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Issue No. 22 June 2015


Contents Branch Chairman’s Chat………………………………………..3 New Members……………………………………………...…….4 Spring Clean Up………………………………………………….5 Word Search……………………………………………………...6 Branch AGM………………………………………………………7 C&RT Updates……………………………………………………7 From The Archives……………………………………………….8 More Good News For Python……………..……………………11 CCT/IWA Chesterfield Canal Clean Up…………...………….12 New Dawn Launch……………………………………………….14 Keels and Cuckoos is published on behalf of the South Yorkshire and the Dukeries Branch of the Inland Waterways Association by M H Fielding, 1 Vicarage way, Arksey, Doncaster, DN5 0TG. Printed by Colour Image, Loudwater Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of The Inland Waterways Association or of the South Yorkshire and the Dukeries Branch Committee The Inland Waterways Association: Registered Office Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA Website www.waterways.org.uk Email iwa@waterways.org.uk Founded in 1946, incorporated in 1958 The Inland Waterways Association is a non-profit distribution company limited by guarantee (No. 62245) Registered as a Charity (No. 212342)

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Branch chairman’s chat I capture these thoughts before the General Election, but by now you will know who won and will be either elated or depressed, but that’s democracy. Whatever the make-up of our new government the work of the IWA goes On. Under the Conservative-Liberal coalition the former BW was disbanded and the responsibility for its waterways transferred to the newly created Canal & River Trust. Early impressions are that this has been a very good thing for some of our waterways. Navigation on others however is still under the control of the Environment Agency. Such research as I have been able to do within the election manifestos reveals little about the future of the EA navigations. It seems likely that in pursuit of greater government efficiency (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) the EA’s budget will be reduced rather that increased whichever party (ies) is (are) now in power. At the time that the C&RT was created the then government was making positive noises about transferring the EA navigations to the C&RT. This it would seem, is still a sensible proposition. Adding more miles to the C&RT, with some increase in its funding will not significantly add to the need for management staff, websites, logos or brochures. Obviously there will be a need for more boots on the increased miles of towpath. Economies of scale should play a part and the overall cost of all navigations must be lower with one managing organisation rather than two. Certainly for IWA the situation will be simplified as there will be the one major navigation authority and one chief executive to deal with, allowing more efficient communications. So, whoever now sits in Number Ten we must strive to conclude the good work, begun by the previous government, of the transfer of the EA navigations to the C&RT. There is more, of course, the waterways represent what one might call “built heritage”. But whilst almost all flora and fauna and the appropriate habitat seems to be protected these days, often the built environment along our waters is not. Continued on page four Continued on page 4

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The lock-keepers’ cottages, the warehouses, the railings round a by-weir, a crane base, mooring bollards, paddle gear, the weathered brick or stone. Each tiny aspect, some almost unnoticed when they are there, become very obvious when they are not. It is a responsibility of all of us to notice the little things that make our waterway environment unique in the world, and it is our responsibility as the ultimate owners through the government that represents us, to ensure that this environment only ever changes for the better. Each branch committee has a planning officer tasked with monitoring local authority planning moves. But who notices when an iron protective band from a re-furbished bridge is not replaced? Who sees the litter bin placed so carefully by a bridge that high winds turn the plastic liner inside-out, depositing the contents into the water? Who sees the pub/shop/boatyard/fishing notice, roughly nailed to 200 year old brickwork? A waterway beauty spot close to me now has eighteen official signs , notices, warnings and other loud advertising. Twenty years ago there was grass, water, fish and bird life. That’s all still there, but the multi-coloured signs? Do we really need a sign screaming “CARE! THE WATER MAY BE WET”. So IWA’s tasks continue, on the big scale we need more waterways transferred to C&RT and on the small scale we all need an eye to detail. The waterways may be “ours” but they also belong to our children and their children. We are custodians for the present, but only the history books (and our great grandchildren) will know how well we performed. David Dawson Branch Chairman

New members We would like to welcome the following new members to the Branch. You are most welcome. Mr D Mitchell of Sheffield Mr DG & Mrs HS White of Chesterfield

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Spring 2015 canal clean up Sunday 29th March saw us lose an hours sleep when the clocks went forward but again our faithful turned up for the biannual branch clean up held on the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal. With maintenance work on the lock flight just finished we had a little more to do this time. We worked both up and down the canal from Tinsley. After Dave Walker’s safety talk we all set off. This time we had the assistance of the Community barge “Ethel” which took participants as far as the old Don Valley Stadium . They then worked back to Tinsley bringing their sacks of litter on the boat with them. The other group worked down the flight, where the work had been carried out, picking up everything from cans to pushchairs and steal seats.. There seemed to be about the same amount collected this as there was last time. In all we collected about 70 bags of rubbish both teams picking about the same amount. Again we must thank Abbeydale Rotary Club, Tinsley Boat Club, C&RT, Adsetts Canal Project and our own IWA members and in addition The Ethel Community Barge Project for their help this spring. Pie and peas were served after in the Tinsley Boat Club clubhouse. Malcolm Fielding Half of the total of bags of rubbish collected

The community barge Ethel

after unloading its cargo of litter

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Word search In the grid below 13 Yorkshire Rivers associated with navigation can be found. Their names can be written forwards, backwards, vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Answers can be found inverted at the bottom of this page. GOOD LUCK W A

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HUMBER IDLE OUSE SWALE URE WHARFE DON AIRE CALDER HEBBLE DERWENT DUTCH FOSS HULL 6


Branch agm The branch Annual General Meeting took place at the Red Lion Hotel, Todwick on April 15th. The meeting received the Branch Chairman’s, Treasurers, Membership Secretaries and the Region Chairman’s reports. The accounts were submitted and accepted. Malcolm Fielding retired by rotation and was reelected to serve for another term. At the next branch committee meeting officers posts will be allocated. If you would like to join the branch committee please put yourself forward by contacting any committee member, their contact details can be found on the back page of this magazine.

Personnel updates from c&rt At the last customer forum meeting held at Castleford, John Horsfall (CRT Northeast Manager) gave an update on some personnel changes and new posts. Kevin Young is the new customer contact person having special responsibility for Keadby and the Tinsley Lock Flight. Tom Wright is the new communications and community development person. Nigel Crowe is charged with looking after the waterways heritage. Laughter lines The new housekeeper answered the telephone and replied: “Yes, you are correct”. Again the phone rang and the housekeeper answered it “yes ma’am it certainly is”. “Who was that? Asks the house owner. “I really don’t know , “Some woman kept saying: It’s a long distance call from Canada, and I said—It certainly is!”

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From the archive The following article is taken from material found in the old head office of the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation Company in Sheffield, after nationalisation it became the DAIWE (Docks and Waterways Executive ( Docks and Inland Waterways Executive) North Eastern Region. Log of the “Cressy”, Hurleston to Ellesmere and Return 1947. July 18th On this day we left Ellesmere for a mooring we had selected at the old wharf at Hampton Bank. The canal level was lower then when we came up, and we occasionally dragged bottom where we has not done so before. In Ellesmere tunnel we rolled over some obstruction in the bed of the canal, believed to be a steel barrel - a most curious sensation. Moored for the night by Colemere where we had stopped for lunch on the outward journey. July 19th Colemere to moorings at Hampton Bank Wharf. Once again we occasionally dragged bottom. July 20th - August 16th Moored at Hampton Bank, where we were joined later by HERON. Mr Grundy has attempted to reach Chirk, but returned as he found it impossible to proceed beyond Frankton Junction owing to weed and lack of water. The second week in August we were alarmed to find canal level steadily falling, so much so that we had to push out into mid-channel to keep afloat. The reasons for this were: Evaporation losses owing to prolonged spell of dry , hot weather; reduced inflow at Llantisilio owing to the flowmeter installation; water loss through a burst culvert at Chirk. Without much more water, travelling was out of the question, and departure on August 16th as scheduled seemed very unlikely . A ‘phone call to Mr. Howell at Grindley Brook brought the information that the canal there was now 18” below weir. After much difficulty and a personal visit by Mr. Grundy to Crewe, the Company agreed to order Mr. Howell to stop drawing water at Grindley Brook from Friday night (August 15) until the following Monday evening to give the long level a chance to make up. If we could not reach Grindley Brook by Monday evening, drawing would have re-commenced to prevent the lower

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pounds drying out, and this might mean that we would be stranded for an indefinite period. On Saturday I visited the lock-keeper at New Marton locks to ask him to let more water in from the upper (Llangollen) level. Despite the fact that New Marton Locks are most isolated and remote even from a village, the lock-keeper has no telephone so that his important work of water regulation cannot be co-ordinated. I found he was drawing through one paddle raised four notches only. Owing to weed holding back water the upper level was 2 ft. low so that he could not draw any more. For the same reason the level at the tail of the locks was 3” below weir so that he was surprised to hear of our plight. By Saturday night the level had risen slightly, and it was arranged that I should ‘phone Grindley Brook to ascertain the level there at 4 p.m. on the following day, and that we should then decide whether or not to have a shot at getting back. August 17. Sunday. A 4 p.m. we received the information that the level at Grindley Brook was now 1o 1/2” below weir so we decided to cast off, HERON proceeding first. We followed, travelling slowly and dragging bottom most of the way to Bettisfield. The going then improved until we reached the Moss over which we travelled well. At Marl Allotment Bridge where the canal leaves the Moss we grounded in the bridge –hole and had to haul over. We then travelled very slowly, dragging bottom to Platt Lane wharf where we moored for the night just astern of HERON at 9 p.m. having left Hampton Bank at 6 p.m. August 18th At 9 a.m. we were joined by I.W.A. member G.E.Livock and his wife who had driven over from Market Drayton in their Utility Van. We then unloaded all stores, spare fuel etc. from ‘Cressy’ s’ aft hold and loaded them into the van to be re-loaded when reached Market Drayton. This expedient reduced our draft by nearly two inches. Mrs. Livock then took the van off while her husband signed on with us as crew. Mr. and Mrs. Grundy then set off in HERON and we followed, my wife, Livock and Christopher Grundy bow-hauling. Although dragging bottom all the way we made steady progress with only intermittent bow-hauling needed to drag over occasional scours. In this way, and with stops now and again to clear propeller, we got along better than we expected and eventually reached the spot where we on expected t rouble, the scour at

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at Blackoe cottages where we had had to use pulley blocks on journey up. HERON, which had floated over previously, had to be hauled over so we knew we were in for some hard graft. Stopped engine and rigged pulley block, securing fixed end of line to a chain which we slung round the bole of an oak tree on the outside. Self, my wife, Livock, Mr. and Mrs. Grundy, Christopher Grundy and the old Irishman who had assisted us previously then hauled. ‘Cressy’ came so far but then stopped, resisting all our efforts, her stern 8” out of the water. Took a fresh purchase and obtained the additional help of two women from the cottages. After a united and sustained effort by all, she gave slightly and floated off to the pleasure and relief of everyone. We then had a late lunch. Everyone was hot and thirsty., the day being sunny and hot. After lunch, the next section between the two accommodation drawbridges was extremely hard going on account of weed and lack of water,. Heavy and continuous bow hauling was called for, but beyond the second bridge the hauliers could take it easily. Strangely enough the last section of the level from the junction of the Whitchurch Arm to Grindley Brook was no worse than before, and ‘Cressy’ continued to travel slowly under her own power until we tied up astern of HERON at Grindley Brook Top Lock at 4.15 p.m. when we all took tea aboard HERON. The pounds below the locks had almost dried out, and after tea, HERON locked through into the second chamber while we entered the first, and water was then let down into the pounds below through the by-pass paddle. When the pounds had filled sufficiently we locked down. This we did without difficulty, for in locking down we were able to flush out by raising the top paddles and so get such way on that we carried easily past the jamming points. Even so, we had bow-hauling assistance coming out of the bottom lock which in this respect undoubtedly is the worst lock on the canal. The pound below the locks was at least 18” low and we only just cleared the sill and floated in (continued on bottom of page 11)

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More good news for python The Chesterfield Canal Trust is delighted to announce that it has received another grant to restore its historic working boat Python. National Historic Ships UK has made an award of £1000 towards the cost of repairs to the hull. Python is an 86 year old ex-British Waterways working boat. It is on the Register of National Historic Vessels. It was acquired by the Trust in 2009 and is used as a floating promotional vehicle at boat rallies across the canal system in the summer. In winter , the Trust’s volunteers use it to help the Canal & River Trust with maintenance tasks on the Chesterfield Canal. Over a year ago, it sprung a leak. Upon detailed inspection, it was found that much of the hull was very seriously corroded and would need major repairs. Unfortunately, a bid for help to the Heritage Lottery Fund failed., but the Inland Waterways Association stepped in with a major grant just before Christmas. Python has been stored at Paul Barber’s boatyard on the Erewash Canal for over a year. The crew is now busy preparing it for the work, which will take place in the summer. It is hoped that Python will return to the Chesterfield Canal in the autumn ready for its maintenance role. The Chesterfield Canal Trust’s Jan Warsop said “We are very grateful to NHS UK for their generous grant. We are delighted that this well loved vessel can now receive the love and attention that she deserves. We can’t wait to get her back on the water, helping CRT and visiting boat rallies where she has many friends”. Rod Auton ; Chesterfield Canal Trust

(from page 10) mid channel where we lay for the night with long gang plank ashore. Crew then adjourned for much needed pint.

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IWA & CCT TACKLE THE LITTER LOUTS It was an invitation that was hard to refuse. Join members of the Chesterfield canal trust for a litter pick in Retford. There were several attractions, as founder members of the Chesterfield Canal Society back in 1976, Helen and I still have a big soft spot for this waterway; as residents (almost) of Retford it was to our advantage; and the Trust’s Seth Ellis boat would be in attendance, so tea, coffee and hot chocolate would be available in quantity. About a dozen people set off, on March 21st, some on the boat, from which they had easy access to the off-side of the waterway, others forming a tow-path party. Despite the half gale that was blowing the weather was generally kind to the team. By the end of the morning twenty one black sacks had been filled mainly with plastic bottles and bags. A length of chain-link fencing and a road traffic cone proved a little unwieldy but the boat’s forward well proved capacious enough once these items were hauled on board. The team located something quite hard and impossible to lift (a Safe) under the Leverton Road bridge, and C&RT have agreed to remove this next time the dredger is in the locality. The job had been approved by C&RT who gave practical support by sending a truck on the Monday to collect all the debris. Following a swift wash down, the Seth Ellis looked non the worse for her day. Happily most of the humans were in a similar condition too, although the odd “muddy bottom” suggested that gravity had attacked a couple of the crew at some point in the morning. The CCT team had worked as far as Town Lock and the next day (Sunday) Retford Civic Society had agreed to continue through the town towards the west. Everyone seems to agree that a litter free environment is the best safeguard against litter. It looks as though even the devout litter louts don’t want to be first to despoil the area , that’s our hope anyway. Helen and David Dawson

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The boat gang collecting litter on the off side of the canal.

The loaded boat waiting off loading prior to being washed down.

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Cuckoo launched safely by cct The first Cuckoo boat to be built for over 80 years has been safely launched on the Chesterfield Canal and will be moored at Shireoaks Marina. The boat was built by volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal trust. They only used hand tools as would have been the case originally. They even made their own nails. Cuckoo boats were unique to the Chesterfield Canal. The design did not change from the 1770s right up to the 1920s when the last ones were made. Up to the end of commercial use in the 1950s, they were still horse drawn. They were never equipped with engines. A Mast was used when they ventured onto the River Trent. The last Cuckoo known to be in existence rotted away over 20 years ago. It was called Dawn. A group of Chesterfield canal Trust members decided to build a new Cuckoo boat in the early 2000s. They decided to call it the New dawn Project. After research, they drew up a list of all the timber that was needed. This was published in the Trust’s magazine also called Cuckoo, in spring 2004 and sponsors were found for every piece within a few weeks. Seven and a half tons of fresh Lincolnshire oak and boat –skin larch was then bought and stored in a secret location to season. An appeal also went out for traditional hand tools of the type used a century ago. An agreement was reached to do the work in a corner of Shireoaks Marina. Construction began in 1022. The work led by David Bownes who has a vast knowledge garnered by talking with working boatmen of the Chesterfield Canal. He was involved with working on Cuckoo boats as a young man, so he was one of the very few people alive. Possibly the only one, with real working knowledge of their construction. As a result of this build, there are now several others who have picked up this knowledge. David was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Chesterfield Canal Trust at its AGM this year. It has taken four years to complete the boat. Some of the planks (or strokes) that make up the sides are 27 foot long, 10 inches wide and 2 inches thick. They had to be planed exactly and then put into a home made steamer for several hours before being bent into place. There are 90 such planks along the bottom. Each on had to be planed precisely and they were then fixed into place by three hundred and sixty home made nails each 9 inches long and

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hammered upwards. Vast quantities of old rope, tar, pitch and linseed oil have been used to make the boat watertight. Following completion of the work, there was a hiatus to get the red tape completed. Some organisations were baffled because they had no experience of new, wooden, horse drawn boats. Simple things like insurance took a long time to be sorted. There was a long debate about how to accomplish the launch. The boat is 70 foot long and weighs nearly 10 tons. A crane was the obvious method, but there was a fear that the boat might break in half. A cradle could be made, but this would be vastly expensive. Finally it was agreed to launch it down the slipway with an especially lengthened trailer. The front of the boat was lifted a few inches by crane and the trailer was slid underneath. Extensions were put onto the trailer and the rear of the boat was jacked up until it was sitting straight. This process took several hours over the course of two days. There followed a full twenty minutes of a tractor manoeuvring the trailer to reverse down the slipway until the moment of truth arrived. The boat slowly entered the water, started to float and eventually slipped off the trailer, a prefect launch. The boat will be named at the Worksop Water Day on the 6th June 2015.

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BRANCH OFFICERS

CHAIRMAN David Dawson 21 Smeath Lane Clarborough Retford DN22 9JU VICE CHAIRMAN AND PLANNING OFFICER Colin Crofts Staddlestones South Bramwith Doncaster DN7 5SY TREASURER Pat Davies 55 Rockcliffe Road Rawmarsh Rotherham S62 6LX

Tel 01777 704224 email dawsondavida@yahoo.com Mobile 07501 803918

Tel 01302 841619 email cjcrofts@btinternet.com

Tel 01709 206856 email patdav54@gmail.com

SECRETARY AND KEELS AND CUCKOOS EDITOR Malcolm Fielding Tel 01302 873127 1 Vicarage Way email roc3brn9ros1ark4@aim.com Arksey Doncaster DN5 0TG MEMBERSHIP OFFICER John Shaw 72 Norton Lees Crescent Sheffield S8 8SR PUBLICITY OFFICER Dave Scott 17 Bowshaw Road Batemoor Sheffield S8 8EY COMMITTEE MEMBERS Mavis Paul 116 Sandygate Road Sheffield S10 5RZ

Tel 0114 258 2535

Tel 0114 237 5327 email acp2004naburn@hotmail.com Mobile 07900 275327

Tel 0114 268 927 email mavis.brian_paul@btinternet.com Mobile 07725 464611

Helen Dawson as David Dawson Mary Crofts as Colin Crofts

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Keels & Cuckoos, Issue 22, June 2015  
Keels & Cuckoos, Issue 22, June 2015  

The Inland Waterways Association South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch's newsletter Keels & Cuckoos, issue 22 June 2015.