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Middlesex Branch Newsletter email:

No. 33 Autumn 2014

Caught, a moment in time, a flashback to Victorian times as a traction engine crosses the Grand Union Canal at Marsworth. Photo: C. Liddle - July 2014

Inland Waterways Association Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

Diary Dates 2014 Branch social evenings 7 September

Angel Canal Festival. City Pd Basin, Angel Islington N1

9 September

Branch social evening Richard Thomas - River Lee to the Thames.

14 October

Branch social evening Alan Scott-Davies – Haunted Canals based on his book, Shadow on the Waters.

11 November

Branch social evening Tony Brooks - getting the boat ready for winter.

Middlesex Branch social evenings are held at Hillingdon Canal Club, Waterloo Rd, Uxbridge. Social meetings are not held in July, August or December. For more information contact the Social Secretary Lucy Smith on, or 07947 451376. Entrance is free and all are welcome including non members.

Festivals and events 13-14 September - Slough Canal Festival Bloom Park, Middlegreen Rd, Slough. SL3 7BW Entrance to the festival and parking is free and gates are open from 11am to 5pm on both days. Wheelchair access.

20-21 September Open House London – Hanwell Locks. See page 7 for more details. Tours start at 1.00pm, 2.00, 3.00 and 4.00pm. Meet at The Fox Inn, Green Lane, Hanwell, W7 2PJ.

27 September - Inland Waterways Association annual general meeting at Leek in Staffs. See IWA website for details, or contact head office (see page 15).

Inland Waterways Association 2 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

Chairman’s Column The Slough Arm of the Grand Union Canal may not be a pretty section of canal, there are no great views, no outstanding architecture to admire and, with all respect to Slough, it is not a place of special interest but very importantly following the dredging by the Canal & River Trust the arm is well and truly open. Last Saturday (30 August 2014) I joined boaters from High Line Yachting for a short cruise down the arm to the basin and back. Not only just narrow boats but a wide beam boat made the journey without any major problems. I do not know the exact sums but over the last year the Canal and River Trust must have spent thousands on the Arm carrying out major repairs to the collapsed Reeds Bridge, the embankment at the Ridgeway Trading Estate and the dredging. It is very easy for us to criticise the C&RT and we will when necessary but I feel the IWA must also praise the Canal & River Trust when work is done and a section of canal that appeared to be in danger of abandonment is restored and open for business. I hope that boaters will make use of the short section of canal, visit Slough and more importantly come to the Slough Canal Festival (13 & 14th September 2014). It would be a great waste of resources if after all this work the arm remains under used.

The London Borough of Hillingdon has more towpaths than any other London borough, with most of the Grand Union Canal main line from Stocker's Lock to Bulls Bridge falling within or forming the boundary of the borough. In the past the council has tended to ignore the canal although this may be changing. On the Paddington Arm we have already seem major improvements to the canal side towpath creating an accessible path suitable for all. One group that has been using this improved facility are cyclists. The use of bicycles on the towpath is long established especially for boaters using a bicycle to ride ahead to set locks or go for a ride in the local area. However in recent years there have been calls to use the canals as long distant cycle paths. The IWA has made it clear that we support recreational cycling on suitable towpaths by individuals, families and small groups. Commuter and recreational cycling should only take place where the safety of the rider can be assured and it does not compromise the safety and enjoyment of other users. I have heard several incidents of cyclists travelling along the towpaths at speed and forcing other users out of their way. I feel that one role the IWA has is to ensure that any towpath "improvements" do not create cycle speedways that compromise the enjoyment and safety of other users. I would welcome your views on such improvements and any issues that you have with inconsiderate cyclists.

Keith Clayton Chairman – IWA Middlesex Branch

Inland Waterways Association 3 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

In Praise of the Southern GU In the May edition of Waterways World on page 14 is an article entitled "In Praise of the Southern GU" and response letter by Alan Hayes. My copy of the WW Annual 2014 arrived the other day, and while I am greatly enjoying it, I was a bit upset to see you dismiss the town where I live Uxbridge in beautiful Middlesex - along with Watford, as best quickly glossed over (Gazetteer, p22). Quite apart from the site of the former FMC boatyard, worth a look by canal history buffs for the place where hundreds of FMC craft were made, and hard by the Hillingdon Canal Club (where passing boaters are always welcome), there is plenty to do and see in the surrounding area. Hillingdon is the second largest of the London boroughs by area, with more green space than almost all others. Uxbridge town centre has good shopping, a couple of excellent pubs and more food outlets than you could shake a stick at. Close to Uxbridge you have Little Britain Lake, a short walk from the canal itself, and for those with more energy, Iver village is just up the slope out of the valley. Beyond that, Black Park hard by Pinewood Studios and Langley Park, with its arboretum and 'visto' to Windsor Castle, are both walkable from the canal; with a picnic they would make an excellent day out. North of Uxbridge, around Harefield, you have the delights of the Colne

Valley, with plentiful gravel pit lakes like pearls on a necklace down London's westernmost flank. It is true that HS2 will have a terrible impact on the cut at Harefield, so we can only fervently hope that particular white elephant is quickly despatched. But a night's mooring at Harefield would, I promise you, afford one of the best four-pub crawls you could hope to enjoy in an evening - and it's downhill back to the boat all the way home! There are plentiful footpaths linking to Denham Country Park (right by the towpath at Harefield), then as you progress north you pass one of the largest non-coastal reed beds in the country at Stockers Lake, before arriving in Rickmansworth, famed for its canal festival (I believe 'a Ricky' is still used to describe a boat jam on the cut, although I stand to be corrected on that). At Rickmansworth, the nature reserves of the 'aquadrome complex' (Springwell, Stockers, Bury and Batchworth lakes) are a superb spot for walkers and birdwatchers, and Rickmansworth Waterways Trust and its Batchworth Lock Canal Centre lie just outside the town. While the fringes of Ricky are a bit Cont. >>

Inland Waterways Association 4 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

(In Praise of the Southern GU)

unprepossessing, the High Street is historic, with some great pubs. I confess I don't know the territory north of Rickmansworth very well, so Watford might have to speak for itself, but please don't 'gloss over' the Grand Union mainline section from Brentford northwards, that takes in the Hanwell flight, the industrialised 'back views' of Bull's Bridge and historic GWR town of West Drayton (where Comag, which distributes your esteemed publication has its offices, yards from the canal, and where you will also find Fray's Island Nature Reserve and some

beautiful parts of the Colne Valley Trail) to the greener uplands of Hillingdon where, after passing under the M40, you really feel like you are breaking free of London. It's a mixed up, complicated, fringey landscape, with some superb canal architecture, and I invite you to come and have another look. Best regards, Alan M. Hayes Uxbridge.

Important safety warning from BECO GAS COOKERS MANUFACTURED PRIOR TO JAN 2009 WITH AN LPG CONVERTER KIT Certain models with a separate oven and grill produced before 2009 need a modification to the grill door seal when converted to LPG. Below are the list of models which become unsafe if converted to LPG. If you own a cooker with separate oven and grill that has been produced before 2009 and converted to LPG, it’s important you contact us on the Freefone number Beko Flavel below with your model and serial number so we can determine if you need a free of charge DCG 8511W DG 581 NWP VC5NDW modification. DCG 8511G DG582WP VC5NDC UK Free phone 0800 917 2018 DCG 8511SI DG581S AP5NDW Ireland Free phone 1800 25 29 25 8521 NS DG 582 S DCGAP 5S 8521 W

DG 582 SP



DG 582 X


DG 581 W

DG 584X

DG 582 W

DG 5822 X

DG 584W

Inland Waterways Association 5 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

Rescue after collision at Hammersmith The crew on board the narrowboat Alesha had to be rescued on 13 August when the strong Thames Spring tide swept their boat around Hammersmith bridge and onto a moored houseboat. The Chiswick RNLI was launched at 2:42pm and rescued the crew of four on board Alesha as it was held fast against the houseboat by the strength of the tide, with no way of getting off. Luckily no-one needed medical assistance. The houseboat Amethyst was moored alongside a pier in Hammersmith, with the narrowboat stuck across her bow. Aparently, this is a regular occurrence when a strong tide sweeping around Hammersmith Bridge takes narrowboats in its wake, their length and lack of power leaving them at the mercy of the tide.

Photos from RNLI

A lifeboat crew member was put aboard Alesha to set up a tow line and then she was towed clear of the moored boat. The narrowboat was secured at Dove Pier with assistance from the Port of London Authority vessel, Driftwood II.

Mind the ducks A large bag of yellow plastic ducks being transported to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal for a duck race fell off the lorry near Abergavenny and scattered all over the carriageway. It was the motorists dodging around the ducks who alerted the police, who had the task of clearing them all from the road. They were eventually collected and sent on their way to the bank holiday event.

Inland Waterways Association 6 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

Hanwell Locks – Open House London weekend If you’re interested in the history and architecture of the Grand Union Canal don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Hanwell locks during Open House London weekend 20-21 September. The walks start at the Fox Inn pub in Green Lane (W7 2PJ), off Lower Boston Road in Hanwell and take place at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday. There’s parking available in Green Lane and also at The Fox Inn pub. Opened in 1796, there are reminders of a bygone era scattered all along this stretch of the Grand Union Canal. Along the way there’s an assortment of curious but interesting looking features, some puzzling lock fittings, and lock keeper’s cottages.

On the towpath side there’s Ealing Hospital, formerly St Bernard’s Hospital with its great wall alongside the towpath, with access to the canal for deliveries of coal and other waterborne goods. Today these access points, no longer in use of course, are just bricked up arches but still visible bearing witness to earlier activities. You’ll see and hear about Brunel’s famous Three Bridges, built in 1856, where the old railway line from Southall to Brentford docks is crossed by the canal and Windmill Lane (A4127).

Inland Waterways Association 7 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

Slough Arm dredging

The completed dredging operation now allows these two boats to pass each other with no problems, which would have been difficult before. Photo: Paul Fox The dredging project, with a funding allocation of more than £700,000, removed around 10,000 tonnes of silt and debris from the canal. Back in May, police were called out after two metal cylinders were dredged up. Paul Fox, senior waterways engineer at the Canal and River Trust, said: “We did have a concern when a couple of unidentified metal cylinders were dredged up. The police were called, though they confirmed that they were not ordnance devices and were completely harmless.”

Inland Waterways Association 8 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

Scene on the Grand Union Canal

Above: The Grove Bridge (No. 164) Below: Grove Mill

Inland Waterways Association 9 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

Invasive Plant Species Himalayan Balsam Himalayan Balsam crowds out native plants and can take over whole areas of river and canal bank leading to erosion when the plant dies back in the winter. Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens Glandulifera) is an invasive plant introduced to Britain in the mid 19th Century by Victorian gardeners. It is the tallest annual plant in the UK, growing to a height of over three metres. The seeds, up to 800 per plant, are released explosively from the seedpods and can travel for up to seven metres from the plant. If the seeds land in waterways they will be taken downstream where they can start a new colony, one of the reasons this plant is so difficult to control.

If you see any plants growing, before the seed pods have developed, usually from August onwards, pull up the plants and leave them on the side to rot down. Report any locations of Himalayan Balsam to your local waterway office. Ensure you don’t accidentally carry the seeds to a new area (eg on the bottom of your shoes or on the deck of a boat), and don’t place balsam flowers or stems on areas where it was not previously present.

Himalayan Balsam growing along Yeading Brook. Photos: C. Liddle

Over the last ten years, this plant has become more established on many of our waterways; however, it can be controlled by pulling it up before the seeds develop. As a result of increasing prevalence of Himalayan Balsam but mindful of the relative ease with which it can be tackled, IWA has developed a campaign to decrease the plants along our waterways. IWA, supported by CRT, have been organising work parties in various locations around the country to actively limit the spread of the plant by targeting problem areas. See the IWA website for more information.

Inland Waterways Association 10 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

Invasive Plant Species Japanese Knotweed Recently spotted on the Slough Arm of the Grand Union Canal, Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica var japonica) is also a non-native invasive species of plant. Since it was introduced into the UK as an ornamental garden plant in the mid-nineteenth century it has spread across the UK, particularly along watercourses, transport routes and infested waste areas. It invades natural habitats and out-competes the native plants and animals that normally live there. Rivers, hedges, roadsides and railways form important corridors for native plants and animals to migrate, and large infestations of non-native weeds can block these routes for wildlife.

Japanese Knotweed growing along the Slough Arm

Slough Canal Festival Saturday & Sunday 13th and 14th:- Slough Canal Festival, Bloom Park, Middlegreen Road, Langley Slough. The Slough Arm of the Grand Union Canal has been dredged and the reeds cleared why not come to this festival and help us celebrate our 20th anniversary for Middlesex Branch. There will be a Fish and Chip supper on the Saturday night for all boaters, members and friends who wish to attend. On the Sunday the Mayor of Slough Borough Council will cut our "birthday cake". Inland Waterways Association 11 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

Planning & Navigation Hillingdon Canal Partnership (HCP) Report by Ray Gill Items relating to planning and navigation discussed at the Partnership meeting held on 7th July 2014: The clearing of Shackles Dock is likely to proceed and the dock will provide a facility for Sharks Canoe Club. Dredging of the dock entrance could potentially provide a winding point to the east of Hayes town centre. The Nestles site in Hayes is to be redeveloped. The 1930s factory by Wallis Gilbert is locally listed. The HCP is promoting the idea of a new footbridge over the canal from the Nestles site to provide a better connection between the proposed new mixed development and Hayes town centre.HCP are lobbying the planners at Hillingdon to ensure that Ballymore comply with their obligation (a condition of the planning consent) to provide temporary visitor moorings at High Point Village in Hayes. The Partnership plans to prepare a ‘Waterspace Strategy for the canal in Hillingdon. The strategy, which will be devised by a planning and landscape design consultant, is likely to be funded by the local authority. CRT is advising on the selection of the consultant and the scoping brief for the study. As part of the Middlesex Branch involvement in the Partnership we have prepared a conceptual scheme to improve the interface between Stockley Park and the Grand Union Canal. The in itiative has two main objectives; to transform an existing intimidating towpath environment that is over a mile in length and to provide better links

between the towpath, public highways and the Stockley Park estate. The scheme proposes clearing six areas of landscape to provide pockets of rough grass opening up views between the business park and the canal as well as links into the Stockley Park footpath/cycle way network. CRT is supportive of the proposals and issues of land ownership and security are being researched. The initiative is likely to form part of the Hillingdon Waterspace Strategy mentioned above. HCP are trying to resurrect a scheme for residential moorings alongside the Kingshott Business Centre in Hayes. The planning permission previously obtained by CRT has expired, as funds to develop the moorings were not forthcoming. CRT has produced a Hillingdon Towpaths Report that identifies sections of the towpath worthy of upgrading together with notional costings. We have stressed that sections of towpath constructed to a higher specification should not be seen as a high speed network for cyclists and it is important that any improvements must take account of all users needs including boaters, walkers anglers and the disabled. Discussions with DfT are ongoing concerning a possible planning benefit from the HS2 project, which may involve the funding of a national cycle route. Part of this route would include the Grand Union intowest London as will as the Slough Arm. Ray Gill – Planning and Navigation Officer

Inland Waterways Association 12 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

MIDDLESEX MUSINGS Is it a Towpath or Velodrome? I wonder what the average age of IWA members is? A lot of members will remember about twenty years ago, cyclists wishing to use the towpath were required to have a cycling permit issued by British Waterways. This gave permission to cycle on designated towpaths and was accompanied by a BW code of conduct, which had to be adhered to at all times. ‘Cycling permission may be withdrawn if you ignore this code, and you could be liable to prosecution.’ The increase in use of the towpaths by high speed cyclists is now a topic that most towpath walkers and boaters are well aware. Whilst the subject is constantly being raised at user meetings, there seems little action from CRT (and BT before) to do anything about it.

Issue 32: Reflections on page 16 In the last issue there was a request for suggestions regarding the photo. Re: Photo in Reflections

For Sale: Private parking space with easy access to all local leisure amenities. Contact .... Thanks go to Dave Dent for that one.

C&RT’s new Strategy? Readers may recall in the last Middlesex Matters the item in Musings - Stuck between a rock and a hard place. The incident, where a woman was evicted from the canal making her homeless, caused a lot of critisism of Canal & River Trust’s handling of the situation. The Trust has now decided that it needs the post of a Welfare Officer stating ‘The post forms part of our strategy to support vulnerable boaters.’ Strategy? Must be a new one, more than likely a result of the bad publicity following the eviction.

It’s no joke being editor For all the years that I’ve been editor I’ve not had one complaint. Now I’ve received one for each of the last two issues, both relating to the jokes. The newsletter takes several weeks to produce and is the culmination of editing and proof reading before it can be published. Proof reading is undertaken by a group that includes two women and I value their contribution enormously. They offer a balanced view and an eclectic mix of inputs to the process. Once the changes have been made the newsletter is ready for printing. The jokes don’t have any hidden meaning; as the name suggests, they’re just jokes Terry Liddle Editor.

Inland Waterways Association 13 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

IWA London Region boundaries Chelmsford Branch Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Mundon (White House Farm) Canal River Thames - North bank east of the old GLC boundary

Chiltern Branch Grand Union Canal - Tail of Stockers Lock to Ship Bridge, Marsworth Grand Union Canal - Aylesbury Arm Grand Union Canal - Wendover Arm

Lee & Stort Branch River Lee from the M25 to Hertford River Stort

Middlesex Branch Grand Union Canal - Paddington Branch West of Ha'penny Bridge Grand Union Canal - River Thames to tail of Stockers Lock Grand Union Canal - Slough Arm

North and East London Branch East London Rivers - Bow Back Rivers Grand Union Canal - Paddington Branch East of Ha'penny Bridge Hertford Union Canal River Lee - River Thames to the M25 Limehouse Cut London Docklands waterways North of the Thames Regents Canal River Roding (including Barking Creek)

South London Branch Grosvenor Canal Kensington Canal London Docklands waterways South of the Thames River Thames - Teddington Weir to the old GLC boundary by Purfleet River Thames - all navigable creeks not part of N E London area

Inland Waterways Association 14 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014



Dates for committee meetings for 2014/15 are given below. Members are welcome to attend. Meetings start at 7.30pm at the Hillingdon Canal Club, Waterloo Road, Uxbridge UB8 2QX. 23 Sept 2 Jun 2015

25 Nov 28 July 2015

27 Jan 2015 22 Sep 2015

24 Mar 2015 24 Nov 2015

YOUR BRANCH COMMITTEE Chairman Vice Chairman Secretary Treasurer Panning/Navigation Membership Sales Social meetings Newsletter Publicity Events Other members

Keith Clayton Michael Phillips Robin Bishop Lucy Smith Raymond Gill Michael Phillips Keith Clayton Robin Bishop Lucy Smith Terry Liddle Lucy Smith Lucy Smith Stephen Bray

020 8573 0883 020 8452 2632 07947451376 07785886255 020 8573 0883 020 8452 2632 07947451376 020 8863 2551 07947451376 07947451376

The newsletter welcomes communications from readers. If you have a point to make, a question to ask, or an interesting picture or article worthy of publication send it to us at Middlesex Matters, 39 Hillview Gardens, Harrow, Middlesex HA2 6HJ Email to: NEWSLETTER EDITOR

Terry Liddle

Middlesex Matters is produced using MS Word 2007. Printed by Colour Image Printers, Loudwater, High Wycombe. The next publication will be the spring 2015 edition, issue number 34

The views expressed in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of its London Region or of its Middlesex Branch. They are however published as being of interest to our members and readers Š IWA Middlesex Branch 2014 The Inland Waterways Association is a charity campaigning for the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the inland waterways and is a non profit distributing company limited by guarantee registered in England number 612245 registered as a charity number 212342 whose registered office is at: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham. HP5 1WA. Tel. 01494 783453

Inland Waterways Association 15 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

Did you know? There are 10 types of people in this world; those that understand binary and those that don’t. A recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight tend to live longer than the men who mention it. I was in the charity shop yesterday and a woman in front talking to her friend said ‘My husband‘s been missing a week now, police said to prepare for the worst. So I’m here to get all his clothes back.’ I was at a cash point recently when the person behind asked if I could check their balance. So I gave them a good push. They didn’t fall over, I told them it was quite good.

Inland Waterways Association 16 Middlesex Matters Autumn 2014

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Middlesex Matters, Issue 33, Autumn 2014  

IWA Middlesex Branch's regular newsletter - Middlesex Matters, Issue 33, Autumn 2014.

Middlesex Matters, Issue 33, Autumn 2014  

IWA Middlesex Branch's regular newsletter - Middlesex Matters, Issue 33, Autumn 2014.