Newsletter of Guildford & Reading Kent & East Sussex Oxfordshire and Solent & Arun Branches
Clive Henderson (IWA Chairman, centre) flanked by the recipients of this yearâ€™s IWA Awards which were presented at the AGM in Kidderminster on 24th September. Regional awards of the Richard Bird medal went to Ron & Mary Heritage (on extreme left) and Ray Carnell (3rd from right). [Photo: Harry Arnold â€“ Waterway Images]
ABA craft 'Dawn' passes the assembled steam boats at this year's Fox & Hounds Rally
See report on ABA Anniversary Celebrations on Page 15
[Photo: Ray Carnell]
Editorial This final edition of Cargoes for 2011 contains contrasting news of waterways around our Region – some quite encouraging but others less so with threats from ever tightening budgets. As always at this time of year the season of outside events gives way to indoor meetings and we are pleased to publish a full programme from around the Region and beyond, some meetings are organised by IWA Branches and others by various Societies and Trusts at which IWA Members are always welcome. You can see at a glance what is on and where by going to page 6 to 8 – we think you’ll find the list is impressive and, hopefully, useful. Last year we mentioned the increasing concern about the costs of printing and distributing a quarterly Regional Newsletter like Cargoes and some saving in postage was achieved by centralised despatch from Head Office. But more economies are sought. One suggestion is to change to 3 editions a year instead of the current 4 – as some may recall this arrangement existed in the days of Cargoes’ predecessor GuaRdSmAn (Newsletter of the Guildford & Reading and Solent & Arun Branches in the 1990s). However, at the same time, Branches are being encouraged to do more for their membership in a bid to avoid the downward trend in membership retention. Whether a reduction in the annual Newsletter Cycle is really the way to set about encouraging membership participation is, we would suggest, open to question but maybe a greater use of electronic communication will help. One step in that direction which could produce a useful economy would be if some members with Email would be prepared to access Cargoes ‘on line’ with the option of downloading a pdf if desired. Further details of these proposals are contained in Chris Wardley’s article on page 5. Finally, the AGM season beckons and Notices of the Branch AGMs are on page 9. Following revision of the Region Byelaws removing the requirement for Regional AGMs, no South East Region AGM will be held in 2012. In conclusion we would like to wish all our readers the Compliments of the Season Cargoes Editorial Team
STOP PRESS: IWA ‘Call to Arms’ over funding for new Waterways Charity
In a Press Release issued in early November IWA asks every waterways supporter to express concern about funding for the CRT by writing to their MP. We hope all members will heed this call. For more details see the website: www.waterways.org.uk. Cover photo: Thames Barge ‘Centaur’ at the Quay, Wivenhoe, during IWA trip from Maldon on the River Blackwater to Wivenhoe on the River Colne in September (see page 11). [Photo: Gareth Jones]
From the Region Chairman Well its now less than six months before British Waterways is expected to be turned into a charity now named as the Canal and River Trust (CRT). After an apparent hiatus in meetings during mid-summer there is now much going on in which IWA is playing a major role. The results of the public consultation into the formation of the charity were recently announced by DEFRA together with the government’s response. The detailed IWA response, submitted in mid-June, was well received by many other waterway bodies and it influenced the response of some. There was a good degree of consistency across the various stakeholders and the government has acknowledged that navigation needs to figure much more prominently in the function of the charity. Government has also reaffirmed its commitment to including EA navigations by 2015 subject to affordability and the agreement of the trustees. Of course the consultation did not address the crucial issue of funding but that did not prevent IWA and others from expressing its considerable concern that the indicative funding package was insufficient to get the charity off to a good start. Clive Henderson and I met a number of the transition trustees in early September and we were impressed with the work they have put in so far and their vision for the future. These trustees have a proven track record in their respective fields particularly with charitable fund raising which will be so important. They are, as I write this, negotiating with DEFRA over the financial settlement and there are good indications of DEFRA’s willingness to improve on the current offer. IWA was also influential in re-establishing the All Party Parliamentary Working Group which took evidence during the summer resulting in a report to the minister which bore many similarities to IWA views. There is now a supplementary consultation on the terms of the transfer order under the Public Bodies Bill. This is relatively straightforward and IWA’s response will have gone in by the time you read this. A word about EA navigations and in particular the Thames where the 50% cut in government grant is having an effect. Registration charges are likely to increase substantially, empty lock cottages are set to be leased out, paid lock keepers are not being replaced and service standards are under pressure. Ironically this was what some Thames boaters predicted would happen if Thames joined the charity well wake up chaps its happening right now! The other national issue that has some relevance to the waterways is the consultation on the new National Planning Policy Framework which proposes radical changes to planning law and guidance. You may have heard that the National Trust have criticised government over this. IWA’s position is to be more cautious. We recognise that reforms are needed in planning law and it has to be made simpler. There may be some loss of safeguards but there are opportunities as well. IWA is not raising any major concerns over this flagship of government policy. Let me now turn to specific IWA issues. The trustees remain vigilant over the need to maintain membership numbers in difficult economic times. There have been a
5 number of proposals but branches are being encouraged to do more that visibly involves members in worthwhile projects that improve our local waterway corridors. We are not particularly strong on doing this in South East Region but we will have to look more carefully at the opportunities for this. The trustees are also continually looking at ways to reduce operating costs and are looking hard at the cost of producing and distributing branch/region magazines such as Cargoes. This is controversial and opinions vary but something will probably have to be done as postal charges escalate. You will see elsewhere in this issue, details of arrangements being made for members to receive Cargoes electronically rather than as a posted hard copy. I for one will be taking up this option. Finally as regards boating this has been a very lean year for me due to personal circumstances. However I did make the Burton national festival which was excellent. Iâ€™m about to enjoy one last trip down the South Oxford to get my diesel tank cleaned out at Tooleyâ€™s Yard (I sucked some out from the bottom of my tank and didnâ€™t like what I saw). I have now taken to using diesel additives to overcome moisture and also the dreaded diesel bug. We have experienced two very hard winters and I read the predictions that we may well be heading for another if not a mini ice age! I may have to seriously consider full winterising the boat if this happens although this would deny me the use of an overnight base when I make regular trips to meetings in the midlands. Paul Roper
Electronic Cargoes The association is examining all possible ways in which overhead costs can be reduced. The cost of printing and distribution of newsletters, such as Cargoes, is included in this review. The unit cost of each printed copy of Cargoes is one of the lowest in the association but the cost of postage, even at the special volume rates available centrally, doubles it. For a while Cargoes has been available to view and manipulate on the association's website at http://www.waterways.org.uk/regions_branches/south_east/cargoes. There are three ways of viewing it; magazine (standard), presentation and page view. These options are shown in the toolbar above the image. Whilst these and other options, including that to print pages, meet the needs of the majority of users others want a further option. Now on the website page, in addition to the table with links to available copies of the newsletter, in the top left hand corner of the table there is a link to download a pdf version of the latest edition. This can be viewed, saved and managed in the same way as other such files.
6 The way data files (including Cargoes) are managed on the association website, using external file systems such as Issuu, is to limit the size of server space required, thereby reducing management and hosting costs. Hence we have the facility of holding only the latest edition in pdf format on the association’s server. Some members will prefer to have access to Cargoes only in these electronic formats whilst others may be willing to do so. In due course, branches will be consulting with those of their members for whom a current Email address is held by IWA Head Office about using these options. Chris Wardley
Diary of Meetings & Events Wed 16th Nov, S&HCS: 'Waterways of South Holland' by Roger Squires [see page 17] Thu 17th Nov, 7:00pm for 7:30pm, IWAKES: ‘Chichester Ship Canal Trust’ by Linda Wilkinson [see page 26] Thu 17th Nov, 7.30pm, Salisbury Group: ‘Secret Canals of Britain’ by Stuart Fisher [see page 10] Wed 30th Nov, 7:45pm, K&A (Newbury): ‘Canals of Nova Scotia’ by Mike & Lynn Bassett [see page 20] Thu 1st Dec, 7:15pm for 7:30pm, IWAKES: ‘The Boat Safety Scheme its Introduction on the EA River Medway’, by Phil Rickett & Philip Munslow [see page 26] Thu 1st Dec, 7.45pm, Southampton Canal Society: Inter-Society Waterways quiz [see page 35] Thu 8th Dec, 7:30pm for 8:00pm, IWAKES pre-Christmas get-together with nibbles: ‘To Ripon via Boston’, Sue & Les Schwieso [see page 26] Wed 14th Dec, 7.30pm for 8.00pm: Oxfordshire Branch Skittles night [see page 33] Thu 15th Dec, 7.30pm, Salisbury Group Christmas Dinner Wed 21st Dec, S&HCS: 'The Gunpowder Plot' by Richard Thomas
[see page 10] [see page 17]
Thu 5th Jan, 7.45pm, Southampton Canal Society: ‘Waterways Photographic Evening and Competition’ [see page 35]
7 Wed 11th Jan, 7.30pm for 8.00pm, Oxfordshire Branch: ‘The Upper Thames Patrol’ by Bill King [see page 33] Wed 11th Jan, 7:30pm for 8:00pm, South London Branch: 'Waves & Waterfalls in Hong Kong and New Zealand' by Alan & Christine Smith [see page 38] Tue 17th Jan 7:45pm, K&A (Reading): 'St. Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle and transport of stone by waterways to the castle' by Colonel David Axson [see page 20] Wed 18th Jan, S&HCS: ‘My Life on the River Severn' by Chris Witts
[see page 17]
Thu 19th Jan, 7.30pm, Salisbury Group: Details have yet to be settled [see page 10] Wed 25th Jan, 7:45pm, K&A (Newbury): ’60 Years on the River Thames’ by Colin Reynolds [see page 20] Thu 26th Jan, 7:30pm for 8pm, IWAKES: ‘Not Such Idle Women – Results of further research’ by Mike Constable [see page 27] Thu 2nd Feb, 7.45pm, Southampton Canal Society: ‘Brownsea Island’ by John England [see page 35] Wed 8th Feb, 7:30pm for 8:00pm, IWAKES: ‘Narrowboats to the Medway’ by Roger Squires [see page 27] Wed 8th Feb, 7.30pm for 8.00pm: Oxfordshire Branch: ‘Thames Valley & Chilterns Air Ambulance Trust’ [see page 33] Wed 8th Feb, 7:30pm for 8:00pm, South London Branch: TBC
[see page 38]
Wed 15th Feb, S&HCS: ‘Canals and Rivers of Eastern France’ by Robin Higgs OBE [see page 17] Thu 16th Feb, 7.30pm, Salisbury Group: Details have yet to be settled [see page 10] Tue 21st Feb 7:45pm, K&A (Reading): ‘Restoration of Paddle Steamer Medway Queen’ by Mark Bathurst [see page 20] Wed 29th Feb, 7:45pm, K&A (Newbury): ‘The Canal du Midi’ by Ron & Myra Glover [see page 20] Wed 14th Mar, 7.30pm for 8pm, Oxfordshire Branch: AGM
[see pages 9 & 33]
8 Wed 14th Mar, 7:30pm for 8:00pm, South London Branch: AGM, followed by a presentation from the new London Region Chairman, Paul Strudwick [see page 38] Thu 15th Mar, 7.30pm for 8.00pm, Kent & East Sussex Branch: AGM followed by a talk on ‘The national situation of IWA and the Canal & River Trust’ by Les [see page 9 & 27] Etheridge Thu 15th Mar, 7.30pm, Salisbury Group: ‘Canal Art’ by Robert Wright [see page 10] Mon 19th Mar, 7.30pm, Guildford & Reading Branch: AGM
[see page 9 & 11]
Wed 21st Mar, S&HCS: ‘The Hereford and Gloucester Canal’ by Dick Skeets [see page 17] Sat 31st Mar, 7.30pm for 8.00pm: Oxfordshire Branch Barn Dance
[see page 33]
Wed 11th Apr, 7.30pm for 8.00pm: Oxfordshire Branch: ‘A lock-keeper’s life’ by Jeremy Batch [see page 33] Tue 17th Apr, 7.30pm, Solent & Arun Branch: AGM
[see page 9 & 35]
Wed 18th Apr, S&HCS: ‘Southampton Shipping with Railway Connections’ by Paul Gosling [see page 17] Wed 18th Apr, 7:30pm for 8:00pm South London Branch: 'Amsterdam Excursions' by Roger Squires [see page 38] Sat/Sun 21st/22nd Apr, 10.00am – 5.00pm: Oxfordshire Branch Family fun days [see page 33] Sat 5th to Mon 7th May - Canalway Cavalcade 2012 at Little Venice Sat 2nd to Mon 4th Jun - Trailboat Festival, Stroudwater Canal, Stroud Sat 2nd to Mon 4th Jun - 21st Anniversary of the reopening of the Basingstoke Canal Fri 8th to Sun 10th Jun - Beale Park Boat Show Sat 16th Jun - Reading Water Fest Sun 22nd Jul - Newbury Waterways Festival
Branch Annual General Meetings Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meetings of the Oxfordshire, Kent & East Sussex, Guildford & Reading and Solent & Arun Branches of The Inland Waterways Association will be held as follows: The Oxfordshire Branch AGM will take place at 7.30 for 8pm on Wednesday 14th March 2012 at the Social Club at Kidlington Football Club, Yarnton Road, Kidlington, Oxfordshire OX5 1AT. The Kent & East Sussex Branch AGM will take place at 7.30 for 8pm on Thursday 15th March 2012 at St. Nicholas’ Church Hall, Poplar Grove, Maidstone, Kent. The Guildford & Reading Branch AGM will take place at 7.30pm on Monday 19th March 2012 at the Byfleet Boat Club, The Boat House, 4 Old Parvis Road, West Byfleet, Surrey KT14 6LE. The Solent & Arun Branch AGM will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 17th April 2012; expected to be at the Norfolk Centre, Mill Road, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9PA but venue to be confirmed in Spring 2012 edition of Cargoes. The Agenda for the Branch meetings will be based on the standard format set out in IWA Byelaws as follows:
AGENDA 1. Apologies for Absence 2. Approval (following amendment if necessary) of the Minutes of the Branch AGM held the previous year 3. Matters arising from the Minutes (and not under other Agenda items) 4. Branch Chairman’s Report 5. Branch Treasurer’s Report and Accounts 6. Election of members of the Committee (Nomination no longer necessary. Simply contact the Chairman to apply to join the Branch Committee or do so at the AGM) 7. Any item for discussion of which the Branch Chairman has been notified in writing at least 6 weeks prior to the date of the relevant AGM
Salisbury Group Our Salisbury correspondent, Myra Glover, writes: In July the Group held its annual boules match at The Green Dragon. The weather was kind to us this year and we didn’t have to play using the sunshades as umbrellas! Everyone was involved playing on the double pitch, coached along by Jacques our resident umpire. As usual everyone thoroughly enjoyed the BBQ cooked for us by landlord Jeff. The 20th October saw the 21st birthday of The Salisbury Group. The first part of the meeting consisted of Ron & Mary Heritage talking about the “Cressy Cruise”. This gave their account of the route they took in their summer 2010 cruise, reenacting Tom Rolt’s voyage in his narrow boat Cressy in 1939. During the second half Myra Glover recapped on the history and formation of the Salisbury Group and on some of the events that had taken place over the last 21 years. We were pleased to welcome Laurie Gibney who attended the inaugural meeting in his capacity as Avon & Wilts branch secretary in 1990. The meeting concluded with a glass of bubbly and cake cut by Laurie Gibney. The cake was made by Ron & Myra Glover and it was decorated with the badge of the Salisbury Group.
Programme of Events Thu 17th Nov: Secret Canals of Britain. Stuart Fisher, editor of Canoeist Magazine and author of the book “Canals of Britain”, gives a canoeist’s eye view of the canal system with particular emphasis on the canals that cannot be reached by narrowboat. Thu 1st Dec: Inter-Society Waterways quiz at Chilworth Village Hall, Southampton - organised by Southampton Canal Society Thu 15th Dec: Christmas dinner at The Green Dragon, Alderbury, contact Myra Glover on 01722 710322 or Jon Van de Geer on 01722 412841, cut off date for bookings - 9th December Thu 19th Jan: - Details have yet to be settled Thu 16th Feb: - Details have yet to be settled Thu 15th Mar: - Canal Art. Robert Wright. Unless otherwise stated, meetings are at The Green Dragon, Old Road, Alderbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP5 3AR starting at 7.30pm when visitors will be warmly welcomed. Further information can be obtained from Ron & Myra Glover on 01722 710322 or Jon Van de Geer on 01722 412841
Guildford & Reading Branch News Chairman’s Report With the European financial crisis still unresolved, massive cuts in public expenditure and prospects of a double dip recession it is not difficult to be gloomy. But as Sir William MacAlpine has often stated “life is not a rehearsal”. Let’s be positive as amongst the gloom positives can be found. Our Annual General Meeting will be in the Byfleet Boat Club on 19th March 2012. A full report on the year will then be given. It will also be an opportunity to congratulate our editor on winning the Richard Bird Medal. This is hugely deserved. Ray has given immense service to IWA and the G & R Branch over many years. First as our official photographer, then on Cargoes editing and also in his devoted attendance at events up and down the country. Very well done Ray. I have had a great year on the water. Since my last report I have sailed, in a 42 foot yacht not a ferry, across the North Sea to enjoy the Southern Dutch waterways. We returned via Harwich, the Thames estuary and up the Medway. A marvellous experience and one I will try and repeat. For many years I have had Arthur Ransomeish tendencies which I now intend to indulge a little more. In that context I cannot ignore the IWA trip on the Thames Barge Centaur where we covered some of Ransome’s East Coast haunts. We also visited the Chelmer and Blackwater navigation where we were hosted by Roy Chandler who, as a volunteer, does a fantastic job of maintaining this waterway on behalf of IWA. We looked around the sea lock and then had a boat trip to the first non tidal lock at Beeleigh. Much can be learnt from Roy about canal management and fund raising. We then joined Thames Sailing Barge Centaur at Hythe Quay, Maldon. We were to enjoy Philip Riley, S E Region Secretary, contemplating the entrance to the Chelmer & Blackwater 3 nights and 3 sunny days on Navigation. [Photo Gareth Jones] board. As it was the end of September morning mist did hamper our progress but there was also a significant lack of wind. We succeeded in mainly drifting down the River Blackwater to Bradwell. Having passed Tony Wedgewood-Benn’s house we moored near the presently inactive nuclear power station. Next day we drifted up the Colne to Wivenhoe then, as the tide turned, back down to Brightlingsea. On the final day we did have some more wind giving a storming sail back to Maldon. All in all a grand long weekend and there are moves afoot to repeat in 2012.
12 There are lots of experiences of traditional craft around Britain. There are preserved keels, trows, Paddle Steamers and wherries. The internet as ever will give you ways to access and enjoy such craft. A good starting point is the website of the Historic Ships Register which has everything from small inland craft through narrow boats and barges to ocean going ships. Though not historic boats, I have enjoyed being hosted in their narrow boats by Ben and Judith Scott on the Basingstoke and Mike and Jackie Rance on the Grand Union. I have commented elsewhere on the excellent hopes that we can at last entertain on the Basingstoke. On the Wey serene progress is maintained but we wait to hear just where the National Trust appeal on Perseverance is going. Verna is commenting on the Wey & Arun from which we, as ever, hear good reports. The Kennet and Avon seems to be marking time as events unfold on the National Conservancy. John How’s notes on the Thames perhaps indicate the difficulties that are yet to come. I am just preparing for my last trip - a week on the Danube with London opera. However part of the fun of winter is planning what you will do next year. First on your list should be attending the rally on the Basingstoke on the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend. Verna Smith is the prime mover and this, hopefully, will put the Basingstoke back on the map as a must visit SE location. There is the Queen’s Boat rally on the Thames and there will be huge restrictions particularly on the tidal Thames during the Olympics. I suspect there will be problems with some of the canals in Manchester at that time. I am planning my Cheshire Ring cruise for late May/early June. 2012 promises to be an exciting year. Gareth Jones
Sales and Publicity Stand
As is often said, ‘All good things come to an end’ and so it was with the weather for the Basingstoke Canal Boating Club’s annual Fox & Hounds Rally at Fleet on 17th September but the deteriorating conditions in the afternoon did not dampen the spirits of those attending. The usual gathering of some half a dozen boats from the Steam Boat Association was supplemented by an assortment of other craft including Richard Darling’s historic skiff ‘Doris’, Liz and Tim Dodwell’s ‘Doreen C’, Jan Smith and Pam Two Councillors taking refuge from the elements Wait’s ‘Victoria M’ and ‘Athai’ now courtesy IWA [Photo: Ray Carnell] owned by Freddie & Peter Dawson. The judging of the boats was carried out by Surrey Cllr Linda Kemeny (Chair of the Basingstoke Canal JMC) accompanied by Leader of Woking Borough Council, John Kingsbury. They dodged the heavy showers to visit the various stands and
13 present the awards. The winners were:- Best presented boat ‘Athai’, Best presented Steam Boat ‘Lizzeee’ and furthest travelled boat ‘Sarah Jane’. So, on a rather damp note, we concluded our season of outside activities for 2011. Although we attended a few less events than in the previous year, we had a presence at the principle waterways happenings around the Branch. Many thanks to our regular band of helpers, without whom it would not be possible to operate the Sales & Publicity Stand and the Lucky Locks Game. Dates are already being noted for next year, including an event to mark the 21st Anniversary of the reopening of the Basingstoke Canal (Queen’s Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend), Beale Park Boat Show (8th-10th June), Reading Water Fest (16th June) and Newbury Waterways Festival (22nd July). More details in the Spring 2012 edition of Cargoes.
Bits on the Basingstoke There is much going on and much is promised to happen so it is difficult to know where to begin. Perhaps we can start with a very pleasant cruise I enjoyed on Ben Scott’s boat in the company of his wife Judith, Verna Smith and Philip Riley who is both IWA regional Secretary and Chairman of S & HCS. We set off from the Byfleet boat club at about 9am and having turned off the Wey rapidly arrived at the bottom of the Woodham Flight where we were met by two rangers from the BCA. They very carefully noted Ben’s immaculate paperwork. Ben was returning the following day and that seemed a problem but the paperwork was in order so on through the locks. The houseboats were soon encountered. Appropriate safety measures and utility hook ups would ensure that all boaters can fully enjoy the waterway while reducing the need for ranger attendance. This may well be the key to open access which the BCA is committed to taking forward. Progress up the flight was steady and the locks did not appear to be leaking but regardless they were emptied and caulked by rangers, two sometimes three. It is certainly not a very efficient use of water. It should be noted that the EA charge for back pumped water. We stopped for the odd chat but the only movement was a small trip boat. In places the canal was suffering heavy growth in the navigable channel. After lunch it was the St. John’s flight, more rangers, more caulking. Late in the afternoon we arrived at a winding hole near the bottom of Brookwood. A very pleasant and informative day. Thank you Ben and Judith. There was then a brisk walk back along a very well metalled and signposted towpath to where one set of cars had been left. Ben and Judith returned successfully the following day with Paul Roper. Another big event was WRG’s Memorial Weekend for the late Peter Redway. This brought together over 100 volunteers of whom over 90 were WRGies at 10 sites along the canal. The organisers were Verna Smith, Martin Leech and other S&HSC volunteers. Much was accomplished in a very busy weekend. The local press produced very good coverage of the event. Work by WRG and the now
14 appointed contractor has led to the BCA undertaking to reopen the canal in full next spring. It is promised to have the canal work far enough advanced for proving boat trials to take place in April with full opening in May in time for the boat rally organised by Verna Smith to take place over the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend. This is also the time that invited boats will celebrate the Queenâ€™s Jubilee on the tidal Thames below London Bridge. There should be the opportunity to attend the rally and for boat owners to view the Thames Rally by hopping on a train to Waterloo. The promised opening and the start of serious work is greatly welcomed. The councils have committed sizable capital. At last it is being spent with a commitment to a reopening date. We all recognise it is not enough long term. Arguably when the canal reopened in 1991 there were issues which had not been totally addressed, welcome though the reopening was. As well as short term progress there is now acceptance that the canal needs a longer term plan if it is to fulfil its huge potential. The canal is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors a year be they boaters, walkers, cyclists, fishermen or naturalists who may be any or all of the foregoing. In the unlikely event of the canal reverting to dereliction it would not be enjoyed at all. We have already discussed open access to which the BCA is committed. IWA together with S&HCS and the two County Councils have now formed a working group to attempt to obtain a major lottery grant to pay for all the capital works needed when the councils commitment is spent. IWA is also involved in a working group to resolve the long standing water supply issues. We are also working with planners to see what mooring prospects there may be in Woking. Thank you for your help with the Bedser Bridge Petition. While it is easier for councillors to support the canal if the constituencies abut it, other councillors require more convincing. It would be a real help if IWA members in Surrey Heath or Runnymede, where the Councils are reluctant to pay their fair share, could lobby councillors and convince them that the canal is hugely enjoyed and has widespread support. At the Joint Management Committee, on which IWA has a seat, it was very noticeable how much more positive are attitudes. There is a real sense of can do for which the new JMC chairperson Cllr Linda Kemeny deserves much credit. We have the lottery committee, open access and water management. We also have some positives on the leisure facilities at Mychett. The contractor has at long last started work on Brookwood and Deepcut. The WRG weekend was a massive success. Other essential work is being identified. We have the rally for 2012. Mooring at Woking is being explored and over 500 petitioned against the high Bedser Bridge. Gareth Jones [The level of support for the â€˜Bedser Bridgeâ€™ petition has resulted in it having to be referred to a meeting of the Full Council which is due to take place on Thursday 8th December. [Ed]
Accessible Boating Association Celebrates 25 Years A celebration took place at Colt Hill, Odiham on Friday 16th September to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the ABA (formerly ‘Boats for the Handicapped’). It was in 1985, that Councillor Mildred Stocks, Founder and President of the Association, was elected Chairman of Hart District Council, and for her chosen charity decided to raise money for a project which would interest and involve people across the whole district. Following meetings with many members of the community, Mildred was approached by two canal enthusiasts, David Gerry and David Millett, who explained the problems facing elderly and disabled people accessing the day boat John Pinkerton operated by the Surrey & Hants Canal Society. In early 1986 a Registered Charity known as Boats for the Handicapped was formed. Husband and wife canal-boating ABA patrons Timothy West and Prunella Scales, attended the anniversary celebration and were greeted by current President and founding chairman Mildred Stocks. They toured the boats and met many of the volunteers who contribute so much to helping the charity serve the local community. To mark the occasion, commemorative plaques were added to both of the Association’s boats and a framed photograph of Dawn and Madam Butterfly on the canal was presented to the two Patrons. Further information about the ABA can be found on their Website: www.accessibleboating.org.uk Barbara & David Cooper
Cruising the Basingstoke Having urged members a year or so ago to cruise the lower part of the Basingstoke Canal that is open for navigation, I decided to follow my own advice in August and took our 16-foot ‘yacht’ there. When I contacted the BCA a week before to arrange this, I was warned that the St. John’s pound was, for unknown reasons, nearly empty and that it might not be possible go that far. Two days before we were due at Lock 1 I was telephoned to be told that all was well and later learnt that the pound had been refilled by back-pumping from the Wey. As Pyrford Marina is closed on Tuesday, we launched at Stoke Lock on the Wey and had the benefit of seeing the changes that have been made since we last cruised there. The passage up the Basingstoke Canal was pretty uneventful, with few problems until beyond Arthurs Bridge in Woking, where we ran into some thick weed. The St. John’s Locks presented no problems, and the St. John’s pound was well up. The only problem there was weed beyond the mooring at Brookwood
16 Park. That night we returned to the mooring above the bridge at St. John’s, and enjoyed an excellent meal at Bellini, right on the waterside – a sufficient reason for cruising up the canal on its own. The return trip to the Wey was without problems, apart from weed again above Arthurs Bridge. In general the paddle gear was easier to work than some on the Wey Navigation. Andy and John, the rangers who met us at Lock 1 and followed us up the locks to caulk up any leaks, could not have been more helpful, but what was surprising was the people on the towpath who had never seen a boat going through the locks before – and this included a couple who regularly do a ‘litter pick’ from Sheerwater Lock (No 6) down to Lock 3. It would be interesting to know how many boats have gone up the canal this summer. We had a very positive experience and would certainly not be discouraged from going again. Tim Dodwell
WRG Working Party in memory of Peter Redway The weekend 8th/9th October saw a large party of WRG volunteers working on jobs at 10 sites along the Basingstoke Canal, stretching over some 30 miles from Lock One at Woodham to Up Nately. The turnout of some 100 volunteers, possibly the largest for a single occasion on the Basingstoke since the Deepcut Dig in 1977, was a fitting tribute to the memory of Peter Redway, the late Chairman of the Canal Society, who did so much to facilitate working party activities on the canal over many years. Among the many tasks undertaken by WRG volunteers was a return to Lock One (the scene of the original lock restoration by IWA’s Guildford & Reading Branch) for further work to complete the landing stage at the entrance to the Woodham Flight (see pictures inside back cover). Chatting with Tim Dodwell at Lock One, we recalled the early protest gatherings of the 1960s before restoration started in earnest and could reflect that there now was clearly a need to take steps to ensure that all that had been achieved over the years was not put in jeopardy. It is pleasing to record (in the preceding items) the efforts of Ben Scott (report by Gareth Jones) and of Tim Dodwell (Cruising the Basingstoke) of putting into practice the spirit of the slogan ‘use it or lose it’ which remains as apt today, as ever. Hopefully the WRG Working Party weekend with its good local publicity will have made a positive impact on those in authority in whose hands the destiny of this canal lies. Ray Carnell
S&HCS Social Meetings Adrian Softley’s illustrated talk in October on Barge Building at Honey Street on the Kennet & Avon Canal provided an excellent start to the new season of meetings at Chobham. In the first part Adrian recounted the canalside developments at Honey Street and in particular the business carried on by Robbins, Lane & Pinniger Ltd. The second half, covering the story of the building of the replica barge ‘Unity’ (with its solar panels), was equally entertaining. The programme of talks continues on the third Wednesday of each month at the Parish Pavilion, Recreation Ground, Station Road, Chobham, GU24 8AZ. Meetings start at 8pm and coffee/tea and biscuits will be served during the interval. Nonmembers and friends are very welcome to come along. Retiring collection. Wed 16th Nov: Roger Squires 'Waterways of South Holland' A welcome return visit from one of our regular speakers, Roger will describe a circular tour of South Holland's waterways including the little visited but very busy Twentee Canal. This is a new waterway constructed for the growing industry of this part of Holland. Wed 21st Dec: Richard Thomas 'The Gunpowder Plot' Richard, a regular speaker over the years, will return to take a look at the background of the "Powder Treason" and the involvement of Catesby, Percy and Guido Fawkes and the ten other conspirators who laid the Plot. He will examine closely the events of early November in 1605 and will follow the flight and fate of the conspirators and we will hear of the trial and executions of those who were captured. Wed 18th Jan: Chris Witts - 'My Life on the River Severn' With forty years of experience with shipping on the longest river in Britain on a variety of vessels including hoppers, barges and lighters, Chris is uniquely qualified to illustrate his life on this fascinating waterway in film and pictures. He started working in 1960 on a tanker barge as a deckhand and ended as skipper on motor hopper barges in 2000. Wed 15th Feb: Robin Higgs OBE - 'Canals and Rivers of Eastern France' Our former Chairman and current Vice President Robin Higgs will be showing a selection of slides from his boating holidays in Eastern France in 2010 and 2011.Waterways to be featured include the Canal de l'Est and the River Saone. Wed 21st Mar: Dick Skeets - 'The Hereford and Gloucester Canal' Wed 18th Apr: Paul Gosling - 'Southampton Shipping with Railway Connections' Further information from David Millett on 01252 617364 or email: email@example.com
River Thames News Lock Houses Following lengthy discussions over the summer months with a sub-group of the Thames Waterways Working Group (WWG), the EA Regional Manager, Howard Davidson, issued an email dated 7/10/11 to WWG members concerning 'Lock Houses'. The good news is that the EA will not be selling any Lock Houses, however to help bridge the funding gap imposed by DEFRA, (a huge reduction of 50% to last yearâ€™s Grant in Aid), the decision has been made to rent out vacant Lock Houses, as a contribution to the funding gap. None of the existing staff and the current 36 Residential lock keepers will be affected, but there will now be a freeze on Resident posts, and operations will rely on the 20 relief lock keepers (non residential). The locations that are being planned to be rented include :- Grafton, Cleeve, Sunbury, Chertsey, (these four are vacant at present), plus Goring, Whitchurch and Blakes (these three will be vacant, plus two others in the future). EA are committed to ensuring service levels are maintained or improved and that the assets do not fall into disrepair. Unions and staff have been fully briefed of this decision. River Closures Members are reminded that over the next 6 months there will be a number of River restrictions and Closures to allow repair work to be completed. Details for River restrictions may be found at :http://www.visitthames.co.uk/text/1480/closures_and_restrictions.html John How
Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group From the Chairman Planning Application Submitted for Phase 1 After over four years of hard work by volunteers and professionals, Maidenhead Waterways Restoration Group (MWRG) has submitted a planning application for the Phase 1 (Baseline) works to restore the neglected and silted up channels that still pass through Maidenhead town centre. Maidenhead was once known as the
19 'Jewel of the Thames', but the main River Thames lies two thirds of a mile from the rather characterless town centre. The restoration aims to "...bring the Thames to town", as a key element of the council's newly adopted Area Action Plan to rejuvenate Maidenhead town centre. The Phase 1 application involves the deepening and selective widening of York Stream and the deepening of the Moor Cut channel which, prior to the Jubilee being built, acted as a flood channel. Moor Cut today is permanently 'dry', neglected and overgrown, while York Stream suffers from poor flow, litter etc. A weir and lock at Green Lane will raise and stabilise water levels in the town centre and the two channels will together form a navigable 'Ring' in the centre of Maidenhead. At this stage it is not proposed to raise any road bridges to increase headroom, so the waterway will initially be suitable only for small boats but the channels will, from the outset, be of full depth, allowing the waterway to be upgraded over time to narrowboat standard without abortive costs or multiple habitat disturbance. New footpaths and improved access have been included where feasible, ensuring the project benefits the widest possible range of users. The Ring already connects to The Thames to the south via Bray Cut, which is 12-14m wide but overgrown and neglected, with some pinch points and shallows that discourage its use by boats. It remains popular with canoeists and the photo here shows MWRG's recent canoe cavalcade down the lower waterway. The planning application is supported by a full Environmental Impact Assessment prepared for us by Golder Associates, which concludes, crucially, that the scheme will not increase flood risk and that with the recommended mitigation it will lead to an overall improvement to the environment. Feedback to date on the application from the public, community groups and Statutory Consultees is very encouraging but it is a complex project and the EA is seeking more information on water quality and WFD impacts before full consent can be given. Readers can get more information on the Phase 1 plans in the special Planning Application Area of MWRG's website www.maidenheadwaterways.org which also includes a short YouTube video explaining section by section what is proposed. Richard Davenport
Kennet & Avon Canal Meetings Both the Newbury and Reading Sections of the Trust hold a series of monthly meetings to which non-members are always welcome and details are as follows: The Newbury meetings are held on the last Wednesday of the month at The Stone Building, Newbury Wharf at 7.45pm prompt (doors open 30mins before). Admission is free. There is adequate public parking alongside the venue, at present costing £1 for the evening. Meetings are as follows:Wed 30th Nov: - Mike & Lynn Bassett – ‘Canals of Nova Scotia’ An exploration of the Shubenacadie Canal, the St Peter’s Canal and the Canso Canal. All created short-cuts for sea routes and there are a number of interesting features. The Shubenacadie only had a short life, though the other two remain in use. Wed 25th Jan: - Colin Reynolds of The River Thames Society – ’60 Years on the River Thames’ Colin is the Education Officer of the Society and will be talking about his 60-year relationship with the River and his early recollections of the River Kennet and the Kennet & Avon Canal. Wed 29th Feb: – Ron & Myra Glover of IWA Salisbury Group – ‘The Canal du Midi’ The Canal du Midi dates from 1681 and forms part of the link between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean bypassing the sea route round the Iberian Peninsula. It is probably Europe’s most popular cruising waterway. Further information from the Newbury Branch Secretary 01635 580356 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org The Reading meetings are held at The Grange Church Hall, Circuit Lane, Southcote, Reading RG30 3HD (just off the A4 Bath Road). This is a new venue and meetings are held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month (Sep to May excluding Dec). Meetings are as follows:Tue 17th Jan: - 'St. Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle and transport of stone by waterways to the castle'. – Colonel David Axson Tue 21st Feb: - Restoration of Paddle Steamer Medway Queen – Mark Bathurst Entry donation, including K&A members, £2.50 (to help our expenses). For further information on the Reading meetings contact John Swift, on 01189 415540 More details can be found on K&A Trust website: www.katrust.org.uk
IWAKES Branch News Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust As the 2011 restoration season draws to a close at Isfield Lock on the River Ouse, the working parties can be satisfied with another good year where the targets set for progress at the site have once again been achieved. Restrictions on access to the site during the shooting season, the loss of daylight hours as we head into winter and increasingly difficult working conditions as the weather gets wetter mean that the volunteers are required to secure the site for the winter months ahead and wait until the first spring warmth heralds another chance to get on with the restoration. The target for this year was to demolish the second section of the damaged west chamber wall and then rebuild it. That has been achieved. The work certainly presented more challenges than previously encountered, with three-quarters of the original chamber wall requiring demolition and rebuilding. In addition, new coping stones had to be made as the original stone ones had either been lost or were too badly damaged to be re-used.
Lock 15th Sept 2011 by Terry Owen
Lock 6th Oct 2011 by Terry Owen
Whilst this was going on another group of volunteers were busy exposing and cleaning the west wing wall and the wharf wall at the upstream (north) end of the lock, that originally served the paper mill that once stood here on the west side. This required the felling of a 70â€™ alder tree, courtesy of WRG and with the express permission of the landowner. This tree had grown straight out of the wall and obviously prevented any restoration from progressing. The wing wall was restored completely with most of the final pointing being carried out by a Southampton University civil engineering student Fiona Harlow who spent one day a week at the lock during her summer holidays. The wharf wall awaits more work. 2012 will present new challenges once again. Before the next section of west chamber wall can be begun, a deep and extensive hole in the invert below the
22 lower gate needs to be repaired. At this stage this task is the target for 2012. Until it is fully investigated the extent of the repair is unclear and therefore the amount of time available to proceed with the next section of chamber wall is uncertain. Although progress may seem slow to outsiders real progress is being made down at Isfield lock. This progress is down to the regular group of volunteers from S.O.R.T. and in particular Paul Morris and Ted Lintott who between them make sure the work proceeds during all of the available working time. In addition it has to be said that the IWA contribution towards the restoration programme in the form of insurance, the expertise in design from Roy Sutton and this year the availability of £2500 in a restricted donation fund, courtesy of a S.O.R.T. member, has enabled the restoration to proceed with confidence. S.O.R.T. look forward to 2012 and can see that there may be just a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Terry Owen
Thames & Medway Canal Association A planning application (Ref No. 20110713) has been sent to Gravesham Borough Council by Feabrex Ltd for a mixed development at Albion Quayside (between the Gravesend Basin and the Denton Slipway). This is a vast improvement over previous applications as the ‘swale’ along the line of the canal has been replaced by a ‘canal water feature’ the level, depth, width and profile of which (very nearly) meet our requirements for a restored canal capable of carrying a sailing barge. However, the application shows two footbridges with less than navigable headroom and the main access road passes over the middle of the canal lock (without provision of a lift or swing bridge). IWAKES has written a three-page letter to Gravesham Planning and Regeneration Services supporting the provision of the ‘canal water feature’, welcoming the promise that services will be passed under the canal, and objecting to both the low footbridges and to the access road obstructing restoration of the canal lock. In a meeting with the developer prior to the application being made TMCA and IWAKES had agreed the profile of the ‘canal water feature’ and that the restoration of the canal lock might be the subject of a grant application. The weather is not helping with our efforts to top up the canal. Not only is the water very low in the canal but the marshes and the RSPB reserves in the area are also suffering with the lack of rain. Our weir pond for pumping water into the canal is empty and what water does drain off the marshes soon trickles and evaporates away. Let’s hope rain arrives soon as the water vole breeding season is over and it is now ok to top up - when EDF and Network Rail connect our new pump. A group from Cuxton WI came for a conducted walk from Gravesend basin, along part of the canal, sea wall and Denton Wharf finishing at The Canal Tavern for
23 lunch. These â€˜talk and walksâ€™ are very useful for spreading the word and raising awareness of the canal and the need for restoration. Mark Gallant from North West Kent Countryside Partnership talked about improving the River Darenth for wildlife and flora that live and grow along its length. Redirecting its course with eco friendly barriers changes the natural habitat and depth for small fry and reptiles etc to live and breed more successfully. This was a very informative evening and he hopes to help with our wildlife and linear waterway. The new bus lane is now complete over the lock at Frindsbury. The coping stones on top of both sides of the lock are still visible. Before work started a detailed survey record was carried out by AOL Archaeology. A copy was sent to The Thames and Medway Canal Association and its summary is (in part) below.
A Historic Building Record was made of two sets of lock gates at the Strood end of the Thames and Medway Canal. The lock gates and associated basin are at the end of the Thames and Medway Canal as it joins the Medway and form the seaward end of a tidal lock; the main body of the lock chamber and landward gates were infilled in the 1980s. The lock basin was originally known as the Frindsbury Basin. At the time of building, the locks at Gravesend and Strood were amongst the largest in the world; the Strood lock having the capacity to pass vessels of 300 tons. The lock itself is constructed of brick, with stone coping and quoins, and has been variously filled with concrete and river silt. The two sets of gates date to the late 19th or early 20th century and therefore are not original. The inner pair is constructed around a timber frame, the outer around a steel frame, and is of a later date. Many fittings of the gates were in poor condition or absent. The record comprised a photographic, drawn and written survey. Early plans of the original lock design were also researched and included within the report. The masonry of the lock is to be retained beneath fill added to level the site as part of the Sustainable Transport Link. The gates are to be removed. The canal walls and base are in good condition, with occasional patches of rebuild, which show that the canal was kept in a good condition of repair until its fall from use. The lock chamber is a relatively rare example of a barrel chambered lock in having been designed with a curved base to conform with the hulls of sea going vessels, a feature it shares with the tidal lock at the Gravesend end of the canal. This is the last record of the basin and gates before the lock is infilled and the gates removed. Neither the gates nor any of the identified fixtures and fittings are deemed to be of sufficient interest or in a state of preservation that would allow reasonable conservation to be possible. No further work is therefore recommended beyond the publishing of the results in a suitable format to be agreed in consultation with Ben Found of Kent County Council. Brian Macknish
River Medway News Boat Safety Scheme Update This comes into force on 1st April 2012 and applies to all boats* on the Environment Agency Administered section of the Medway. Advice on preparing a boat for a Boat Safety Examination and the requirements are available in The BSS Essential Guide booklet. This can be downloaded or purchased via the BSS website, www.boatsafetyscheme.com or from Boat Safety Scheme, 64 Clarendon Road Watford WD17 1DA. Tel. 01923 201278 There are now five Boat Safety Examiners based in Kent who’s contact details are on the website or available from BSS office. The EA Medway office has also distributed examiners details to registered Medway boat owners. *Privately owned open vessels with no domestic cooking, heating/lighting appliances and no permanent electrical systems which are propelled solely by an outboard engine without a fixed fuel system, do not require a BSS certificate. It is planned to hold open meetings about the BSS before 1st April 2012 Lock Refurbishment by EA The River Medway is once again fully open for business following an 8 month refurbishment programme at Eldridges Lock a mile or so downstream from Tonbridge. A £200K canoe and fish pass was constructed in 2009 with contributions from the Water Framework Directive before the major rebuilding work on the lock. A new automatic radial gate was fitted which will help regulate the navigation levels for a greater variety of river flows. Improved lockside furniture was also installed giving the whole £1.3 million construction a design life of 60 - 80 years.
Lower gates and landing
Chamber and Bywash sluice
Fish Pass East Farleigh and Teston locks will be reconstructed and contractors have already submitted plans for over facing the lock walls and base of the locks. Some of the lock walls are in poor condition. It is anticipated the work will begin next year. IWAKES branch was consulted by the local EA office on their views in respect of the boating related impact of lock width reduction and site visits to the locks were undertaken. The conclusion was that the current proposals would not impact on boat movements to any significance. The canoe landing above East Farleigh lock is planned to remain where it is, though it is acknowledged by EA that the closeness of the bridge does make things difficult for boaters who have to tie up above the bridge to see if the lock needs setting or is already in their favour. EA Medway Licence and mooring/facility charge increases are being consulted on for next year. No rises in licence fees were made in 2011. There is a concern to strike a balance between raising charges and its effect on boat registrations in this difficult economic climate with government cuts affecting EA just like many other departments. It is understood an announcement about charging will be made in November 2011. River Medway Alliance - This is being created under the banner of the EA and will involve the bringing together of River User Groups such as the Boat Clubs, Rowing/Canoe Clubs, Commercial Operators, Maidstone River Users Association and Organisations such as IWA, RYA, KCC, Maidstone BC, Tonbridge & Malling BC, Police and Fire & Rescue service. The aim will be to share ideas and plans to improve the Medway and its facilities for all by inviting discussion and input from the Alliance members to take these plans forward. The hope is that the Alliance can provide vision and continuity for medium term improvement plans on the Medway and involve all Users and Organisations in the process. [Reports by Mike Marsh with input from Graham Ingram and photos by Bernard Snell]
Future IWAKES and Other Events Thu 17th Nov: 7:00 for 7:30pm: “Chichester Ship Canal Trust” will be described by Linda Wilkinson (its Chairman). In the Upper Room, Haywards Heath Methodist Church, Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath RH16 3DN (Near the railway station, about 200 yards up from Clair Hall). This is a joint meeting with Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust.
Haywards Heath Methodist Church st
Thu 1 Dec: 7:15 for 7:30pm “The Boat Safety Scheme - its Introduction on the EA River Medway” The meeting will be attended by Phil Rickett, BSS Quality and Technical Manager and Philip Munslow, Environment Agency River Medway Operations manager. The talk will include a history of the Boat Safety Scheme, information on boat examinations and boat preparation and there will be a question and answer session during the talk. Some local boat safety examiners will also be present. Ditton Community Centre, Kilnbarn Road, Ditton Community Centre Ditton, Aylesford, Kent ME20 6AH. For more information please call Michael Marsh on 01622 745702 or 07595 428 639 or email@example.com Thu 8th Dec: 7:30 for 8:00pm: Pre-Christmas get together with nibbles. Sue & Les Schwieso will give an illustrated talk on their journey “To Ripon via Boston”. At the Gravesend Sailing Club, The Promenade, Gravesend. (This is a joint meeting with Thames & Medway Canal Association)
Gravesend Sailing Club
Thu 26th Jan: 7:30 for 8pm: Mike Constable: ‘Not Such Idle Women – Results of further research’ A history of the women who manned the narrowboats during the Second World War. Strood Yacht Club, Knights Road, Strood.
Strood Yacht Club
Wed 8th Feb: 7:30 for 8:00pm Roger Squires talking on “Narrowboats to the Medway” Flotillas of narrowboats and similar inland craft brave the open sea. Gravesend Sailing Club, The Promenade, Gravesend. A TMCA meeting to which all are welcome.
Thu 15th Mar: 7:30 for 8pm “Kent & East Sussex Branch Annual General Meeting” followed by a talk from Les Etheridge on the national situation of IWA and the Canal & River Trust. St Nicholas’ Church Hall, Poplar Grove, Maidstone.
St Nicholas’ Church Hall
Tea and coffee are available at all IWAKES evening meetings.
Oxfordshire Branch News From the Chairman So now we know, “Canal & River Trust”. Nice and simple, tells it all and suits future plans. Good logo too; a canal arch bridge and a swan. Well done the interim trustees. Now it's up to the Inland Waterways Association to develop their plans to move forward. The association's objective of there being a “conservancy” for the inland waterways is within reach. What is to be its role and how will that relate to the Canal & River Trust and the very much larger, influential and successful organisation, the Royal Yachting Association with its unambiguous focus on boating? Approximately fifty branch members have been actively involved in the on the water and waterside activities over the summer reported below. We now have eighteen members with the RYA helmsman's qualification. The list of coming events shows a new two day event on the Oxford Canal in March 2012 when many of these will be involved including the helmsmen. I am investigating opportunities to extend this sort of event to locations on the Thames. I suspect that some of you will be critical of British Waterways need to impose severe restrictions on locking on the south Oxford Canal. You will see from my report, below on the user group meeting in October, that I was impressed and encouraged by the account by BW on its management of the canals in the branch area. On the Thames there are concerns about the way that the Environment Agency is approaching these. It seems to me that the biggest one is the management of the weirs. There is already a hydro power installation at Osney ready to start operation as and when river flows are great enough. There are plans for others at Goring and Abingdon and aspirations in other places on the Thames above Goring. Perhaps such schemes will impose an obligation on EA to deal with the weirs effectively. Chris Wardley Richard Bird medal awards to Ron and Mary Heritage At the association AGM of 2011 in Kidderminster Ron and Mary Heritage were awarded Richard Bird Medals. This recognised the importance of their leadership in the development of the branch's involvement in Banbury Canal Day and Oxford “Open Doors” capped by their planning, organisation and leading of the Cressy Commemorative Cruise 2010. This celebration of the centenary of the birth of Tom Rolt with a journey following his famous cruise gained considerable publicity for the association, culminating in the National Festival at Beale Park. Chris Wardley
Past Events Korean Tourism Organisation visit – Banbury 25th August At the beginning of August the branch received a request to entertain a group who were representing the Korean Tourism Organisation visiting Oxford who wanted a “canal experience”. It was arranged that they should hire Tooley's day boat Dancing Duck with me as their helm and guide. Two businessmen from Korea were accompanied by an assistant and an interpreter. Subjects discussed were triggered by what we saw and did. These started with technical details of ‘Dancing Duck’ - width, length, weight, age, type of engine, and the like. Journeying north, Tom Rolt Bridge gave the chance to introduce the work of the association. The history and decline of the canals took some time, followed by their present usage, both leisure and commercial. It was pointed out that leisure is actually the most important commerce of the system nowadays. This led onto what different modern boats did what, how far the canals stretched, and all those usual kinds of questions. Returning south we passed the lift bridge where two of the visitors had their first lesson in the use of a windlass. Next came Banbury lock with more friendly advice about things like how to swing a lock gate and how to use paddle gear. One member of the party seemed amazed that we had made the boat go downhill. What he thought on the way back is not recorded! Below the lock the obvious remains of previous canal side industry raised discussion as to cargoes that were carried to and from where. We just about got out into the country-side before it was time to turn. Rounding up the conversations was the question ‘Why do so many British people wish to spend their time on the canals, often voluntarily?’. The leader seemed embarrassed to ask this one, as he said the answer was perhaps too personal. I won’t bore you with the answer to that. If you’re reading this you’ll already know for yourselves but it did fill the last half hour of the trip. On mooring back at Tooley’s I asked the party if they had got what they wanted. Oh yes they all agreed, lots of interesting information said the scribe, waving his sheaves of paper. One of their number did insist on a close-up photo of the IWA logo on my ‘T’ shirt. They left a generous donation before leaving for a tour of Kingsground Narrowboat's factory at Upper Heyford. John Preece Cotswold Canal Centenary Celebration Cruise - Banbury - 27th August At the end of August the branch welcomed the four boats of the northern section of the Cotswold Centenary Celebration Cruise (led by Wendy Beamont on NB Wild Cat”) into Oxfordshire and down to Banbury. We all then joined the excellent reception at 10am outside the museum by the Banbury Town Mayor, Councillor Alistair Milne Home and his wife. For the rest of the day the Cotswold Canal Trust, with support from Tooley's Boatyard, entertained the folk on the towing path and publicised the Trust before leaving to travel down the Oxford Canal and up the Thames to Lechlade. Chris Wardley
30 National Heritage Weekend - Oxford “Open Doors”.10th/11th September Three years ago it was agreed that the waterways in Oxford are as much part of the City’s heritage as the buildings and, at the request of the Oxford City Canal Partnership, we have run the waterside part of the event. Undoubtedly the week-end was once again highly successful. The weather, which in the main was kind, helped. The market stalls with their stripped canopies lent colour and atmosphere to the site. They were used by all stall holders who found them to be ideal. All were very satisfied with the attention paid by the public to their stands and expressed an interest in attending again in the future. Wilts and Berks Canal Trust, Cotswold Canals Trust, Foxcan, Jericho Boatyard Trust and the Inland Waterways Association. In addition we had two more stalls creating a “Children’s Corner”, with crafts, games and a quiz. The quiz was favoured with over 150 children completing this over the two days (a lollipop was the prize). One of our volunteers made and sold cakes which were soon snapped up. Many of the volunteers
The following were in attendance:-
felt that the stalls complimented each other and were pleased that there was a good sense of camaraderie among the stall holders. The smiles on the faces of the people coming off the boat trips spoke volumes. My thanks to all our volunteers without whom this event could not happen.
[Photos: Peter Silver]
31 Banbury Canal Day – 2nd October I am pleased to report this was another highly successful event. The sun shone, the crowds came - the local press were estimating over 10,000. A wonderful day was had by all. This year we had slightly fewer visiting boats. But as the ones we had (32 in all) were longer than usual it was just as well as space in the town centre is limited! The crews all played their part to ensure a colourful display. NB Bumble won the best dressed boat; richly deserved with all the incredible modelled balloons. The boaters bash on Saturday with “Laid Back Paddy Wack” was well attended and set the scene for the fun weekend. Around 800 of the public enjoyed the boat trips (at 10 a time that was a lot of trips) so our volunteers were kept very busy. Twenty seven coaches could not find space in the coach park, which was full. They came from places like London, Surrey, Birmingham and Gloucester, I am told. Banbury Canal Day is certainly “On the Map” [Photos: Greg Chapman] Mary Heritage British Waterways User Group Meeting – Tring 19th October Jeff Whyatt, South East Waterways Manager for British Waterways made an accomplished and informative presentation at the user group meeting. His principal message was that 2011 has, for the Oxford Canal and some parts of the Grand Union, been a one in a 100 year exceptional event for lack of rainfall following a winter at the end of which reservoirs ended the winter 12% less than full. Jeff gave a good account of the management of the water stocks under close questioning. He noted that the increased supervision of locking by BW staff had led them to conclude that over a full year up to 20% of water could have been wasted by incorrect lock usage. BW response to this was to plan recruitment of many more volunteer lock keepers for 2012. Other topics on which Jeff made a confident and well documented report on the achievements of his teams included licence evaders, visitor moorings management and maintenance management, including vegetation. Chris Wardley
Social Events Reports Branch meeting Wednesday September 14th The Life and Times of William Castle “Old Metal”, Speakers: Stephen and Verna Wass Stephen and Verna Wass have both been very involved with Morris Dancing in Adderbury for many years and have recently been investigating the unusual and colourful life of William Castle, nicknamed “Old Metal”, who was born in Adderbury in the late 18th century to a poor family. His father died and he was brought up by his mother on the margins of society at a time of great hardship and poverty for working people. William Castle’s main claim to fame was in being selected as the mock parliamentary candidate for Banbury in 1820 on the death of George III (at this time working people had no vote and for several years after). The elections involved much riotous behaviour and distribution of beer, and the contemporary reports make hilarious reading. William’s fame probably accounted for his being reprieved from the death penalty at Oxford Assizes where he had been convicted of armed robbery. Stephen and Verna gave us a fascinating insight into the social, criminal, political and cultural life of a north Oxfordshire market town as reflected in the experiences of one inhabitant, William “Old Metal” Castle. Sue Wardley, Social Secretary
Branch meeting Wednesday October 12th 2011 The Purton Hulks Speaker: Paul Barnett Marine Historian, Friends of Purton The Purton Ships Graveyard, more commonly known as the Purton Hulks, is the final resting place of 81 ships and other vessels on the foreshore of the river Severn 1.5 km north of Sharpness New Dock entrance and is the largest of its kind in the UK. Vessels that Paul has identified include ocean going schooners from the 1930s and 40s and one Scottish schooner from 1888 named Dispatch, steel lighters, Severn Trows, Wich barges, ferrous cement (concrete) barges and rare Stroudwater and Kennet barges. Paul illustrated his talk with slides made from original photos that he had tracked down in his researches. These vividly brought the vessels and people who worked them to life, an age which seems long gone but is still within the lifetime of many of us. The Friends of Purton are now campaigning to have the site designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument in order to give it legal protection. Sue Wardley, Social Secretary
Forthcoming Events You are invited to join us on the following dates: Wed 14th Dec th
Wed 11 Jan
Bill King, “The Upper Thames Patrol” The Waterborne Home Guard of the Thames from Maidenhead to Lechlade
Wed 8th Feb
Thames Valley & Chilterns Air Ambulance Trust
Wed 14th Mar
Annual General Meeting
Sat 31st Mar
Barn Dance @ Yarnton Village Hall – 8pm - 11pm Called by Ted Morse with his band. Licensed beer and wine bar.
Wed 11th Apr
Jeremy Batch “A lock-keeper’s life”
Sat 21 Apr/ Sun 22nd Apr
Family fun days @ Heyford Wharf from 10am to 5pm Boat trips, shore activities including a bouncy castle and attendance by “Muddy Waters” and “Jolly Boatman”
Unless otherwise stated the above events are held on Wednesday evenings in the Social Club at Kidlington Football Club, Yarnton Road, Kidlington, OX5 1AT. 7.30 pm for 8.00pm. New members and visitors most welcome. For more details or directions phone Ann Yeatman – tel: 01865 372552.
Solent & Arun Branch News Chairman’s Report Well, already we have reached the last Cargoes of 2011 with 2012 looking to be a crucial year for the waterways. With the creation of the charitable trust hopefully the government will back the scheme with sufficient finance to guarantee its success. Locally we will continue to support the Shoreham Slipways Group in their campaign to improve access to the River Adur, which you can read about below in this edition, and progress is being made. We will also continue our support for the restoration schemes on the Wey & Arun and Chichester canals and help where possible on the River Itchen project. I hoped to have some pictures of the River Hamble cruise but having started in reasonable weather we then had one of the biggest storms ever during a cruise -
34 my thanks to those who stuck it out in torrential rain. Hopefully it will not put you off boating forever. I mentioned in my piece in the last edition of Cargoes that we would again be taking part in the inter-society waterways quiz on Thursday 1st December, organised by the Southampton Canal Society. If you would like to join us for this event, please get in touch with me. We will have details of our events for 2012 in the Spring edition of Cargoes although we will be limited as to what we can achieve due to the size of the Committee. Best wishes for the Festive Season and A Happy 2012. .Slipway
on the river Adur
The Shoreham Slipways Group (SSG), a Corporate Member of IWA, received a grant for ÂŁ2,000 from West Sussex County Council to investigate the feasibility of a new slipway on the river Adur, in Shoreham by Sea. The group commissioned the Consulting Engineers, Helmsley Orell to consider the viability of constructing a slipway at Ferry Road, on Shoreham Beach. They concluded that there was no longer any practical public slipway on the river Adur and that it was viable to construct a slipway at the suggested location. The scheme would fit neatly with a forthcoming bridge replacement and improvement to the sea defences. Support and encouragement for the project is from the Shoreham Port Authority, West Sussex County Council, the Environment Agency, Sussex Yacht Club and many local and county councillors. IWA has been campaigning for improved access to the water in this part of Sussex for over thirty years. It is therefore encouraging, in these difficult financial times, that there is such support for this project. However, there are many planning related and Site of proposed slipway at low tide financial hurdles to overcome. Copies of the feasibility study into constructing the slipways are available, by email, from Brendan Whelan, Solent & Arun Branch Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org Brendan Whelan
Branch AGM The AGM will be on Tuesday 17th April, hopefully at our usual venue. This will be confirmed in the next edition. The AGM will be followed by Peter Boyce giving a talk on the raising of “Lucy”. This is his project to restore the narrowboat Lucy, a wooden boat built in 1953, but eventually sunk near Braunston and then purchased by Peter. Full details in the Spring edition of Cargoes
Southampton Canal Society Forthcoming Events & Meetings Southampton Canal Society’s regular monthly meetings at Chilworth Parish Hall, Chilworth, Southampton SO16 7JZ continue as follows: Thu 1st Dec: The Society hosts the “Inter Society Waterways Quiz” IWA Guildford & Reading the reigning champions, with Nick Grundy as Question Master. An American Supper (supplied by Members) will round off the evening. Thu 5th Jan: Members “Waterways Photographic Evening and Competition” Thu 2nd Feb: Southampton Canal Society John England’s presentation on “BROWNSEA ISLAND” Meetings start at 7.45pm. Visitors welcome. For more details visit our website www.sotoncs.org.uk Angela Rose
The Narrow Boat Trust moves Coal on the Wey Formed in 1970, when working boats were an endangered species, the Narrow Boat Trust now own the motor boat Nuneaton and butty Brighton, restored to full working trim and carrying cargo commercially as a traditional working pair whenever possible. Both boats were built for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company (G.U.C.C.Co.) as part of their massive expansion programme of the mid1930s. They have always worked – carrying coal, steel, timber, grain, tomato puree, figs, cocoa residue and even cars for British Waterways and Willow Wren, while Brighton also worked for Union Canal Carriers and on the River Soar gravel traffic in the 80’s & 90’s for Threefellows’ Carrying.
36 Nuneaton is an all-steel riveted motor boat built by W. J. Yarwood & Sons Ltd at Northwich, Cheshire - and launched in August 1936 at a cost of £900. Brighton is an all-steel butty built by Harland and Wolff Ltd at Woolwich - and launched in December 1935, it cost about £400! They continue carrying coal in the 21st Century and are crewed, maintained and exhibited by the Trust’s members. The 2011 Autumn Coal Run saw the pair carry 44 tons of assorted domestic coal all the way from Awbridge, near Wolverhampton, to the River Thames, River Kennet and the River Wey.
Nuneaton and Brighton passing through Walsham Gates Lock [Photo: Ray Carnell] The boats recently paid a visit to Godalming, the southernmost point of the connected waterways system, the first time a loaded pair has been down the Wey that far for many years. There they delivered a supply of coal to the Godalming Packet Boat Company whose horsedrawn narrow boat Iona provides regular public trips from the wharf. For further information about the Narrow Boat Trust see their Website www.narrowboattrust.org.uk and for Iona details see www.horseboat.org.uk
Wey and Arun Canal News The autumn meeting of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust took place at Billingshurst in October. The Trust’s Chairman, Sally Schupke, outlined the achievements and frustrations of the last six months. She spoke of the opening of the restored Lordings Waterwheel, signing the lease for the land at Guns Mouth and activities which took place on the National Heritage Day. Mention was also made of progress towards replacing the steel parapets on the bridge over the canal at Loxwood High Street with more aesthetically pleasing brick parapets. Jim Phillips, Treasurer, reported that the Trust was solvent but that their funds were being eroded by low interest rates.
Reopening of Lordings Waterwheel by Nick Herbert MP [Photo: Janet Phillips] Following the break there were presentations about the new Canal Visitor Centre at Loxwood, the re-building of Southland lock and developments at Dunsfold. IWA has a particular interest in the latter following last year’s donation of £4,000 towards the restoration of the canal near Dunsfold (reported on page 35 of the Winter 2010 Edition of Cargoes). The proposed works to restore the stretch of canal between Compasses Bridge and Tickner’s Heath are being the subject of a public exhibition in Dunsfold in early November. Further information about the Wey & Arun Canal Trust is available from the Trust’s office, on 01403 752403 or from the Website: www.weyandarun.co.uk
South London Branch Meetings South London Branch Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:30 for 8:00 pm in The Primary Room, The United Reformed Church Hall, Addiscombe Grove, Croydon CR0 5LP. Admission to the talks and presentations is free to all, members or non-members, although we do request a contribution towards room hire and refreshments. The programme for meetings is as follows: Wed 11th Jan: 'Waves & Waterfalls in Hong Kong and New Zealand' by Alan and Christine Smith Wed 8th Feb: TBC Wed 14th Mar: AGM, followed by a presentation from the new London Region Chairman, Paul Strudwick Wed 18th Apr: 'Amsterdam Excursions' by Roger Squires For more information about South London's Social Calendar, please contact Alan Smith, telephone 020 8255 1581 or email: email@example.com
The Inland Waterways Association South East Region: Chairman Paul Roper Cranborne, Baughurst Road, Baughurst, Tadley, Hants RG26 5LL Phone: 01189 813381 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Guildford & Reading Branch: Chairman Gareth Jones, Hill House Farm, Misbrooks Green Road, Beare Green, Dorking, RH5 4QQ Phone: 07850 819071 Email: email@example.com Kent & East Sussex Branch: Chairman Mike Hannan Trumpeter, Water Lane, Headcorn, Kent TN27 9JN Phone: 01622 890586 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Oxfordshire Branch: Chairman Chris Wardley The Mount, High Street, Adderbury, Banbury, Oxon OX17 3LU Phone: 01295 810610 Email: email@example.com Solent & Arun Branch: Chairman Mike Laishley 16 Park Avenue, Widley, Waterlooville, Hants PO7 5DW Phone: 023 92325000 (evenings) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Opinions expressed in Cargoes are not necessarily those of IWA. Editorial Team: Ray Carnell and Tim Fry email@example.com Next issue Spring 2012 Copy date 15th January 2012.
Peter Redway Memorial Working Party
Site leader George Rogers with digger driver Adrian Sturgess at the construction of the new Lock One landing stage [Photo: Courtesy Grahame Larter, Surrey Advertiser]
WRGies and Tim Dodwell alongside the Peter Redway Pumphouse below Lock One [Photo: Ray Carnell]
Waterways at Christmas
This year’s selection of IWA Christmas Cards again includes pictures by well known waterways artists in the Region. From Garth Allen we have ‘Braunston Sunset’ (shown above – Code X011) whilst Michele Field’s picture is called ‘Stoke Bruerne in Winter’ (Code X008). If you haven’t yet got your Christmas Cards there is still time – you can see the complete range at www.iwashop.com and then place your order. Don’t forget there is also an attractive 2012 Calendar available price £3.60.