KEELS AND CUCKOOS March 2018
CONTENTS Victoria Quay Waterside Event Water Lanes in Nottinghamshire Dawn Rose to Great Northern Basin
Through the Kiel Canal Forthcoming Events and the Annual General Meeting
KEELS AND CUCKOOS THE INLAND WATERWAYS ASSOCIATION Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association nor the South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch Committee
CHAIRMAN’S CONTEMPLATIONS At the Annual General Meeting of the Inland Waterways Association, we said Goodbye to Les Etheridge and Hello to Ivor Caplan. As chairman, Les has worked tirelessly for the waterways, but as he moves on we are fortunate that in Ivor we have a man with canal water in his veins To some it may seem unimportant that there has been a change at the top, when here at “the coal face” we are struggling to simply retain our branch. However that is to completely miss the point. For many older members it might seem that the IWA has achieved its goal. The waterways now carry more craft than ever before and are enjoyed by a wide spectrum of society. It is unlikely that you will now meet anyone in the UK who is unaware of our National waterway heritage. This may be due to many recent television series, but never forget that without the IWA’s early stalwarts, there would be no canals on which to film these popular programs! It was sometime in the early nineteen fifties that IWA first proposed a “National Waterways Conservancy”. Today we have the Canal and River Trust. I am not sure if this meets Robert Aikman’s expectations, which were based upon the then Thames Conservancy, but it is an unbelievable improve-
Chesterfield Summit below Kiveton Park 1977
ment over the old administrative system. Together with our new chairman, we have a new logo and we have a new name (well in fact our original name). IWA is dead, long live the Inland Waterways Association. By using our full title it is thought that we will more clearly illustrate our reason for existing. Certainly when people ask me about my interests I have always said that I have an involvement with the Inland Waterways Association, which invariably leads to the response “What’s that all about?”. I had long ago learned that using the three initial letters produced a vacant nod of approval on a face showing confusion, and left me no opening for elaboration.
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WHITHER THE BRANCH? By the removal of the letter “H” in the above title, we come closer to the mark! Last year, 2017, at the AGM, the branch was hanging by a thread. As several longstanding members stood down, the remaining committee members were in two minds over the future of the branch. Happily Jill Hardy volunteered to take over the post of branch secretary and given this influx of new blood, the AGM was concluded and the branch has run for a further year. It would be a great boost to the committee if this year at least one more volunteer were to step forward to help. The obvious need is assistance with the monitoring of planning applications along the waterway corridors in the branch area. Following a conversation at a recent committee meeting, the suggestion was put that many members join the Inland Waterways Association, not wanting to attend illustrated talks, but to support IWA’s central mission to campaign for the retention, restoration and development of the inland waterways for the benefit of all. On reflection; my family support the RNLI, yet we have no plans to go to sea. So maybe many of you too, are happy to know that, by being a member of IWA, you are adding your voice to the call for a better deal for our waterways.
A Freeman 22 overtakes a 90-ton barge on the River Trent 1966 The Branch AGM will be on May 2nd. (details page 15). If you have just a couple of hours a month to fill, then you could make a difference. Committee meetings are now largely informal and the venue varies. IWA has much to do, not least to persevere with the plan to have Environment Agency navigations transferred, with a suitable dowry, to the Canal & River Trust. Locking out of Torksey en route to West Stockwith 1965
If this is not the case and you do want to meet with your fellow enthusiasts at quarterly or even monthly meetings do let someone on the committee know.
Sheffield waterfront event, September 23rd 2017 It may be an odd confession from the branch chairman of the South Yorkshire and Dukeries branch to make, but in simple terms, I am a country boy. I’m happiest on a rural towpath, no matter how muddy and overgrown it may be. The song of the birds, the wind in the trees, even the rain running down my face, suit me fine, but cities, towns, traffic or trams are not my scene! So it was with some apprehension that, on behalf of the branch, I accepted an invitation from the Canal and River Trust to bring an Inland Waterways Association presence to Sheffield Basin on September 23rd. I had spent many happy hours there in my youth as a very lonely barge spotter, but in the late nineteen-fifties and early nineteen sixties, Sheffield Canal Basin was not somewhere to go in your Sunday best! I have been once or twice since, and only through necessity. So how did we fare? Well the weather forecast was not too encouraging, but with a car full of gazebo, tables display stands and sand, Jill Hardy, Helen and me, we arrived on time, to find that the organization was superb. Our site was by the main entrance, in the shelter of the old railway arches. Help was on hand to off-load the car and parking was not only safe, but close by. The focus was not so much on the boats in the basin, but on water-side activities, so the stalls included many charities, traders selling vinyl records, or souvenir mugs of anything but the canal! There were food
stalls, and coffee shops. Canal & River Trust staff were conspicuous and C&RT volunteers were everywhere. Our cover illustration shows Irene Hood and Jack Sizer in period dress. Both cut dashing figures, but they were not actually dashing anywhere. Ladies and Gentleman of that era did no such thing. Gentile was the word, unless you were “other ranks” I guess, then hunger or filth would have been the word. We were pleased to meet five branch members at the stand, although one meeting was extremely short-lived as a spouse’s motorized scooter was stranded somewhere on the canal-side cobblestones. A subsequent enquiry confirmed that all had turned out well in the end. Jill had an innovative game for children which consisted of drinking straws poking out of sand. Some contained an indication of a prize. The game proved popular with parents many prizes were won and much goodwill created. Jill was able to add some £60.00 to our funds. Pat had produced packs of cakes and buns which sold out quite quickly with many more pounds added to the branch reserves All in all a very enjoyable day on the waterside…………...in central Sheffield!! Finally the branch received a digital thank you from Tom at C&RT for supporting the event
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ABOVE The B r anch Gazebo is alm ost r eady BELOW Elegance per sonified Ir ene Hood of “able costumes”
ABOVE The Branch stand with the C&RT Welcome Arch beyond BELOW Sheffieldâ€™s Straddle Warehouse
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From the manager’s desk Or who would run a boat-yard? Sometime events happen that make you think that there must be a parallel universe. One such event was a on a sunny mid week day. The marina had been quite, for most of the afternoon. An ideal time to catching up with paper-work. Then a small, very noisy two-seater car arrived in the car park. My attention attracted, I watched fascinated as the door opened and a lady in the most inappropriately short skirt (for visiting a canal boat-yard at any rate) I had seen, emerged and headed towards the office.
I met her at the door. “I have come to look at some barges”. “Do you have anything specific in mind?” I asked. She looked a little vague. “Traditional stern ? Cruiser sdtern?” I ventured cautiously. “Fixed double, shower, bath, residential or holidays?” She looked even more vague. “No, just a regular canal barge like this” She flourished a glossy magazine showing photographs of the interior of a narrowboat taken through what must have been the widest of wide angle lenses. Suspecting that I would need to begin at the beginning, I offered to show her over a couple of stock boats, hoping to trigger some enthusiasm for one or the other. As we had steps to climb, I decided that the gentlemanly thing to do, in view of her skirt, or almost lack of it, was to lead the way.
We arrived at the first boat, access over the bow deck. It was at this point that she realised that her dress sense had let her down. I wandered off whist she adjusted her clothing within the cabin, following what I imagine to have been a seated shuffle over the side deck. “We want a boat to live on” she ventured. “We, is that you and your husband?” was my naive question. “No, my husband doesn't know about this. Nor does my boyfriend’s wife” She was gaining confidence. “We want a barge to park up the canal where they won’t find us” This is when I began to loose the sale “You’ll be giving up work then?” “Of course not, we both have very good jobs”. “Surely if you don’t get home in the evening, your spouses will just call work the next day?”
I saw a dim light dawning in her eyes. “Do you have any brochures?” she asked brusquely, then, clutching a few and having failed to live up to the brand name on her little two-seat car, she left, never to be seen again.
The editor and production team of ‘Keels and Cuckoos” thank West Stockwith Parish councilors for their kind help and permission to print this article West Stockwith lies at the Southernmost point of the Isle of Axholme, which in turn, lies between the Rivers Trent, Idle, Torne and Don and covered 51,104 acres in the19th Century. Though most of the land was inundated by flood water from the Rivers Trent and Humber at high tide, the land was greatly enriched by the sediment, or ‘warp’ as the locals called it, and was capable of supporting more cattle and crops without the need for resting The Islanders took turf and wood for building and fuel. All the tenants of Epworth were allowed fishing rights to catch white fish on Wednesday and Friday. The rivers and dykes were used as water roads for small craft and huge flat-soled shoes, similar to snow shoes, enabled passage across the marshes on foot. In the Winter these waterways widened and offered easier access for the locals, and more security against ‘strangers’. The River Trent was a main artery and carried tall- masted ships down to the Hum-
ber. Many of these ships moored at West Stockwith. In 1626 Charles 1st decided that the land should be drained, but did not consult the locals regarding the matter. Instead he employed a Dutch man called Vermuyden to drain the land. The locals revolted, and there are stories of water being let in from the River at night by opening sluices so that work had to start again the next day. However, Vermoyden was given two thirds of the land drained. The local population thus not only had their way of life changed, they also had less grazing and fishing. The people of West Stockwith relied on the River Trent for their water both for drinking and domestic activities, hence the ancient rights of way from Main Street in the village, to the river, now known as Water Lanes. People had the right to use these lanes as access to the River, enabling them to fill a bucket with River water and take it to their home, where it would be poured into a settling tank and left until it cleared
KEELS AND CUCKOOS The sediment would be mud, soil or vegetation, but this process did nothing to eradicate any bacteria present in the water which, after all, may had previously passed through the residents of Nottingham, Newark and Gainsborough! There were few wells in the village but some people had invested in charcoal filters for additional cleansing. Locally brewed “small” beer was popular in the village, and many of the houses produced beer for local consumption, this was not unusual at this time as the alcohol killed most bacteria.
Previous page and above—three examples of “Water Lanes” the one above passes beneath part of the cottage “Lynwood” on High Street
Through the years the village became a busy port, especially when the Chesterfield Canal came tand the basin and lock wereopened to the Trent, linking the Peak District and places between to the rest of the world. The story continues with a big ship building industry, and cargoes of pit props from Norway, Sweden and Russia. All kinds of vessels would be moored along the River at West Stockwith. More to follow. Below left the River Idle Below right the River Trent
Above: interpretation board in West Stockwith
PASSAGE THROUGH THE KIEL CANAL The Kiel Canal is a shipping channel through Schleswig-Holstein in Northern Germany, bypassing Jutland for small to medium sized ships. It runs in an approximate Northeast to Southwest direction for a distance of 98km, from Kiel (Holtenau) on the Baltic Sea to BrunsbĂźttel at the mouth of the river Elbe on the North Sea. It saves a distance of approximately 260
We joined our cruise ship, Marco Polo at Hull on a twelve-day trip to Copenhagen, Talllin, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Nynashamn (nr Stockholm), returning through the Kiel Canal to the Tyne near Newcastle although it was originally planned to end at Hull but was changed during the cruise for operational reasons. We were transported back to Hull by coach. At 176m by 23.6m this ship can easily use this waterway, one of only six cruise ships that can currently do so. We entered the lock at Holtenau, the town of Kiel is about five kms to the south, late on July 10th after an extended wait at anchor due to a reported back-log of traffic because of mechanical issues with locks.
nautical miles, the extra distance to go round the Jutland peninsula. Single stage locks at each end can accommodate vessels to a maximum of 235m (770ft) long by 32.5m (106 ft) wide and 9.5m (31ft) deep, thus modern very large cruise ships can not use this waterway.
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PASSAGE THROUGH THE KIEL CANAL
The delay was further extended because of our need to refuel at the depot just inside the canal as we had been unable to take on as much fuel as required whilst at St Petersburgh. Refuelling could not take place until early morning so it was about 9.30, before we started the canal transit proper. This had the advantage of being in daylight on a very fine day so as to be able to view the passage at its best..
There are a number of bridges carrying roads of various status and we must not forget the ferries which dot across the canal every now and then. Occasional branches to the main line join from time to time and these can have the more obvious signs of industry. On board a cruise-ship with all its facilities including far too much good food, on such a fine day, it was a pleasure to transit this canal and take in the excellent scenery
After leaving the fuel depot at Holtenau and passing beneath the bridge carrying the 503 road, the canal quickly entered a very much more rural landscape with only occasional signs of industry. We passed several other ships who were heading toward Kiel as well as being part of a small group towards the south. Passage on this canal is not the oneway-at-a-time convoy system as on the Suez Canal but more of a freeform as ships generally have enough room to pass.
However all good things come to an end and in this case the end is the Pair of locks at Brunsbüttel. Industrial sites are never the prettiest places to cruise past but the bitumen works seem to have made a little effort in decorating their chimney.
Entering the lock at Brunsbüttel with the North Sea beyond the bottom sideways-sliding gate. You can not be in a hurry when negotiating these locks as the operators cram as much shipping in there as possible to maximise the use of the large amount of water flushed through.
Overall a very enjoyable holiday with this trip through the Kiel Canal very much a high-light. There are many cruises to the Baltic but only a few ships can navigate this waterway. Recommended! Editor’s thanks to Dave Shaw for the words and pictures
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SHEFFIELD CANAL BASIN
Archive photographs are so interesting. The one above has “Sheffield Canal Basin” in pencil on the reverse, but no date. However there is a Wartburg estate car parked by the boats and it is showing a Sheffield plate with the suffix letter “K”. This suggests that the image is from 1972, or soon after. Below is not so easy, to date, the boats are named Chantrey and Calipso but the reverse of the photograph reveals nothing!
TINSLEY LOCKS CLEAN-UP Twice each year, the branch holds a working party based upon the length of the Sheffield and Tinsley incorporating the Tinsley flight. Some years we use the local working boat, other years, it’s a tow-path ramble. For many years Abbeydale Rotary Club has supported the branch members in this useful and visible work. Canal & River Trust provide litter pickers and plastic bags, so all you need are strong shoes, gloves and possibly some waterproof clothing! The job is planned for 10.00 on April 10th, lasts for two hours and traditionally the morning is rounded off with a pie and pea lunch in Tinsley Boat Club’s headquarters. PLEASE do telephone either Pat Davies or David Dawson (see inside back cover) before you set off to attend to confirm times, as these may change due to weather etc. EREWASH CANAL FESTIVAL MAY 2018 Although the Erewash Canal is not “on our patch” there is every reason to pay the Great Northern Basin, Langley Mill, a visit over the week-end of May 26th to 28th. For possibly the first time ever, and certainly in any of our lifetimes a full-length Chesterfield boat Dawn Rose, will be present. Having no motive power, she will be accompanied from West Stockwith to the junction of the Erewash, the Cromford and the Nottingham Canal, by narrowboat Python, also one of the Chesterfield Canal Trust’s fleet of craft. The festival is to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association. There will be the usual gathering of classic boats, stalls, entertainment and real ale. Langley Mill is less than 40 miles from the centre of Sheffield. BRANCH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING MAY 2ND 2018 Your committee, ever mindful of the numbers that attend Annual General Meetings is hoping that this year it can tempt you to attend by hosting in a different venue. The Boat Inn at Sprotborough has been chosen as the location for the 2018 AGM., partly because it is almost waterside, nestling as it does in the Don Gorge. In place of the usual “illustrated talk”, for 2018 the committee invites you to the short AGM and then to stay on for a meal (at your own expense). Vintage Inns is the parent company and the menu and prices are available on line. Just search “Boat Inn Sprotborough”. There is a huge car park and the dining area is split into separate rooms allowing the branch to host the event in a private setting.
The AGM will be on May 2nd at 7.00 p.m. The Boat Inn, Sprotborough, DN5 7NB Telephone 01302 858500 Page 14
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MAKING YOUR BRANCH TICK Chairman David dawson 21 smeath lane Clarborough Retford Nottinghamshire DN22 9JU 01777 704224
Vice-chairman Colin crofts Staddlestones South Bramwith Doncaster DN7 5SY 01302 841619
Secretary Jill Hardy 17 LiMekilns North Anston Sheffield S25 4FB firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer Pat Davies 55 Rockcliff Road Rawmarsh Rotherham S62 6LX 01709 206856 email@example.com
Editor Helen Dawson 21 Smeath Lane Clarborough Retford Nottinghamshire DN22 9JU 01777 704224
Membership John Shaw 72 Norton Lees Crescent Sheffield S8 8SR 01142 582535 No e-mail address
Joint Planning Officer
ONE LAST THOUGHT
For many years the Waterway Recovery Group working parties and indeed many waterway restoration movements have indulged in a pass-time which has been fondly known for years as “Scrub Bashing”. However as a passion for the waterways widens to include people with other interests, to some this process is seen as “Habitat Destruction”. Thoughtless actions or use of words can lead to misunderstandings and as history will confirm, even war between nations. To avoid misunderstandings we all need to reflect on why we are involved with the inland waterways and accept that our fishing spot may be someone else’s mooring. Our weed infested channel someone else’s fish spawning area. You will have seen in “Waterways” that the scheme which some of us remember as the Silver Sword Scheme has been reintroduced with the slightly less confrontational title of the Silver Propeller Scheme.
This is to encourage boating on the limit, a way to encourage boaters to go the extra mile, or the extra (flight of) locks and reach maybe a head of navigation. It is true that boats on the water do attract more attention and publicity. However do please remember that your conquest of the There and Back Canal and your triumphant arrival in Tiddlywink Basin may not go down too well with the local anglers, especially if they have just restocked “their” fishery. Certainly canals were built for boats, that is a given, but do remember that the chair of the local council finance committee may just be a canal angler. Enjoy the waterways. and go for that Silver Propeller!
KEELS AND CUCKOOS THE INLAND WATERWAYS ASSOCIATION Views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association nor the South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch Committee Editor Helen Dawson 2 Smeath Lane Clarborough RETFORD Nottinghamshire DN22 9JU Phone:01777 704224 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org