50 years of Navvies magazine 1966-2016 reopened in September 2005 and celebrated on the front cover of Navvies 212. Since then, work has continued on various stretches of the Uttoxeter line, which had a very limited life as a canal, being taken over (literally in places) by the Churnet Valley Railway in 1849; most recently at the 2015 Bonfire Bash and one of this year’s Easter camps.
Southern Stratford: limited resources for maintenance
What’s the background? The Northern Stratford (from Kingswood Junction at Lapworth to Kings Norton) was the focus of several high-profile and successful attempts to navigate it in the late 1940s under the auspices of the newly formed Inland Waterways Association, which saved it from being officially abandoned. The southern part of the canal (from Lapworth to Bancroft Basin in Stratford) had become completely unnavigable, and was threatened with legal closure in 1958. This stimulated a further campaign by the IWA, with a dated toll ticket produced by two canoeists providing vital proof that the canal was not disused. Major volunteer effort Stratford Canal bank maintenance, 1970-style... started in 1961 under the leadership of David Hutchings resulted in the reopening of the Southern Stratford in 1964 by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and which was seen as a significant achievement for the waterways restoration movement. However, the canal remained the responsibility of the National Trust, rather than reverting to British Waterways management, meaning there were limited resources available for maintenance.
What was happening in 1966? A brief note directs volunteers interested in working on the Southern Stratford to contact Major Crick Grundy at the Stratford Canal Office, Lapworth. Major Grundy was a founder member of the IWA who had been appointed manager of both the canal and the nearby Packwood House, by the National Trust.
...and by London WRG on the 1984-5 Blitz
What’s happened since? The Southern Stratford appears periodically in Navvies over the next few years. This culminated in the ‘Stratford Blitzes’ of the late 1970s and early 1980s, where during the winter stoppage
Navvies 275. WRG's magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways. 1966-2016.