mail: michael.butler @waterways.org.uk

Planning Officer Helen Westlake E-mail: helen.westlake @waterways.org.uk

Branch Meetings Catriona Butler E-mail: catriona.butler @waterways.org.uk

Treasurer Paul Lynam E-mail: paul.lynam @waterways.org.uk

Newsletter Tony Clarke 07305 893924 E-mail: tony.clarke @waterways.org.uk

Committee Member

Non-Committee posts Endeavour Assistant Editor, Advertising & Distribution, Archivist Roger Hasdell 01604 248582

Website and Media Officer Gail Anscombe E-mail gail.asncombe @waterways.org.uk

John Pomfret E-mail: john.pomfret @waterways.org.uk

The Inland Waterways Association is a membership charity that works to protect and restore the country's 6,500 miles of canals and rivers.

Vacancies Publicity and Grants Officer Committee Member


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Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Feb 2019  

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Feb 2019  

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