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avvies N Volunteers restoring waterways No 193 June - July 2002 Droitwich Canal: Hanbury Locks reopened!

waterway recovery group

Contents Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether hand-written, typed, on 3½" disk (please include hard-copy) or by e-mail. Photos also welcome: slides or colour or b/w prints. Please state whether you want your prints back; I assume that you want slides returned. Computer scanned photos also acceptable, either on disk or as e-mail attachments, preferably JPG format. Send them to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or e-mail to Press date for No 193: July 1st.

Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of ÂŁ1.50 (please add a donation if possible) to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorltoncum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to "Waterway Recovery Group" please.

In this issue:

Editorial send in some Camp Reports 3 WRGFT more from the Forestry Team 4-5 Camp Report Easter at Droitwich 6-9 Lichfield canal walk and race night report 10-11 Training weekend report 12-13 London WRG at Droitwich 14-15 Directory of WRG and canal societies 16-17 Diary camps and working parties 18-20 Letters and WRG Boat Club News 21-25 Feature the Caldon Canal 26-29 Canalway Cavalcade Little Venice report 30-31 Progress photos from the Cotswolds, H&G, 32-33 Rochdale and Wilts & Berks Bits & Pieces including Logistics 34 Noticeboard 35 Backfill 36

And next time... ...we hope to bring you reports from the June Jubilee Camp on the Wilts & Berks, more photos of the Droitwich and Rochdale reopenings, a Dig Deep update, more about the forthcoming Bonfire Bash on the Mon & Brec, and just possibly one or two Camp Reports from the first of this summer's Canal Camps. We hope to, but you'll have to write them first...

Visit our web site for all the latest news or WRG's activities Cover photo: volunteer wotk at Hanbury Locks on the Droitwich Canal was finally completed on the London WRG weekend on 18-19 May, with the BW workboat being the first boat down the locks for 73 years, and the official reopening less than two weeks later! (Martin Ludgate) Below: newly rebuilt Smithy Bridge, Littleborough on the Rochdale Canal, due to open on 1st July. (Paula Kiernan)

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Editorial By the time you receive this issue of 'Navvies', the main summer Canal Camps programme will be just about to kick-off with a couple of weeks of digger and dumper driving on the Grand Western, then preparation and site services for the Saul Boat Gathering, a week of finishing-off the mega-spillway on the Droitwich Barge Canal, a couple of major lock rebuilding projects on the Wilts and Berks at Seven Locks and Summit Lock, followed by (shameless plug alert!) a superb week of bywash-rebuilding, tree-removal, bridge repairs and fun with the Editor and Ian on the Cotswolds... But as well as (hopefully) whetting your appetite and (even more hopefully!) getting you to actually send your booking forms in for these camps, I'd like to point out that something else will be about to happen when you receive this issue. "What is it?" I hear you ask. "Is it the Rochdale Canal reopening, perhaps?" Well, yes, that will be about to happen: there have been a couple of last-minute hitches but as we go to press BW and the contractors are going flat-out to get it ready to open on July 1st. Fingers crossed! But no, that wasn't actually what I was thinking of... "OK, the Ribble Link opening maybe?" Well, yes, that too will be only a few weeks away by the time you open this. And they thought we were joking when we said we'd start building new canals when we ran out of old ones to restore! As with the Rochdale, work is going full speed ahead, and we hope to have photos of the first boats using the Link in the next issue - or maybe the one after that, as it'll be a week or two past the press date... Which in fact is the rather mundane answer to the above question. The other thing that's approaching as you read this is the press date for Navvies 194. Several months ago we shifted the press dates by a week from the 1st to the 8th of the month, in the hope that by giving contributors an extra week you might actually be able to get things in by that date. Unfortunately it rather backfired - people just sent things in a week later! So we've moved it back to the 1st of the month, and while we're not actually going to bin anything that isn't in by midnight on the 1st (otherwise I'd have to throw out this editorial column for starters, as I'm writing it late!) we're going to have to be much more strict about press dates in future. "But why?" I hear you ask (full of questions today, aren't you?), "After all, 'Navvies' still manages to come out more-or-less on time."


Well, yes it does, but recently we've had to 'pull all the stops out' to make sure it happens. For example the last issue had to come out in time to tell you about the Training Weekend before the weekend actually happend. And it did, but only because some of the people who normally put 'Navvies' together in their spare time took time off work and used up some of their annual leave allowance - which they would rather have saved till summer so they can go on some Canal Camps. So please consider the people involved in producing 'Navvies' and try to get your contributions in on time. "So that means that if I don't write my Camp Report in the next week or so, I might as well leave it for two months?" Wrong. We want your Camp Reports, and we want them as soon as possible. [Thinks: how about a new editorial slogan 'Camp Reports And Pronto' or 'CRAP' for short? No, maybe not.] But why the hurry - when we've just told you that if we don't get them on time they'll be left out? Well firstly it will still take a couple of weeks to get 'Navvies' ready for the printers. So even if your report's late, there's still a chance that we can find room for it. It's just that we can't guarantee it. (and the later it is, the less likely that it will be included) Secondly, it's always easier to write a better Camp Report when it's fresh in your mind than when you've been back at work for six weeks and it's all merging into a blur of mud, bricks, beer and socks. (Yes, I said 'socks' - whenever I go on a Camp I always end up with a different number than I started with...) And let's have a few 'original' ones too. Not that we mind 'conventional' Camp Reports - we like to receive ALL Camp Reports - but it makes the late summer and autumn issues even more entertaining when they are interspersed with one or two odd-ball ones: in the past we've had Darryl's one written in rhyme and Helen's based on Britney Spears lyrics; Steve's one in this issue is written from the Camp Cook's perspective. But whatever style you choose to write them in, do it now, and send it in staight away! Thank you. [Thinks: how about 'File A Report Today' for a slogan'...] Martin Ludgate

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Dave ‘Tenko’ Johnson is looking after this project as it is an Ancient Monument. (The Inclined Plane, that is...) His phone number is in the Directory on pages 16-17.

WRG Forestry Team update Since issue 192 things are moving on, with the proposed work at Foxton Inclined Plane. This all started when I saw an article in the waterways press last November and contacted both The Waterways Trust and BW at Hillmorton regarding the clearance work at the foot of the Incline, with the possibility of using WRG voluntary labour on a match-funding basis. A site visit has been arranged to coincide with the return of our van RFB to the training weekend at Hatton, a visit to Warwickshire Flyboat Co. and the last home game of the season at Man Utd FC... another quiet weekend!

A small but beautifully-formed team visited the Wey & Arun Canal over May Day Bank Holiday weekend, coinciding with NWPG’s 21st birthday celebrations. We carried on pruning dead and overhanging branches on the Loxwood Link section, and also managed to produce some charcoal using our mobile ‘kilns’ (i.e. oil-drums) which Su Webster promptly stuffed into the back of her car and set off to peddle her wares to the barbecues of Berkshire. Dealing with difficult weeds Now is the time of year for the emergence of two well-known weeds - or ‘wild flowers’, if you prefer. I’m talking about Giant Hogweed and Japanese Knotweed - two invasive non-native species that can be very difficult to control. NWPG know all about knotweed, or at least the quickest way to spread it with the utmost efficiency using a 360° excavator...

Sparky (centre) becomes the first recipient of the IWA Training Award (see Mike Palmer's Chairman's Page in issue 191 for more about the Training Award), presented by IWA National Deputy chairman John Fletcher (left) and IWA national vice-president Audrey Smith. (Margaret Fletcher)

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The following notes are courtesy of Monsanto and relate to the application of their product ‘Roundup Pro’ - glyphosate, for which you need to hold a Pesticide Application Certificate, and we’ve got one. There are other methods of eradication with varying degrees of success - if you have a problem contact ‘Weedbusters’! Giant Hogweed (heracleum mantagazzianup): This plant is very invasive, crowding out more desirable plants on river banks, and the sap can cause blistering of the human skin. It is best controlled in April and May, when the plants are small and actively growing, and before they become too tall to spray. Use Roundup Pro at 5.0 litres per hectare. Since the seeds are viable in the soil for some time, a repeat application will be needed when fresh seedlings appear. Japanese Knotweed (reynoutria japonica): This weed can be a severe problem and spreads rapidly, particularly on disturbed ground and along river banks. Welsh Water have undertaken research into control of Japanese Knotweed and achieved good control using the methods described here. The best control is achieved in May when the plant is 1 metre high, using an application of 5.0 litres per hectare of Roundup Pro. Repeat treatment or other control methods may be necessary to prevent re-invasion.

July should see us on the Cotswold camp dismantling trees growing out of Bowbridge Aqueduct, hopefully before it collapses. A tad more than ‘vegetation clearance’, Mr Editor Sir! [Sorry! ...Ed] That’s it - there is no more. Graham ‘Sparky’ Robinson

Giant Hogweed (above) and Japanese knotweed showing the flowers (below), the leaves (bottom) and the plant being removed from the chamber wall of Valley lock on the Cotswold Canals (below left)

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Camps Droitwich Easter Canal Camp: The Cook Report... Camp 0102 – Droitwich/Lowsonford The Cook Report and Diary Most camp reports are work and site focused, so just for a change I thought it might be appropriate to give a report from the Cook's point of view! Sunday Arrive 17:30, help Jude in kitchen. Jude is cooking weekends and I am cooking weekdays. By the way, the site is opposite the Eagle & Sun at Droitwich and the accommodation is not far from J16 off the M40 at Lowsonford, about 20 mile away! After a pleasant meal the happy campers wander off to the local ale hostelry, the 'Fleur de Lys'. After one quick pint I go to bed at 21:30, after tidying kitchen in preparation for breakfast. Snore night away, allegedly. Fellow campers have a quiet night, the plan is working.

Harri T on egg-scrambling duty. (Martin Ludgate) Monday Awake at 06:30. Copious amounts of coffee to aid breakfast cooking. Serve at 08:00. Miss breakfast for self. Wave guys and gals off to site. Tidy up and wait for locals to turn up at 10:00 who do meals on wheels, but not on Mondays but Tuesday and Thursday. Informed that kitchen needs completely clearing on those days for the Meals On Wheels ladies. After deciding on menu for week go shopping from 10:15 until 12:30. Unload, sort, put away and cook from 13:00 until 16:30. Make plans for quiet half hour to drink coffee and eat lunch... didn’t happen. Carry on cooking and serve dinner at 19:00 for everyone but me; I eat at the local pub with an old friend. I miss out on my best Cheese and Potato pie ever, so I am told. Gentle drink until midnight. Another quiet one for me and them. Tuesday

Dr Steve demonstrates an important skill for Camp cooks: blindfold pancake-tossing. (Martin Ludgate)

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Awake at 05:30 and make chocolate crispies and boil eggs for site, prepare sandwich-making stuff for site, as they are making their own sandwiches due to distance from accommodation. Cook and serve breakfast for 08:00. Clear kitchen completely for meals on wheels ladies. Shop from 10:30 until 12:30. Pop across to site for lunch. Back to hall to cook dinner. Feeling quite miffed that I have no help in the kitchen (come back Jude all is forgiven!) because site is short of 'workers', so I am not a worker? Been asking for help and finally get it at 16:00 after making my feelings known. Dinner completed for 19:00, as asked for, but ‘saved’ until 20:00 due to late site work. Everyone tired, so quiet drink at pub and all early to bed.

Wednesday Usual early start and shopping trip, visit site to collect my afternoon helper. She cuts thumb on my new vegetable slicer and faints. Cook most of dinner by myself. Evening entertainment is quiz at 'Tom O' the Wood'. I arrange for Harri T to do breakfast as I visit own friendly bed for a good night's sleep. There's nothing like ones own bed. Thursday After a good night's sleep I have a spring in my step and decide to cook curry for tomorrow night, as tonight is Fish & Chip night at Stratford. After usual tidying, kitchen clearing, shopping, site visiting and accommodation cleaning I can get on with the Curry. Jude is my afternoon helper and now I’m not sure if I’m helping her or t’other way round, anyway it is prepared and we wander off to Stratford to warn chip shop of impending large order around 20:00. After a bit of window shopping and a pit stop at the local Wetherspoons, site phones at about 19:00 and our happy campers are too tired to go out! Plan 'Z' springs to mind, we’ll have Friday's curry tonight! So off to Tescos to get tomorrow's shopping and a frantic hour is spent getting back and watching the rice fail to boil quickly enough, still dinner is served at 20:30 and all too tired for pub, so we have a 'BCN Cleanup Night In' until about 04:00. Cook's revenge night! Good Friday Breakfast is done (me or Harri, I forget); tidy and shopping thing is done. Follow through on window shopping at Stratford. Jude & I are surprised at being asked by the police not to move the car off double yellow lines, as the Easter march is about to walk past! Cooked fishcakes as extra to last nights curry, well Jude did, as I went and did a Makro shop, via my comfy bed, and didn’t get back until late. Repeated last nights activities, or should that be atrocities?

Dinner is served on the last night. (Martin Ludgate) Saturday Normal cook's day. Kitchen becomes Jude's and I become the helper: me weekdays; Jude weekends. Jude's spag bol and garlic bread must have been 59% garlic based, which really pleased London WRGies. I had fish finger sandwiches, so I really, no REALLY noticed. I was duty driver and the rest of the happy campers got as happy as I did the previous night. Cooked pancakes at midnight and had a tossing competition, made jellies (frog-shaped of course), did camp accounts. Put clocks forward and got to bed at 02:30 BST. Easter Sunday Normal cook and assistant day, as in busy from the word go, or in my case 'Need Coffee!' Sunday roast prep done, loads of puddings. Disposed of camp rubbish and recycled one or two tins and bottles!! Dinner at 19:30, there was so much activity on site that the usual awards ceremony after this last evening meal was simply a hearty thank you from MKP and Bex. But the Cook(s) got them a pair of musical bears that sing 'Teddy Bears Picnic', with vertical and horizontal movements!

Lunch 'al fresco' by Lock 1. (Martin Ludgate)

Evening entertainment was at 'Tom ‘O the Wood' and Adrian volunteered to be duty driver and Bears plus Igor, Frug & Happy Herbert went with us to the pub. A pleasant and not overly long evening at the Tom and we were all back and tucked up and snoring (allegedly) by 02:00.

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Easter Monday

...and Phill completed the major rebuild of the nearside tail wall at Lock 3...

Cooked breakfast at 08:00 for 09:00, as requested. Harri joined me at 08:30 for a bit of ‘Carmina Burana’. No one stirred until I shouted ‘Breakfast!!!!!!!’ at 09:15. Some guys go to site, most leave for home, leaving about five of us to break camp and tidy up, we know who we are. Head for home, and own comfy bed, at 13:00 Great camp, great weather, I got trollied, they got trollied. They worked hard, I shopped hard and I think I was within budget?? Special thanks to Jen, Harri T, Jude, Daryl and Anna for keeping me sane(ish) and to the other twenty who worked and played hard on an exhausting but very enjoyable camp. And extra special thanks to Igor, Frug, Happy Herbert and the rest of the green guys for not snoring.

Some of the lock chamber coping stones at Lock 3 were broken, so the damaged parts had to be cut out and replaced...

And, and, and don’t forget... this years Xmas Camp... led by 'Daddy Cool', with cooks ...... Harri T and Dr. Steve! We are planning a full Indian Curry evening on New Years Evening as a change to the usual post-festive menu. Trying to get Mr Cool to agree to a New Year party theme of Rocky Horror Picture Show, just so we can see him in a leotard or something!! So have a great season of camps. Love from the cook who joins in... well, starts it really!! 'Doctor Steve' Wyatt

Meanwhile the missing coping stones at the head of Lock 3 were being replaced...

The Editor writes... Thank you Steve for a 'Camp Report with a difference'. I always welcome really original camp reports (or any camp reports at all, come to that!) but I thought in this case I'd follow it with a few photos and captions of a rather more conventional nature, to show that we really did manage to get some actual work done on site in between eating Steve and his team's delicious food. We completed the main rebuilding work at Lock 2 by putting copings on the tail walls... (photo byAlan Lines)

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...and mortared in...

...and backfilled with concrete...

...and by the end of the Camp, most of the rebuilding had been completed...

One of the final jobs was digging out the ramp into the pound between locks 2 and 3 that has provided access for machinery throughout the restoration work... The final major job to be started on the entire Hanbury Locks project was the demolition and rebuilding of the tail wall at Lock 3. Demolition and ivy removal first... (photo by Alan Lines)

...then once all the loose brickwork had been taken down (as usual, rather more of the wall had to come down than we had hoped!) the rebuilding could begin... (photo by Alan Lines)

On the last night, our leaders Mike and Bex were presented with their very own singing teddy bears...

(unless credited, all photos are by the Editor)

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Lichfield The 'Grime Team' get to work at Tamworth Road... Grime Team This week we have come to the cathedral city of Lichfield. The site is just outside the City walls (if it had any!), on the section of the Lichfield Canal that runs parallel with Tamworth Road. This part is where the busy A38 crosses the line of the canal but today we’re looking for the original spillweir of Lock 26. Our team of specialists are: Pete 'Tony' Matthews (L & HCRT), who will be overseeing the progress of the dig, Ralph 'Baldrick' Bateman, our B.F.I. (brute force and intelligence!) expert, Jen 'Carenza' Leigh, our Special finds expert. Cue Tony:' "There has been a lot of excitement from this dig. We’ve been given the chance to uncover this exciting thing, and if we can find it it’ll be the first time it’s seen daylight for probably over fifty years. Work began on this site two years ago to the weekend and the amount that has been achieved since then is incredible."

"Grime team’s very own Martin 'Mick' Ludgate continued building the walls in the head of the lock..." (Tim Boddington) Day 1 and only a few minutes into the day we have thrilling news. Cue Tony: "So Carenza, what have you found?" C: "Well, Tony, we decided to open up a trench next to the wood pile as previous trenches at the entrance uncovered very little, and with the first strike of the mattock we found bricks very unexpectedly a few centimetres from the surface." T:"That’s brilliant news! Where do we go from here?" C:"“We’re opening up a second trench alongside the shed to see if what we suspect is correct but it looks like the top section of the spillweir has been destroyed and only the huge stone remains." It’s the kind of start we dream about here on Grime Team. Only Day 1 and already it looks like we’ve hit upon the spillweir. In order to open Trench 2, the woodpile had to be moved. To recreate the atmosphere of what the site would have been like when operational, Grime team’s very own Martin 'Mick' Ludgate, with his assistant Lesley, continued building the walls in the head of the lock, next to some recently ‘uncovered’ castellations that were obviously added later than the original chamber. C: "Tony, Tony! Come and see this!" [Tony rushes over to Trench two.] "We’ve found evidence of the brick pan, which is the bottom of the spillweir, but there’s also another perpendicular section of brick laid on top of the pan in this patch here."

"We've found evidence of the brick pan, which is the bottom of the spillweir..."

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Using archeomagnetic dating, we can deduce these weren’t part of the original run. After carefully recording the position of these bricks, they were painstakingly removed one by one to uncover the original pan.

Clearly one question that had to be answered now was how wide was the brick pan. The geophys of the area showed so many intriguing lines that Baldrick had to open a third trench! Meanwhile, the head of the lock reconstruction was coming along well. Grime Team artist David 'Victor' Palfreyman drew a picture to conjure up just what the entire site would have looked like. T: "Let’s go and see what Carenza and Baldrick have discovered."

The editor adds... Not only was it a useful weekend's work restoration-wise, and an interesting one archaeologically-speaking, the L&HCRT 'Walk the line of the canal' attracted around 2000 people and achieved a huge amount of good publicity for the restoration - see also the letter from Jan and John Horton on p24. Also on the Saturday night we had a 'Race night' evening entertainment that raised over £1000 for WRG and L&HCRT funds. To give you some idea of what sort of an evening it was, here's the 'race card' for the final race...

B: " Well, Tony, we’ve found both edges including this one that was covered by paving slabs and concrete, but now we’d like to see if it extends over there. I know it’s late on Day 3 but I’d really like to open up a fourth trench. The problem with that is it would mean knocking down the store shed." So we’ve found the line and profile of the original spillweir which turned out to be a beautifully constructed brick pan, with a couple of brick courses edging it. It continues its steep descent, underneath the store shed and emerges into the brick channel the other side of the pathway which then runs into the canal below the lock chamber. And good progress has been made on ‘recreating’ the head of the lock. A wonderful result! Grime Team would like to thank Lichfield and Hatherton Restoration Canal Trust for the unusual opportunity to search for something, and not demolish it ... OK so we sneaked a little demolition in of our own (and beware, Carenza and Baldrick may return to remove a certain shed!!!)

'Smudge' wasn't taking any chances and backed all eight horses to make sure of winning...

Work carried out was done on one day only and any mention of more days was purely for the interests of entertainment!

"Just call me Carenza" Jen

...and almost inevitably, MKP nicked a group of us and took us to Droitwich on Saturday...

"...some recently 'uncovered’ castellations that were obviously added later than the original chamber." (Tim Boddington)

...where we continued rebuilding the tail wall of lock 3. (uncredited photos by the editor)

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Training Reporting from the WRG Training Weekend 2002...

This year British Waterways kindly agreed to host the WRG Training Weekend at their Heritage Skills Centre at Hatton. A new training category this time was tractors - as we're going to be using them at the National Waterways Festival, we'd better learn how to drive them! (left, Alan Lines) As usual volunteers were trained on surveying equipment (above, Alan Lines) and excavators and dumpers (below, Philip Walker).

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Above: a novelty for this year - indoor bricklaying! (Alan Lines). Left: almost inevitably, some of us ended up working on the Droitwich Canal - this time we were being taught the rudiments of stonemasonry from a BW instructor. (Martin Ludgate) Below: as usual, for masterminding the entire WRG Training Weekend we have to thank Ali 'Womble' Bottomley. (Alan Lines)

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Dig Report London WRG at Hanbury Locks - for the last time??? London WRG on the Droitwich Junction Canal: 17-20 May: the final weekend's work The six weeks of Canal Camps on the Droitwich Junction Canal in 2001 got the Hanbury Lock flight pretty close to completion. The Easter camp (see pp6-9) brought them rather closer to completion. MKP's efforts at persuading people to do 'awaydays' to Droitwich from Lichfield and Hatton (see previous pages) got them even closer. But it was down to London WRG and friends on the weekend of 18-19 May to put the finishing touches on the flight ready for the Official Reopening on May 31st...

All was going perfectly, with all the bricks laid and pointing-up of the joints in progress, when the heavens opened and it chucked down rain, causing work to be abandoned with less than 20 joints left to point. (hopefully somebody will have found time to do them before the reopening!) Just to make things worse, we then had to take out all the scaffolding in the pouring rain and gathering darkness (in the process, very nearly leaving MKP and the editor perched on a ledge with no way of getting out again without swimming - not that it would really have mattered as we were soaked through by then...), load the scaffolding it into the van and dump it at the yard, finally leaving Droiwich at about 9:30pm. But never mind, Mike said "I promise I won't ever ask you to come and work on Hanbury Locks again!" So WRG's biggest project for the last year was finished with a week to spare before the reopening. Well done everyone who's been involved in the restoration of Hanbury Locks. Martin Ludgate

Friday A small advance party turned up a day early to lay the last few blue bullnose coping bricks to complete the pound between locks 2 and 3, and to lay some more bricks on the offside lower wing wall of lock 3 - the last major job to be started on the whole flight: demolition had only begun at Easter. The weekend Our numbers having increased to around 20 people, we were able to get stuck into all the remaining jobs - completing the main bricklaying work on the wing wall at lock 3, cutting the bricks to form the slope on the top of the wall, cutting out and replacing damaged copers on the chamber of lock 3, filling the gaps under the copers with cut bricks, mortaring up all the joints, cutting out damaged stone at the top of lock 2 and replacing it with coping bricks, patching a hole in the lower wing wall of lock 2, backfilling various walls with concrete... and removing the earth dam across the canal above lock 1 so that the BOATS will be able to get in! Monday That left one little job to be done, and a small (what's the opposite of 'advance' - 'retarded'?) party stayed over till the Monday to complete it: laying 86 large blue bullnose coping bricks all the way up the completed lower wing wall at lock 3.

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Going, going, gone: the hole in the wing wall at Lock 3 is filled in. (photos by Alan Lines)

Above (top to bottom): cutting out the damaged stone on the upper gate recess at Lock 2 (Alan Lines), then replacing it with bullnose coping bricks (Martin Ludgate), and what the finished job looked like (Martin Ludgate). Right (top): the final bullnose coper is placed in the lower wing wall at Lock 3 (Lesley McFadyen). Right (second from top): The final jobs included removing the earth dam above Lock 1 (Tim Lewis) and (above right) removing the temporary bridge across Lock 2 (Martin Ludgate) so that (right) the first boat for 73 years could enter the lock flight. (Martin Ludgate)

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Directory WRG and canal society working party contact details BARNSLEY,DEARNE&DOVE CANALTRUST JuneBackhouse 39HIllSt Elsecar BarnsleyS748EN 01226743383

CALDONCANALSOCIETY AlisonSmedley HazelhurstCottage Denford,Leek StaffsST137JT email:

BIRMINGHAMCANAL NAVIGATIONSSOCIETY JeffBarley 17Sunniside WalsallWood,WMidlands 01543373284 Website:

DERBY&SANDIACRECANAL SOCIETY DougFlack 23ThoresbyCrescent,Draycott DerbyDE723PH 01332874239 Website:

BUCKINGHAMCANALSOC SteveMorley 33HambletonGrove Emersonvalley MiltonKeynesMK42JS 01908520090 Website:

DIGDEEPINITIATIVE AlanCavender 10VicarageRoad Maidenhead,Berkshire SL67DS 01628629033

BUGSWORTHBASIN(IWPS) IanEdgar BrowsideFarm MudhurstLane LymeHandley,WhaleyBridge HighPeakSK237BT 01663732493 Website:www.brocross. com/iwps/index.htm CHESTERFIELDCANALTRUST KeithAyling 16PinchfieldLane Rotherham S661FD 01709700223 CHICHESTERCANALSOCIETY JohnCooper Jaspers,ConeyRoad EastWittering, Chichester WestSussexPO218DA 01243671051 COTSWOLDCANALSTRUST NeilRitchie TheChapelHouse SandfordRd Churchdown GloucestershireGL32HD 01452854057 Website:

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DORSET&SOMERSETCANAL STUDYGROUP DerrickHunt 43GreenlandMills BradfordonAvon WiltsBA151BL 01225863066 e-mail:derrick@carlingcott7. DROITWICHCANALSTRUST VaughanWelch 29DicePleck Northfield,BirminghamB313XW 01214779782 Website: EREWASHCANALP&DA MickGolds 73SudburyAvenue Larklands,Ilkeston Derbys DE75EA Notts(0115)9328042 FOXTONINCLINEDPLANE TRUST c/oMikeBeech FoxtonCanalMuseum MiddleLock,GumleyRoad Foxton,MarketHarborough LeicestershireLE167RA 01162792657 e-mail Website:

GRANDWESTERNCANAL TRUST DenisDodd, WharfCottage Nynehead,Wellington SomersetTA210BU 01823661653 GRANTHAMCANAL RESTORATIONSOCIETY ColinBryan 113HoeViewRoad CropwellBishop NottinghamNG123DJ 01159892248 HEREFS&GLOUCSCT c/oTheLockCottage,Over GloucesterGL28DB 01452332900 KENT&EASTSUSSEXCANAL RESTORATIONGROUP KenParish EastwoodFarmhouse UlcombeRoad Ulcombe,Maidstone Kent. ME171ET 01622858329 Website: LAPALCANALTRUST 26LoynellsRoad, Rednal BirminghamB459NP 01785713862/02082939744 LICHFIELD&HATHERTON CANALSREST'NTRUST JohnHorton, 32LondonRoad, Lichfield StaffsWS149EJ. 01543262466 email: orDenisCooper GorseyLaneFarm GorseyLane LittleWyrley,Pelsall WalsallWS35AJ 01543374370 NEATH&TENNANTCANAL SOCIETY IanMilne 16GowerRoad, Sketty, SwanseaSA29BY 01792547902 NWPG GrahamHawkes 27LawrenceRd, Tilehurst,Reading BerksRG306BH 01189410586 email: Website: www.geocities. com/nwpg2001/nwpg.html

POCKLINGTONC.A.S. PaulWaddington ChurchHouse,MainSt. Hemingborough,Selby N.YorksYO87QE 01757638027(eves) 01405763985(days) Website:www.pocklington. SCARS(SANKEYCANAL) ColinGreenall 16BleakHillRoad Eccleston St.Helens MerseysideWA104RW 01744731746 Website: SHREWSBURY&NEWPORT CANALSTRUST SteveBean 4Arscott,Pontesbury ShrewsburySY50XP 01743860488 SHROPSHIREUNIONCS GeoffMunro 198,OldburyRoad RowleyRegis,Warley WestMidlandsB650NW 0121-5615747 Website: www.shropshireunion. SLEAFORDNAVIGATIONTRUST SteveHayes 10ChelmerClo, NHykehamLincsLN88TH 01522-689460 Website: SOMERSETCOALCANALSOC BobParnell 34WedgewoodRoad Twerton,BathBA21NX 01225-428055 Website:www.homepages. SWANSEACANALSOC CliveReed 17SmithfieldRoad,Pontardawe, Swansea,WestGlam.SA84LA 01792830782 SURREY&HANTSCANALSOC PeterRedway 1RedwayCottages St.John'sLye,Woking GU211SL 01483721710 Website: www.basingstokecanal1 THAMES&MEDWAYCANAL ASSOCIATION JenniferWatts 108OldRoadEast GravesendDA121PF

WENDOVERARMTRUST RogerLeishman 7HallPark,Berkhamsted HertsHP42NU 01442874536 Website:www.nsa. WEY&ARUNCT JohnWard 32BadgersHollow PeperharrowRd,Godalming SurreyGU72PX 01483-527124 07971336535(mobile) Website: WILTS&BERKSC.A.G. PeterSmith 76DunningtonRoad WoottonBassett WiltsSN47EL 01793636597 e-mail: Website: WOODENCANALBOATS SOCIETY 5OakenCloughTerrace Limehurst AshtonunderLyneOL79NY 0161-330-2315 IWAIPSWICH ColinTurner Cornerways,ElmLane Copdock,IpswichIP83ET 01473-730586 email: Website: www. WRG:GENERALENQUIRIES POBox114, Rickmansworth HertsWD31ZY 01923711114 Website: WRGNORTHWEST MalcolmBridge 3HeatherBank Littleborough Lancashire OL150JQ 01706378582 WRGNW-ENQUIRIES/ PAPERCHASES DavidMcCarthy Woodstock 14CrumpsallLa. Manchester.M85FB 0161-7402179 Website: www.downstream. WRGNA(1) SpencerCollins(seebelow)

WRGNA(2) IanNelson 6LahnDriveDroitwichSpaWorcs WR98TQ. 01905798676 0973640611(mobile) WRGBITM&'NAVVIES'DIARY DavidWedd 7RingwoodRoad Blackwater,Camberley SurreyGU170EY 01252874437 LONDONWRG TimLewis 6DownsRoad,Enfield MiddlesexEN1IPA 02083676227 LONDONWRG:ENQUIRIES LesleyMcFadyen (asperMartinLudgatebelow) WRGEASTMIDLANDS JohnBaylis(seebelow) ESSEXWRG JohnGale,12WakefieldAve, Billericay,EssexCM129DN 01277654683 WRGMONTGOMERY AlanJervis DacreHouseFarm Dacre,HarrogateHG34ES 07968-586326 WRGBOATCLUB SueBurchett 152GreatKnollysSt ReadingRG17HB 01189503268 Fax.07970099052 email: IWA/WRGSTAMPBANK Steve&MandyMorley 33HambletonGrove Emersonvalley MiltonKeynesMK42JS 01908520090

CANALCAMPSMOBILES (A)07850422156 (B)07850422157 'NAVVIES'EDITOR MartinLudgate 35SilvesterRd,EastDulwich LondonSE229PB 02086933266 07779478629(mobile) WRGPLANT MalcolmBridge(seebelow) ORJohnPalmer 53SouthwoodRoad Stockport,Cheshire WRGLOGISTICS(1) JenLeigh(seebelow) WRGLOGISTICS(2) LouKellett Pen-y-BrynBungalow LloranUchaf,Moelfre OswestrySY107QT 01691791463 CANALCAMPBOOKINGS c/oIanWingfield POBox114,Rickmansworth HertsWD31ZY 01923711114 'WRGWEAR'CLOTHING HelenGardner NB'Sussex' TheBoatyard,RowdellRd NortholtUB56AG 02088457820 WRGDIRECTORS CHAIRMAN MikePalmer 3FinwoodRoad,Rowington WarwickshireCV357DH 01564785293

SITESGROUP&PUBLICITY JudithMoore 3FinwoodRoad,Rowington WarwickshireCV357DH 01564785293 WRGPRINT John&TessHawkins 4LinksWay,CroxleyGrn, RickmansworthWD33RQ 01923448559 TRANSPORTMANAGER RogerBurchett (SeeSueBurchettabove) DRIVERAUTHORISATION MalcolmBridge 3HeatherBank,Littleborough LancashireOL150JQ 01706378582 IWACHAIRMAN RichardDrake c/oIWA,POBox114 RickmansworthWD31ZY email: 01516084562 OTHERDIRECTORS JenLeigh c/oIWA,POBox114 RickmansworthWD31ZY MickBeattie 22BridgewaterAveAnchorsholme, BlackpoolLancsFY53NA 01253864034 AdrianFry,31GriffonClose ElmoreLock,Quedgeley GloucesterGL24NQ 07976640962

SpencerCollins N.B.'Sunset',c/oSatfordPO, TREASURER 493BathRdSaltford RogerDay,5MertonRoadSlough BristolBR313HQ BerksSL11QW 07976084055 SECRETARY NeilEdwards, ChrisDavey/HelenDavey 16TynehamClose 6PartroidgeCt,RoundCloseRd AylesburyHP219XA Adderbury,BanburyOX173EP 01295812002


We do our best to keep the 'Navvies' directory up to date. However, we rely on people to tell us that they have moved house, or that their canal society has a new Work Party Organiser, or that their web site or e-mail address has changed. Please send updates to the editor: they will appear in the 'Noticeboard' in issue 197, and be included in the next full Directory in issue 199.

RayCarter 56OakdeneDrive,Tolworth Surbiton,SurreyKT59NH JonathanSmith,23Hardings Chalgrove,OxfordOX447TJ 01865891370 JohnBaylis,215ClipstoneRdWest, ForestTown,Mansfield,Notts NG190HJ 01623633895

page 17

Canal Camps cost £35 per week unless otherwise Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified camp number e.g. 'Camp 0202') should go to WRG Camps, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY. Tel: 01923 711114. Email:

Diary Jun 22-29

Camp 0202

Grand Western Canal Camp: rebuilding Jays Cutting. Leaders: Adrian Fry & Ia

Jun 22/23


BCN Marathon Challenge Cruise: cruise as much of the Birmingham Canal Na as you can in 24 hours, to score points and to publicise the BCN. Volunteers w

Jun 29-Jul 6 Camp 0203

Grand Western Canal Camp: rebuilding Jays Cutting. Leaders: Gav Moor & Sa

Jul 1 Mon


Press date for issue 194

Jul 3-10

Camp 0204

Stroudwater: saul Junction boat gathering. Leaders: Nick Coolican-Smith & M

Jul 6/7


Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project at Summit Lock. Joint dig with London W

Jul 6/7

London WRG

Wilts & Berks Canal: Joint dig with KESCRG.

Jul 6/7

Essex WRG

To be arranged

Jul 6/7


Ribble Link

Jul 6/7


Montgomery Canal

Jul 6-13

Camp 0205

Droitwich Canal Camp: rebuilding overflow weir on the Barge Canal. Leaders:

Jul 6-13

Camp 0206

Wilts & Berks Canal Camp: concreting and bricklaying on the Seven Locks fligh

Jul 11 Thu


Assistance with Tameside Canals Festival: Building a swing bridge at Dukinfiel

Jul 12-14


Assistance with Ribble Link Re-opening: Lock-wheeling

Jul 13 Sat


‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Jul 13/14


Chesterfield Trail Boat Rally (Tapton): Sales Stand.

Jul 13-20

Camp 0207

Wilts & Berks Canal Camp (moved from Cotswold Canals): bridge building at S

Jul 13-20

Camp 0208

Wilts & Berks Canal Camp: CANCELLED due to nesting buzzards!

Jul 14 Sun


Committee & Board Meetings

Jul 15 Mon


Assistance with Tameside Canals Festival: Removing a swing bridge at Dukinf

Jul 20/21


Grantham Canal: Leader: Lynne Cater

Jul 20-27

Camp 0209

Cotswolds Canal Camp: dismantling & rebuilding bywash weir at Ham Mill Loc

Jul 20-27

Camp 0210

Basingstoke Canal Camp: pipe-laying for back-pumping at St John’s flight.

Jul 22-Aug 3 Camp 0211

Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal Camp: chamber clearance at top lock of Roge

Jul 27-Aug 3 Camp 0212

Basingstoke Canal Camp: Organised by KESCRG. Dig Deep project, pipe-layi

Jul 27-Aug 3 WAT

Wendover Arm work camp: Continuing the concrete walls for the winding hole

Aug 3/4

London WRG

To be arranged

Aug 3/4

Essex WRG

To Be Arranged

Aug 3/4


Montgomery Canal

Aug 3-10

Camp 0213

Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation Canal Camp: demolishing & rebuilding tail-br

Aug 3-10

Camp 0214

Montgomery Canal Camp: overflow weir at Maesbury. Leaders: Liz Williamson

Aug 3-10

Camp 0215

Wey & Arun Canal Camp: spillweirs at Bonfire Hanger. Organised by the Wey

Aug 10/11


Wilts & Berks Canal: Dig Deep project at Summit Lock, Wootton Bassett.

Aug 10-17

Camp 0216

Sleaford Navigation Canal Camp: bricklaying & concreting at Haverholme lock.

Aug 10-17

Camp 0217

Montgomery Canal Camp: completion of overflow weir at Maesbury. Leaders: J

Aug 11-??


Huddersfield: preparation for the 'National'. Starting Sunday lunchtime, continuing into t

Aug 17 Sat


‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Aug 19-29

Camp 0218

IWA National Waterways Festival at Huddersfield: Canal Camp setting-up and

page 18

e stated. by a G Canal

Please send updates to Diary compiler: Dave Wedd, 7 Ringwood Rd, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey GU17 0EY. Tel 01252 874437. e-mail:


n Wingfield.

avigations system Chris & Helen Davey 01756 753003 wanted as ‘scrutineers’ to check up on all the boaters.

ally Nutt. Martin Ludgate




Tim Lewis


John Gale


David McCarthy


Geoff Munro


David McCarthy


David McCarthy


David McCarthy


David McCarthy


ark Richardson


ht. Leaders: Rachael Banyard & Phill Cardy. d

Summit Lock near Wootton Bassett. Organised by NWPG, Leader: Graham Hawkes.


Mike Palmer

01564 785293

David McCarthy


Dave Wedd


k, repairing Jubilee footbridge, and tree removal. Leaders: Ian Williamson & Martin Ludgate.

erstone Flight on Crumlin branch. Leaders: Spencer Collins & Rob Daffern.

ng for back pump at St Johns, and a bywash at Deepcut

at Little Tring.

Roger Leishman


Tim Lewis


John Gale


Geoff Munro


ridge at Creeting lock. Leaders: Helen Gardner & Paul Cattermole. & Ralph Bateman. & Arun Canal Trust. Dave Wedd


David McCarthy


David McCarthy


. Leaders: Izzy Gascoigne & Steve Davis.

Jude Moore & Rachael Parr.

the following week.

taking-down the event. Leaders: Mick Beattie & Ali Bottomley.

page 19

Diary Canal society regular working parties

Mobile groups' social evenings (please phone to confirm before turning up) London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before each dig. 'Jugged Hare', Vauxhall Bridge Rd, London, Tim Lewis 020-8367 6227 or e-mail NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586

Regular monthly or weekly working parties: 3rd Sunday of month BCNS Jeff Barley 2nd Sunday & following Wed. BCS Cosgrove Athina Beckett Anytime inc. weekdays BCT Aqueduct section Gerald Fry Every Sunday ChCT Various sites Mick Hodgetts Mon & Wed mornings CCT Cotswolds Dudley Greenslade Every weekend (Sat OR Sun)CCT Cotswolds Neil Ritchie 1st Sunday of month CCT Cotswolds: summit Mark Welton Wednesday evenings CCT Cotswolds: East end Keith Harding 4th Mon of month, 6pm CMT London Canal Mus. Martin Sach Every Saturday DCT Droitwich Canal Jon Axe Second Sun of month FIPT Foxton Inclined Plane Mike Beech 1st & 3rd Sundays GCRS Grantham Canal Colin Bryan 2nd Sat of month GWCT Nynehead Lift Denis Dodd Tuesdays H&GCT Oxenhall Brian Fox Wednesdays H&GCT Over Ted Beagles Saturdays H&GCT Over Maggie Jones Occasional Sundays H&GCT Over wharf house fitoutNigel Bailey Every Sunday if required IWPS Bugsworth Basin Ian Edgar 1st Saturday & 3rd Wed. IWA Ipswich Stowmarket Navigtn. Colin Turner 2nd weekend of month IWA SBC Maesbury, Mont. Barry Tuffin 2nd weekend of month K&ACT John Rolls 1st Sunday of month LHCRT Lichfield John Horton 3rd Sunday of month LHCRT Hatherton Denis Cooper 2nd & last Sundays PCAS Paul Waddington 2nd Sunday of month SCARS Sankey Canal Colin Greenall 1st Sunday of month SCCS Combe Hay Locks Bob Parnell Most weekends SHCS Basingstoke Peter Redway 3rd Sunday of month TMCA David Rouse Approx 15th of month WACT Mid-Week group Colin Gibbs Every Sunday & Thursday WACT Devils Hole Lock Eric Walker Thursdays fortnightly WACT Maintenance Unit Peter Wilding or for general information on Wey & Arun contact their office on 01403-752403 1st weekend of month WAT Little Tring Roger Leishman Every weekend WBCT Wilts & Berks Canal Peter Smith Every Sunday W&BCC Dauntsey / Foxham Rachael Banyard

01543-373284 01908-661217 01288-353273 01246-620695 01453 825515 01452-854057 01453-872405 01451-860181 020-7625-7376 0121-608 0296 0116-279-2657 0115-989-2248 01823-661653 01432-358628 01452-522648 01452-618010 01452-533835 01663-732493 01473-730586 01691-670826/49 01189-666316 01543 262466 01543-374370 01757-638027 01744-731746 01225-428055 01483-721710 01474-362861 020-82417736 023-9246-3025 01483-422519 01442-874536 01793-852883 01249-892289

Please send any amendments, additions and deletions to Dave Wedd (address on previous page)


page 20

Barnsley Canal Group Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Trust Cotswolds Canals Trust Canal Museum Trust (London) Droitwich Canals Trust Foxton Inclined Plane Trust Derby & Sandiacre Canal Society Grantham Canal Restoration Society Grand Western Canal Trust Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust IWA Shrewsbury & Border Counties


Inland Waterways Protection Society Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Rest'n Trust London Waterway Recovery Group Newbury Working Party Group Pocklington Canal Amenity Society Sankey Canal Restoration Society Somersetshire Coal Canal Society Surrey & Hants Canal Society Thames & Medway Canal Association Wilts & Berks Canal Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Company Wey & Arun Canal Trust Wendover Arm Trust

Dear Martin


I have at last got around to reading the letters in ‘Navvies’ 192 and am pleasantly surprised at the amount of comment about the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, most of which was positive. Having lead a group of 15 boats from the North Cheshire Cruising Club up the canal to Wool Road at Easter 2002, I can support the comments of Ken Johnson about the friendly and enthusiastic welcome from towpath walkers together with their lack of knowledge of the extent of the UK canal system. It was a magnificent trip, thoroughly enjoyable.

Cleanup on the Huddersfield Canal to embarrass BW?

One aspect of over-sized boats appears to get no attention - unlike full-length boats who appear to feel they have the right to demand passage everywhere - is boats that are too high or have cabins too wide to pass through Standedge Tunnel. My GRP cruiser is in this category and until I change my boat I will be denied the pleasure of a full passage of the canal. I don’t however go around asking for the tunnel to be widened for my benefit, I have to accept that it is unfortunate as GRP boats are the least considered or appreciated craft on the narrow waterways. I did last year try ballasting the boat down to meet the dimensions but it needed so much that the increase in draught also became a potential problem on this notoriously shallow canal. A number of things however became apparent at Easter. One was that BW may have spent £35M on the restoration, of which they are justly proud (as am I), but there is a woeful lack of money, energy or commitment to the work necessary to make the canal workable and keep it so: they have had over a year; how long do they want? This is especially apparent from the amount of rubbish in the canal: this included a motorbike which one boater used a whole poundful of water trying to flush his boat off, completely stopping navigation for several hours. Also the lack of grease on the lock gear. You may think this is just a whinge from a weak boater, but lock 14W was so bad that it required all my strength and my longest windlass to raise it one notch at a time. One elderly member of our party was completely defeated by this lock and had to await the arrival of a younger, fitter boat crew. The stiff paddles were only a minor problem to me but one of another pair of boats ahead of us got hung up on the gates of 14W and were nearly sunk as they could not drop the paddles quickly. Fortunately the boat came free on its own before it sank! What price Health and Safety here? This is only a small selection of out travails about which I could go on at length. All this did not detract from our basic enjoyment, but it did do this for some of the crews. Perhaps WRG could consider a canal cleanup and greasing weekend on the Huddersfield to embarrass BW? We do boating and the continued success of the restoration programme no favours, nor is it helpful to BW in the long run our failing to highlight these basic issues. After all, one of the reasons why the canals became derelict was that maintenance was neglected and they became choked with rubbish and impossible to work. Regards Noel Christopher Dear Martin I’m an armchair supporter and have been for years, however myself and my good lady have been promising ourselves a decent dirty weekend (or longer) for ages now. The problem is we have two children who are still a bit young to be left so we continue to be members of the armchair brigade; do I feel guilty about it? No. As a family we have been attending the ‘Nationals’, we are (and have been for years) members of the IWA and subscribe to, when we remember to (nice lurid yellow reminder in current edition) WRG, always paying a fair whack more than the asked-for subscription because we can, and hoping that my web site (shameless plug!) continues to attract visitors (20,000 + so far) who with a little luck may become converted to the cause. I’ve never been offended by any reference to the armchair supporters and in a few years time when the kids are at a more ‘leavable’ age we look forward to a dirty weekend. Steev Stamford

page 21


Dear Martin As an ageing 'armchair member' you can imagine my surprise on being faced with my bobble hat (and me!) on the inside front page of 'Navvies' 191.

Armchairs, gas showrooms and Jerusalem...

The group in the photograph was from the West Riding of Yorkshire. We all got thoroughly muddy but after a clean up and inner refreshment enjoyed a night of luxury in the disused showroom of the local gas board - many of us displayed in the large window area! It would have been comfort indeed then to have had flush toilets instead of the running (over) Elsans which we did have. My late husband Malcolm - later to become working party organiser - must have been busy trundling a barrow of gunk (or even cows' skulls - we were next to an abattoir) away at the time as he is not in the photo. I wonder if any other of your readers - armchair or otherwise - recognised themselves? We had a great time but the ones who were at Op Ash maintained that they were the ones that started it all! Yours, Kay Bassett (still WRG and IWA supporter) Dear Martin Having read the letter from Eric Jackson ('Navvies' 192) I feel compelled to reply as I think he has missed the point somewhere - and if he is so sensitive about mickey-taking, how did he survive on a building site? I'm only 54 and I too have earned my living as a bricklayer before climbing onto the management ladder where I can now worry about increased work loads, staff shortages and getting soft around the middle. I had my first canal boat holiday with my wife and young teenage children some 12 years ago and enjoyed it so much that I felt I had to put something back. Until recently my circumstances had not permitted this to happen so I have been an 'armchair supporter'. Last year I decided to give it a try and selected a camp which I thought would be interesting and hopefully have reasonable accommodation. I took a along a "put-me-up" bed, lots of old clothes and an open mind. I am not a good mixer, nor would I consider myself a group animal. It did not matter, as the camp organisers were professional in their attitude and friendly in their manner, with evident enthusiasm. Although nearly three-quarters of the people there were young enough to be my children, I felt that the older element in the group helped make a good balance. I did not tell the organisers my background, and quite enjoyed not having the responsibility of command for a few days. I eventually laid a few bricks, which was for me therapeutic. I would say to Eric "why not give it a try for a weekend, or a few days?", you are not expected to run the site or give 'expert advice', and please don't go to the camp with an 'I know it all' attitude, because the young people have the enthusiasm and knowledge to do the job without you. Just be a member of the group, enjoy the company and do what you can - you may be surprised. If you don't like it, you can go home early to your soft bed and you will still have a story to tell. Yours sincerely, Mike Rennolds

page 22

Dear Martin I have noticed several letters in NAVVIES from chaps claiming to be elderly supporters of WRG. One of them was a youngster of 56 and another a mere 71. I was still on slab-laying duties at 71 or more - though on the home front, I must admit, rather than where I should have been. My main talent these days - such as it is - lies in trying to avoid getting in the way while being ready to help if something my doctor and missus would not disapprove of should come up. I also try to do my best as one of the 'armchair' supporters and will be having another opportunity to promote the waterways in a few days time when (DV) I shall be giving a talk to a local U3A group. The main snag is that they meet in the early afternoon, at a time when I usually suffer from paralysis of the eyelids and darkness loosens my limbs. We shall all suffer, I expect, but I shall do my best. My career really peaked at last year’s National. First off I was deputed to help 'Smudge' put up some notices - though I confess that she was usually first up the ladder while I stood at the bottom admiring the view. I mean the surroundings, of couse, and not what any of you naughty persons might be thinking. Then at the concert on Saturday night I really had my moment of glory. Once upon a time, before most of you kiddie-winks were born, I wrote a parody of the immortal 'Jerusalem'. It was called the 'Navvies’ Jerusalem', and got published in NAVVIES and also in a song-book. Oh, the fame of it! Except that the blighters who published the song-book version omitted to mention the author - or the composer either, for that matter, though he might not have been too upset bearing in mind that he died in 1918. Not so much composing these days as decomposing. OK, I know it’s an old one (courtesy of W.S.Gilbert) and in exceedingly bad taste. The Navvies’ Jerusalem was obviously a good rousing song to round off one of the marvellous entertainments that are put on at the National, and it was included as the final item last year. Not only that, but I was asked to conduct it. I was mortified that I had not got my proper clothes with me, so I shall be better prepared this year if I make it to Uddersfield, that charming place named after the cow pasture through which the canal was cut. I have looked out my gear and have been rehearsing like mad, trying to synchronise my conducting with the music. In case the Impresario in charge of the concert is able to run to a full orchestra (and I really expect no less), I have been writing out the orchestral parts, starting off with the harmonica. (Very difficult, incidentally to play the damned thing and sing at the same time, but I’m working on it. If you’re not careful you could end up swallowing it.) The first few lines go something like this: Blow, suck, suck, blow, suck, blow, suck. Blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, blow, suck. (That last one is called a breve.) That’s as far as I have got. Who said "And a good job too"? Keep up the good work, Stan Holland PS. I have just had a go with the spell check to see whether there is an ‘e’ in the present participle of the verb ‘to whinge’. Result: it acknowledges the existence of no such word, so I have to fall back on Fowler, the great authority that pedants depend on. He says that an ‘e’ is definitely needed in ‘singeing’ to soften the ‘g’ and distinguish it from the word that refers to the uttering of musical sounds with the mouth and throat, e.g. when giving a vocal rendering of the Navvies’ Jerusalem. So you need an ‘e’, by gum.

Stan conducts 'Jerusalem'. Photo by... I don't know, I was going to say "obviously not taken by Stan", but I'm not sure it's that obvious when you're talking about somebody who can sing and play mouth-organ simultaneously.

page 23

Letters ...and the latest from the WRG's own boat club...

Dear Martin Please may we, through Navvies, say a very big 'Thank You' to WRG for all your help over the very busy 'Walk the Line of the Lichfield Canal' and Race Night weekend 20th / 21st April. What a weekend! The Race Night was really great night followed by an amazing day on the Sunday.

Around 2000 walkers took part in the 4 mile walk from Fosseway to Huddlesford (validated by the articulate survey by WRG North/West at Darnford). How we all coped, I don’t know... but we did! Everybody seemed to thoroughly enjoy the whole event - old and young and even the dogs! We have to sing the praises of WRG. You were fantastic! The preparation on Saturday (dare I mention the making of a car park at Sandhill Pumping Station), preparation & signage early Sunday, car-parking duties as more and more cars arrived and were squeezed into every corner, the patient minibus drivers, the workers at Lock 26, marshals and everyone else who helped. Well done everybody. You all came in the right spirit. We could not have done it without you! A very big thank you from us all. Jan & John Horton on behalf of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust

Waterway Recovery Group Boat Club News After reading the Editor’s comments in the last issue of Navvies perhaps I should head this ‘Whinging Ruddy Gripers’ boat club. No, of course not because We’re Really Grateful Boating Characters (or Codgers?) and anyway We’ve Recently Given time and effort to canal restoration so don’t come into his group of ‘ungrateful sods’ who have ‘never lifted a finger to help restore’ the newly opened bits of waterway. I speak generally because of course I’m not like that, I am going to moan! (so there!) I don’t mind booking things in advance, as long as it isn’t too far in advance *. People from The Middle Level are used to it, locks have to be booked in advance and the ones giving access to tidal waters can only be used at times that are governed by the moon! You just phone the man doing the job and arrange a passage then and there. What I do object to is the bureaucracy that I always get when dealing with BW. Lots of hanging onto the phone and then being told that they will call back, and then they don’t, so you have to phone again. All this at peak cost on my mobile phone. And another thing, why can’t they understand that you are on the move and can’t receive forms to fill in, you just want to book in and turn up. If you do get a form, fill it in and return it, ten to one they have mislaid it when you phone again to find out why you haven’t heard from them. I speak from experience! My favourite example of this was at the ‘do’in Birmingham last year. After lots of unsuccessful ‘chasing up’I phoned to say that I had not received details of my mooring and was on the way, so if it was arriving by mail I couldn’t get it. Where should I moor? ‘Oh just pop into the office here and we will sort out the details,’ I was told. ‘But I will have to moor somewhere in order to do that,’ I replied. ‘Oh that’s OK, there is a bit of canal right outside here!’ What a stroke of unexpected luck. A boat gathering and a canal so handy! I didn’t point out that it would be full of boats moored by people that did know where their mooring was... Enuff of this whinging. [Dead right! ...Ed] Did any of you manage to get to any of the canal clean ups? I always enjoy them no end. It’s like having lots of goes on a mucky bran-tub lucky dip. No extra charge for how often you pull stuff out and there are always some surprises among the routine junk that turns up. It is so much nicer to be dragging it out on a grappling hook rather than catching it on your prop! It is a renewable source too, as once a section is cleared, we can rest assured that the rubbish will soon build up again. Quite a few boat club members are seen about at events, several attended Little Venice, but how will folks know we are WRG boat club members and how will we recognize each others’ boats? Time to FLY THE FLAG with pride. Burgees available at £10 each and window or other (inside or outside) stickers at 50p. Send to me a.s.a.p. and be ready for anything and everything. AGM - All of those voicing an opinion have said hold it at Huddersfield. If you disagree speak up now! XXX Sadie Dean ( * At my age dear, I have to think twice before buying a long playing record!

"Best Described As BASIC" ...being a selection of stories from the days when in typical WRG accommodation the only running water was running down the walls, the evening entertainment usually consisted of unblocking the drains, and our accommodation really did deserve the above description in the Camps booklet. This time they're from Steve and Mandy Morley... Some of my early digging (12+ years ago) was on the Montgomery, as it was fairly near home in Wrexham. Back in those days the main Hall we used was Welsh Frankton (not to be confused with West Felton), which confusingly was over the border in England. The village had no shops, only a part time post office and no pub. We use to use the Narrowboat pub, which was the only one vaguely within walking distance (a good half miles walk and it was up hill on the way back). It was a prefabricated building with what appeared to be corrugated tin on the outside – it was certainly best described as 'basic', but it had a main hall and a reasonable size back room (which usually got used as the dining room). The kitchen was so small you could sit on a stool in the middle and reach everything: cooker, cupboards, and sink! It wasn’t a terribly well heated hall (I think it had gas head-height grills); you often had ice on the inside of the windows, and it was draughty as there were big gaps under the Fire Doors. On one occasion when it was snowing and windy we woke to a fine layer of snow over everything – inside. Parking was quite interesting at Welsh Frankton as well. There was space for about eight cars out the front in two rows of four (with one row immediately behind the other) and room for another four or so vehicles down the side of the Hall – again one behind the other. If anyone wanted to use their own car it always seemed to be like something out of the sit-com “Butterflies” (am I showing my age?) with half a dozen cars having to pull out onto the main road to let one out. The plumbing also had its limitations – it had no mains sewage, just a cess-pit, which was fine for a weekend, but always use to overflow about half way through a week long camp! I remember WRG offering to enlarge the pit, but the Hall Committee wouldn’t let us!

Eventually we tried various other halls and it came to pass that we discovered the delights of West Felton – although I seem to remember that was fairly basic before its refurbishment! Do I mention the portable shower, powered by a car battery, rigged up in the Gent’s loos? Other places that spring to mind include Elsecar Cricket Club (Barnsley Canal) – It didn’t have a fridge, not that you needed one as it was always freezing cold and had ice on the inside of the windows during the winter. I also remember their being a thin layer of ice in the Burco in the mornings. The cooker only half worked – two out of four electric rings and only half the grill – so you had to plan the meals quite carefully. At the opposite end of the scale is The Robert Monk Hall in Foxton (Incline Plane), near Market Harborough, which has always been excellent – although there used to be a frog in the Gents (I’m told it could give you quite a shock in the ‘wee’ small hours! Even prior to its refurbishment this was a fantastic venue. It had Oak Panelling in the main Hall and a good sized dining room. It now boasts a shower and a fully fitted industrial kitchen, complete with commercial dishwasher and two six-burner cookers. Accommodation for the Buckingham Arm has had its moments – Maids Moreton Village Hall, on the outskirts of Buckingham, was quite an experience. Parking for one vehicle, so you had to talk nicely to the pub and the residents for additional space, and only part refurbished. The main Hall is good, apart from it having overhead electric grills for heating, and it does have carpet. But it appears the money ran out before the Kitchen and toilets were reached. The carpet just stopped, revealing concrete floor. There were big holes in the toilet windows and the ‘spare’ cooker was stored in the very small Ladies, making it virtually impossible to move in there. Also by some curious design quirk all the electric sockets were above the kitchen sink! On another occasion – January 1997, when Essex WRG were coming to work on the Buckingham, we couldn’t get a Hall, and not expecting many participants we decided to use 'Morley Towers'. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure it is a fairly standard three-bedroom detached, in the corner of a quiet cul-de-sac. It is set up for two people living in it – master bedroom with en-suite, single ‘spare’ bedroom, box-room cum office, and a sofa bed (double) downstairs in the living room. That weekend we slept nine in cramped but cosy conditions – there were bodies everywhere! Dave Dobbin had to sleep diagonally across the office with his head under the desk as it was the only way you could shut the door. Feeding 13 on Saturday night was interesting in a domestic kitchen and dinning room, but having borrowed a table and some extra chairs from the (middle) school where I worked – we managed. It was easier to stand up to eat breakfast. Parking is fairly tight, and even with our own car in the garage, we brought the street to a stand-still several times and had keep apologising to the neighbours! Do you have any interesting (or even any boring) stories of WRG accommodation ancient and modern? If so, please send them to the Editor.

Feature What's happening on the Caldon Canal? Caldon Canal Update These days people think of the Caldon Canal as a fully navigable canal popular with holiday boats, with its beautiful scenery and fascinating industrial archaeology. Although it is nearly 30 years since the Caldon Canal was restored and reopened, the Caldon Canal Society is still going strong and is currently looking at several smaller restoration projects along the canal. Froghall The big project which we hope is coming up within the next couple of years is the BW-led proposal for the end of the Caldon Canal at Froghall. “Destination Froghall” is to include improved facilities, environmental improvements and information for visitors. These visitors are likely to arrive by boat, car or train, with the Churnet Valley Railway having recently extended their line to the old station at Froghall (a footpath link to the newly opened station is part of the project). Also included, and where we hope to get WRG and local CCS volunteers involved, is the restoration of the top lock and basin of the Uttoxeter Canal, which joined the Caldon Canal at Froghall.

BW have applied for funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the “East Midlands Objective 2 Programme 2000 – 2006” and while the outcome of this bid is still awaited they have made a start on Phase One of the project (funded by money from the Single Regeneration Budget “Rural Community Regeneration in North East Staffordshire”) which will increase the number of boats that can actually get to Froghall. Currently very few boats can get to the very end of the canal due to the restricted headroom in Froghall Tunnel (even lower than in Dudley Tunnel). Phase One of the project was to de-water the two mile Froghall pound last winter for some remedial works including dredging and checking the depth (in particular there was one culvert which had been capped with concrete which it was thought would need to be lowered). The canal was then to be re-watered at the lower level in the Spring. However, having de-watered the section earlier this year several bank and towpath collapses have occurred (not helped by heavy rain) and BW have now closed the canal for several months for some fairly major repair works to the channel. Once this work has been done, however, the canal should be re-watered at the lower level, enabling more boats to fit through Froghall Tunnel. (So if in the past you have boated along the Caldon Canal and were disappointed not to get to the very end, it will be worth your trying again very soon!)

The Caldon Canal at Froghall (the canal ends at a wharf just through the bridge in the distance) during the recent de-watering. The widening on the right is where the Uttoxeter Canal used to begin: the first lock and basin beyond are currently proposed for restoration - and maybe the rest one day? (Alison Smedley)

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Rudyard reservoir

The Caldon Canal and the Uttoxeter Canal



Feeder (not navigable) Aqueduct

Norton Green Arm Planet Lock

Foxley Arm Bedford St Locks


Hazelhurst Junction, locks and aqueduct

Leek Branch (last half-mile into Leek closed) Leek Tunnel Cheddleton


Cheddleton Locks Stockton Brook Woods Locks Lock Oakmeadow Ford Lock

Caldon Canal


North Staffs Railway (LeekUttoxeter line) North of Oakamoor the line is now the Churnet Valley Railway operating a tourist service of steam trains; south of Oakamoor it is currently disused.

Consall Froghall Caldon Low Tunnel Froghall: current terminus Flint Mill Lock of Caldon Canal

Engine Lock FROGHALL Trent & Mersey Canal main line Canal

Tunnel Railway Disused canal and locks: restoration of top lock proposed


Current terminus


Alton Towers leisure park Alton

From Froghall to Uttoxeter the canal was closed and much of it used for the route of the railway, however several sections of canal were bypassed.

JCB Factory Rocester

The Caldon Canal is a 17 mile, 17 lock branch of the Trent & Mersey Canal, opened around 1779 to serve the limesotone quarries at Caldon Low via a horse tramway from Froghall. A branch opened in 1801 ran for 2他 miles from Hazelhurst to Leek; its main purpose was to carry water via a feeder from the new Rudyard Reservoir. (for lovers of canal trivia: Rudyard is probably the only UTTOXETER canal reservoir in the world to have had a well-known author named after it!) Hazelhurst junction has been altered several times, resulting in the current layout where the Leek arm leaves the Caldon on the south side, the Caldon then drops through three locks, then the Leek arm crosses it on the Hazelhurst (or Denford) aqueduct. (Ask Alison for the full history of the junction - she lives right next to it and has part of an earlier flight of locks in her garden!) The Leek arm was abandoned in 1944, but remained unobstructed apart from the filling in of the final half-mile. The Caldon was never abandoned, but fell derelict beyond Hazelhurst junction in the early 1960s; it was restored and reopened in 1974 thanks to the efforts of the Caldon Canal Society and others. The Uttoxeter Canal was an extension of the Caldon from Froghall for a further 13 miles and 17 locks to Uttoxeter, opened in 1811. In 1847, after the Trent & Mersey and all its branches had been bought by the North Staffs Railway, the Uttoxeter Canal was closed and parts of its bed were used for the construction of the southern part of the Leek-Uttoxeter railway line; this was closed in the 1960s except for the part north of Oakamoor which survived until the 1980s for sand quarry traffic, and has since been preserved as the Churnet Valley steam railway.

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Feature Extending the Caldon back to Uttoxeter: 'pie in the sky'? So far as the subsequent phases of the project are concerned, the Caldon Canal Society hopes to get involved with the historical interpretation of the site and we are hoping that WRG will get involved with the actual restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal top lock and the basin below it, with maybe a Canal Camp or two. Uttoxeter Canal The potential for restoration of the rest of the Uttoxeter Canal is one of those “pie in the sky” ideas which somehow doesn’t seem so impossible now as it would have done ten years ago, given the amazing things that are happening in canal restoration these days. The North Staffordshire Railway’s line to Uttoxeter (also now derelict, but also with the possibility of restoration) was built on much of the canal, and in places the valley is very narrow. However, any reinstatement of the railway could be to single track which would allow room for the canal as well.

Leek Arm The other recent development on the Caldon has been the outstanding success of what began life as a small boat gathering to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Leek Arm. Postponed from last year by Foot and Mouth, the 201 st anniversary was celebrated by 54 boats mooring at the end of the Leek Arm for the weekend, each receiving a free commemorative plaque. There was a good turnout of the general public and also of the invited local VIPs (including the MP, Town Mayor, Chairman of the local Council and several councillors and officers of the Council) who were all taken on a boat trip. The focus of the event was John Rennie’s aqueduct over the River Churnet. It was at this point that the Leek Town Arm used to cross the river and continue to the edge of the town ending in a basin where coal, wood and tar were transhipped. In 1957 this section of the canal was filled in and the wharf buildings and once adjacent railway station are long gone. The aqueduct itself, also filled in, provided the ideal site for marquees and displays for the event on the 13th April. As well as celebrating the bicentenary, one of the other aims of the event was to raise awareness to the local people of Leek about their canal. Information on display included a detailed history of the canal and proposals for future improvements, as well as boat trips and historic narrow boats.

In the absence of any Uttoxeter Canal society or organisation, the Caldon Canal Society, at its AGM in March this year, voted to amend its constitution. There was whole-hearted support for the motion: “That the Constitution of the Society should be added to in order to include support for the restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal and all the arms of the Caldon Canal” and this is now being put to the Charity Commission for formal approval. This will mean that the CCS will be in a better position to campaign for the Uttoxeter Canal to be taken into consideration in any road schemes or The current terminus of the Leek arm during the 201st anniversary rally. The other developments marquee in the centre is on the filled-in aqueduct. The factories in the backwhich could affect its ground are built on the line of the final ¾-mile length: various options for reinstatelong term likelihood of ment are being considered. To the left is the Rudyard feeder, which may one day form the basis of a new route to the Macclesfield Canal. (Alison Smedley) being restored.

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Another aim was to campaign for improvements to the current terminus of the Leek Arm. A BW sign currently asks all boats to turn ¼ mile before the end as the winding hole by the aqueduct is not full length. Unfortunately this means that they turn around and go away again and due to lack of use the 55/60 ft-ish winding hole has now silted up to be more like a 45/50 ft-ish winding hole. There are currently no facilities at the end of the arm and nothing to encourage people to stop and visit Leek. Also on display were suggested proposals for the reinstatement of the original Town Arm, which were generally received well by the public. There are at least three possible options for extending the canal along alternative routes (the original route probably not being an option due to some fairly recent industrial buildings along the line). As a result of the event a meeting has now been arranged between officers of the local council and members of the CCS and local IWA branch with a view to progressing ideas and putting together bids for funding for engineering and feasibility studies. The initial aims for rejuvenating the canal terminus at Leek are to: ·

Open-up the end of Rudyard Feeder and re-water the Churnet Aqueduct, to form a full-length winding hole, so that all boats may turn at Leek


Create visitor moorings to encourage boats to stay a while


Improve the environment around the Canal and the River Churnet


Create a clear footpath route between the terminus and the town centre.

The potential for restoration of two arms of the Caldon, the Norton Green Arm and the Foxley Arm, are also being considered. BW are keen to reinstate the Norton Green Arm for off line moorings while the line of the Foxley Arm is at least being protected whilst some major housing development is taking place in the vicinity. Meanwhile, the first, fairly low key, visit of a WRG group to the Caldon Canal in recent years took place earlier this year when several volunteers (mostly from the South) headed north to Staffordshire to spend a weekend helping the Caldon Canal Society plant 500 hedging plants that had been donated by the local council. We hope this will be the first of many such visits, particularly when restoration starts on the lock at Froghall, and suitable volunteer accommodation is currently being investigated (including one that would be walking distance from the famous Black Lion pub at Consall Forge). We hope to see some of you here in the Churnet Valley soon. Alison Smedley Caldon Canal Society Working Party Organiser (looking forward to organising some working parties soon…)

Longer-term aspirations are: ·

Extend the canal to a new basin, with visitor moorings and facilities


Build a new canal to link Leek to Bosley, between the Caldon and Macclesfield Canals – a 200-year-old idea that has also been promoted by the Macclesfield Canal Society.

Cheddleton Dry Dock and other projects Another restoration project which is currently being pursued by the Society is the reinstatement of an historic dry dock at Cheddleton, which again could involve some volunteer working parties. The dry dock was filled in a long time ago and is very over- The first WRG involvement in the Caldon for several years: grown. It is not known at this stage the WRG and CCS hedge-planting team pause for tea. (it what is left of the original structure. says 'Photo by Alison Smedley' on the back of the photo, but...)

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Little Venice Reporting fromthe IWA's Canalway Cavalcade rally KESCRG and Little Venice 2002 Sadly there was no sign of ‘Two Arse’ this weekend which means you will not be privy to his unique (feline) view of festival life. For the record I understand he was staking out his mum’s home mooring in case of trespass by some great ginger tom further along the cut. KESCRG were at Little Venice providing site services and generally bodging about with Two Arse’s mum (Helen 'Bush Baby' Gardner) running the troops, and me with a select team of similar skilled bodgers doing the other. The event started on Wednesday morning with me putting all the radios and spare batteries on charge in a discrete corner of my office, and once clear of that awkward work thing, off to Ilford to collect the PA. The evening finished with a pleasant couple of halves in the ‘Warwick Castle’ round the corner from the LV pool at the London WRG social. The kind offer of a berth on N.B. Sussex (Helen’s home) was gladly accepted as I was meeting the local BW chap 8am Thursday for a final once-over of site and sorting any potential ‘ooh-errs’. Back on the road after that for a run into deepest Essex to collect the power cables meant I finally got to site properly on Thursday afternoon.

I was starting to get worried, and that concern was confirmed after a couple of calls which revealed the hire people were now not going to arrive until Friday morning... mmmmm. We spent the rest of Thursday laying-in the power (except for the marquees of course!), all the lights, constructing and connecting the standpipe, sorting the community boats we were using as accommodation, checking the radios in etc etc Those of you who have helped with the gig in previous years will know we have made a fairly good effort of filling the hold of a GU Big Woolwich motor courtesy of Paul and Lynn Ayres. This year the hire people used the day-boat ‘Opportunity’, which is about a third of the size of‘Aldgate’.Funnilyenoughwhentheyeventuallygotthere late Friday morning the steerer on Opportunity reported the hairiest run up from Hackney he had ever made and that the truck with all the rest of the gear they couldn’t fit aboard would be with us shortly... In the meantime the first random radio message of the weekend came from Nick Smith: "Harry, the trolley job is off and can you return my dog?" The rest of Friday is a bit of a blur but despite the tents being erected 24 hours later than planned and Sammy getting stuck in horrendous traffic behind an accident on the M4 we had the grass site pretty well sorted by late Friday eve. We even managed to get a pint in the on site bar – a fantastic effort by everyone involved. The sight of the pool crammed full and boats moored 3 abreast as far as you can see along the main line is a scene I think of throughout the rest of the year. Chugging out to the island on the Heward Hall and Wood workboat through a very crowded pool Saturday morning reminded me exactly what LV is all about.

In the meantime Nick Smith had appeared and was dutifully waiting for the delivery of the flatbed trucks, the portable loos and the tents. HSS did their bit as did ‘Loo Hire UK’ but by late afternoon there was still no sign of the marquees. In previous years we have collected the marquees by boat from Springfield Marina on the Lee midday Wednesday and had them erected by lunchtime Thursday. Due to insurance complications we can no longer erect them but had still intended do the Hackney run. In the end the hire company decided to deliver them themselves. "...exactly what LV is all about" - the Pool full of boats. (Martin Ludgate)

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It is worth noting LV is a small venue so the fact we used two tirfors to winch the pontoon up to the island (a serious silt situation) did not go un-noticed. I was a little concerned how BW were going to move the pontoon after the weekend but I forget just how much grunt the local BW ex River Lee tug has. The whole episode took some explaining when questioned over a pint later. Amongst the usual festival jobs Harry (‘H’) and Bush Baby got called to a strange one. (There was a huge argument down the pub as to whether there should be a comma or full stop there – the joys of laptops eh?) The Paddington Development Company had hired a trip boat (‘Lapwing’) to run from the temporary scaffold bridge that BW had built below the A40 flyover down the arm and into the basin. Lapwing was on the way back from the first run when the engine stalled and upon investigation found something very unpleasant on the prop. ‘H’ in his inimitable style had his dry suit with him and being ‘H’, in he went. It turned out to be a very long length of 6" lay-flat hose obviously left from when the arm was drained for repair last year had found its way round the prop. All this activity had caught the attention of the guys working on the adjacement building site. Seeing ‘H’ and Bush struggling to haul this length of lay-flat out resulted in the foreman ordering a tower crane round. To ‘H’ and Bush’s amazement the next thing they knew was a very large hook appearing from the gods. It made short work of both removing the pipe and lifting the old pontoon bridge out of the way which was doing an iceberg impression in the middle of the cut having been left upside down when the arm was re-flooded. All went well Saturday evening (admittedly I was off site taking a few hours break, maybe I should take more time out?!!!!!) ‘till I got a phone call Sunday morning as I was about to leave home asking about pump out arrangements for the porta bogs because they were desperately full...

The site crew still at work on the Monday evening, collectingeverythingupaftertherallyclosed.(MartinLudgate) Obviously there had been considerably more 'movements' over the Friday/Saturday than in previous years on which I had based my loo use. Needless to say it took me and ‘H’ most of Sunday afternoon phoning every tanker/loo hire company we could find listed and it wasn’t until late Sunday eve did the loos finally get relieved! All we can think was that the lessthan-warm weather had taken its toll... Overall the weekend ran very well with a few lessons learned for next year, but in view of yet another change in management the event was a success. I must thank all the volunteers for a sterling job. It was helped by a close and helpful involvement of the local BW team in particular David Staddon from the toll office. I must also thank the guys from COBRA who provided a lot of help shifting gear about on Thursday/ Friday especially getting the traders on site. COBRA, if I remember correctly, stands for the Collaboration Of Black Riders Association who are a community group heavily involved in getting local youths to appreciate what the waterway can offer instead of lobbing things in and graffiti-ing the place. I hope the boaters and visitors enjoyed it as much as the KESCRG team did and it goes without saying we will be there again next year. In view of the amount of development going on down the arm and around the basin, hopefully this means the amount of space available to us is increasing - giving the festival the potential of growing bigger and bigger. Cheers to all involved. Eddie Jones (Edited by Jenni) KESCRG

London WRG's 'Canal Openings' display in the Pageant was too big for Helen's boat 'Sussex' so part of it had to be towed behind in a canoe... (Lesley McFadyen)

PS despite all my work trying to bring us all together WRG got me again while towing the WRG generator 'Thomas' back to Oxford via deepest Essex on its journey to the W & B, as it punched its way through the (rather knowingly rotten) floor of the KESCRG open trailer. Tongue in cheek aside, please note the KESCRG open trailer is off the road for the time being until I can sort a major rebuild should anyone want to borrow the KESCRG cooker

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Progress What's been happening on the canals recently...

Top right: the final work-party for now at Valley Lock, Cotswold Canals: KESCRG casting a new concrete roof on the bywash culvert. (Martin Ludgate) Above: London WRG renewing their acquaintance with Over on the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal, building the backpump outfall channel. (Martin Ludgate). Right: Summit Lock on the Wilts & Berks: London WRG working on the second chamber wall. (Martin Ludgate) Below: rather larger scale construction on the Rochdale: newly-raised bridge at Hollingworth Road Littleborough (Paula Kiernan)

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Canal Camps preview By the time you read this issue, the start of the main summer Canal Camps season will be only a few days away. Here's some of the latest news as we go to press... First the bad news... We're sorry to have to tell you that camp 0208, which was scheduled for the Wilts & Berks Canal on 13-20 July, has had to be cancelled for reasons beyond our control: a pair of rare buzzards have nested in a tree that has to be felled before work can begin on the culvert restoration project that would have been the main work for the Camp. And we've got to wait till the chicks have flown the nest before we can work there! But don't worry, you can still work on the same canal the same week - see below. Now the good news... All the other Canal Camps are going ahead, although one or two of them aren't doing exactly what was originally planned. In particular Camp 0207 on 13-20 July has been moved from the Cotswolds to the Wilts & Berks due to work at Valley Lock having been suspended pending engineering studies, and will instead be working on the chamber walls at Summit Lock (see photo opposite), the concrete foundations for the new lock-tail bridge and the concrete pipe culvert for the overflow bywash. And on the same canal, Camp 0206 on 6 - 13 July will be pressing on with rebuilding work at the Seven Locks flight.

Campspreview ...and what's going to be happening in the near future... Meanwhile those who wanted to work on the Cotswold Canals needn't be disappointed, as they can still go on Camp 0204 on 3-10 July working on setting up and helping to run the Saul Junction Boat Gathering major waterways festival, or Camp 0209 on 20-27 July working on building a new bywash at Ham Mill Lock, restoring Jubilee Footbridge (see photo below) and helping the WRG Forestry Team to remove some trees that are in danger of damaging an aqueduct over the River Frome. You're still just in time for the start of two weeks work on the Grand Western Canal: Camp 0202 on 22-29 June and Camp 0203 on 29 June - 6 July. Adrian Fry is the leader for the first week, and tells me that in addition to the work we described last time - clearing out Jays Cutting and reinstating the towpath - there will be some archaeologicaltype work excavating what remains of the original stop-plank grooves, some investigation of leaks in the bank, repairs to run-off sluices and lots more. And don't forget the Droitwich Canal - we might have finished Hanbury Locks, but there's still that enormous spillway the other side of Droitwich to complete - and Camp 0205 on 6th - 13th July hopes to finish the job. Then there's the Basingstoke Canal, where the Dig Deep groups have been busy with diggers, dumpers and rollers, extending the watersupply backpump pipeline down the St Johns flight of locks, and we hope that Camp 0210 on 20-27 July will give this a major boost towards completion. Well that's the first half of the summer Camps programme - and all we've got room for in this issue, so to find out the latest about the rest of the Canal Camps, you'll have to look at our web site, where we hope to get some photos of the sites of all the camps online by the time you read this.

Remember: book early to avoid disAppropriately for this year, one of the jobs for Camp 0209 on the appointment! Martin Ludgate Cotswold Canals is refurbishing Jubilee Bridge. (Martin Ludgate)

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Bits & pieces

Logistics report

Navvies time already but due to (a) Martin actually having plenty of copy (unusually!), (b) me getting the chance to earn some more pennies, and (c) actually spending time going out and restoring canals (Heaven forbid!), this is all you’re getting from Logistics in this issue! And so very typical seeing as I had a choice of themes for this time. D’oh! Partial Repaint (a possible parody of Total Recall! Methinks the title was probably the best bit!) was in the running. Thanks to Bungle for his suggestion... I think it may just appear in issues to come! So no real article, but several issues I’d like to remind you all of for that really happy camp season: 1.



The Usual Gripe! – please make sure you dunk those tools in water that you are using for concrete/mortar/anything related whilst you aren’t using them as it’ll be a much harder job to clean it all off at the end of the week (let alone the camp season!!), because of course you all clean the tools, don’t you now?! Don’t leave any surprise items for the next camp to find... I really did appreciate the thirteen (unlucky for me!) pints of milk that were kindly left in the fridge/freezer after the training weekend. They matured beautifully after the spell of hot weather we had!!!!!! Yeuk! And don’t forget the gift of red diesel last year! Comprends? Hopefully, a new trailer will magically appear but just because it won’t be red PLEASE don’t leave it behind!

I suspect the next article I write will be entitled 'Attack of the Clowns!' Can’t think why?!!!

Happy Digging. Send me a postcard and your dirty photos (please!). Just Jen One to watch out for? Yet another new restoration project! It looks like things may be starting to happen on the Runcorn Locks - a very useful link between the Bridgewater Canal and the River Weaver / Manchester Ship Canal that closed as late as the 1960s. Watch this space!

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Navvies recipes? Mr Henry Walker sent in the following catering suggestion... A simple meal for six healthy young navvies... I am surprised that no-one has ever mentioned the Northern recipe for a navvy's morning snack: Take a deep, well-used, shiny navvy's shovel and sterilise it over a hot brazier. Drop 1/2lb of streaky bacon onto it, and when cooked, follow it with a couple of black puddings and ½ dozen eggs. Pile all onto thick bread to make butties. If there are any mushy peas to go with it, then eat them from a mug with a spoon. An excellent meal for a cold winter's day. But seriously folks... This is a cunning way of bringing up the subject of a WRG cookbook which WRG Publicity hope to compile for the use of Canal Camp cooks, and for selling on the publicity stand. So if you have any good recipes, please send them to Mandy Morley (see 'Stamp Bank' opposite for address) or by e-mail to

New on the web... The Cromford Canal now has a web site:

...and while we're on the subject... ...of Internet type things, you may have noticed that a number of the email addresses in the Diary and Directory pages appear to have changed, and now end in "". This is because we have set up 'aliases' for many of the people in WRG, and although there is no reason why the email addresses you used in the past (such as won't still work, if you switch to using the new ones (such as then you will know that you won't need to change the address you use again, even if the person changes their email service provider, as some of us are likely to do.

...and still on the subject of the 'net'... ...don't forget to send copies of any decent photos you take on Camps to the editor - not just for 'Navvies', but also for the 'Canal Camps' page on the web site.

And finally... Still no cartoon, and this time no 'Bankside' either. Back in the next issue - I really mean it this time!

Contacting the chairman: Mike Palmer, 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293


e-mail: MAILING LISTS After a short absence the KESCRG and LONDON WRG e-mail mailing lists are now up and running again, for those who like to keep in touch with these groups by e-mail. If you want to join one of these lists, just send an e-mail to Ian Wingfield at head office ( asking him to subscribe you to the list. And remember to tell him which list! And a new mailing list has been set up by Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust to discuss the L&H restoration. Send an email to Sue Williams ( if you want to join.

Stamps wanted The WRG Canal Camps mobile phones: 07850 422156 (A) and 07850 422157 (B)

Send all your used postage stamps, cigarette and petrol coupons and old phone cards to IWA/ WRG Stamp Bank, 33, Hambleton Grove, Emerson Valley, Milton Keynes MK4 2JS. All proceeds to canal restoration.

Navvies Production

Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY and is available to all interested in promoting the restoration and conSubscriptions / circulation servation of inland waterSue Watts ways by voluntary effort in 15 Eleanor Road Great Britain. Articles may Chorlton-cum-Hardy be reproduced in allied Manchester M21 9FZ magazines provided that the Printing and assembly: source is acknowledged. John & Tess Hawkins WRG may not agree with 4 Links Way, Croxley Grn opinions expressed in this Rickmansworth, Herts magazine, but encourages WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 publication as a matter of terest. Nothing printed may Editor : Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Road East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266

If you move house, please remember to ask us to change your 'Navvies' subscription details: write to Sue Watts (see below) Alternatively you can e-mail Edd Leethem on

FORSALE... (1) George 'Bungle' Eycott has some 110 volt 64a connectors in as-new condition, available for the cost of transport plus a donation to the Wilts & Berks. E-mail him on or contact the editor if you're interested. (2) Claire of WRG Boat Club has a Kabola Old Dutch diesel heater for sale, with back boiler, nearly new. Regular and travelling chimney too! Contact Claire 07971183971 or nb 'Black Adder' Baddesley Wharf Atherstone Warks CV9 2EH (3) Wey & Arun Canal Trust have a set of 'Navvies' from No 1 to No 126 excepting Nos 3,4,6,7,14 and 118, available for a donation to the Wey & Arun. Please contact the editor if you're interested.

be construed as policy or an official announcement unless so stated - otherwise WRG and IWA accept no liability for any matter in this magazine. Waterway Recovery Group is a division of Inland Waterways Enterprises Ltd., a subsidiary of the Inland Waterways Association (a registered charity).

Directors of WRG: John Baylis, Mick Beattie, Malcolm Bridge, Roger Burchett, Spencer Collins, Christopher Davey, Helen Davey, Roger Day, Richard Drake, Neil Edwards, Adrian Fry, John Hawkins, Jennifer Leigh, Judith Moore, Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith.

Inland Waterways Enterprises Registered office: Secretary: Neil Edwards 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Rd. Rickmansworth WD3 1LT VAT reg. no : 788 9425 54 Š 2002 WRG Tel : 01923 711114 Registered no 4305322 ISSN 0953-6655

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No, not quite. It was because they realised that it was an ideal opportunity for them to dump many tons of rubbish in the canal, knowing that in a few days time a team of volunteers would be on hand to clear it all out again...


Coming soon...

From the north-west... Thank you to Paula Kiernan for a cutting from the Rochdale Observer, in which a correspondent suggests that a suitable celebration of the restoration of the Rochdale Canal might involve an 'experience' in which visitors could enjoy the "sights and smells of a navvy camp". Hmmm... perhaps one day we could sell 'experiences' where people could appreciate the smells of a WRG Canal Camp.... or maybe not...

...and from the Midlands...

Canal Camps: the board game. Enjoy the thrills and spills of Canal Camp life in the comfort of your own living-room: "Throw a 'six' to remove wheel-clamp from trailer to start." "Arrive on site early - miss one turn while you recover from complete astonishment." "Try to hand-start the pump: take four extra turns." "Pub stays open all night: miss a day."

It's nice to read in a local newspaper that on one of the recent 'cleanup' events on the BCN the locals were delighted, rather than being apathetic to the state of their canal, as has been our experience in the past.

"Accommodation occupied for entire evening by village line-dancing competition: move three spaces forward, then two spaces backward, then...."

So why were they so pleased? Because they knew somebody cared about their canal and was going to do something about improving it?

"Go to brick-cleaning. Go directly to brickclearning. Do not pass Burco. Do not collect bottle of squash."

Thirty years ago.... In the absense of a cartoon this time, we'll fill the space (and let you make your minds up whether 'Navvies' humour has got better or worse over the last three decades) by reproducing this letter from issue 36, published in spring 1973, in the aftermath of the 'Ashtac' Big Dig on the Ashton Canal...

The Society for the prevention of cruelty to Leeches 14 Lich Crescent, Leechfield

Dear Sir

As a member of SPCL I would like to complain about your latest venture, ASHTAC, since many of the leeches were attacked in a brutal and inhuman manner by having the water drained and being trodden on by a thousand workers. The next time you plan something of the kind, kindly inform us at the address above and we will evacuate all leeches. Also, I am informed, some leeches were kidnapped and worn by your workers. If this should happen again I will be forced to take further action. Yours sincerely, G. I. Lockwell It would appear that it didn't go down terribly well with the then editor, as he headed it "We get a lot of silly letters too" and followed it with "Bet that makes the twit who wrote it feel twittier now. ...Ed" Anyway if you don't think it's funny, please send me something that is!

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