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HEREWARD AUTUMN 2012 Sunset over 40 foot River

John Revell The IWA charity registered number 212342 The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the Peterborough Branch. They are, however, published as being of interest to our members and readers

Wednesday 21st November 2012

The Recent History of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Talk by Roy Chandler, Chairman of Essex Waterways Ltd.

Wednesday 5th December 2012

The Future of the Peterborough Branch - A Crisis Meeting—Note the Date!! All members are invited to attend to offer their views on this topic and to discuss with the existing officers how the branch works and what improvements could be made.

Wednesday 16th January 2013

A Cruise on the Cut Long- time local IWA supporter and renowned entertainer Derek Harris returns with a new programme

Wednesday 20th February 2013

EA Annual Review Irven Forbes will again come and bring us up to date on what is happening on the Environment Agency waterways.

Wednesday 20th March 2013

Branch AGM Followed by a Guest Speaker—to be announced in next ‘Hereward’. All meetings to take place at our usual venue, Peterborough Indoor Bowls Centre, Burton Street, Peterborough PE1 5HA commencing at 7.30pm.

Members and Non-members Welcome



he summer has been and gone, such as it was. The wettest drought in history saw flooding and closures and the creation of a small independent nation forming outside Denver Lock. The CRT has come into existence and at the recent Region meeting Northampton Branch did say that the initial signs are encouraging. Although everyone is hopeful it is not yet certain that EA will be taken into the charity and we shall have to wait and see.

New National Chairman The Trustees have elected and ratified the appointment of Les Etheridge, formerly chairman of Finance Committee as the new National Chairman. One of his first actions was to publish his strategy for the future role of the IWA, containing four main points which are:• •

Differentiating IWA Ensuring that management of our inland waterways develops inline with IWA’s vision. • Increasing the profile of boating within IWA. • Ensuring that IWA is seen as an active organisation that benefits both the inland waterways and represents good value to our members. Personally I regard this as an excellent start, especially points 1 & 3. Let us not forget the work done by Clive Henderson and others in negotiating (often behind the scenes and unacknowledged) with Government to ensure we got as good a settlement to start CRT off on the right foot as was possible. There are a number of very important issues, or if you prefer, challenges the branch has to face and in this issue you will see a piece on the members night and next years AGM. Please consider them very carefully.

Easter Cruise 2013 I did think that I was going to get out of this one but I discovered that Easter is early next year so I guess we will have one last Chairman’s Easter Cruise and thrash round the Middle Level. Good Friday is March 29th and I thought a trip to Holme Fen followed by a run round to Stonea for Saturday night. Just a thought at this stage, more details later.



MEMBERS NIGHT Wednesday 5th December


t a recent Committee meeting we discussed the subject of the future of the Branch after next March’s AGM.

Both Nigel and I have announced our firm intention to stand down from the executive roles. Nigel and a couple of other members have indicated that they want to the leave the committee totally whilst I may remain as a member. However the committee will be desperately short of bodies, possibly to the point of unsustainability! We have decided that the meeting on Wednesday 5th December will be given over to a members night. Please come along and use the evening to meet the committee and discuss what is involved and see if you feel able to give some time to the committee and continue the excellent work that has been done over the last 10 years. Examples are Ramsey Hollow Bridge, excellent socials, cruises, contribution to MLWC to assist with Benwick Moorings and of course our mooring at Three Holes which should be completed by Christmas. WE NEED YOU, PLEASE DON’T ASSUME SOMEONE ELSE WILL DO IT!



his is straight forwardly an appeal for help; as you all know we have been campaigning for years to get the EA to re-open the lock and channel. Pressure from IWA has forced the Agency to admit they own the Lock and ought to repair it, although financial constraints mean that this is very unlikely this will be done in the short term. However no-one can claim clear ownership of the actual channel. One proposed solution is for the EA to lease the whole lot back to the IWA for a nominal sum for us to repair. Whilst there are still questions to be answered as to the title to parts of the channel nothing will happen if we cannot find some one to manage our end of the deal. Therefore I am asking whether somewhere in our Branch or Region is anyone willing and able to take on the role of leading this project. IWA will give help, Roy Sutton will lend engineering knowledge and our new Project/Campaign officer Alison Smedley is very keen to provide support. It will require someone able to co-ordinate and liaise with various bodies and will take time but this is an opportunity for someone to take on a project that will benefit our waterways for years. Please contact me if you want to know more.

Alastair 2




he latest meetings took place on 21st September and 10th October. A number of interesting points arose during the course of those meetings. 1) Licence fees for 2013/4: you will remember that the EA decided in 2012 to impose a three – year settlement under which licence fees would rise for each of the three years starting this year (2012/3) at the rate of 2% plus the rate of CPI in July of each year. That formula was subject to an annual review. In this year the formula resulted in a rise of 2% + 4.4%, a total of 6.4%. For next year the proposal under the formula was for 2% + 2.6%, a total of 4.6%. This was, however, against a background in which boat registrations had reduced this year. The problem was in assessing why there had been such a decline. Relevant factors clearly included the weather, the Olympics and the effects of the changes to the Cam Interchange Agreement. Given also that at the time of discussion the 6.4% increase had only been in effect for less than 6 months and you will readily understand why it was difficult to draw any firm conclusions. The Group therefore decided that it would for the forthcoming year not object to an increase of 4.6% but this was subject to the caveat that there should when the increase was considered this time next year be a full review of the effects of the increases and other factors on boat numbers. By then the final figures for 2012/3 would be available along with the figures for the early part of 2013/4 making it possible to draw some conclusions as to the effect of the increases. Meanwhile, the EA itself has yet to make a final decision on next year’s rise. 3

2) Volunteering: you will be aware that one of the main focuses of the CRT is to seek to gain assistance from volunteers. The EA is now thinking along similar, although apparently more modest, lines. An EA paper had been prepared which represented the first attempt to reduce to writing the views of Anglia Region. From this it appeared that the intention was to create some form of structure within the Navigation department dedicated to volunteering; there was no mention of using volunteers recruited by other organisations. From our point of view we obviously raised the question why WRG was not even mentioned. We received the usual response that WRG did not meet EA Health and Safety requirements. As on previous occasions no attempt was made to justify how the Agency had got itself into a situation whereby its H & S rules are more stringent than those of CRT. This is an issue which will not go away and which the Agency will have to address sooner or later. The Agency is turning its back on valuable assistance. Many of you will know that meanwhile CRT has recently commissioned WRG to repair two bridges on the Northern Oxford canal. 3) The Capital Plan: the updated Capital Plan was available. From the point of view of this branch the main item related to the landing stages above and below locks on the Nene. You will know that over a number of years users have contributed to a detailed view which has been carried out to establish definitively what defects there are at each site e.g. stages too short, in the wrong place etc. The very good news is that in the current quarter (i.e. October to December) the Agency is for the first time actually going to carry out work on some of these sites to make improvements. The intention is that the first tranche will be comprised of some “quick wins”. 4) Cam Interchange Agreement: you will all know of the changes which were made to the interchange agreement with effect from 1st April last. Whether based on the Cam or in Anglia region craft which wished to use that part of the Cam operated by the Cam Conservators were forced to pay a sum over and above the rate of the EA Anglia licence charge, a charge which itself was raised by 6.4% on 1st April. At the meeting there was heavy criticism of both the EA and Cam Conservators. Much ill- feeling had been generated by these changes yet from the figures we were shown the total amount of money raised from licences by the two bodies in the period to 31st August 2012 was remarkably similar to the figures for the whole of 2011/12. It was suggested that both organisations were due to receive further money in the current financial year but why that should occur so late in the “season” was hard to fathom. In short, the consensus view was that the whole project had been badly handled and to little purpose. The clear losers have been the users who have not visited Cambridge by water this year. A comparison of the number of Agency craft registered this year to visit that part of the Cam with the figures for visiting craft for the previous year suggests a reduction of about 250 craft. What the two authorities will now do with the system they have created is not clear. There is a further issue on the horizon. You will remember that in the current year boaters with Gold Licences do not have to pay an additional sum to visit Cambridge. In answer to a question it was confirmed that the imposition of a charge on Gold Licence users remains a possibility for 2013/4. Nigel Long 4



Diesel - Calor





onstruction work on the new moorings at Three Holes should very soon be underway following finalisation of the last few outstanding details in the contract. Subject to weather it is hoped that the job should be complete by Christmas.


he existing moorings at Whittlesey have also had an upgrade having been refurbished and provided with a new non-slip walkway surface. The work has been undertaken through the local authority with the aid of a generous gift from Fox’s Boats.


lthough it’s early days with the CRT, improvements noted this summer have been the appearance of volunteer lock-keepers at many lock flights that in BW days were never manned. Braunston and Hillmorton are two noted and with both these flights having a propensity for long queues at peak times, this is a welcome development. The lock gates at Braunston had also received a lick of paint with signs stating that the work had been done on a volunteer basis by staff from Coors Brewery at Burton. There does seem to be a good spirit in the new regime with the volunteer ‘lockies’ all being very chatty and helpful and many of them seem to be boaters. Lets hope it bodes well for the future. We hope you will please support our advertisers in return for the continued valuable support they give to the Branch in making this publication possible.

Mill Drove, Ramsey Cambs. PE26 2RD Tel: 01487 813621

Moorings occasionally available, £11.60 per foot per year + VAT, if paid annually. Slipway for bottom blacking from £120.00 Chandlery, Fuel, Gas, Toilets, Shower We stock Rylard & Craftmaster Paints, Anodes, Coflex, Rust Konverta, Incralac etc. 7



n the Spring Edition I explained at some length the reasons behind the decision of Fenland District Council to close the Pump Out and Elsan Disposal facilities at March following the failure of the pump which supported those functions. Rubbish disposal and a potable water supply remained available. I am pleased to be able to report that there has subsequently been a change of heart on the part of the Council. As a result the decision has been taken to carry out a complete refurbishment of the site and to reinstate both the Pump Out and Elsan disposal facilities. The necessary work is already under way and is due to be completed by the middle of October. A charge will be levied for use of the Pump Out –currently fixed at £12.50- payable via a tokens system. Tokens can be bought from the Council’s George Campbell Leisure Centre [behind the library] and from its One Stop Shop in Broad Street, March. The Elsan disposal, potable water and refuse disposal facilities will remain available without charge; to access them you will require the use of a Middle Level key. I am sure that you will all agree that this is a very satisfactory outcome given the severe financial constraints under which local authorities are operating and that thanks are due to Fenland District Council for the backing it has given to waterway tourism by its decision.

Nigel Long





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ith the ever increasing cost of boating and in particular the rising price if diesel fuel, some of us may be looking to cut down on our cruising hours to balance the budget. This does not necessarily mean restricting the places we visit if use is made of public transport for trips out from the boat. For those fortunate enough to be in possession of a bus pass then this is a ready way of saving some money. Our late summer cruise this year took us up to the Midlands, taking the North Oxford, Coventry and Trent & Mersey Canals into Staffordshire. While we were out we took some interesting bus rides to places just off the canal line. Our first outing was to Lichfield. While a tantalising glimpse of the three spires of the cathedral is offered from the Trent & Mersey above Fradley, both this canal and the Coventry miss the city by a few miles. We moored overnight at Hopwas and after a pleasant meal and a pint in the ‘Tame Otter’ we were off the following morning on Arriva 765 from the stop by the pub to Lichfield. The route into the city follows Tamworth Road and passes alongside the restoration work taking place on the Lichfield Canal. For those interested it would be easy to break here and view the progress. Lichfield is a city with a rich cultural history being the Dr Johnson’s Birthplace birthplace of Dr Samuel Johnson, the author of the first comprehensive English dictionary. His home in the market square now forms an interesting museum which is well worth a visit. David Garrick and Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin, were other famous members of this group of philosophers. The famous three-spired cathedral was built between 1195 and 1249 and bears a heavily ornate west front. There are some secluded herb gardens in the nearby vicar’s residence and academic buildings. The city has a good range of shops and many diverse eating places and staying on the value theme, has two Wetherspoons. The bus takes a detour through the barracks of The Mercian Regiment which explains the ‘Keep Out – Firing Range’ warning signs in evidence as the canal passes through the nearby Hopwas Wood. We cruised on through Fradley onto the Trent & Mersey Canal and paused at Wolseley Bridge. Here there is an antiques centre with craft shops and cameos of bygone rural life together with a Garden Centre, Nature & Wildlife Park and ‘The Wolseley Arms’. With good moorings this is a useful overnight stop. Stafford is another town that is currently not served by canal although there is a plan afoot to restore the River The Swan at Fradley Sow to navigation and thus remedy this deficiency. For the time being the Arriva 825 provides a ready connection to the county town with again a stop right on the canal bridge. 11

Shiny new boats on show at Crick

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Stafford was founded around 700AD as a bridgehead across the Sow and surrounding marshy ground. Situated on the main west coast railway line it has a history of heavy electrical engineering with our own Perkins also having an engine factory there. It has a mix of half-timbered Tudor style and stone and brick Georgian buildings which form a pleasant town centre which is predominantly trafficfree. One of the half-timbered buildings, The Ancient High House now houses the town museum but we were particularly impressed by St Chad’s church which sits right in the main square but could easily be missed. St Chads is the oldest building in Stafford, and "Stafford's hidden gem" - a working church in the Anglo-Catholic tradition and a treasure house of unique and mysterious Norman carving. A very knowledgeable guide gave us a thorough tour of this very interesting building. The next bus trip was one that as boaters we are not proud of but we have to confess to taking the 110 bus from Fazeley up to Birmingham rather than tackle the 38 locks of the Curdworth, Minworth and Farmers Bridge Flights. We are making the excuse that we had St Chads to visit friends near Tamworth on the way back and did not have the time or the strength to go up and down on the same trip! The 110 whisked us up the hill in just on the hour and we found Birmingham in fete with an arts and crafts festival in full swing in the city centre. Although it is our second city, Birmingham is perhaps not high on many people’s ‘must visit’ lists but the city does have some fine civic buildings in the Town Hall, the Art Gallery and Museum plus two very contrasting cathedrals in the RC St Chads and the Anglian St Philips. St Chads is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Augustus Pugin in his inimitable Victorian High Gothic style. Completed in 1841 it was elevated to cathedral status in 1852. St Philips was built in the early 18th century in the Baroque style by Thomas Archer and is much plainer with the interior being more reminiscent of a non-conformist chapel with balconies supported on substantial marble columns. The building incorporates some very impressive stained glass windows. Being boaters we had to visit Brindley Place and on this sunny August Sunday afternoon it was thronging with people enjoying the atmosphere and the many eating places which line the waterways. This must be the foremost example of the benefits that canal restoration and regeneration can bring and while much has been done in other cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, they don’t quite come up to the standards Brindley Place set by Birmingham. We took a walk down the Farmers Bridge flight as far as Snow Hill and 13

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there was a boat coming up in almost every lock. We chatted to some of the crews and made our confession to having come by bus which gave rise to some light-hearted ribbing. In the lock beneath the PO tower a gang of BW (sorry CRT) men were bow-hauling a The Rootless Forest BCN Joey Boat filled with a mini-forest made of real trees and soil planted onto the boat. The Rootless Forest is a mobile artwork conceived by Birmingham Institute of Art and Design which toured the canals of Birmingham and the Black Country from 31 August to 7 October. Along its route the boat moored at Birmingham’s Brindley Place and Eastside districts and at Walsall Wharf next to the New Art Gallery Walsall. When fully constructed, The Rootless Forest will weigh 15 tonnes, with 100 trees up to 3 metres tall planted along its 16 metre length. The trees are all native to the UK and include alder and birch. Donated by Walsall City Council, they will be re-planted in Walsall Arboretum once the project is complete. During the journey, the boat broadcast recorded stories from people affected by the current Afghan conflict. Back to Fazeley we resumed our homeward journey through Glascote and onto Atherstone. We decided to take a look into Tamworth as again we had seen tantalising 14

glimpses of the town’s skyline from the canal but never visited. We took the Arriva 765 from Atherstone back to Tamworth but be warned this is one of those routes that diverts through many residential estates and takes over an hour. A better bet on reflection for Tamworth is to take the 110 from Fazeley which is much quicker. Tamworth is a work-a-day town which on the Tuesday we visited was holding a sizeable street market with some good bargains to be had. Tamworth’s main attraction is the Norman Castle. Overlooking the River Tame, the site has been fortified since Anglo-Saxon times and the castle served as a residence of the Mercian kings. During the Civil War the castle was captured by parliamentary forces after a brief siege. DurMarket Square. Tamworth ing the 18th century the castle fell into disrepair but after improvements by the 19th century the castle was let out to tenants including Robert Peel. The castle is now owned by Tamworth Corporation and was depicted in a work by the English Romantic artist Turner. The final leg of our journey took us past Hawkesbury Junction or Suttons Stop to the old boatman. Whilst the cruise along the Coventry arm is now not an unpleasant trip since this section of the canal has undergone much regeneration, it does twist and turn and take some time so we walked along the towpath to Longford Bridge where there are numerous buses along Foleshill Road taking the direct road into the city. Much of Coventry’s centre was rebuilt in the fifties and sixties following the devastation of WW2 and the main attraction is the Cathedral complex with the new Basil Spence creation standing at right angles to the ruined original building of which only the tower and 295ft high spire, the third highest in England, survive intact. Coventry was, and still is to a lesser extent the home of motor vehicle manufacture and the splendid Motor Museum is a must visit attraction. It covers every aspect of the motor industry including cars, commercials and cycles and there is also a section on Coventry’s wartime experience and how the city coped with the blitz. Returning to the canal we took the obligatory drink Queen Mary’s Daimler in ‘The Greyhound’, one of the foremost pubs on the Coventry Museum system where a warm welcome and good ale and food are always guaranteed. It was then back through Rugby, Hillmorton and Braunston to Crick to round off our Boat and Bus cruise. More pictures in colour are included on Inside Back Cover Philip Halstead 15


COMMITTEE MEMBERS CHAIRMAN: Alastair Chambers 52 Hereward Way, Deeping St James, Peterborough PE6 8QB Tel: 01778 344438 e-mail: DEPUTY CHAIRMAN & SALES OFFICER: Graham Baughn PO Box 15, 10 Marina Drive, March, Cambs PE15 0AU Tel: 07578-753558 e-mail: SECRETARY: Nigel Long 7 Georgian Court, Peterborough PE3 6AF Tel: 01733 553782 e-mail: TREASURER: Michael Slaughter 45 Elstone, Orton Waterville, Peterborough PE2 5JZ Tel: 01733 390598 e-mail: MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY: Carole Chambers 52 Hereward Way, Deeping St James, Peterborough PE6 8QB Tel: 01778 344438 e-mail: EDITOR: Philip Halstead, 20 Cane Avenue, Peterborough PE2 9QT Tel: 01733 348500 e-mail: John Dudley, 1 Bellmans Road, Whittlesey, Peterborough PE7 1TY Tel: 01733 202581 Roger Mungham Boatmans Cottage, Workhouse Lane, Upwell, Wisbech PE14 9ET Tel: 01945 773002 e-mail:

Roger Sexton, 2 Shaw Drive, March, Cambridgeshire PE15 9TB Tel: 01354 652329 David Venn, Bruffs Lodge, High Street, Nordelph, Downham Market PE38 0BL Tel: 01366 324102 Richard Fairman, The Old Railway House, Cowbit, Spalding, Lincs PE12 0XD Tel: 01406 380575


THE MIDLANDS BY BOAT & BUS Story on page 11 The Bull Ring, Birmingham

Farmers Bridge with the BT Tower

Tamworth Castle

Lichfield Cathedral

Stafford Museum

The Greyhound, Suttons Stop

Hereward Autumn 2012  
Hereward Autumn 2012  

The Magazine of the Peterborough Branch of the Inland Waterways Association