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Chelmsford Branch Magazine

July 2010 IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


Committee Members Editor Wendy Hodkinson

01371 876383 Distribution Stuart Thurston

01702 529553 Publicity Paul Strudwick

01245 358342 Other Committee members Chairman Jan Thurston (as below)

Features in this Edition Page


Editor’s Comment



Social Diary







All things Electrical



Chelmer Boat Rally 1973



Newport and the WRG



Wilts and Berks WRG



Susan Makes a Move

Chairman’s Chatter Regional News



Lichfield WRG

Webmaster & Catering Stuart Thurston Page


Beeleigh Lock Gates



Elm Farm

01702 529553

Planning and Essex Waterways Ltd Roy Chandler

01245 223732 Chris Chandler Secretary Molly Beard

01702 554992

Page 32 Dedication Ceremony Images in the magazine are taken by the writer33of the associated unless Page Essex Waterwaysarticle Update otherwise stated. Page


WRG diary & EWL workgroups

Images are supplied by the writer of the article unless otherwise stated

Treasurer John Gale

01376 334896 Social Secretary Janine Studwick 01245 358342 IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

Next Edition 1st Oct 2010


Editor’s Comment As you will read, there has been a lot going on along the Chelmer Navigation and even a casual visitor cannot but notice some changes. At Heybridge the newly erected flag pole is now joined by a flower boat and anchor,

New electric cable and meters are in place and the old cable is in the final stages of being removed, grass is being cut as part of the routine followed each year, keeping the areas round locks and an edge along the towpaths clear, as is required of the company.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

A special thank you to Chris Chandler who has kindly agreed to sit on the committee and act as Secretary.

New staging (as above) is gradually being installed where needed and the crane at Heybridge is in regular use moving boats for their owners.


Locking time at Heybridge often features boats coming into the basin, not just from local moorings but often from Holland as well. What is notable is how much of this is achieved by volunteers, who regularly come to help with all manner of jobs. Nationally talks and thoughts continue about the future of BW and funding in general. With the incoming of a new government many changes were expected and it was with some trepidation that IWA waited for the new incumbents‟ names to be announced, especially as we had lost a number of MP‟s whose previous support for waterways had been much valued. The new waterways minister is Richard Benyon MP for Newbury. He has been personally involved with the waterways for many years. Mr Benyon served as a Shadow Minister for the Environment, Fisheries and Wildlife. Prior to this appointment he was a Party Whip. He has also served on the Home Affairs Select Committee. He is a riparian landowner and farmer on the Kennet, and a former soldier and founder of the charity „Help for Heroes‟. IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

He is a vice president of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust, and a keen angling supporter. The Crick Boat Show presented an opportunity for questions to be put to Sally Ash Head of Boating at British Waterways. Though BW does not run the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation, nearly all of us use BW waterways at some time, in some way. In outline she said that we are still waiting to see whether the coalition government is going to go for BW becoming part of the third sector but that the whole concept is very much in line with their generally thinking. Funding cuts will be huge and without this change the future for the waterways looks bleak. The campaigns run by IWA and other organisations have helped tremendously and without IWA there would be no inland waterways as we know them today. What is needed is objective, accurate information so that decisions can be taken. If this goes ahead, it will mean a complete change of status and the key decisions will be taken through a new government structure which will be more representative.


Replying to a question about BW income, It is not realistic to think, she said, that funding can be found without BW having some ÂŁ150m per year from the full portfolio of buildings etc. It was suggested that there be more dredging to avoid damage to banks but it was pointed out that what money is available has to be spent in a range of ways that have to be prioritized and all the money could go on dredging and it would still not be enough. There are no plans at present to increase freight movements as there is no funding, though environmentally there are good reasons to do so. Other voluntary bodies, like the National Trust, RSPB, Woodland Trust, would welcome us into the third sector. Anglers, cyclists, waterway businesses etc would all benefit from this move as they could be more involved in the decision making and there is the possibility that they could be drawn into donating small, regular amounts of money. The timescale for this is uncertain, over the next weeks and months some decision is likely, followed by consultations and then implementation within a couple of years. IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

The Social Programme has continued, though as usual there are no meetings in July or August. I have included the reports of the speakers – who we thank for their time, also some information about restoration work both here and in other areas of the country. We, on the Chelmer and Blackwater, are very confident about the future of our waterway and the role that it is playing in the area, for leisure; within the economy and for supporting wildlife in the area. I hope you enjoy reading the magazine. We would be very pleased to hear from you about any of the issues raised or your experiences on the waterways, especially on the Chelmer & Blackwater. Wendy Hodkinson (Editor) Disclaimer: The IWA may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or official announcement unless stated otherwise. The IWA accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Images are provided by the writer of the article unless otherwise stated


E-mail Communication IWA has been using e-mail to communicate information to members but it is likely that some people will have changed their e-mail address or have just acquired one.

Social at Heybridge June 10th Editor

Special Plea Please inform Head Quarters on If you have an e-mail address change since you last completed a form. This is a very useful form of communication, for instance, all members were sent an invitation to the walk and BBQ held on 10th June at Heybridge Basin giving all the details.

New Members Update We welcome one new member this month David Holiwell Roding

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

About 30 people attended the event and luckily the rain kept away, though it was overcast. It was an opportunity to visit the Heybridge Basin for those who may not have done so and see the new Hall Bridge. Some people confounded the predicted time it would take to do the walk but regardless when the returned they were met with lots of sizzling sausages and other BBQ goodies.


SOCIAL DIARY September 9th Roy Chandler will be speaking to us about the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation and the work being done.

Volunteers had been busy since just before six o‟clock erecting a marquee and stringing up lights. Thanks go to all those who helped and prepared food for a very enjoyable event.

Social Meetings are held at Moulsham Mill 7.45pm for 8.00pm start.

October 14th The North Walsham and Dillon Canal Society is sending a representative to talk about their work.

Further details regarding the programme will be available in the next edition

Everyone is very welcome. Don’t know where this is? – find the Chelmsford side of the flyover on the A1060 and the Tesco Homestore plus on your left going out of Chelmsford. Turn as if going to the store but drive straight ahead of you – ample parking.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

Janine Strudwick


Chairman’s Chatter Dear Members, You receive this magazine in our summer recess. I hope your holidays go to plan and perhaps you will be visiting the IWA National Festival at Beale Park in the August Bank Holiday. If you take photos during your visit, please send them to Wendy, our ever “hungry” editor, for news for the magazine and see them in print, perhaps with a caption? We have had two extra events this quarter. One was the inauguration of a bench at Heybridge Basin, to Don Hair, our much loved member and past Treasurer of twenty two years plus. The weather was very kind to us, and on a beautiful sunny day about, 20 of us, met with Evelyn, Don's wife and eight members of his family, to dedicate the bench to him. Evelyn and his family were very touched by sentiments about Don and that we had all given our time on a Sunday to be there. We all finished in the Old Ship for a drink and a chat and then John Gale took the family on a walk up the Canal as they had never visited before.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

Our second event was last Thursday when we had a canal walk and a barbecue at Heybridge Basin. The weather wasn't so kind and was blustery and uncommonly cold for June, but the stalwarts set out on their walk, while Wendy, Stuart, my daughter Jenny and I arranged the barbecue, which was much appreciated on the walkers return. Everyone stated how they enjoyed the whole event, especially the food which was sausages, burgers, chicken, baps and jacket potatoes, coleslaw and salad, followed by ginger and treacle cake, flapjacks, melon, strawberries, grapes, cherries, apples, bananas, pears and oranges. I hope those of you who didn't attend are now wishing they had? Perhaps we will see you next time? All present voiced they would like to do it again!! Finally, I wish you a happy summer and I look forward to greeting you all on the 9th September 2010, at the Mill.


Regional News

June 12th saw me attend a meeting of Navcomm in the morning and a full trustees meeting in the afternoon. I am constantly surprised at the range of topics IWA becomes involved in and the level of expertise we can call on, both internally and from outside if needed. For example Navcomm discussed a number of issues from BW Licence policy and attempts to persuade very senior people that BW should retain the prompt payment discount and also not charge credit card users an additional fee. Sadly we don‟t always win every battle. There was also lengthy discussion on a long standing problem in our Region with the Agency and the possibility of using a Parliamentary Question was discussed. It is comforting to know that when the IWA does decide to tackle an issue it doesn‟t mess about.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

If anyone ever wonders why they belong to the IWA or what benefit they get for the money then items like this should be a good enough reason. The trustee‟s part of the day was largely taken up with matters of procedure, approving the accounts, hearing and approving various reports and so forth. It was not very glamorous perhaps, but very necessary. We finished about 4-30 allowing plenty of time to get home in time to watch England fail to beat USA!

Alastaire Chambers Branch Chairman


All things Electrical Chelmsford Branch Talk

just being developed electric boats were already being used.

Followers tended to be a rather small eccentric group of people, but during the 90‟s interest in electric boats grew. The example of such a boat is milk floats.

Above: The first battery powered boat to cross the Atlantic

Battery powered boats and electric engines were the subject of our talk at the May Chelmsford IWA meeting. John Hustwick, Chairman of the Electric Boat Association opened the talk followed by David Millin from BP Batteries, who did a grand job of explaining how batteries work. John began by pointing out that electric boats have been around since the 1800‟s. The Electric Boat Company was set up in 1982 during the 1st World War, at a time when the petrol engine was

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

The first example he spoke of was developed by the Steam and Electric Launch Co. It was made with a frolic hull, maximum size 36‟ and moulded from an old hull with a counter stern. Today there are a lot of frolics on the Thames. A wide range of boats now use battery power and electric motors. As electric power is needed by passengers on cruise liners it was decided it made sense to have one power system on board and the QE2 was changed from being run by a steam turbine to diesel generators. Navy stealth ships are also electric 10


Electric Boat Association:

Solar flair

Conversion packages can be applied to canal or river boats and used on all sizes of vessel. There was a good display of various electric boats at the Newport Festival over the bank holiday weekend.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

There are some very good advantages to electric boats, notably they are very clean, quiet, and thus excellent for watching wildlife and in an open boat the absence of fumes can be very much appreciated. They obviously need charging points and there is a campaign at present to increase their numbers. The more batteries there are the further one can go and they are very power efficient as when the electric engine stops it is not using fuel as it cannot idle. 11

The slow speeds used on inland waterways do not need a lot of power.

motors that might be used on an inland waterway vessel are not very powerful.

Castle Narrow Boats, on the Mon and Brec are a very successful company using electric boats. There are also boats with electric auxiliaries to be found on the Norfolk Broads. Electric boats do not vibrate and are very environmentally friendly. Maintenance is minimal with very occasionally requiring the brushes changed and the batteries topped up. The source for charging the batteries can come from solar panels enabling a boat to cruise for two years without charging except using the panels.

There are quite a variety of electric motors; some new ones have been invented by Cedric Lynch. (If you look him up on Google he is a really interesting character who has the motor he designed named after him). Motors can be brushless, and there are pulse wave modulation systems that are very energy economic. Electric motors have been used in a wide variety of vehicles, perhaps the most familiar is the milk float.

There is a solar powered boat on the Serpentine, London and Ra sails on the Broads. (it is worth having a look at a picture of this strange looking boat used in Barton Broad Nature Reserve /boat-trips-1.html There is a 30% discount on BW licences when the boat is electric and insurance is also cheaper. A disadvantage of electric boats is that they do not cope with blanket weed very well as some IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

The second half of the talk, after refreshments was about batteries. We were told that there has been no essential change to making a battery for the last 150 years. A charge through lead holds the current until it is drawn. The higher the grade (purity) of the lead the better and European lead is 99.9% pure. It is refined until the grade is reached and made into a pig, (not as in animal pig but a shaped cast) colour coded and stamped. The battery is made up of positive and negative plates made of lead and a paste is added to seal it all made of ground down granules that can


expand and contract. There are two leads and everything put together forms a cell. Batteries can be 12, 6 or 2 volt. The sulphuric acid into which the cells are placed is oil from volcanoes. It totally burns! A hydrometer measure the density of the acid in water. Acid is drawn into the plates and as this happens the float will drop lower. It is the reaction between the acid and the lead that leads to the discharge of electricity. What is interesting is that it was electric cars rather than petrol ones that were most in evidence at the start of the 1900â€&#x;s. Now many organisations such as the Wildlife Trust use electric vehicles such as boats. In a narrow boat blocks of batteries can be used with a maximum of 7 and stacked in any shape. Starter batteries, as opposed to leisure batteries are mall with thin plates. Leisure batteries need to last, they have thicker separators. There are also lithium and alkaline batteries. f_the_battery If the topic is of interest to you there is plenty of information on the web, including short videos showing how they are made. The article in Wikipedia is reasonably readable by non-scientists.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

Chelmer Boat Rally 1973

David Johnson David brought with him a fascinating collection of slides that really needed to be seen to be appreciated. It was pointed out that in the 1970â€&#x;s waterways were not much liked. Children fell in them, they were dirty etc. Despite this, John Marriage and David decided to have a boat rally. Victoria was bought and operated as a trip boat and gradually more boaters came along to use the waterway. Initially private boaters used the waterway with an IWA member on board. Ken Wood became Secretary and meetings were held at a variety of venues. He showed us some fascinating pictures both from around the country and the Chelmer, including Susan the horse drawn barge at Ulting Lock and later, more recently in poor condition, the barges at Paper Mill, a horse drawn trip at Barns Mill; a horse that had fallen in and had to pulled out and the gas holders at Moulsham Mill when they were being used and Springfield Lock. In 1973 a BW boat was craned in to the Chelmer that belonged to Maurice Frost and we saw pictures through from Springfield to Paper Mill, the latter before the days of the tea rooms.


The Welsh Show Newport.

The Mon and Brec is often visited by the WRG who provide voluntary labour for various restoration work round the country. A group had been working there over the weekend to help prepare for the show – (See separate report by John Gale below) So what happens now!

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

The first two boats, Navi and Olive to pass through the Bettws Lock for 80 years did so on Sunday morning 30th May, 2010- a grand event after two years of hard work. They only just made it, but by lowering the water level a bit more with the pumps they both went through the tunnel under the road bridge and into the lock.


Both trail boats then continued along the canal but only as far as the next road which cuts off the canals route. The area round the site of the festival was lock 34 Gwastad, Bettws 35 and Ty Fynnon and a lock on the Crumlin Arm. Preparations for the festival began more than a year ago and it was hoped that the success of the previous festival in 2004 would be repeated. Funding from Newport City Council and the work of WRG volunteers have allowed boaters to use the newly reopened stretch of water. This is two miles long between Torfaen and Newport.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

The picture shows the new slip way at Bettws Lane that was built by volunteers. And the trail boats ready to enter the tunnel.

For those without their own boat on the water there were two boats giving rides to visitors. Having visited the show on the opening day only, a day with heavy rain, I found that it was very quiet, with the beer tent being the best used area! A small group of children enjoyed the puppet show and there


were some trail boats, mostly with their owners sensibly taking shelter inside them! The WRG, IWA and the Monmouth, Brecon and Abergavenny Canal Trust provided information but there seemed to me little by way of business related to boats, probably with companies choosing to be at the Crick Show. I gather the attendance on the following two days was much improved, as was the weather. The business that to me made the best impact was the display of electric boats and I have used images of these to supplement the talk given at the Chelmsford branch meeting. It may have been better not to promote the show as a „Welsh Showâ€&#x;, as this gave the impression that it was to be a very major event, while it was much more at a local level. This notice seems to have been placed at the bridge by Paddington railways.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

Report by Editor


The WRG at the Mon And Brec Report by John Gale Essex WRG‟s May dig was over the May Bank Holiday and as this meant a three day weekend we were able to go a little further than normal. We went down to South Wales and the „Mon & Brec‟. It was also an opportunity to have a joint dig with our friends in WRG North West. Our job was to help get ready for the National Trail Boat Rally. I travelled down with Bob Crow. Once we got to Oxford we stuck with the A40 for most of the balance of the journey and avoided having to pay the toll on the Severn crossing. In fact, as I had the trailer on the back, I suspect the toll would have doubled. When we arrived at Crosskeys Methodist Church Hall early in the evening we found that Frank had beaten us there. As none of the local pubs did meals it was down to the local chippie to get a very filling cod and chips.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

The next morning we all set off for the site. The North West contingent had to fix some wooden fenders where the trail boats were to moor and then do some pointing in the nearby lock. Essex was to do some painting. The entrance to the rally site was through Kimberley Park and the fencing and park gates were a fetching shade of pale green and rust – with the rust predominating. So first of all we had to scrape off the loose rust and loose paint, rub the whole lot down, prime and then put on a top coat of dark green gloss. This took the first two days. On the Monday we had to paint the lock gates – removing some of the graffiti – and on the seats along the lock. This all done, it was back to the hall for lunch, cleaning the hall and off home. A fairly productive weekend, enjoyable and the weather was kind to us.


WRG June 5th-6th At the Wilts and Berks

the disused canal, which though full of reeds was still very distinguishable as a canal with quite a bit of water. The meeting place on Friday evening was the Peterborough Arms at Dauntsey Lock. This is between Lyneham and Foxham at the bottom of the hill.

Essex WRG worked hard over the weekend.. We began well with a very good meal at the Peterborough Arms which set us up for the weekend. We stayed at the Foxham Reading Rooms where there were actually some books to read, though few of us had the time or the energy to read much, though a joke book did get a bit of an airing. The task was to remove the remaining roots and stumps of mainly willow trees along the edge of IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


All the considerable vegetation was piled on a bonfire that burnt continuously through the day and the following morning.

Just along the way a huge amount of lock restoration work had already been done and it is hoped that a section of the waterway here can soon be opened. Being something of a novice I have to admit that I was somewhat confused when told that we would be using a turfer as this seemed more to suggest the laying of a lawn. However, I soon found out that this is basically a pulley encased in metal, Through it runs a wire rope, one end of which is attached to the roots and the other to any object that will take the strain, in this case mainly nearby trees. Using a lever, which is pumped the chain travels through and drags out the stump. This actually can be hard work!

As you can see in the picture, (below) we WRG’ies take hygiene seriously, and after hours of dealing with some muddy and a rather smelly root systems a good wash is called for. Not all of us however resorted to this more unusual method!

Wonder if he used washing up liquid!

Report by Editor IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


Susan Makes a Move Report by Roy Chandler

Blackwater Navigation and she therefore fully occupies the locks on the Navigation and even requires her twin rudders to be lifted in order to close the lock gates.

The journey therefore required each lock to be operated twice so as to allow the tow boat and then Susan to pass through. By late afternoon she

The last edition covered the history of Susan, the sole surviving timber Chelmer & Blackwater lighter which is now in the care of The Susan Trust and outlined the plans for her restoration. On 26th May Susan made a move that will no doubt be recorded as the next stage of her history when she left her mooring of twelve years at Sandford Mill.

reached Heybridge Basin and was moored overnight in the sea lock. The following morning high tide saw her collected by tug for her journey along the Essex coast to St Osyth Boatyard where her restoration will take place. Photo below taking the next tow at Heybridge Sea Lock

Susanâ€&#x;s original Thorneycroft engine had previously been removed and placed in the Museum for safe keeping. She therefore had to be towed by Essex Waterways Ltd for her journey down the Navigation to Heybridge Basin. Susan was build for the Chelmer & IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


Susan on her way to Heybridge she has pumps on board and is towed by a small weed cutter boat.

Aft view and view of Susan near Tesco showing her two rudders Photos Editor

Photo Editor Above: Susan passing Julie, a later C&BN steel lighter which was restored in 2005 and is used as a maintenance barge by Essex Waterways Ltd.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


A phone call that evening confirmed Susan had arrived safely at St Osyth. One week later a visit to the boatyard saw Susan established in the dry dock with her centre keelson already removed for replacement and exploratory investigation underway to more fully establish her condition and the work required. The following photos show her in the dry dock.

The underside of the bottom planking and the keelson removed

The Susan Trust continues their fundraising in order to complete the restoration and return Susan to the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation as a working exhibit.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


WRG Lichfield Report 10th-11th April Essex WRG

Work was a continuation of previous visits by the WRG and took place at Lock 25 of the Lichfield Canal. It was a joint weekend with Essex WRG and North West WRG. In July, 2009 a feasibility study was published regarding the development of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal, commissioned by the Restoration Trust. The study gave a detailed report of all the work that would have to be carried out. In the first phase between Huddlesford Junction and Darnford Lane, it involves, in some sections, the relocation of the canal in order to circumvent obstacles from modern developments and additional IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

mooring for 40 boats being built. Much environmental work is included; canal walls and lock walls need repair. The canal then would be realigned along the golf course and a winding hole would be built. Lock 29 would not be restored to working order but would remain as an historic structure. Round Lock 28 the area is to develop into a park integrated with the canal. A tunnel is needed under the A38 and a new lock 29 built near lock 28. There would have to be a new culvert and a new road over the canal across Darnford Lane. Then at Tamworth Road to Cricket Lane another winding hole will be built. Then we come to the lock 25 which was the scene of the work at the weekend. Lock 25 and lock 26 have been largely rebuilt by the trust. Lock 24 will be used as a narrows. Landscaping the area round Lock 25 was completed during the weekend. It was important to finish this for the imminent visit by Michael Fabricant, MP a great supporter of the waterways.


No not a wishing well though maybe it could become a money spinner if enough people were fooled into believing it is!

The foundations of the sloped path which can be used for wheelchair/disabled access is shown here being laid and it was then completed on Sunday.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


Just along the canal from here scrub was cleared away in an area which is designated as a winding hole, unfortunately beyond this is a road and a new route across it would have to be constructed for the canal to continue on its way.

View down into the by-wash of the lock 25.

View of the pipe which might be removed

Work on building the walls of the bypass channel also continued apace with WRG volunteers working hard placing stone into a feature wall. From Cricket Lane to London Road would be a new lock 24 and this is the end of phase 2. In the next phase further new locks would be build, some excavated and restored and winding holes, a lift bridge over the A461, and more landscaping, taking the development through to OgleyJunction where it meets the Wyvley and Essington Canal. Report by Editor

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


The National Waterways Museum at Gloucester and Stoke Bruerne

Beeleigh Lock Gates Need a Quick Repair Job Contractors working at Beeleigh l were faced with an unexpected problem. Prompt action was taken when the lock gate at Beeleigh came away at its collar and had to be repaired.

are to be renamed and lose „Nationalâ€&#x; status and take on the role of representing local waterways. There is much dispute at present regarding their funding and also the complaint that unlike most other museums they have to charge an entrance fee. This does not give them a level playing field when it comes to attracting visitors. Despite this visitor numbers continue to improve and it is hoped that over time, making the museums reflect their own locality will be shown as a good decision. Photo Rick Forsyth IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


The stop planks were already in place but in the previous picture you can see how they are lowered/raised into position by crane. . On the Chelmer this is called a dam. The lock had been upgraded with new steps so luckily the crane was already in place and was able to position the dam. Above and below the lock gate hangs broken off its collar.

Extra polythene liner is used to make the dam more water tight. Each lock is slightly different so there are different sets of base planks of the appropriate shape for each of them

Report by Editor IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


Thames Sailings by Balmoral st July 21 -August 5th and Waverley Sept 24-October 1st. Buy tickets on Board when you sale or from Tourist information Centres. There is a full schedule of sailings with stops at a large range of places, including Southend, Clacton, Harwich and London Tower Piers.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

The Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle sails on the River Medway and the Thames. For information Phone: 01634 827648

For further details you can also look on the web site


Elm Farm

The chunker, that has recently been removed from the navigation at Elms Farm, has excited much interest and been reported upon in a variety of magazines, including the Chelmer Canal Trust‟s, „Coates‟ Cuttings‟ the „East Anglian Daily Times‟ and the IWA magazine, „Waterways‟, to name but a few. The use of Elm wood for making pipes goes back to Roman times and predates metal and pottery pipes. A square pipe (though made of cast iron) was dug up where Oxford Road crosses the Rochdale Canal in August, 2009 but this only dated back to 1907. An interesting example of a living Elm is found at Stony Strafford in front of the Crown Inn, John Wesley is said to have preached IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

below this tree. It has a girth of 7.6m. Another example of a very old Elm tree is the Preston Twins at Brighton‟s Preston Park but this is estimated to be only 250-300 years old. Elm first came on the scene some 40million years ago in the Miocene Period somewhere in Central Asia and then spread. Elm is very pliant and is not good as fuel or for building but it is good at withstanding wet conditions so has traditionally been used to build boats, foundations of bridges and cartwheels. It is also used to make coffins and has been used to make bows for the Welsh bowmen. It has interlocking grain and therefore does not split easily. It is also used to make floor boards and wheel hubs. The rich in London had water supplied through Elm water pipes A chunker is a wooden channel or pipe built to take the flow of the original drainage ditches beneath the Navigation. Without this work there was a danger that nearby housing would be flooded. This word has so far not been found used in this way in any dictionaries; it may be unique to the C&B and was apparently in use when the canal was built. 30

Chunkers were so called because they were made from chunks of wood. These channels have been made with slabs of wood nailed together. These are destined to be given to any interested museums and have been moved to Heybridge Basin.. They will have to undergo work to preserve the wood, which will take some months.

What has replaced it is a modern concrete pipe. I wonder whether they will last as well as those wooden chunkers!

Report by Editor

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


Dedication Ceremony

The new bench positioned near Heybridge Lock Cottage was „openedâ€&#x; on Sunday 23rd May when Evelyn Hair, widow of Don Hair, cut the ribbon at a ceremony. In glorious sunny weather, Evelyn, her family, friends and members of the IWA remembered Don. Jan Thurston, Chairman of the Chelmsford Branch IWA committee spoke a few words about expressing our admiration and thanks for all the work he did for the Chelmsford IWA as a dedicated Treasurer. Evelyn was introduced to Roy Cox, who made the chair. He explained that it was all oak and that joins were hidden from view.

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

We then retired to the inn and had a drink before the family went for a meal.


Essex Waterways Ltd Update The IWA Chelmsford Branch Magazine of April 2010 reported four closures of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation to allow work to replace the Elms Farm chunker at Heybridge, carry out repairs and fit a safety ladder at Beeleigh Lock, repaint Wave Bridge, Heybridge, and rebuild Hall Bridge also at Heybridge. Below Hall Bridge Old and New

All four projects were substantially complete so as to allow the whole Navigation to be reopened for the Easter weekend, and thanks must go to the contractors involved whose determined efforts made this possible. These projects together with the major refurbishment of Stonhams Lock last year have resulted in over ÂŁ1m of repairs and improvements on the Navigation in the last twelve months. Whilst users will see little evidence of the major expenditure on the Elms Farm chunker as this lies beneath the

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


waterway, they will notice the transformation that has taken place at Hall Bridge. Originally believed to be a swing bridge so as to allow sailing barges up to the Bentallâ€&#x;s warehouse, the location still shows evidence of having also been the site of flood gates. The later brick built bridge was subsequently modified with “Keyclampâ€? handrails and a concrete deck and was looking rather sad particularly when compared with the original listed bridges on the Navigation. Whilst not part of the official public footpath network, the bridge has an important role as a missing link in this. It is well used as part of the circular walk comprising the Navigation tow path and the sea wall to the Blackwater estuary. It also provides a convenient route for residents in Freshwater Crescent and the new Lakes residential development. This was recognised by Maldon District Council when granting planning permission for this development with a requirement that funding be made available to assist with rebuilding. This provided Essex Waterways Ltd with the incentive to undertake the rebuilding. The design of the new bridge was based upon that of the original IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010

timber bridges that existed on the Navigation. All design and engineering work was undertaken by volunteers and the necessary consents obtained. Work commenced in February with the Waterway Recovery Group week long work camp undertaking the demolition of the badly eroded old deck. This was followed by local contractors fitting the new timber bridge deck and rebuilding the brick parapet walls. Before and after photographs illustrate the transformation that has occurred. This has resulted in a welcome enhancement of the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Conservation Area. Work still has to be undertaken to link the rebuilt bridge with the new footpath network once this is completed.

Roy Chandler

Director and Chairman Essex Waterways Ltd The body responsible for maintaining and operating

the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation


If you do not receive the WRG Bulletin and wish to then get in touch

Next Meetings

Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation

WRG 3/4 July Chelmer & Blackwater and Barbecue 13/15 August Foxton Festival, over 3 days staying on site. 4/5 September Lichfield & Hatherton 2/3 October Foxton - accommodation at Lubenham 6/7 November Chelmer & Blackwater 5/6 December Foxton - Robert Monk Hall is back in use with new heating, posh light wood, new lighting and a much bigger committee room.

John Gale 07961 947360

Working parties on the C&BN are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and (by popular demand) occasional Thursdays from about 9am. We work anywhere on the Navigation doing whatever is needed in the maintenance line. We have recently continued the bank protection work, mowed the whole length of the towpath and we are generally getting the navigation up to scratch for the summer. If you want to help and can spare a few hours on one of these days, phone John Gale

Mandy Morley 07976 287543

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010



Visit our tea rooms through-out the year for delicious homemade cakes and afternoon cream teas and freshly made sandwiches etc… Why not book a celebration trip aboard on our barge Victoria. Our twelve seat trip boat ‘Caffell’ runs through-out the season. Also now in the fleet is ‘Narrow Escape’. Row boat hire also available 01245 225520 .

IWA Chelmsford Branch July 2010


IWA Chelmsford Branch Magazine July 2010  

The July 2010 issue of the Chelmsford IWA Branch magazine.

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