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Issue No 245 Feb-Mar 2011


Navvies Production Editor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road, East Dulwich London SE22 9PB 020-8693 3266 martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk Subscriptions: Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Rd., Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ

Navvies is published by Waterway Recovery Group, Island House, Moor Rd., Chesham HP5 1WA and is available to all interested in promoting the restoration and conservation of inland waterways by voluntary effort in Great Britain. Articles may be reproduced in allied magazines provided that the source is acknowledged. WRG may not agree with opinions expressed in this magazine, but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless so stated - otherwise WRG and IWA accept no liability for any matter in this magazine.

Martin Ludgate

Printing and assembly: John & Tess Hawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk

Waterway Recovery Group is part of The Inland Waterways Association, (registered office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA). The Inland Waterways Association is a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee, registered in England no 612245, and registered as a charity no 212342. VAT registration no 342 0715 89.

ISSN: 0953-6655 Š 2011 WRG

Martin Ludgate

Directors of WRG: Rick Barnes, John Baylis, Mick Beattie, James Butler, Spencer Collins, Christopher Davey, George Eycott, Helen Gardner, John Hawkins, Judith Palmer, Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith, Harry Watts.

Visit our web site www.wrg.org.uk for page 2


Left: Coming soon (1): Canalway Cavalcade, see page 5. Below left: Coming soon (2): BCN Cleanup, see page 4. Below: Coming soon (3): the last ever Navvies Barn Dance, see page 4. Front cover: WRG volunteers take a break from helping to run the Beale Park IWA National Festival, see camp report pages 10-12. Back Cover: Winter selection: top, BCNS brave the ice on one of their regular Titford cleanups; inset left, WRG NW on the Lancaster (Mike Chase); inset right, Xmas camp at Nob End (John Hawkins); bottom, why the LWRG / KESCRG Chelmer Xmas dig got cancelled! (Essex Waterways Ltd)

Contents In this issue... Coming soon Barn dance, cleanup, Easter camp, Canalway Cavalcade 4-6 Camp reports Manchester Bolton & Bury, Inglesham and the National Festival 7-14 WRG at 40 John Hawkins and Mike Fellows answer the questions 15-21 Plant rebuilding a concrete mixer 22-23 Diary canal camps and weekend digs 24-26 Dig Report North West Christmas 27 Letters to the editor 28-30 Progress a roundup of news from restoration projects around the country 31-35 WRG North West roundup of 2010 36-38 Essex WRG a year in the life 39-41 Directory WRG and canal societies 42-44 Navvies news and canal camps latest 45 Noticeboard Eddie Jones retirement shock46 Infill underwater fishing 47

Contributions... ...are always welcome, whether handwritten, typed, on CD-ROM, DVD or by email. Photos also welcome: digital, slides, prints. Please state whether you want your prints back. Digital pics are welcome as email attachments, preferably JPG format, but if you have a lot of large files it is best to send them on CD-ROM or DVD or to contact the editor first. Contributions by post to the editor Martin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road, London SE22 9PB, or by email to martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk. Press date for issue 246: March 1st.

Martin Ludgate

Subscriptions A year's subscription (6 issues) is available for a minimum of ÂŁ3.00 to Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques payable to "Waterway Recovery Group" please. This is a minimum subscription, that everyone can afford. Please add a donation.

all the latest news of WRG's activities page 3


Coming soon Barn Dance, BCN Cleanup...

Your very last chance to book for the very last Navvies barn dance... or to volunteer to make sure that it isn’t the last one...

Camp 2011-01 on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, 19-26 Feb By the time this magazine appears in print, you may well be too late for the start of the first canal camp of 2011, another week supporting Essex Waterways Ltd (a subsidiary of WRG’s parent body the Inland Waterways Association) in its work to put ths Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation back in good order. But I’m sure they’ll welcome a couple of extra hands if you can get along to the end of the camp.

The Navvies Barn Dance, 5 March (aka Bush’s last waltz!) This is your final call for what is looking increasingly like the being the last WRG and KESCRG Barn Dance as nobody has leapt forward to fill Helen ‘Bushbaby’ Gardner’s (dancing) shoes when she retires as the organiser this year. If you want to make a last-minute offer to keep the event going in future years, either in the same style or in a completely different format if you prefer, just contact her on helen_gardner@hotmail.com and she’ll be pleased to do a handover to you. In the meantime let’s hear from Adrian Crow about this year’s event... It is my pleasure to invite you to the Navvies’ Charity Barn Dance, which takes place on Saturday 5th March 2011 at 7.00pm. This is at the usual place of Benson Parish Hall, Sunnyside, Benson, OX10 6LZ. If you need directions just ask. Tickets are limited (due to fire regulations), so book now. The price has been held at £12 for a third year and includes a mystery supper (may be stew and baked potatoes). When ordering tickets please state how many meat and veggie. The option to stay over is an extra £2, breakfast is also £2. If possible please donate a raffle prize. For all enquiries (including on the night) contact myself Adrian Crow on 07807 456235 or barndance@kescrg.org.uk. See you there!

BCN Cleanup, 9-10 April Book now for your once-in-a-lifetime (OK once-in-a-year actually) chance to spend a weekend dragging old bikes, prams, trolleys, kitchen sinks, computers, coffins, rocking-horses (yes, over the years we’ve found them all) out of the murky waters of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. Once again it’s time for the BCN Cleanup, part of an ongoing campaign to get the locals to care a bit more about their canals, and to encourage boaters to use the lessfrequented parts of this fascinating 100-mile network of historic waterways covering the whole of Birmingham and the Black Country, without having to worry about whether they’ll get out again with their propeller intact. Everyone’s welcome on it whether they’re first-timers, regular canal campers or from one of the regional groups. Together with volunteers from the BCN Society and local IWA we hope to get up to 100 volunteers on site and make a real difference. As usual it’s being supported by the local British Waterways team who will be providing workboats to take the rubbish away, plus grappling hooks for us to hook it out with, and work gloves for all the volunteers. This year the work site is around Salford Junction - that’s the canal junction in the shadow of the Spaghetti Junction motorway intersection not far from central Birmingham. Our regular accommodation for the last few years, a school common room block that was best described as basic, has actually reached the point where it’s probably just a little bit too basic even for us (in other words it’s been demolished) but the good news is that we’ve got some spendid new accommodation at Phoenix Training Services, Bolton St, Bordesley -

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At last! A chance to spend Easter somewhere other than Steppingstones Lane Bridge...

Coming soon

...Easter Camp, Canalway Cavalcade

dead handy for the worksite and and it’s even got a canal running past it for anyone who wants to come by boat! If you’d like to find out more (or even to offer your help in organising the Cleanup), contact the WRG organiser Aileen Butler on 07703 567764 or email head office on enquiries@wrg.org.uk. Full joining instructions will be sent to everyone who books: booking form overleaf.

Camp 2011-02: Easter on the Cotswold Canals, April 16-25 This year’s second canal camp will be a nine-day special over Easter, starting a week before the holiday and running right over to Easter Monday. Over to leader Martin Thompson... It’s Easter, it must be Steppingstone Lane bridge. WRONG!!! The 2011 Easter camp will be assisting one of our top local reps Jon Pontefract at Eisey Lock on the Cotswold Canal.So if you’re into a Masters in interesting brick on tail end walls, a degree in muck mix and brick sorting, advanced trowel handling or maybe a FAQ in site clearance, come and improve your Navvies education! There is a good chance that there will be some excavator action as the site is prepared for the grand finale of KESCRG & NWPG summer camps. Gary Summers is ably assisting me with Debbie Curtis & George Rogers sharing the cooking. As some materials will be transferred to Inglesham lock you’ll also get to preview the next key project for the Eastern end of the Thame & Severn Canal and focus for the 3 post National “enabling work” camps. More on them in a later edition. As with all ‘regular’ canal camps you should book this one through head office or via the website in advance if at all possible, but if you do decide to come along at the last minute for a few days please contact the leaders via the Camp Phones (see p47).

Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice: May Day Bank Holiday I’m on the hunt for volunteers. As many of you are aware, the IWA runs a three-day festival at Little Venice (near Paddington) every May Day bank holiday. Although this is not a WRG camp, it is quite often WRGies who help run the festival and provide the site services, although there are many non-WRGies who also help out. This festival is quite different from the National - it’s smaller, but in many ways more logistically challenging due to it’s location in central London. The camp has been run by Mr Dave ‘Moose’ Hearnden for the last few years, but he’s decided to hang up his walkie-talkie, and I’ve agreed to help out instead. So, firstly I’m trying to track down all those lovely volunteers who have helped out at the festival before and are planning to come again (but haven’t told anyone because they didn’t know who to tell!), and secondly, I’m trying to persuade a few new faces to join our jolly team. There is a slight problem in that accommodation is limited, but I’ll cross that bridge in the event that I’m inundated by volunteers! If you’re keen, please get in touch bearing in mind the following: (1) The ‘camp’ will run from Wed 28th April - Tues 3rd May (2) You don’t have to come along for the whole time, and can volunteer for as much time as you can spare e.g. one or two days. BUT PLEASE let me know in advance when you’ll be around. If you tell me you’re going to be there, I’ll be counting on you! (You don’t have to decide this now, but I will be confirming with all volunteers in the weeks leading up to the festival) (3) The festival is hard work, but I’m hoping I’ll get enough volunteers, and be able to

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plan the work, such that everyone gets a chance to relax and enjoy some of the festival. So if you’re interested in volunteering, or just want to know a bit more about the festival, please get in touch with me at ejw@giantwasp.co.uk or Tel: 07810448109 Liz Wilson

And then what? Some summer camps, perhaps? It won’t too be long before it’s time for the start of the main summer Canal Camps programme. But first, a word from James Butler who’s busy sorting out leaders for the camps... Happy New year to everyone and here we go with another year of camps. And canal camps equals me on the hunt for leaders, assistants and cooks. So if you would like to volunteer please let us know. This year I am also looking for someone to replace me! Yes, you read it right, folks. This is my 3rd year of doing this job, and so next year there will be a new face on the block. (Not the chopping block!) If you would like to get involved in helping to find leaders in future years, please come forward and we can get you involved this year so you know what system we have in place. Happy camping folks!

And speaking of camp leaders... We’re having another Leaders’ Training Day on Saturday 14th May 2011 at Corley Village Hall, near Coventry. It will start around 10am and we’ll be done by 5pm. The idea is that it’s for anyone who has led (whether this year or not), will lead in the future or think they may lead – it is also suitable for local society working party organisers, local groups’ weekend leaders and anyone else involved in leading volunteers. We cover training on issues that have arisen out of the camps season and also things that people want to cover. We also look at things that have gone well and share any good ideas we’ve had. There is no cost to the day and lunch is provided. Book by emailing Jenny Black at Jenny.black@waterways.org.uk or phone 01494 783453. Any questions to myself on helen_gardner@hotmail.com 07989 425346. Helen Gardner

waterway recovery group

in association with BCNS, BW and IWA

I would like to attend the 2011 National Canal Cleanup on April 9-10 on the BCN Forename:

Surname:

Address: email: Phone:

Any special dietary requirements?

I require accommodation Friday night / Saturday night / both nights I enclose payment of £

(pay 'WRG') for food (£13 for whole weekend)

Do you suffer from any allergy or illness, such as epilepsy or diabetes, about which we should know, or are you receiving treatment or under medical supervision for any condition? YES / NO (If yes, please attach details) In the unlikely event that you should be injured, who should we contact? Name:

Phone:

Signed: Please send this form to: National Cleanup bookings, WRG, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA

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Hold a camp at a place called Nob End and what do you get? A load of trees cut down, big bonfires, Tirforing, and enough Nob jokes to last a lifetime...

Camp report

Manchester Bolton & Bury

Christmas camp report 2010 or Nobenders: the most fun you can have on a Nob End with your clothes on...

align your wood properly. Our tame Chainsaw Nob (some say he is the Stig), ran around shouting “Treemageddon” at the top of his voice, but even this did not upset Smiley Goblin Nob, the happiest man on the planet. ’Ard Nob found that his appendage was particularly useful as an anchor for tirforing, although he did suffer some chafing from the chain. Head Nob lost his nuts twice, to his annoyance, and he didn’t even get any chestnuts as replacement. It took four Nobs and some delicate wrist action to achieve an erection on the gazebo but by day 5 they had found their rhythm and could get it up in seconds. Full Nob stole Hobby Nob’s chopper, and several of us suffered from painful pricks whilst slashing – not to mention a dubious rash. Sum Nob arrived a couple of days in, to our excitement, and set about moaning about absolutely everything, as per normal. (And we suspect that he hid Woofy Nob’s Flea toy, but we can’t be sure because Flea was high on sherbet at the time. The photographic evidence for this may or may not be destroyed by Toggy Nob). Och Aye the Nob refused to show us

Janet Stansfield

The best way to start a camp is always to spend 2 hours clearing snow from the accommodation car park, in the dark, in subzero temperatures… with a rake. Luckily the cold weather did not make any of us shrink too much and we were all fortified by Gorgeous Nob’s massive banger (and mash). Head Nob gave a rousing pep talk – reminding us that we were not allowed to dick about or have any fun and most definitely not allowed to say “Ow” in front of Dirty Nob. Big Nob arrived slightly late and escaped this pleasure, although as punishment he was forced to watch the H&S dvd whilst everyone else ate breakfast. Before the sun had even risen on the first day, Arfa Nob decided that the prospect of riding back over the Pennines on a moped in several inches of snow was better than the idea of spending the week with the likes of us. He was greatly missed (a man of such wisdom would have been useful). Upon arrival at the site, Nob End looked more like Narnia (especially that bloody lion) but after a few hours of carefully bashing our stumps and singeing our brash, it was aglow with bonfires (even if some of them weren’t parallel). Head Nob explained to us with great patience that making a fire is much like making love to a beautiful woman – if you want to get it well More wood for the ‘small, controlled’ bonfires laid, you’ve got to

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Martin Ludgate

what was under his kilt but we suspect that it is where he keeps his whisky tap. Hawk Nob was a legend and we love him (although he did have a suspicious ‘knee injury’ which he had sustained whilst swooping, soaring and crash landing). The accommodation was very apt for the time of year, being a Catholic School, although this meant that all Nobs had to remove their protective clothing before entering. The Christmas Tree wasn’t welcome, however, when we discovered that one of the volunteers was allergic to pine trees. Hairy Nob (on his first foray since recovering from his cycling accident) located a hypo-allergenic version on site but unfortunately some Nob accidentally burnt it. However, the situation was restored in time for the last night party. Hob Nob and Hobby Nob were the first people we’ve ever met on WRG who have actually got a narrowboat (well they haven’t got one yet, it’s on order) and whilst waiting for Nob Fella (our tame local) to fix the shower that was broken for 3 days, Hob Nob admitted she had wanted to come on a canal camp to put something back into society but soon realised it had more to do with getting pissed and burning a few locals. (At this point Gorgeous Nob would like to point out that he does have a boat, but we’re not sure if he is overestimating its length). Saw Nob arrived slightly late, but we made him feel more welcome than a member at a (mattock)-swingers party. We went to the bowling alley, behaved like Nobs (funnily enough) and had our first official warning via tannoy (apparently it’s not acceptable to drag somebody around by

Sun Nob’s chopper in action

the ankles in order to celebrate a strike). Rob Nob got himself a new job as a shoe spray/ distribution executive (at £14 for a round of 4 drinks he needed it). Wiki-Nob was the bowling alley King and Nobody pretended he had never been before, but still managed to score more strikes than the rest of us. Oh, and let it be known to all that Hi Viz Nob definitely beat Squeezy Nob’s flaccid efforts in the 3rd round. Full Nob (poor defenceless Dof-E’er number 1) suggested that we all dance the sprinkler and we tentatively agreed but unfortunately we were too exhausted from making continuous Nob jokes so we could only manage a few dice rolls instead. Patience-of-a-SaintNob displayed exceptional levels of tolerance when faced with Hobby Nob’s inability to get into the van and Hi-Viz Nob’s serious boob injury. Dirty Nob jumped on Squeezy Nob a lot (and Little Nob tried to jump on top of them but she missed regularly), snorted some sherbet and did some mud wrestling. Squeezy Nob would like to point out, for the sake of his 39 wives, that Dirty Nob started it. Lez Nob suffered stoically against the camp scourge that is snoring, and attempted to escape to the dining room with Little Nob (D-of-E’er number 2), Squeezy Nob and Hi Viz Nob, only to discover that Squeezy was the biggest snorer of all. Bloody sherbet dipdabs have a lot to answer for! Dog Nob was an angel in the kitchen and a devil out of it, and we think she is so great that we aren’t even going to make a Nob joke about her. Nob for a Day came in on a golden cloud of wheat and dairy free Christmas puddingy loveliness although her presence did confuse Hobby Nob


Head Nob’s comments: We achieved our target of clearing a large amount of trees and shrubs from a section of the canal at Nob End and had a great time with a fantastic bunch of WRGie Nobs. Dirty Nob and I would like to add our thanks to all the team for an amazing week Appendix A: Real Camper names Head Nob: Paul Shaw Gorgeous Nob: George Rogers Dirty Nob: Ju Davenport Big Nob: Chris Fletcher Arfa Nob: Arthur Tonkinson Chainsaw Nob: Ian Rutledge Goblin Nob: Andy Ramsay ’Ard Nob: Adrian Sturgess Full Nob: Alex English Sum Nob: Gary Summers Toggy Nob: Janet Stansfield Och Aye the Nob: Derrick Young Hawk Nob: John Hawkins Hairy Nob: Martin Ludgate Hob Nob: Tina Hobbs Hobby Nob: Colin Hobbs Saw Nob: Lawrence Herniman Rob Nob: Robert Taylor Wiki Nob: Patrick Mach Nob-ody: John Foley Hi Viz Nob: Nikki Packer Squeezy Nob: Tom Rawlings Patience-of-a-Saint Nob: Pete Fleming Little Nob: Emma Panton Dog Nob: Debbie Curtis Lez Nob: Jamie Curtis Nob for a Day: Helen Gardner Loose Nob Martin Danks Woofy Nob: Cassie the dog Nob Fella: Steve Dent (our tame local)

Martin Ludgate

who, up until her arrival was convinced that Hi Viz Nob was called Helen. Georgeous’ cooking was mint (youth reference) although some people did tentatively suggest that there are other ingredients than turkey. All of the kitchen hands coped admirably with the lack of fridge – which for some reason wasn’t in the van that came up from Tom’s… Loose Nob made a valiant attempt to complete Gorgeous Nob’s jigsaw (little did he know that it had already outwitted the members of 3 canal camps) and the Wasgij dudes celebrated the completion of their much easier jigsaw by dancing the Viennese Waltz. We haven’t mentioned site a lot in this report, mainly because we all worked so well that we don’t want to make other WRGies feel impotent by comparison. However we would like to thank our fine and upstanding leading Nobs for taking a firm grasp and presenting some stiff discipline, and allowing us to declare beer o’clock the moment we stepped off the minibus in the evening. Also thanks to all of the Nob Extensions who aided our penetration into the undergrowth but didn’t quite make it back to the accommodation; there are too many to mention so we are going to serenade them with a tuneless rendition of Joseph and his Technicolour Hi Vis (after 3 please, Gorgeous Nob). We celebrated the end of the camp with a lovely party at the accommodation (Head Nob knew that we’d all nob off to the pub if he didn’t let us drink freely at the accom). Local Nob also played his part in the celebrations by squirting out some banging rockets (bothering the local equestrians). There was a final day rumour that the lovely Alan Jervis was on site making a Health & Safety film but we wouldn’t know anything about that because as soon as the camera started to roll, were extracted from the mud puddle and sent as far away as possible. [Leader’s comment – those that know them will know why!] Hairy Nob provided a brilliant Nob Quiz to form the climax of our celebrations (our team may have got zero points but we claim the moral victory). Rob and Toggy Nobs provided sparklers and a Chinese Lantern which, in a symbolic homage to the efforts of the week, started well but crashed into the wall and ended up burning in a heap on the ground with WRGies kicking it [Leader’s comment – what they mean is ‘extinguishing it in a safe manner’]. By Hi Vis, Squeezy, Dirty and Hob Nobs

Performing ‘Joseph and his Technicolour Hi-viz’

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Camp report IWA Festival site services Camp

Mitch lays down the law at Beale Park National Waterways Festival

pending a Home Office decision as to whether it should ever be released. Here is the edited socially accepted version..... Various hardy souls were on site for the ORDER, ORDER Kangaroo Court is now in week prior to the camp helping set up, also session; anyone not reading this camp report built in the compound was a field kitchen, will be held in contempt of Court and fined a big thanks to KESCRG for the use of their maximum fine of £5! Bhaji Stand to facilitate this, and all meals The rules of Kangaroo Court are that were al fresco for the week until the main there are no rules, you will be found guilty kitchen was set up. Barbara did a sterling job of the offence you are charged with, you will of providing food for the pre-camp in the be fined and if it’s your second offence you limited conditions! will be given an even meaner punishment! The weekend before the camp started The pre camp started with approxiwas given over to WRGs 40th Birthday bash, mately 30 defendants turning up for a week- and saw numerous familiar faces from over end of fencing. They were easily identified by the years descend on the marquees to help the red T-shirts they were wearing which celebrate; we were entertained with A Hismade it easier to distinguish them from tory of the WRG in 40 Objects, and some members of the public. As with all detention fantastic food. Due to the large number of centres, facilities were basic, accommodation people about on the Sunday morning we was a flimsy bit of canvas provided by them- were able to complete a line sweep of site to selves, and a box with a hole in acting as fill in all the rabbit holes forming trip haztheir toilet. ards; shouts of “I’ve got a hole” were heard The punishment started on the Saturacross site! day morning with a line of barbed wire and The official camp started on the Monday pig fencing being removed to open up the with kit checks and health & safety talk, folsite of the Festival, normally the barbed wire lowed by the evening meal, and the opportuwould be used to keep the defendants connity for the campers to get to know each other. tained however these were the most trusted Team leaders were introduced to the campers, defendants, who had been assessed for their this year we had Maria with her sidekick suitability and who wouldn’t run away! Fenc- Moose, Ju, Gary, Alex and Pontoon Nic. ing of the site was also started, using anti climb fencing, defendants were required to fence themselves in creating the WRG compound, before continuing with the rest of the site. As was usual for a Festival, the fencing was moved numerous times before it was satisfactorily installed, and those who had erected it were let off for good behaviour and allowed home. Some behaviour was questionable, and fines were quickly racked up, Digger was fined for... NOTE: Due to the type and sensitivity of offences committed it has been decided the original version of It wouldn’t be the National without fencing this report should be locked away Photos by Martin Ludgate

Camp report into the HEINOUS CRIMES committed at Beale Park, IWA National Festival and Boat Show

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Tuesday saw a lovely sunny day, but with limited work to do, small jobs were completed including the take down of a length of barbed wire along the walkway to the entrance, fencing was rearranged, and Nic and his team commenced the task of putting together the floating pontoons on the lake. The marquees around site were going up well and the shape of the site was beginning to form. As it was such a glorious day two teams spent late afternoon playing a form of rounders/baseball in the car park field, other garden games were also played: giant dominos, giant Jenga, quoits, pickup sticks and Connect 4, before dinner. Wednesday brought with it a drastic change in the weather, an early start was made on the craning of the boats into the lake, and with it brought heavy rain and wind. A bright yellow brand spanking new crane was brought to site, so new in fact that the operator had to read the instruction manual when alarm bells started sounding! Possibly something to do with the boat being lifted being too heavy and the whole crane shutting down! Traffic movement on site was stopped, so no one was allowed to drive around; everything was taken onto site with the small trolleys until this too was stopped. Rain stopped play for some who went off Ten Pin Bowling in Reading. Those that remained on site started on the task of putting down metal tracking at the entrance to the IWA marquee, this involved pinning together rolls of heavy tracking to form a carpet of metal for the children’s toys to be placed to allow them to play. Meals for the rest of the camp were now prepared by Ali and Neil, with assistance from Harri and this evening’s dinner was very welcome to help warm up the wet cold campers. Thursday and the rain still came down, there was no movement on site at all, tables and chairs were delivered into the traders car park and stacked pending movement to site. The entrance to the caravan and camping site was so muddy that a new entrance was created further along the road, the fence line was broken and a new ramp was put in place using some hardcore. Caravans that had been stacked in the car park were eventually allowed to set up and pitch. The metal tracking outside the IWA marquee was completed; however there was some concern as to the sharpness to some of the edges, so a large quantity of blue carpet was located.

Wheelie bin Bob and friends The craning continued and the sunken boat in the slipway to the lake was lifted and drained so it could be refloated again, this boat was rather old and came in two pieces, it hadn’t been in the water for many years and the join between the two halves clearly wasn’t as watertight as it once had been! By lunchtime the rain had stopped and the wind continued to blow, this helped begin to dry the ground out, and by mid afternoon we were able to use the trolleys again. Tables and chairs were handballed to the central arena which was to become the storage area to distribute equipment round site and picnic tables were set up to allow the bar to be opened in the evening. It was quite a late finish to the day, with the night fencing being put in place to secure site. Friday was a dry day and vehicle movement was still not allowed, it was still breezy which was helping. The ground was draining nicely but was still quite spongy to walk on. Tables and chairs were distributed to the Theatre tent and the Demonstration tent, the rest of the picnic tables were placed in the eating marquees and around the bandstand. Fire Extinguishers were also placed around site. The blue carpet was laid outside the front of the IWA marquee, Jim Lamen was brought out of retirement to help put it down assisted by Amy! The path to the main entrance was smoothed out and in filled, and the dreaded woodchip was placed around site to mop up muddy water filled holes. Due to the slow start at the beginning of the week, we worked late into the evening to get site ready, and help traders get onto site The weekend arrived and the Festival opened, the Fairs’ Ferris Wheel was taken over for a spin as the seats were filled with red WRG T-Shirts and the Editor came sliding

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down the Helter Skelter after taking pictures one complete kit was put away. Tuesday from the top! night was also party night; this year’s theme Jobs over the weekend included cleanwas brought to you by the number 40, to ing the toilets around site, this earned WRG coincide with WRGs 40th Birthday. An assort£700, it wasn’t the best of tasks and huge ment of costumes were on show, with some thanks must go to Maria who took on the roll of the Blue T-Shirts turning up as 40 thieves! and kept them stocked and clean. Siobhan Various awards were given out during and Simon took on the task of keeping the the evening, the main one, the ‘Bungle showers and toilets clean on the campsite, Award’ was this year ‘won’ by, maybe won and again, this was met with huge compliisn’t the right word, was ‘presented’ to Phil ments. the female dog, for his lack of ability in Another huge job was the changing successfully move a portaloo from one place and resetting of the Theatre tent, there were to another. The portaloo full of the unpleasvarious layouts required which involved the ant stuff was being placed on the ground but moving and changing round of table layout somehow ended up on its side; best ask him and seating arrangements, this was comfor full details!! It did earn him a £5 Kangapleted about 3-4 times a day. WRGies were roo fine though!! Wednesday and Thursday saw the last thrown to the task, the more the merrier, the quicker the job got done! bits of the site cleared away and the WRGies Over the weekend we were able to heading off home. enjoy becoming hamsters in a ball, with Big thanks go to the following, all those water zorbing on the lake; Womble became a who turned up for the pre-fencing weekend, Toad and took a slow walk round site waving Barbara for cooking in the pre-week and the at the kids, wearing a Mr Toad costume. We start of the camp, Elanor for sorting out were entertained by exploding sinking boats Admin Corner, looking after the money and on the lake, which when blown up floated off keeping everyone in check, to Ali and Neil into the bushes in the strong wind. The beer for cooking for the rest of the camp and tent was frequented over the weekend and sorting out the party night helped by Harri, Kangaroo Court was held and updated. to Adam who got up tirelessly each morning to The wind over the weekend was very cook breakfast for us all, to all the Team leadstrong and this caused a problem with some ers, Maria, Ju, Gary, Nic and Alex, for doing an of the marquees, some were missing pins excellent job of getting the site up and running, also a big thanks go to everyone else and we frantically found spare tent pins to secure the sides to stop them taking off. who turned up to help, without your work The Festival closed on the Monday and and assistance the Festival wouldn’t have all of WRG congregated in the main arena opened on time, and finally to the assistant ready to collect back as much equipment as for the camp, my adopted daughter Kirsty! possible, it was like an Big hugs, Mitch x army of red ants running off in every direction, PS There are some outstanding fines from bring back the tables and chairs, fire extinKangaroo Court, these guishers and picnic are still in the public tables. All the crowd domain and as Judge, barriers were stacked, Jury and Executioner, I and a few hours after know who you are, and the site closed it was where you live, come beginning to look like a and find me before I festival had never taken come and find you! On place. that note, you might Tuesday we continwant to know that Kirsty ued to take down site, was forced to wear a barbed wire was put skirt as punishment; back up; Lorries were next time you see her, loaded with the equipask her what she did ment we had packed. Kit wrong and how she got Mr Toad learns bricklaying checks were started and the nickname ‘Skirty’!

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Reporting from WRG Forestry Team’s unofficial Christmas and New Year Camp, spent carrying out initial clearance ready for our major project at Inglesham Lock The Christmas Tale…. Inglesham Christmas camp 2010

Camp Report Christmas at Inglesham arrived to check out a hollow willow for signs of animal life. With no beanstalk around, the willow was ideal for our Jack (-of-all-trades) Clive to climb, duly inserting CCT’s endoscope in the hole and found no giant, no bats, nothing to stop it being felled. A special mention for CCT’s Ken Bailey, who came to take some photographs of WRG in action for their web site, and stayed the day with us, working like a trooper, liked it so much he came back on the Thursday, providing invaluable help,. In between all this action the Centurians arrived from the East Midlands, “all hail the Tweedles”. As the sun went down a happy band of WRGies quaffed beer & tea around the bonfire and put the world to right while seeing if the fireof-all-fires could melt glass (it did!). Wednesday, alarm works, breakfast on time (almost). More tree felling, the poplars

Alan Lines

Once upon a time there were three wise (well two, one not so) chainsaw operators travelling to Inglesham as decreed by the Authorities at Island House. Snow lay thick on the ground and all was quiet (because the airports were closed!). Alas Martyn Worsley’s dancing on ice while walking his dog yet again saw him burdoning the NHS with a broken wrist/arm. Good news, Barney was OK! A speedy and healthy recovery goes out to him from us all. From the east came Clive & Jo bearing gifts of food & drink for the forestry disciples gathering in Round House Cottage, as all the Inns were full. Mummy & Daddy Bennett and little Nic were already there sheltering from the winter storms. A good shepherd, Alan of Ledbury, had also arrived early tendering his flock of proper sausages, bacon & beer. Once the beasts of burden were un-packed a fine feast was prepared by Jo and afterwards we all sat around the log fire as the icy wind blew. Next day: have you ever lain in your nice warm sleeping bag and thought how great a full cooked breakfast would be? Alas I did and then remembered I should have been cooking it, result: frantic grill action. The beauty of accommodation on site is that a late breakfast doesn’t really delay a work start that much, honest. So out into the deep and crisp and even snow we went, Clive making short work felling the lock side apple trees & willows while the eager strippers made short work of the fallen trees and had their chestnuts roasting on an open fire in no time. Ken & Nigel, the main men from CCT, Sorted! The chainsaw team admire their handiwork

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Emma Greenall

Alan Lines

weren’t pop’lar and were the next to come down under Clive’s buzzing saw. The thaw had set in (not totally as result of our fire-of-all-fires) and a sight to gladden all our hearts was Ben & Lou’s car coming along the track escaping from the South West’s froozen grip. So two chainsaws meant twice the stuff to burn, yeah! The tricky pine between the overhad power line and the bridge was expertly prepared and felled by Mathematical exercises with Tirfor winches Ben & Lou without touching the power line or damaging the bridge. The Tweedles departed during the afternoon to spread the word of our glass-melting fire or to do something far less important. Attention turned to a rather interesting willow leaning over the canal towards the cottage, requiring the mathematical expertise of Alan to set up a Tirforing master class in angles and snatch block location. Suffice it to say, the willow came down safely on the appointed spot. Thursday, saw another tricky pine on the other side of the overhead power line expertly dispatched by Ben & Lou, while the remaining willows fell to Clive’s ace chain saw team. The trees had barely touched the ground before the stripping teams cleared the brash and the chainsaws logged up the rest. The afternoon saw Emma, Nigel and Daddy & Mrs Cool’s arrival to welcome in the New Year at RH cottage. As the sun went down and with their objectives met the wise chainsaw teams packed their worldly goods and departed following their stars to whence they came. New Years Eve, and it was time to tidy up the site of the ‘round to it’ debris. Alan continued to remove some small diameter trees that Nic asked to be removed and Nigel, Daddy & Mrs Cool busied themseleves in clearing brash and other debris from round the lock site. My star had also moved on and the catering kit was packed and leaving behind the glow of the Inglesham fires, and our forestry objectives met, I set off with my CRAP (Canal Restoration Auxiliary Property) (thanks Alan!) to a new stable at Foxham and the wise people of the W&BCT My sincere thanks to the expert and highly efficient Forestry team and associates that did so much with so little. The fire-of-all-fires Martin Thompson

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This time we interview WRG Print’s John Hawkins and Mike Fellows, legendary Basingstoke work party organiser

WRG at 40 Forty views for forty years

40 Views for 40 Years The seventh in a series of articles to celebrate WRG’s 40th birthday by capturing the views of various people who have been involved in various capacities. I know we’re no longer in WRG’s 40th year but we’re carrying on until we’re done! John ‘The Hawk’ Hawkins – if you’ve been on a camp this summer then you’ve met him. A director and also ‘WRG Print’ which includes, among other things, the printing of Navvies – only John can tell you the intricacies with the production of our favourite magazine.

Martin Ludgate

Q: How and why did you first get involved with canal restoration? A: It goes back quite a few years maybe 35, 36 years. From memory when the rallies, as they were then called, were at Nottingham we went up there just for a look around. We were walking along and got accosted by these people in beards on this stand that was all painted red – signed up then. Digging in the early days, bearing in mind the insurance implications we now have... we used to go for weekend digs at Stratford, daughter Tracy was then about 5 and Andrew would have been about 8 – sleeping in the village hall – they thoroughly loved it. We started going with Carol and Alan Rowe – who used to run the WRG stand – they had 2 daughters about the same age as our two children, so the kids could play together. Did that for 11 years (ish). Then Alan packed it up and we decided we didn’t want to go with the stand, we would just stay doing the printing that we’d done then for quite a few years – Navvies printing - I hate to think how many years... Tess, my wife, was a book binder by trade so we worked together on that sharing the printing in the early days. [Back] then we used to do hand collation at a company in Finchley which was about 15, 18 people hand collating, hand stapling. Then we went to get a collating machine, because we used to find how disgusting people were at putting the staples in - with Tess’s professional background she was looking at it through different eyes. Having got the collating machine we were still stapling by hand but we went further forward and got a booklet making machine which folds and staples. Then we moved on again to put the envelopes through the printing machine – to put on the ‘Navvy man’ and the franking part, so it made life easier for an assembly or ‘stuffing’ (as we now tend to call it for obvious reasons). We slowly made a rod for our own back! We really it enjoy for some strange reason – getting up to your neck in muck and bullets (as the saying goes). It’s the camaraderie between people, working with different groups of people. This year being the classic with the different camps I’ve been on: the bridge removal on the Chelmer, then the Easter at Steppingstones, 2½ at Gough’s Orchard, one at Eisey, Grand Western in October and the National Festival. I still find it incredible how everybody generally mixes together, no matter what the ages are. Gough’s was a classic of different ranges of ages and how some groups all want newspapers, some don’t, some go straight off down the pub, some don’t – it’s a good mix. Generally everybody gets on pretty well together.

Q: The Navvies Printing – when you first started what format was it? A: The original Navvies format was produced in hardcopy so each page was printed onto A4 – that was sellotaped together and square boxes were put on where the pictures would be. The pictures that were going to go in were masked out as to where they should be – that was sent to me – I then took it to a company that made the plates. At that stage we just had a small friction feed machine [electric powered]. Then, as computerisation came along the format changed slightly. The next stage was it was all sent to me as hardcopy with the photos all in [then] took it to the plate maker. Now it’s all electronically transfered and they’re like a plastic plate so once I’ve run Navvies that’s it, I throw them away. The other ones were a thin aluminium

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plate so for the envelopes and the stamps I could reuse it once I done them. Clean it down, put gum Arabic on which preserves them and then reuse them. These days the “plate” is so cheap it’s not worthwhile doing that.

Q: How many copies of Navvies get produced? A: At the moment I generally run about 1750. Chris Griffiths does the colour covers and I do all the insides. From a small desktop machine we went to a floor mounted machine which did A4 and now we’ve moved on to a dual colour machine which runs A3 so it obviously saves time but then I’ve got to crop it so I’ve got a guillotine in the shed as well. Tess often used to complain that we were the only house in the street that had an extension to the shed – everyone else has an extension to the kitchen, the backroom or whatever. How things worked before Tess got to her current state of health, I basically used to do all the printing and she would do all the collating. With the booklet making machine was really easy with two people one to feed it in and one as it came out to bone the backs down and stack them in the box. Once all that’s done I’ve got a few people that I phone up, and also, these days with emails, arrange a date at the London Canal Museum (we lost the facility in Finchley) drive up there and it doesn’t take a great deal of time. I take them back to Chesham (I’d better not say ‘114’ because Neil will object) and Jenny puts them out in the post. I just do the foreign ones – it goes all around the world.

Q: Do you get to read it as it’s being printed? A: Not so easy on this machine; on the previous machine it was easier – this machine’s got rather more guarding on it. It was ironic that with the old machine – I’d read bits and pieces – once you get your eyes in tone you can read it quite well and it was amazing the number of times a mistake would jump out at you. As soon as I’d finished a copy I’d send it to Martin [Ludgate] so he could have a quick read through to see if he’d made any balls ups and if I’d seen any things I’d ring them with a pen. So not criticizing as such it’s just handy for him to know if he gets any flak from anybody else – at the end of the day nobody’s perfect.

Q: What do you think about Navvies as a magazine? A: I like it and of course now with the four colour cover. One idea we had when we got the two colour machine was for me to do the four colour covers i.e. two passes through the machine which was going to be a right bugger for me; everything has to be spot on and I was dreading doing it to be honest – we did two or three covers with just the two colours and then soon after that Chris came along with the offer of doing his part and he could print them and send them to 114 cheaper than the cost of the 4 plates and the paper and it’s a damn good job. There’s been quite a lot of good comments about this last cover with the line sketches [a one off 40th edition of Navvies with one of Graham Palmer’s drawings as the front cover] it looks very good for us oldies who remember the old ones. If you chat to people on the stand or chat to people at the home where Tess is, when they look at it: ‘who prints all this for you?’ ‘I do’ – ‘you a printer?’ – ‘no’ – ‘oh’. Generally it’s looked on as a very good publication.

Q: Are there any articles that stand out? A: It tends to vary – there was always the criticism that there were too many in-jokes in it which is a job to get away from really, particularly with camp reports. Like your superb report in this one – I admire people who can do things like that because with my work connections I had to do factual reports.

Q: What are you trying to say John?(!!) A: Yours was very good but I find sometimes with people

Q: Have you ever written anything for Navvies? A: Quite a few bits and pieces – I’ve sometimes done camp reports – I did the one for Cheshire Locks back in April. Done quite a few camp reports – don’t mind doing them to a degree – but I’m not offering! [Helen: I’m not Martin Ludgate – don’t worry.]

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Martin Ludgate

who try and write them in a different context – it’s all very well if you know about whoever from The Goon Show but I didn’t particularly follow.

John printing Navvies


Q: Going back to when you first go started – how did it move from then? A: It’s a job to recall. One little amusing thing – we went up to Tracy’s when she was in the junior school – sitting there looking through their school books, on the Monday they’d had to do a diary of what they’d been up to at the weekend so we got this particular one out and started reading it through ‘I spent the weekend sleeping in the village hall with 36 men’. Around that period when the kids were growing up we dropped out of the scene a little bit and then in more relatively recent times started going. People have always said to me ‘which group do you go digging with?’ – my philosophy is I’ll go with anybody if the time date situation suits. We tended to opt for North-West more because we got on great with them and they’re about our age. Strange enough for where I live I’ve only gone on one London WRG dig. It’s just the way things have worked out.

Q: Have your children embraced the whole canal thing or run away screaming? A: Andrew has never gone near but they’ve now got their own children. Tracy’s done a weekend and a couple of days coming out with us but that’s about all.

Q: Tell us about the concrete mixer. A: It was on cable television again the other day – instead of jumping a load of channels I was flicking the button and thought ‘bugger me – Water World again!’ – it was Over Basin and the mixer. It was a good one that [episode] because Tess is in that one, and me. I stupidly offered to Bungle that I would endeavour to try and take the cement mixer apart so it was duly delivered to me x number of months ago now. Not quite as long ago as Bungle started the crane. Chucking it down with rain, Tracy was there with the 3 children – they were itching to get away to the station but likewise they wanted to see the mixer coming off the back. I’ve got rear access to my garden and a carport so it was taken off there. It’s now in, and in quite a lot of pieces – a right so and so trying to get it apart, with more nuts and bolts breaking than were undoing. The big problem was that the bearings on the drum shaft were definitely gone and Bungle wanted the small bevel gear changed because it had been jumping teeth. Number one problem was trying to get the gear off to start with, and in so doing managed to break three teeth – the teeth on the [mixer]. I thought it was pointless doing anymore until I’d got the gear situation sorted out. Apparently this company were notorious for spares even when they were available – I kept hitting brick wall after brick wall; although after my first article in Navvies I’ve had three telephone replies. The state of play now is that I’ve managed to find a company that can do cast iron welding so the teeth are being welded. It’s now back with the guys who used to work for me at London Underground and he’s just topping and tailing it and then it’s down to me to grind the teeth as best I can – the broken ones. Hopefully it should be all ok – it’s a great heavy beast that’s caused me grief trying to get it apart. I’m pretty determined to get there eventually but I’m not entering into the race with Bungle.

Q: Can you remember any first canal camps you went on? A: It must have been 15 years or so ago – I can’t look at me t-shirts because this is the first one I’ve ever bought – second one – tell a lie. Ones that have been left behind on camps – I just utilise them and work from there.

Q: You have a bit of a reputation as brick layer? A: Allegedly. I’m only self taught and that seems to have come along I think that evolved more from the good old Over days doing all the bricks there with their interesting shapes and doing the entrance to what will become the lock. Luckily the earlier stuff is under water. I quite enjoy it - just getting stuck on like with Gough’s and Eisey. Eisey – all their bricks are seconds so you can pick one up and trying to find a good face is problematic. I’ve developed the stone wallers’ philosophy: pick a brick up and you don’t put it back down again until it goes in place. Gives it character.

Q: Is there other stuff you’ve got involved in with WRG? A: I’m on the board – for my sins. I first started that part with Mike Day – for some reason I answered a bit in Navvies, I rang him up and it evolved from there. I’m not a committee type person I just want to work and then found myself on the board.

Q: What have you been most proud of with your involvement? A: The whole – the achievement. There was one interesting comment of one of the newbies on Martin’s Eisey camp this year – we went down to Eisey lock and shown all round, and we’re talking about the timescales and she said ‘you’ll never see this open’ – and I said – no quite probable. It’s being a part of the

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chain of getting things to that stage. There’s been people before us who, if they’d thought things like that – Ashton and the Cheshre Ring wouldn’t be completed... Over Basin... You do it for the total achievement.

Q: What’s your favourite derelict canal? A: I don’t have a favourite I just go and work on the ones that want working on. Q: What’s the most useful skill you’ve learnt and who did you learn it from? A: I suppose we’ve got to go back the printing part, haven’t we? I enjoy doing that. I worked out how much weight I carry, I reckon an average Navvies, going to collect the paper from the dealer, to taking it indoors at home, taking it to the shed etc I move about a tonne and a half an issue – and that’s not including putting it in the machine. The printing was basically self taught with the instruction book and you find ways through and then the paper handling I refer back to Tess again because she got her skills and she taught me them.

Q: What is your classic ‘do you remember the time when...’ story? A: When North-West were going to be doing a dig at Ironbridge – it was the usual meet in the pub – a convoy of cars to Ironbridge where we were going to be sleeping in one of the rooms on site. So we park all the cars up and climb up this staircase to this fairly big room with lots of stuff. With lots of stuff being ‘dirt’ – it was absolutely filthy. We spent over 45 minutes cleaning before we even took our stuff upstairs. There were a lot of people because it was a popular site. They were phoning round trying to find somewhere else to go and that was when the Caldon was starting with the tree felling and stuff but they didn’t have permission. In the morning we ended up driving over to the Erewash because it was their clean up weekend. There was this snake of cars driving across the country. What was Ironbridge’s loss was Erewash’s gain. Long may it go on. It says something that it’s been going for 40 years. Mike Fellows – I can take a hint – I couldn’t really get away with not interviewing him so I managed to meet him at the National Festival. It didn’t even involve him putting a pint down (incidently the audio has the terrible background noise of the fairground and the squeaky door to the sleeping marquee). The ‘Basingstoke Man’ – we finished that canal: how did that happen?

Q: How and when did you first get involved with canal restoration? A: My involvement with canals goes back to 1970s when I was at university when some friends of ours all said ‘let’s go on a canal boat holiday’, so we did and it changed my life. I went on canal boat holidays year in year out and I wondered really, having enjoyed it so much, how I could put something back. So I then joined the IWA and WRG and I went along to some local working parties on the Surrey and Hants (the Basingstoke) which was the nearest canal to me. I didn’t really get on very well for various reasons: I was an outsider and people seemed to know each other and I felt a bit out of it – it didn’t really gel. I was driving round with a big sticker saying ‘I Dig Canals’ (which was a complete lie because I didn’t) – this guy at work approached me and said ‘I run a working party on the Basingstoke Canal and would you like to join?’. I used to join his working party once a month - a chap called Jim Chisham – he just ran a working party on the local canal and he wasn’t involved in the wider scene at all. That’s what he did. At that time I was heavily involved in rally driving – not so much driving but navigating for a rally driver. He got married and it changed his life, he was doing less and less rallying and I was looking for something to do. I started to get more and more involved and joined other working parties on The Basingstoke Canal – to such an extent that I was there virtually every weekend. Then in the early 1970s – probably about ’76, the Basingstoke Canal was really taking off in its restoration and the then working party organiser Frank Jones set up a manpower services scheme employing lots of people on the dole to work full time. He was looking for somebody else to take on the working party organiser job. I was just plucked out of the air – I wasn’t leading any working parties. I went from just being somebody who did a lot of work to somebody who was suddenly working party organiser – that was quite a shock. That was for the Surrey and Hants Canal Society and that’s really where I gained my experience and where my working days were spent. We occasionally went to work on other canals but one working party a year sort of thing.

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Really my contact with WRG was through the Basingstoke – we used to suck people in from all around the country. We had massive funding by comparison with most canal restoration projects because of the county council backing and we could offer a huge amount of work - and the opportunity to do work that they couldn’t do on other canals.

Q: Talk me through the funding for the county council – how did that work? A: Well the two halves of the canal were purchased by the respective county councils in the early 1970s Hampshire purchased theirs before Surrey purchased theirs. They were committed to the restoration and funding the restoration so they put up the funds. But it was on the understanding that they weren’t going to pay for any manpower – certainly rebuilding the locks - that was all going to be done by voluntary work. In the event it was done by a combination of voluntary and full-time manpower services schemes. They funded all the materials and their engineers worked out all the designs for the building of the new sills and bywashes. It was very professionally specified and we had to work to professional standards. Immediately there was a discipline on us to work in a professional manner. It reached the stage, I think, that they had so much respect for what we did that I remember going to one meeting with the council and I said ‘can you advise us please whether we should rip this chamber wall down or point it up?’ and they turned round and said ‘you make the decision – you’re the guys with the experience on the ground’.

Q: What state was the canal in when you got there in 1976? A: It was completely derelict but it didn’t suffer from major blockages like dropped bridges and so on. The locks were derelict – they were in a sorry state - not as sorry, I have to say, as some of the canals being worked on now. Nevertheless the chamber walls needed stripping down, in many cases completely, and rebuilding; all the sills needed concreting, new quoin posts, wing walls repointing; it was a major rebuilding job which required skills which the people we were using hadn’t got. This was a typical volunteer – a desk worker looking for something active to do at the weekends – so those skills had to be learnt and passed on to others.

Q: In what order did you tackle it? A: Historically, various enthusiastic volunteers before my time had started on various locks for various reasons such as access and they started on it before the canal was owned by the council – so that tended to set the focus of where the lock work started. In principle the canal was worked on from the top downwards. The Basingstoke Canal rises from the River Wey through 31 locks to its summit section and most of those locks are in the Deepcut Flight and I spent most of my time, certainly in the early days, in the Deepcut Flight. So I spent time there, and there were groups working on 3 locks there. When the Manpower services commission came along they started to sweep up: we finished a few of the lock chambers, we moved further down that flight but they were sweeping down: locks which we hadn’t done, they were doing and then going on to fit the gates and make them fully operational. We moved on further down the canal to other flights of locks.

Q: What did your role as working party organiser entail? A: Basically it was of planning and coordination – I had to ensure the work every weekend went on in a continuous process from weekend to weekend. The Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society ran working parties every weekend and we had visiting groups twice a month – people like KESCRG, Newbury Working Party Group and London WRG were the main groups but we had other groups like Bristol University, Southampton Canal Society and a number of other people came along. Newbury Working Party Group was interesting because Bill Nicholson was very keen to get work going on the Kennet and Avon which is where their real interests lay – but they [BW] wouldn’t let them. They said they couldn’t allow volunteers do skilled jobs so they came to the Basingstoke to learn the skills. There was a deputation from BWB, came down to see the work they had done and how they were working; at the end of the day they said they were very impressed and there was no reason on the skills front why they couldn’t do the work, but they still couldn’t do the work – but that’s a whole other story [see interview with Bill Nicholson in previous edition of Navvies]. We used to have regular monthly liaison meetings with the council – I didn’t have to deal with the council on a day to day basis and that was one of the advantages from some of the working party organisers these days who have to deal with landowners and organise materials and equipment. I specified what we wanted to do; we had a weekly meeting with Frank Jones, who was running the full time crew, he did the liaison with the council and ensure all the stuff was hired in.

Q: How did the main three groups differ? A: Very different skills in some senses depending very much on the leadership and the interests of the

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people involved – the people who made a particular input were KESCRG and the leadership of Ken Parrish. They formed the backbone of our two week work camp and this was a work camp – they used to be 50 people each week. A mass of plant and machinery – this was not just scrub bashing this was major lock reconstruction. The planning and coordination of that used to take me about 9 months beforehand and a couple of months afterwards. The working parties each weekend had to work up to the work camp – I had to make sure I had a plan of what I was going to do on the work camp and this plan had to be completely foolproof: it had to deal with all contingencies – there had to be work that could continue on in the event of jobs being delayed. I had to make sure I was at this point where this could happen months before it was due to happen. We did as much work on the two week work camp as we did in the rest of the year - that was the value of it. The Kent and East Sussex in particular provide the background of the skilled people.

Q: Did Sue Burchett cook on those camps? A: Most definitely and that was a major asset – the cook is the most underrated and most valued person around but never gets the thanks. Good food is essential to work camps.

Q: What was your background? A: Complete ignorance. I had no knowledge of anything. I did not know the difference between a petrol and a diesel engine, I didn’t know how a pump worked, I couldn’t mix mortar, didn’t know anything about bricklaying, concrete laying – nothing – it was all learnt on the job. It’s quite amazing how you can pick things up and move things forward. The other thing was it wasn’t just the technical skills, it was about the health and safety. I think at that time a lot of working parties were very amateurish and were run on rather shaky ground. We began to recognise that with the number of people we had involved, the amount of plant and machinery that standards had got to go up. We started to crank up standards on all fronts. On the work camps nobody went on site without a health and safety lecture – I think that was fairly unusual at that time. This would have been the late ’70s. People weren’t allowed to use any equipment or drive any dumpers without training. We didn’t have any formal registers but we were absolutely sure that we had to be confident that the person was going to be able to do it in the first place. It was a start to what’s gone on and I’m glad to say has now been formalised within WRG itself. The one difference was that we used to go in the pub at lunchtime (except on the work camps) and I can see why that’s not on.

Q: When was it finally restored? A: I can’t remember the answer to when it was finally opened which is terribly remiss of me. The lock chambers (which was the major physical work) were completed in 1989. I’d burned myself out by then. I was doing all the meetings at least once a week, organising working parties every weekend (although I wasn’t necessarily there every London WRG on the Basingstoke, 1980s weekend), I was on the canal every other weekend. By the time I’d got to the end I was burned out – 13 years I did that for. As soon as the locks were finished - I finished and I hadn’t been back to canal restoration for 20 years. However, the canal wasn’t open: there was still other work – a lot more lock gates to put in (which the full time people did) and there were various works to raise towpaths. The canal officially opened a couple of years later.

Q: When did you first meet Pete Redway? A: Peter Redway and a chap called Ken Halls were jointly working on a lock in the Woking area when we were concentrating on Deepcut. They were a group of people from the village of St Johns who wanted to work on the St Johns flight. They said we can get local people involved and they didn’t want to come and help us in Deepcut. They were set up and doing work on the top lock at St Johns and then subsequently we came down and we all became merged together. They were a much more self contained, local group working on the canals. Peter’s gone on to rise to the levels of chairman of Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society.

page 20


Q: Have you boated the Basingstoke? A: No. Q: Is that an ambition? A: No – not at all. I do go back to boating every couple of years and we hire boats. Q: What was your motivation for restoring the Basingstoke? A: There wasn’t a great motivation for restoring the Basingstoke per se – in waterways terms it’s a fairly insignificant waterway (sorry Robin Higgs) but it was the nearest to where I lived. It’s really coincidental that I got involved with the Basingstoke – I suppose in a way that’s why I don’t have a great need to feel to go back and boat it – I’ve walked it all.

Q: Did you have any contact with WRG the bigger organisation? A: Not really – I knew Graham Palmer but only slightly particularly via the Deepcut Dig which was a massive work camp. There were people working on each of the 14 locks. The one interesting contact with WRG, is when we were running the work camps there was a young gentleman who came along, fairly green I think, and it was recognised (particularly by Ken Parrish) as being somebody with potential and was rapidly pushed up to start leading working parties and doing quite difficult unsupported jobs. That was a gentleman called Mike Palmer and I’d like to think that he learnt an awful lot from his work on the Basingstoke. I feel that that’s one thing in terms of legacy that I contributed. It’s not just Mike Palmer who’s gone on to do wonderful things for WRG – a real successor for Graham’s leadership - but also I think that we provide a lot of skills for London WRG, KESCRG and Newbury Working Party Group which have gone on and are major restoration groups today. I feel very good about that – sounds very arrogant but I feel good about it.

Q: What are you most proud of? A: There are 3 things: one is the restoration of the Basingstoke Canal, I feel I made a major contribution. I always used to say it wasn’t me but all the people who came and worked there. I feel that the legacy we passed on has lived on to support canal restoration. I really like to think that we really helped Mike Palmer up the ladder. I’m sure the canal restoration is a jolly sight better place with Mr Palmer in charge.

Q: What would you say WRG’s great achievement was? A: Being a catalyst for restoration and providing work forces to help the canal societies. I’m really impressed with the quality of the WRG kit that they have available these days and the standards they’re adhering to. I’ve just come back to it after 20 years and I have to say it’s chalk and cheese between what it used to be like and what it’s like now. I’m really impressed – a real quality organisation.

Q: Has anyone inspired you? A: Two people have inspired me, one was Frank Jones who nobody will have heard of because he was very much a Basingstoke Canal man. He was very much the inspirational working person on the canal and he was the person who plucked me from nothing and said I’d like you to be working party organiser and changed my life. The other person was Robin Higgs – he was the chairman of the canal society. He’s a political animal and he’s the most enthusiastic man you could possibly wish to come across.

Q: Where do you see WRG’s future? A: Continuing to do what they are doing. I think there is need for people to work on these waterways that are derelict as a catalyst for showing what can be done. The canal I never thought would be restored was the Huddersfield Narrow – we did work on that, and there was work going on. Not efficiently because there wasn’t the money to support it, but the catalyst, the publicity was great and ultimately it was restored. I think WRG can continue in that sort of role. I’m pleased to see it’s working on the Thames & Severn. Whether it should get more involved in campaigning? I’d like to see the IWA do more of that, because WRG is a working organisation and always should be. Note that Mike did talk in more detail about the role of both London WRG and NWPG but we couldn’t fit it all in. More interviews next edition – it will be a surprise to me as well... Helen Gardner

page 21


Plant Concrete mixer rebuild

In the latest instalment, John breaks six hacksaw blades and goes in search of a cast iron dentist...

Rebuilding the WRG concrete mixer task looked to be fairly easy – just cut the The saga (no not the old folks club!) continues... You may recall that I had broken some cast iron teeth on the small bevel gear. After venturing onto Google I located a ‘cast iron dentist’, (although not National Health) situated in Coalville. They did a very good job of building-up the broken teeth. I then decide that I would take the gear on its shaft into one of my turners (when I was in proper paid-for work) so that he could ‘top and tail’ it in a lathe to remove some of the excess built up weld. I would then have to file/grind the teeth to a reasonable shape. But, because he is doing me a favour, as well as doing his proper work, I am still waiting for him to find time to do the work. I was also getting him to turn a new sleeve for the steering pin. On the main framework, the crosshead that holds the steering swivel was rather out of shape. I decided to remove that part of channel in order to weld in a new piece. Unfortunately I couldn’t get enough heat into the steelwork to straighten it in situ. The

page 22

old weld with the angle grinder and finish off with the hacksaw. The angle grinder part was easy to the maximum depth of the disc; but I then used six hacksaw blades to finish it off. There was a lot of carbon/slag left from previous welds. Meanwhile the general cleaning and removal of the accumulated concrete is continuing. I found the better method, on some parts, was to grind off the concrete and several layers of paint using the angle grinder and then paint with red oxide. I tried propping up the frame to make the work a little easier, but eventually found that it was better to tip the frame on its side. The next item to be tackled was the mixing drum - inside and out. To do this I had the use of a needle-gun, with the compressed air being supplied by a 110v compressor. A noisy, dusty job - wearing ear defenders, as well as the other proper PPE. Cleaning the inside was a little more problematic. Meanwhile its back to the noise and dust... John Hawkins


All pictures by John Hawkins

Above: the drum responds to some hard work with the needle-gun. Top right: an attempt to support the frame with a wooden prop to make it easier to get at didn’t prove too successful. Above right: removing the welds fixing down the crosshead that supports the swivel took six hacksaw blades. Right: “Cleaning the inside was a little more problematical”. Opposite: the frame looks good in its new red oxide paint

page 23


Navvies diary Your guide to all the forthcoming work parties Feb 19/20

wrgBITM

Chichester Ship Canal: Removing overhanging trees on the towpath ne

Feb 19-26

Camp 2011-01 Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

Feb 26/27

NWPG

Thames & Severn Canal: Dig Deep project, dismantling brickwork at Ei

Feb 26/27

London WRG

Thames & Severn Canal: Inglesham

Feb 26 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Mar 4-10

WAT

Wendover Arm: Seven-day weekend

Mar 5/6

wrgNW

Montgomery Canal

Mar 5/6

Essex WRG

Thames & Severn Canal: Inglesham.

Mar 6 Sun

WRG

Committee & Board Meetings: Benson Village Hall

Mar 12/13

KESCRG

Thames & Severn Canal: Dig Deep project at Eisey Lock

Mar 19/20

wrgBITM

Thames & Severn Canal: Eisey Lock. Stump removal between lock and

Mar 19/20

London WRG

Hereford & Gloucester Canal

Apr 1-7

WAT

Wendover Arm: Seven-day weekend

Apr 2/3

NWPG

Wey & Arun Canal: Refurb of Northlands Lift Bridge, and clearing fallen

Apr 2/3

Essex WRG

To be arranged

Apr 2 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

Apr 9/10

wrgNW

Montgomery Canal: to be confirmed.

Apr 9/10

wrgBITM

Hereford & Gloucester Canal: Over Basin - towpath surfacing and bridg

Apr 9/10

London WRG

B.C.N. Cleanup: Spaghetti Junction area. Centrally booked via head off

Apr 9/10

KESCRG

Thames & Severn Canal: Dig Deep project at Eisey Lock

Apr 16-25

Camp 2011-02 Cotswolds (Eisey Lock)

Apr 28-May 3WRG

Site Services for Little Venice: Volunteers wanted to help run the festiva

Apr 29-May 2wrgNW

Thames & Severn Canal: Inglesham Lock. Joint dig with Essex WRG. S

Apr 29-May 2Essex WRG

Thames & Severn Canal: Inglesham Lock. Joint dig with wrgNW. Start

Apr 30-May 2London WRG

Little Venice - Canalway Cavalcade

Apr 30-May 2wrgBITM

Little Venice - Canalway Cavalcade: BITM Sales Stand

Apr 30-May 2IWA

National Campaign Rally: Northampton (River Nene)

May 6-12

WAT

Wendover Arm: Seven-day weekend

May 7/8

KESCRG

Wendover Arm

May 7 Sat

wrgNW

‘Paper Chase’ waste paper collection

May 14 Sat

WRG

Leaders Training Day: for Canal camp and work party leaders, at Corle

May 14/15

NWPG

Thames & Severn Canal: Dig Deep project, bricklaying at Eisey Lock

May 15 Sun WRG

Committee & Board Meetings: Fillongley Village Hall

May 21/22

Rickmansworth Waterways Festival: Site Services and BITM Sales Stand

page 24

wrgBITM


Canal Camps cost ÂŁ56 per week unless otherwise stated. Bookings for WRG Canal Camps (those identified by a camp number e.g. 'Camp 2011-01') should go to WRG Canal Camps, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453. Email: enquiries@wrg.org.uk

ear the tramway.

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

01494-783453

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Bill Nicholson

01844-343369

bill@nwpg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Roger Leishman

01442-874536

rleishman@ukgateway.net

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Bobby Silverwood

07971-814986

bobby@kescrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Roger Leishman

01442-874536

rleishman@ukgateway.net

Bill Nicholson

01844-343369

bill@nwpg.org.uk

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

ge building.

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

fice

Aileen Butler

07703-567764

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

Bobby Silverwood

07971-814986

bobby@kescrg.org.uk

01494-783453

enquiries@wrg.org.uk

isey Lock

bridge.

n trees

Dave Wedd

al

Liz Wilson

07810-448109

ejw@giantwasp.co.uk

tart Thurs eve.

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

nw@wrg.org.uk

Thurs eve.

John Gale

01376-334896

essex@wrg.org.uk

Tim Lewis

07802-518094

london@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

ey Village Hall

d

John Pomfret

john.pomfret@waterways.org.uk

Roger Leishman

01442-874536

rleishman@ukgateway.net

Bobby Silverwood

07971-814986

bobby@kescrg.org.uk

David McCarthy

0161-740-2179

Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Bill Nicholson

01844-343369

bill@nwpg.org.uk

Mike Palmer

01564-785293

mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

Dave Wedd

01252-874437

bookings@wrgBITM.org.uk

page 25


Navvies diary Canal societies’ regular working parties Once per month: pls check 2nd Sunday & alternate Thurs Anytime inc. weekdays Every Mon and Wed Every mon am Thu pm Various dates Every Sunday Every Tue & Wed Every Saturday 4th Sunday of month Second Sun of month 2nd weekend of month 2nd Sat of month Tuesdays Weekends Wednesdays Weekends Every Sunday if required 2nd Sunday of month 1st, 2nd, 4th Sun + 3rd Sat 3rd Sunday of month Last weekend of month Two Sundays per month 2nd & last Sundays Every Wed and 1st Sat 2nd Sunday of month 1st Sunday of month Most weekends Last weekend of month 2nd Sunday of month 1st weekend of month Every Tuesday morning Every Sunday & Thurs Mondays (2 per month) Wednesdays Wednesdays Wednesdays Thursdays Various dates 1st w/e (Fri-Tue or Fri-Wed) 2nd Thursday of month Every weekend

BCNS BCS BCT CCT CCT CCT ChCT C&BN DCT ECPDA FIPT GCRS GWCT H&GCT H&GCT H&GCT H&GCT IWPS LCT LHCRT LHCRT MBBCS NWDCT PCAS RGT SCARS SCCS SHCS SCS SNT SUCS TMCA WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WACT WAT WAT WBCT

BCN waterways Buckingham area Aqueduct section Cotswold (W depot) Cotswold (E end) Cotswold Phase 1a Various sites Chelmer & Blackwater Droitwich Canal Langley Mill Foxton Inclined Plane Grantham Canal Nynehead Lift Oxenhall Over Wharf House Over Wharf House Hereford Aylestone Bugsworth Basin Lancaster N. Reaches Lichfield Hatherton Creams Paper Mill N Walsham Canal Pocklington Canal Stowmarket Navigtn. Sankey Canal Combe Hay Locks Basingstoke Stover Canal Sleaford Navigation Newhouse Lock Thames & Medway C varied construction tidying road crossings Tickner's Heath Depot maintenance work Loxwood Link Winston Harwood Grp Hedgelaying (Oct-Mar) Drayton Beauchamp Drayton Beauchamp Wilts & Berks Canal

Abbreviations used in diary BCNS BCS BCT ChCT CBN CCT DCT EAWA ECPDA FIPT GCRS GWCT H&GCT IWPS K&ACT KESCRG

page 26

Mobile groups' socials: phone to confirm London WRG: 7:30pm on Tues 11 days before dig. 'Star Tavern', Belgrave Mews West, London. Tim Lewis 07802-518094 NWPG: 9:00pm on 3rd Tue of month at the 'Hope Tap', West end of Friar St. Reading. Graham Hawkes 0118 941 0586

Birmingham Canal Navigations Soc. Buckingham Canal Society Bude Canal Trust Chesterfield Canal Trust Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation Cotswolds Canals Trust Droitwich Canals Trust East Anglian Waterways Association Erewash Canal Pres. & Devt. Assoc. Foxton Inclined Plane Trust Grantham Canal Restoration Society Grand Western Canal Trust Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust Inland Waterways Protection Society Kennet & Avon Canal Trust Kent & E Sussex Canal Rest. Group

LCT LHCRT MBBCS NWPG NWDCT PCAS RGT SCARS SCCS SHCS SCS SNT SUCS TMCA WACT WAT WBCT

Mike Rolfe Athina Beckett Gerald Fry Ron Kerby John Maxted Jon Pontefract Mick Hodgetts John Gale Jon Axe Michael Golds Mike Beech Colin Bryan Denis Dodd Brian Fox Maggie Jones Wilf Jones Martin Danks Ian Edgar Paul Shaw Sue Williams Denis Cooper Steve Dent David Revill Paul Waddington Martin Bird Colin Greenall Bob Parnell Peter Redway George Whitehead Mel Sowerby Mike Friend Brian Macnish Eric Walker John Empringham John Smith Peter Jackman Peter Wilding Tony Clear Keith Nichols Roger Leishman Pete Bowers Rachael Banyard

07763-171735 01908-661217 01288-353273 01453-836018 01285-861011 07986-351412 01246-620695 01376-334896 0121-608 0296 0115-932-8042 0116-279-2657 0115-989-2248 01823-661653 01432 358628 01452 618010 01452 413888 01432 344488 0161-427 7402 01524-35685 01543-671427 01543-374370 07802-973228 01603-738648 01757-638027 01394-380765 01744-731746 01225-428055 01483-721710 01626-775498 01522-856810 01948-880723 01732-823725 023-9246-3025 01483-562657 01903-235790 01483-772132 01483-422519 01903-774301 01403-753882 01442-874536 01255-504540 01249-892289

Lancaster Canal Trust Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Rest'n Trust Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society Newbury Working Party Group North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust Pocklington Canal Amenity Society River Gipping Trust Sankey Canal Restoration Society Somersetshire Coal Canal Society Surrey & Hants Canal Society Stover Canal Society Sleaford Navigation Trust Shropshire Union Canal Society Thames & Medway Canal Association Wey & Arun Canal Trust Wendover Arm Trust Wilts & Berks Canal Trust


Dig report

“A three point turn in snow on a single track lane is always good to demonstrate driving competency...”

WRG NW on the Lancaster

followed by christmas pud and cheese. The crackers seemed to be of marginally higher standard than normal and some of the gifts Having already had to cancel a dig on the were welcome – apart from the pink hair Lancaster this year due to snow we didn’t bobble for Mike Chase. Brian Lomas managed want to get a reputation, so our dig leader to fit the broken marble back together – there and local organiser Paul Shaw said we’d all were a couple of bags and this encouraged a be there – so that was that. Despite some number of ‘lost his marbles’ jokes that we’ve all pleas from our more southern mates of heard before. John Foley, despite being ‘snow – we’re stuck’ there were still 18 of us, sober and of a ‘sensible age’ managed to most of whom gathered in the Eagle’s Head persuade us to make things out of the crackon the Friday evening, able to choose from ers – I can’t remember that much except that at least a couple of reasonable proper beers. most things were rubbish but very funny. Mike Chase deemed the porridge ‘done’ The next day it was colder but really when the spoon could stand up in it and sunny (unlike the fog of the previous day) after a much needed breakfast and applicaand it was time for battle of the bonfires as tion of thermal pants we set off. There was we lit a second and kept putting them out a moment when Malcolm headed off down the alternately with large stumps. The dream wrong track to get to site – a three point turn Tirfor team got going. Off site for a late in snow on a single track lane is always good lunch and pack up. We had achieved much to demonstrate driving competency. So off we more than burning one stump – though that headed to the Crooklands side of Hincaster bugger will require a second application tunnel for some scrub bashing. Turns out all possibly. we needed to do was burn one stump out, so I Thanks to Paul and the Lancaster lot for lit the fire very, very close to the stump in hosting us and organising it and those that order to move it a bit closer as the day went cooked. It was very satisfying to make it to on. There were some disagreements about a Christmas dig despite the weather. location of bonfire(s) but I won. Helen Gardner A couple of cheeky robins assisted with the felling of trees, and we made a glove tree in order to hang our gloves on near the fire at lunchtime. It was very cold, an awful lot of snow – you’ll see the photos of Ju in it up to her knees. A local photographer came along and got ‘persuaded’ to wear a hard hat – he knew his own mind and pushed ‘Mr Green Man’ and ‘Red Woman’ into the shots he wanted before dashing off to a school fete. We had cake for Girl Viv at lunch but the lighting of the candles had to be abandoned due to a strong draught. Liz, Kath, Barbara and Jean provided with a yummy christmas WRG NW brave the elements at Sellet Hall Bridge tea of roast chicken and trimmings Mike Chase

WRG NW Christmas Party Dig Lancaster Canal, 4 - 5 December

page 27


The following letter was received from Ros Smallwood in response to the letter from Jim Woolgar in Issue 240. Apologies for it not appearing until now, owing to problems with the editor’s computer...

Letters ...to the editor

Dear Editor Being a local, I was not sleeping in the cattle barn at Seend as described in Jim Woolgar’s letter (Navvies 240), but drew the scene from the working party’s descriptions. I remember the drawing but don’t have it anymore. I remember Jim mainly for supplying me with 12 huge unpainted Bucky cans for decorating to raise funds for Bath Working Party funds. Graham Palmer taught me the basics of roses and castle painting at the Guildford National Rally. We painted gentlemen’s hot water cans (army surplus). At a later working party, he picked up one of my efforts and demanded to know who painted it. As it was similar to his style he was tempted to accuse me of plagiarism. As for the worst accommodation we can remember, it must be Ashtac. The Gas Board showroom in Manchester. It was derelict and covered in black, sooty dirt. The best facility there was the ancient municipal baths with hot water gushing out of large brass taps. I do still have a drawing of the Bath Working Party at Ashtac. Mike, (husband and former WP boss) has written an explanation for it. [See below ...Ed] Ros Smallwood

2

1

3

1 Through bridge and to the right: Aqueduct of Ashton canal with large drain pipe set in base surrounded by rubbish. I think an old man was burning tyres or something producing a lot of black smoke by the aqueduct. 2 On the left was an old Bolinder engine that had been craned out of the canal. Further left was the start of the Rochdale flight of broad locks. 3 Canal bed seemed to be filled with masses of large pieces of slate which our Bath and Bristol K & A WP was asked to clear. Throughout, the ducks, like the locals looked on with amazement at all these mad fools clearing their derelict canal.

page 28


Dear Martin Re. WRG nicknames: The attached picture was taken at the exact moment when Brian Haskins was christened ‘Rising Damp’ by Piggy [WRG founder Graham Palmer]– at about 2.30pm on 14 May 1978 – following the first informal meeting about the 1979 IWA Northwich National Rally; held at the Greenalls pub (now demolished) next to Hayhurst Swing Bridge. Brian invited about a dozen of us back to his house and we were following him and Bookend (recovering from a broken leg) home: the results of which are also worth recalling. When we arrived Brian’s wife Anne was out and we found a supply of groceries, including loaves in the kitchen. Which, with Brian’s permission, we fell upon, creating a mountain of sandwiches and devouring them with an appetite that only several pints of bitter could stimulate. In the midst of this Anne came home and emerged from the kitchen with a face like thunder – the food was the supplies for her following week’s Girl Guide camp! Brian Haskins was the first BW Area Engineer to recognise and appreciate the work of volunteers, at a time when all BW management above his level was ‘anti’, and co-operation threatened his job. Even then he appreciated the parlous state of the Anderton Lift and it was his suggestion, mooted over a meal at our house, that there should be an IWA ‘National’ at Northwich. We knew that this had to come via a top level IWA Council decision so, to avert suspicion, (BW management knew that he and I concocted schemes on the Montgomery and Trent & Mersey) the proposal was ‘planted’ in another Council member’s head (not from the North West) to make at the next Council meeting. A further aspect of this devious behaviour, which I don’t think has been written about before, was that Piggy and a few others of us, suspected that we had a ‘mole’ in a senior position within IWA, who reported Council decisions and general meeting gossip to the BW management. We managed to prove, by the method of planting of a fictitious restoration scheme, that Melbury House knew by the following Monday morning what had happened at Saturday’s IWA Council. Ironically, in what might be termed ‘life imitating art’ the proposal became fact and has been completed! In mentioning ‘Brahms’ one shouldn’t forget ‘Liszt’ (Joan Heap) who led the ladies of the IWA in raising the funding for the first Welshpool boat for the disabled. John Heap was, in my opinion, one of the best chairmen that IWA ever had; a real ‘fixer’ of the old school. It should be appreciated that a lot of WRG activities were funded from his own pocket and didn’t appear in any accounts; what we then called the ‘chairman’s slush fund’. It also should be explained that Graham’s nickname of Piggy was one that was used by an inner circle of friends and that he was generally known as ‘GKP’ or ‘Garden Gnome’; after the Mikron Theatre immortalised him as such (along with ‘Super Hutch’ David Hutchings) in one of their plays. Also that, like Brian Haskins, nicknames were bestowed on others outside WRG, although not with such affection. Some readers of old Navvies Christmas greetings may have been baffled to the reference to ‘WT’. Difficult to explain in a family magazine, but the then chairman of BW was (Sir) Frank Price: think rhyming slang and of a lone activity that a navvy might indulge in three times. Answers to the editor in a plain brown envelope! Harry Arnold

Letters

to the editor

page 29


Letters ...to the editor

...on a job well done at Nob End on the MB&B over the Christmas and New Year holiday

Letter to Paul Shaw, leader of the WRG Christmas Canal Camp:

Paul Hindle

Dear Paul and the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal Christmas campers Christmas to New Year was wiped out for me - I was treated with antibiotics and corticosteroids for the after effects of flu; my 22 week pregnant wife, Kate, is being treated with anti-virals (Tamiflu) for swine flu; and my 23 month old daughter started vomiting on Christmas Eve and went on to have diarrhoea from which, on New Year’s day, she is only just recovering. I am really most upset that as a result I could not welcome you to “our” canal; work with you; or at least cheer you on your way. But I guess you would not have wanted all the bugs any more than we would have wanted to pass them on. Paul Hindle has sent me images of the completed work - a job really well done. I am looking forward to seeing some of the images of work under way and even more to getting out on site and seeing the results. So a tremendous thanks to you all from me and from the society and a Happy New Year to you all. John C Fletcher OBE Chairman Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society

The overgrown state of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal at Nob End in November...

page 30


Our regular roundup of restoration progress around the country kicks off in Lancashire...

Progress Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal

Christmas Canal Camp, 2010

See p8-10 for a slightly less formal camp report

Paul Hindle

The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society invited WRG to hold its annual Xmas bash at the delightfully-named Nob End site at the junction of the three arms of the canal in Little Lever, Bolton. The main aim was to clear out the start of the Bury arm, a length of about 300 yards, averaging 20 yards wide, including the breach which severed the canal in 1936. Over two dozen WRGies came from all over the country, staying in a school in nearby Radcliffe. Society members (led by our Working Party Organiser, Steve Dent) boosted the total number of workers to almost 40 on the Thursday. The week’s work started on Monday 27th December, with snow still lying on the ground, and damp misty conditions making it feel very

cold; however the thaw melted the snow by Wednesday. With up to four chainsaws on-site removing the trees progressed rapidly, and on Friday the trees at the start of the Bolton arm were cleared too. We intend to use the larger timber to make canalside furniture. The camp was ably led by Paul Shaw, assisted by Ju Davenport; I was able to talk to the WRGies about the canal on the Tuesday evening, so that they could see how their work fitted in with work being done elsewhere on the canal. A very successful week’s work which met all its objectives; many thanks WRG! All we have to do now is to get the breach repaired, and get the canal re-watered! Paul Hindle Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society

...and the view on the last day of the Christmas Camp, with the canal clearly visible

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Progress

Buckingham Canal

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons and Buckingham MP, has agreed to become a patron of the Buckingham Canal Society. He joins Tim Boswell who has now become Lord Boswell of Aynho. A site visit was arranged for John and several local councillors on the 2nd October. The visit covered three of our sites: Hyde Lane Lock, Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Little Hill Farm and Bourton Meadow. John There is good news on the Ogley Cottage was impressed by the amount of work front. Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration achieved by our volunteers. Trust had originally intended to sell the propPartnerships have been formed with erty (which we bought because the garden Buckinghamshire County Council, Buckingham includes one of the Lichfield’s Ogley Locks) to Green Infrastructure Consortium and Buckingpay off the mortgage. Unfortunately, valuation ham Local Area Forum. The support of these into a falling market was far below our expecPartners when applying for grants is invaluable. tation and it was clear that a great deal of work The BCS has also started working with was needed. Then a break-in and theft of the Stowe School. Pupils taking their Duke of hot water cylinder caused a damaging flood. Edinburgh awards are spending time on our But then a Canal Trust members’ work site at the BBOWT Nature Reserve as part of party turned out to clear the garden and clean the practical section of this scheme. These up the interior. This was so successful that a work parties started in October and Stowe major redecoration was undertaken, in the has recently requested that they continue up course of which a very satisfactory tenant came to June next year. forward and we able to offer a two year deal We recently discovered that Travis which has restored the income stream. Perkins was sending a lot of material to Work at our current main volunteer site landfill. This was ‘end of line’ material but at Tamworth Road Locks on the edge of consisted of quite large quantities of bricks, Lichfield has picked up momentum, espepaving stones and wood. We now have an cially with the input of visiting work parties, arrangement with them and they are deliverincluding one from Jaguar Land Rover. Below ing the material to a farm run by a friendly Lock 26 the long wall down to the A38 corner builder where it will be stored until either is virtually complete and has reached the point used by ourselves on site or sold off at a big where we are discussing the design of the vital discount price to members and friends. If weir which will return the water from the canal anyone wants more details about what is to the brook beyond the A38. This structure available please contact me. must be very robust and innovative. Thoughts Our work parties are continuing at the are being given to building a new Lock 29 BBOWT Nature Reserve where we are hedgemidway between the corner and the A51. laying and removing reeds from the bed of The Trust Council has been giving serious the canal and hoping to start re-pointing thought to the implications of the imminent work on the bridge when the weather imchanges to BW. It has always been the intenproves. All re-growth has also been removed tion to restore both canals to a suitably high from our Bourton Meadow site and we are in standard and then to hand them on to BW or a the process of applying for grants to get this successor. We are now advised that this is not a site in water hopefully in 2011. likely outcome and that any restored waterIf anyone would like to join one of our ways must be financially self-supporting. To work parties which are still run on the secdeal with this new situation will be very chalond Sunday of each month and on alternate lenging even though re-opening of our canals Thursdays please ring or email me. Otheris, sadly, not imminent. We are undertaking a wise hope to see some of you at our AGM major review of our strategy and hope to have and Cheese and Wine Social evening at the report on this in mid-February. It will Buckingham Community Centre on Saturday make interesting reading and may well affect 29th January 2011 how we move forwards over the next 10 years. Athina Beckett Brian Kingshott Buckingham Canal Society

L&H and Buckingham

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Progress

Do you fancy helping to create a heritage boatyard for wooden boats? If so, WCBS would like to hear from you

WCBS

Wooden Canal Boat Society

trips start at 9.30am and Monday trips at 6pm from Portland Basin, Ashton under Lyne. The charity shop, selling goods collected on recycling trips, is the main revenue earner. As ever, it needs more volunteers. Anyone who would like to help should get in touch by email wcbs@care2.com, by phone 07931 952 037 or by post Wooden Canal Boat Society, 173, Stamford St Central, Ashton under Lyne, Lancs OL6 7PS or just turn up for a recycling trip.

Photos by WBCS

A major boat restoration project will be starting in May at WCBS’s Knowl Street Heritage Boatyard in Stalybridge. Work at the site is concentrating on getting ready for this. The wood-shelter is now complete but the slip has to be cleared of mud and resurfaced and a boiler and steambox (for steam-bending planks) built. Working days here are every Wednesday and the third Sunday of each month, starting at 10 AM – volunteers welcome. The main boat work at the moment involves renewing parts of Southam’s conversion and fitting her with new bunks and a posh toilet. Recurring gearbox problems have led to the acquisition of a much less worn Parsons box, keeping the old one for spares. It is hoped to fit a temporary engine in Forget me Not soon, eventually to be replaced by the Bolinder when its overhaul is completed. A long boat trip to collect timber is on the cards for Easter. Recycling trips for the next few months are Sundays 9 January, 5 FebAbove: Southam and Lilith in Dale Street Lock, ruary, 5 March and Mondays 10 JanuManchester. Below: a recycling trip. Below left: ary, 6 February and 6 March. Sunday first panel replaced on Southam’s conversion cabin

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Progress

Meanwhile in Suffolk, the River Gipping Trust are continuing work at Baylham Lock, while keeping an eye on the rest of the river...

River Gipping Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation (River Gipping)

The Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation

RGT

Having had a very successful work programme throughout the summer of 2010 the River Gipping Trust started the autumn programme with a committee walk down the length of the River Gipping from Needham Market to Great Glemham to seek to identify any maintenance issues that needed attention in areas where we had previously worked. Despite the weather being against us we were able to complete the trip and end up in the pub for a very pleasant lunch. As a result of the walk we discovered return trips were needed to carry out minor repairs at Bosmere lock, and more serious bridge abutment work at Pipps Ford lock. These will form part of our spring programme, subject to final clearance by the Environment Agency for Pipps Ford and agreeing a date with the local council warden for Bosmere Back at Baylham Lock, work has continued through the Autumn in the area at the tail of the lock below the road bridge. Brickwork to the retaining wall and the training wall below water level proved to have been badly damaged by root action and required more attention than we had first thought. We managed to remove the collapsed brickwork , clean up the retained bricks and put foundation in place for the training wall, before the December bad weather and low temperatures put a stop to bricklaying. We will be resuming the work on the 5th January after the Christmas/New Year break, weather permitting, with bricklaying, repairs to the by-wash bridge, and a Requires attention: inspecting Pipps Ford lock tail bridge bit of site clearance.

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Progress

Finally we return to the Wendover Arm where work is continuing on capping the water pipe in the canal bed, so that the canal can be reinstated over it

Wendover Arm

4 mooring wall and/or pipe capping impossible but is reasonable enough, the intention The November Working Party was will be to prepare a car parking area at Little memorable in that work on the Monday had Tring with hardcore and road stone. to be cancelled soon after 9am because of Aquatic Planting: it was the intention driving rain in freezing conditions. Neverthe- to plant reeds, rushes etc. above the coir less, as you can see from the photo, the rolls on both banks of all re-watered lengths. blinding for the Stage 2 mooring wall was This was done for the 60 metres experimencompleted despite rain on the first day maktal length at Drayton Beauchamp and the ing it almost impossible to read the level. plants have flourished. Great care was taken to lay the blinding to Earlier this year I was walking along the line and level so as to act as a setting out line new diverted length for the Aston Clinton byfor the formwork in due course. Work on pass and was horrified to see that the plants bulk excavation and pipe capping (installing originally planted on both banks had spread a concrete covering over the pipe buried in across the bed of the canal from bank to the canal bed which will fulfil the Arm’s water bank. Since I observed this, BW have had to supply function until the channel is restored) bring in a contractor to cut a two metre wide continued during the working party with channel through this growth to allow the some 22 metres of pipe capping completed. water from Wendover to flow freely. On the December Working Party, This has worried me; the growth has to avoid access problems to the Stage 2 taken seven or eight years to cover the canal mooring wall caused by the route of the pipe bed but Phase II will not be complete for capping now moving over towards the centre some seven years so could the same thing of the canal bed, it was decided to concenhappen to our newly re-watered lengths? It trate on completing the Stage 4 mooring wall has therefore been agreed to suspend plantat Footbridge 4. Here the blinding for the ing the Phase II banks until we can see what last 45 degree base was laid and the base happens in our experimental length. formwork laid in position and completed bar Roger Leishman one or two fittings on the angle. The formwork for the first (of six) wall pours was also completed, all by the Monday. On Tuesday work concentrated on pipe capping and more than 30 metres was prepared for concreting on the Wednesday. Due to freezing conditions this was covered up overnight and on the Thursday the formwork removed and the concrete covered in a layer of spoil. The pipe capping is now only 15 metres from the end of Stage 2 but will continue for a further 100 metres into Stage 3 to allow for the next temporary bund to be in the Footbridge 4A narrows. Completion of this pipe capping will block access to the Stage 2 mooring wall but should be completed by the time the Stage 4 mooring wall is completed and allow work to continue on the Stage 2 mooring wall. The concrete base for the mooring bay If the weather makes work on the Stage WAT

Wendover Arm

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WRG North West A year in the life

A roundup of what our north western regional group has been up to over the past 12 months: from chamber clearances to paperchases...

we were finished, missing out on the chippy lunch. The bad weather in January resulted in our April 10/11th saw us travel down to th th dig on the 9/10 taking place on the 6/7 Lichfield to carry out more work on the March, that weekend seeing us clearing the bywash of Lock 25 alongside Tamworth chambers and bywashes of Tewitfield Locks Road, including landscaping the lockside, on the Lancaster Canal in brilliant sunshine, a significant progress having been made since far cry from the heavy snow and ice of Janu- our previous visit eleven months earlier. The ary. Likewise, the Paperchase (waste paper bywash itself would be completed just a few th collection) on the 16 was postponed for a months later. The next weekend saw some of week due to the icy conditions, though on us make another trip down the M6 to Birthe morning it should have taken place, the mingham for the BCN Cleanup, which was, temperature rose and all the ice melted! unusually, hot and sunny, quite a change As a consequence our first dig of the from the wet/wintry conditions of the previyear was on 6/7th February, when a small ous few years. Hot on the heels of this was select group travelled across to the ChesterMike Palmer’s Cheshire Locks/Burslem Port field Canal to undertake clearance of silt from investigative weekend, which was supported Wheeldon Mill Lock. Surprisingly, given the by NW (along with many other WRG regunature of the work, which involved shovellars), my involvement concentrating on the ling lovely smelly silt, the group did not weekend lock chamber clearance at Church include Ju, who joined London WRG on the Locks, which was bookended by excavation H&G, though the five of us did complete the works to find the wash walls around the task by Sunday afternoon. Two local digs former canal arm at Burslem Port. were supported by NW during the month – The main event for May was our annual repairing a bridge over the horse path at joint dig with Essex WRG, which this year Hincaster Tunnel on the Lancaster Canal on involved us travelling down to South Wales the 14th (Valentines Day), and further clearance work of the canal bed of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal near Little Lever. March was a double-dig month, with the delayed trip to Lancaster mentioned earlier, and our first visit of the year to Hollinwood on the 20/21st. The rather wet conditions on the Saturday meant a reduced turnout, but the better weather on the Sunday made up for it, enabling us to complete the resetting of the copings above the staircase locks at Daisy Nook, and a multitude of other tasks besides. The Paperchase on the 27th coincided with another MB&B weekend (further clearance work at Little Lever), though I was to depart for the Wilts & Berks Easter Camp before WRG NW in winter: clearing Wheeldon Mill Lock, Chesterfield All pictures by Mike Chase

WRGNW 2010 Review of the Year

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to help prepare the Monmouthshire Canal at Newport for the Trailboat (Welsh Waterways) Festival at the end of the month. Work involved repairing the towpath fendering alongside the festival site, some towpath surface repairs in the same area, repainting the entrance gates to Kimberley Park, finishing off with bywash clearance, chamber repointing, and repainting of Gwasted Lock, the first on the main line from Malpas Junction. This was followed the following weekend by another Paperchase. Towards the end of the month, scorching temperatures heralded a return WRG NW to the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal at Agecroft, undertaking further clearance work on the towpath (the similar dig in July 2009 was also in similar temperatures). After lunch on Saturday, we were given a guided walk along the canal line through the Tarmac plant south of Parkhouse Bridge where we were based, before relocating to Agecroft Bridge ž mile to the north. The month finished with the sales stand making a visit to the Welsh Waterways Festival at Newport, South Wales. Into June, and things quietened down, with our usual Paperchase on the 12th, followed by the annual visit of the sales stand to the Middlewich Folk & Boat Festival on 19/ 20th and Crumpsall Carnival the Sunday after. To round off the month, several northwesters attended the MB&B dig at Radcliffe on the 26/27th, undertaking towpath clearance works eastwards from Water Street Bridge. In July, the sales stand went to Worksop to attend the Chesterfield Canal Festival on 17/18th, which was followed by the Paperchase on the 24th. At the end of the month, some of us travelled up to Lancaster to assist the Canal Trust with their work to repair Sellet Hall Bridge, which is the first beyond the end of the navigable section of the Northern Reaches. This had been afflicted with some serious tree damage over the years since abandonment, and although this had been cut down during the preceding week, the stumps still remained, which took all of Saturday to extract with the assistance of a mini digger, as the roots, besides undermining the parapet walls, covered most of

in spring: building bywash walls at Lichfield the roadway area over the arch. The stump that was subsequently dropped into the canal bed was huge. All this meant that not as much of the parapets were rebuilt on the Sunday as planned, requiring a further midweek work party to complete the work. August consisted of our usual attendance at the IWA National Waterways Festival at Beale Park near Reading, with many on site up to a fortnight prior to the event. Prior to this, as a follow-up to our attendance at the Welsh Waterways Festival, I was to present a cheque for ÂŁ250 to the Mon & Brec Canal Trust, whilst on camp during the summer. As many had barely returned home from the National Festival, the Paperchase on 4th September was short of some of the regular volunteers, though there was little impact on the time taken to complete our collection. Two weeks later we travelled down to Lichfield for our first joint dig with wrgBITM for several years. With the work on Lock 25 complete, our work for the weekend involved the construction of footings to extend the towpath wall to the A38, and the facing brickwork on that previously constructed. A huge earthmoving operation was undertaken to shift the several tonnes of soil that had been accumulated on the canal formation by the A38, and the position of the new Lock 27 was mapped out. Additionally, a group went off to Darnford Lane to clear several years worth of growth from the previously restored canal bed. A week after the next Paperchase, 16/ 17th October saw our return to Hollinwood,

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and our third attack on the canal bed tree growth on the Fairbottom Branch. Most of the remaining trees growing in the canal bed were felled, and some stumps tirfored, though many still remain. This latter task was accompanied by masses of glutinous mud, which pleased Ju no end, though she had some serious competition from Sam, our newest recruit. The 23/24th saw us support the local dig on the MB&B, clearing the upper set of locks at Prestolee. November began with the reunion on the Montgomery Canal on the 6/7th, clearing the canal bed between Crickheath Wharf and Pryce’s Bridge in preparation for surveying in advance of the canal camps planned for 2011. The following weekend, we assisted the WRG NW in autumn: helping LCT at Sellet Hall Bridge Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust with their clearance work on Froghall Basin, though with our Paperchase on the Saturday, the main assistance was not rendered until the Sunday. The month was rounded off with us supporting another local dig on the MB&B on the 27/28th, this time clearing the lower set of locks at Prestolee. The main event for December was our Christmas dig, this year held on the Lancaster Canal on the 4/5th December. With most of the country in the grip of severe winter weather, the north west was not as badly affected, although the journey to the site at Sellet Hall Bridge on the Saturday was a little tricky, with fresh snowfall on the Friday Night making the minor roads a little treacherous in places. However, we made it to site, and commenced clearance of the canal bed towards Hincaster Tunnel. [See dig report on page 40] A resumption of the severe winter weather on the 18th caused the final Paperchase of the year to be cancelled, as heavy overnight snow blanketed the county. This cold spell did not ease until just after Christmas, by which time we were supporting the Christmas Camp on the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal [See camp report on pages 7-9] , which succeeded in felling all tree growth between the top of the locks at Nob End (Prestolee) and the 1936 breach. WRG NW in autumn (and all year): the Paperchase Mike Chase

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Is there life in East Anglia? John Gale reckons there might still be... Essex WRG: Still alive and kicking! Maybe it’s time to let the world know that Essex WRG is still around, and the best way to do that is to give a resumé of our past year’s activities. During the 2008 “Bonfire Bash” nearly three hundred yards of ducting had been laid at Heybridge and buried. So when we visited the Chelmer & Blackwater in November 2009, our job was to haul two armoured cables through the ducting. The first task was to get two seriously heavy drums of cable across the navigation by boat, where the crane lifted them out. Next we had to attach a rope to the string that came with the ducting and pull that through. We then attached a cable and second rope to it and pulled that through, and then attached the second cable to the second rope. It sounds simple – and I suppose it is, but it certainly needed a lot of effort to pull them through.

Essex WRG Round up of the year In December we were at Foxton for more work trimming and laying “our” hedge. We laid this hedge back in 1997 and 1998 and had trimmed it regularly after that, until contractors were on site and we couldn’t get at it. During the period contractors were there, they (and the anglers) had broken though in a number of places, so this was our second year of re-laying the damaged areas and trimming the rest. This time our Christmas meal was in a new hall for us at Lubbenham, as Foxton Village hall was being refurbished. The January 2010 dig was planned to be on the Chelmer & Blackwater, but in common with many other groups, we cancelled because of the weather. Also in January three of us attended a BW ‘Volunteering Workshop’ in Milton Keynes. Our intention to be very noticeable amongst the various other groups in our red WRG sweat shirts was rather defeated because the hall had a distinct lack of heating

Filling gabions (I hope they let him out again before they wired it shut)

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Essex WRG What we did in 2010

All pictures by Steve Morley

which necessitated putting our coats back on. January was also marked by the death of Bill Harrison. Bill had been one of our regulars for ten years, and had enlivened many evenings with tales of his time in the RAF and his battles with petty officialdom. He was also a hard worker and so is greatly missed on site. February was not straight forward. We were due to go to Foxton but neither of the decent halls was available so regretfully we cancelled, and, at short notice arranged to go to the Chelmer & Blackwater instead (with accommodation at my house). The work was at Heybridge Basin and consisted of filling the dreaded clay bags, transporting them by Bob cuts wood at Seven Locks boat to the other side of the basin and placing them to reinforce the eroded bank. The weather on Saturday was quite spring-like most of Essex were jungle bashing two or and we were working in shirt sleeves, but three hundred yards away widening the Sunday made up for it by being cold with a footpath up to Cricket Lane. persistent drizzle. One of our number deThe May Bank Holiday weekend was cided that the best way to clean a spade was another joint dig with WRG North West – this to drop it in! (I won’t embarrass Wendy by one intentional. As it was a three day event mentioning her name. Oops!). Luckily the we could travel a little further. We were “Sea Searcher” magnet was able to recover it. getting the site on the ‘Mon and Brec’ ready Later in the month several of us atfor the National Trail Boat Festival. There tended Bill’s funeral. were three basic jobs: fitting wooden March was a return to the Wilts and fendering where the boats were going to Berks, staying in the Foxham Reading Rooms and working at the Seven Locks. This time we were at locks one and two using our Tirfor to winch fallen trees out of the water while our chain saw operators sawed down others. A large pile of logs resulted, and the smaller branches and rotten logs fed two large and very hot bonfires. April was on the Lichfield and Hatherton. When I phoned the Lichfield and Hatherton Trust the previous year to make the booking, I was told that NW WRG were coming that weekend as well. So this was an accidental joint dig. While North West were working on Uncovering the buried wall, Time Team style, at Foxton the by-wash channel at lock 25,

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moor, pointing the lock walls, and painting. Essex got the painting. First of all the entrance gates to the park and the railings which were a fetching shade of dirty pale green and rust were rubbed down, primed and painted with dark green gloss. Then the graffiti on the lock gates disappeared under a fresh coat of paint In June it was the Wilts and Berks once more, again using our Tirfor. This time we were at Dauntsey Lock we, and a number of W&BCT volunteers, were winching out quite large saplings growing in the canal bed and burning them. Our accommodation was the Reading Rooms at Foxham. July was back to the Chelmer and Blackwater, packing the famous (or is it notorious) clay bags and the associated bank protection. As the barge Haybay was already booked, the accommodation was again at my house with a barbecue in the garden on the Saturday evening. August was a bit different (and in the middle of the month instead of our normal first weekend) as we had been asked to help with the Foxton Canal Festival. We got there on the Friday morning and were set to work in the car parking area putting in road pins and hazard tape to indicate the way in and exhibitors’ places. And then moving it all as plan B and later plan C came into effect. Over the weekend we also saw exhibitors on to their pitches, sold programmes, laid down masses of straw over the mud, and we acted as conductors on the tractor and trailer that was the ‘bus’ service from the top car park to the bottom. This was all in addition to running our own stand. Our accommodation was Foxton Village Hall – apart from the two of us that slept in the main marquee as security. September should have been back to Lichfield, but unfortunately we had to cancel. In October we went back to Foxton. This was more ‘Time Team’ than WRG. We had to uncover a wall by the museum buried by contractors several years previously, and we had just two days to do it. Luckily we didn’t need any “Geo-phys” as we could see the top of a stone. By the end of the weekend the wall was uncovered and had the date 1910 engraved on two bricks. The only pieces of pottery found although rumoured to be Samian Ware proved to be broken bits of earthenware drain pipe. (But maybe 1910 is slightly after the roman period!). November was back to the Chelmer and Blackwater. This time we were recovering a

three hundred yard stretch of towpath at Beeleigh from weeds and thickets of brambles at the request of Maldon’s Footpath Officer. Accommodation was on the barge “Haybay” and, as Steve and Mandy were unable to be with us, Glen was cook for the weekend The big problem with Essex WRG is numbers. Not everyone can come every time and so we badly need an infusion of new volunteers, if you are interested please contact me on 01376 334896 or 07961 947360 or Email Dave on dvdobbin@aol.com. John Gale

Steppingstones Bridge, Wilts & Berks

Hauling the cables through on the Chelmer

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Directory Canal societies and WRG ASHBY CANAL ASSOC Rod Smith 4 Ashby Road, Sinope Coalville LE67 3AY Tel: 01530 833307 BARNSLEY, DEARNE & DOVE CANAL TRUST June Backhouse, 39 Hill St, Elsecar, Barnsley S74 8EN 01226 743383 www.bddct.org.uk BCN SOCIETY Jeff Barley, 17 Sunnyside Walsall Wood, W Midlands 01543 373284 www.bcn-society.org.uk BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOC Athina Beckett 2 Staters Pound Pennyland Milton Keynes MK1 5AX 01908 661217 email: athinabec@aol.com www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk BUGSWORTH BASIN (IWPS) Ian Edgar Top Lock House, Lime Kiln Lane, Marple SK6 6BX. 0161 427 7402 ian@theedgars.co.uk www.brocross.com/iwps/ index.htm CALDON & UTTOXETER CANALS TRUST John Rider 1 Dainty Close, Leek ST13 5PX 01538 386790 john@riderjohn.jsnet.co.uk

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CHESTERFIELD CANAL TRUST Mick Hodgetts 31 Pottery La Chesterfield S41 9BH 01246 620695 chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk CHICHESTER SHIP CT Linda Wilkinson, 1 Chidham La Chichester PO18 8TL 01243 576701 www.chichestercanal.co.uk COTSWOLD CT Bell House, Wallbridge Lock Stroud GL5 3JS 01285 643440 mail@cotswoldcanals.com www.cotswoldcanals.com FRIENDS OF THE CROMFORD CANAL George Rogers 2 Main St, Whatstandwell Matlock DE4 5HE 07789 493967 web@cromfordcanal.org.uk www.cromfordcanal.org.uk DERBY & SANDIACRE CS Doug Flack 23 Thoresby Cres, Draycott Derby DE72 3PH 01332 576037 www.derbycanal.org.uk

DORSET & SOMERSET CANAL SOCIETY Derrick Hunt 43 Greenland Mills Bradford on Avon BA15 1BL 01225 863066 derrickjohnhunt@btinternet.com DROITWICH CT Vaughan Welch 29 Dice Pleck, Northfield Birmingham B31 3XW 0121 477 9782 kvwelch@supanet.com www.worcs.com/dct

ROLLE CANAL AND NTH DEVON WATERWAYS SOC Adrian & Hilary Wills Vale Cottage, 7 Annery Kiln Weare Giffard, Bideford EX39 5JE Tel: 01237 477705 adrian@thewills.eclipse.co.uk www.therollecanal.co.uk RIVER GIPPING TRUST Martin Bird 29 Melton Grange Rd, Melton Woodbridge IP12 1SA 01394 380765 restoration@rivergippingtrust. org.uk

EAST ANGLIAN WATERWAYS ASSOC David Revill, 43 Kings Road Coltishall, Norfolk NR12 7DX 01603 738648 david_gisela@hotmail.com

GRAND WESTERN CT Denis Dodd, Wharf Cottage Nynehead, Wellington Somerset TA21 0BJ 01823 661653

EREWASH CANAL P&DA Mick Golds 73 Sudbury Avenue Larklands, Ilkeston Derbys DE7 5EA Notts (0115) 9328042

GRANTHAM CANAL SOC Colin Bryan 113 Hoe View Road Cropwell Bishop Nottingham NG12 3DJ 01159 892248 colin.bryan@granthamcanal.com www.granthamcanal.com

ESSEX WATERWAYS LTD Colin Edmond Paper Mill Lock, North Hill Little Baddow Essex CM3 4BT 01245 226245 colin.edmond@wrg.org.uk www.waterways.org.uk

HEREFS & GLOUCS CT c/o The Wharf House, Over Gloucester GL2 8DB 01452 332900 www.h-g-canal.org.uk

KESCRG Eddie Jones FOXTON INCLINED PLANE ‘Altamount’, Coventry Road TRUST Fillongley, Coventry CV7 8EQ c/o Mike Beech 0845 226 8589 Foxton Canal Museum eddie@kescrg.org.uk Middle Lock, www.kescrg.org.uk DIG DEEP INITIATIVE Gumley Road, Foxton Alan Cavender Market Harborough LANCASTER CT 53 Derwent Drive, Leicestershire Paul Shaw, 12 Malham Clo Maidenhead SL6 6LE LE16 7RA Lancaster LA1 2SJ 01628 629033 0116 279 2657 01524 35685 alancavender@waitrose.com mike@foxcm.freeserve.co.uk paul_shaw@lineone.net www.dig-deep.org.uk www.fipt.org.uk www.lctrust.co.uk


LAPAL CANAL TRUST 26 Loynells Road, Rednal Birmingham B45 9NP 01785 713862 www.lapal.org LICHFIELD & HATHERTON CANALS REST'N TRUST Sue Williams, Norfolk House 29 Hall Lane, Hammerwich Burntwood WS7 0JP 01543 671427 info@lhcrt.org.uk www.lhcrt.org.uk NEATH & TENNANT CS Ian Milne 16 Gower Road, Sketty, Swansea SA2 9BY 01792 547902 MANCHESTER BOLTON & BURY CANAL SOCIETY Steve Dent 07802-973228 www.mbbcs.org.uk

SALTISFORD CT Budbrooke Road Warwick CV34 5RJ 01926 490 006 saltisfordcanal@aol.com, www.saltisfordcanal.co.uk SCARS (SANKEY CANAL) Colin Greenall 16 Bleak Hill Rd, Eccleston St. Helens WA10 4RW 01744 731746 colin.greenall@btopenworld.com www.scars.org.uk SHREWSBURY & NEWP’T CANALS TRUST Tam Hazan tamir_hazan@lineone.net www.sncanal.org.uk

STOVER CANAL SOCIETY George Whitehead 26 Northumberland Place, Teignmouth TQ14 8BU. Tel: 01626 775498 Georgewhitehead1@tiscali.co.uk, www.stovercanal.co.uk

WENDOVER ARM TRUST Roger Leishman 7 Hall Park Berkhamsted HP4 2NU 01442 874536 www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk

STRATFORD ON AVON CS Roger Hancock 1 Tyler Street Stratford upon Avon CV37 6TY 01789 296096 rogmabhan@aol.com www.stratfordcanalsociety.org.uk

WEY & ARUN CT The Granary Flitchfold Farm Loxwood, Billingshurst West Sussex RH14 ORH 01403 752403 office@weyandarun.co.uk www.weyandarun.co.uk

SURREY & HANTS CANAL SOC Peter Redway, 1 Redway Cottages St. John's Lye, Woking GU21 1SL 01483 721710 p.redway1@btinternet.com www.basingstokecanal.org.uk/society

SHROPSHIRE UNION CS Richard Hall, 35 Tyrley Cotts Market Drayton TF9 2AH 01630 657737 MONMOUTHSHIRE BRECON hall@ostw.co.uk & ABERGAVENNY CT www.shropshireunion.org.uk SUSSEX OUSE Phil Hughes RESTORATION TRUST 14 Locks Canal Centre SLEAFORD NAV TRUST Paul Morris, Farmcote Cwm Lane, Rogerstone Steve Hayes Nettlesworth Lane Newport NP10 9GN 10 Chelmer Close Old Heathfield 01633 892167 N Hykeham, Lincs LN8 8TH Heathfield mail@fourteenlocks.co.uk 01522-689460 TN21 9AP www.mon-brec-canal.org.uk email: steve.hayes01453 863683 kyme@ntlworld.com sussexouse@hotmail.com NWPG www.sleafordnavigation.co.uk www.sxouse.org.uk Graham Hawkes 27 Lawrence Rd., Tilehurst SOMERSETSHIRE COAL SWANSEA CANAL SOC Reading RG30 6BH CANAL SOCIETY Clive Reed 0118 941 0586 Derrick Hunt 17 Smithfield Road, grahamhawkes@btinternet.com 43 Greenland Mills Pontardawe, Swansea, www.nwpg.org.uk Bradford on Avon BA15 1BL West Glam. 01225-863066 SA8 4LA POCKLINGTON C.A.S derrickjohnhunt@btinternet,com 01792 830782 Paul Waddington www.coalcanal.org Church House, Main St. THAMES & MEDWAY Hemingborough, Selby RIVER STOUR TRUST CANAL ASSOCIATION N. Yorks YO8 7QE John Morris John Epton 01757 638027 (eves) 2 Stockton Close, Hadleigh 45 Vinson Clo, Orpington 01405 763985 (days) Ipswich IP7 5SH BR6 0EQ www.pocklington. jgmorris@btinternet.com homepage.ntlworld. gov.uk/PCAS www.riverstourtrust.org com/john.epton/tmca

WILTS & BERKS CT George Eycott 4 Lewendon Road Newbury RG14 1SP 07771 775745 bungle@wrg.org.uk www.wilts-berks-canal.org.uk WOODEN CANAL BOAT SOCIETY 173 Stamford St Central Ashton under Lyne OL6 7PS 0161-330-8422 wcbs@core2.com www.wcbs.org.uk WRG: GENERAL ENQUIRIES, CANAL CAMP BOOKINGS, DRIVER AUTHORISATION Jenny Black, IWA Island House Moor Road Chesham HP5 1WA 01494 783453 enquiries@wrg.org.uk www.wrg.org.uk WRG NORTH WEST Malcolm Bridge 3 Heather Bank Littleborough OL15 0JQ 01706 378582 nw@wrg.org.uk www.wrgnw.org.uk

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Directory WRG NW - ENQUIRIES/ PAPERCHASES David McCarthy Woodstock, 14 Crumpsall Lane Manchester M8 5FB 0161-740 2179 www.wrgnw.org.uk WRG BITM & 'NAVVIES' DIARY David Wedd 7 Ringwood Road Blackwater Camberley Surrey GU17 0EY 01252 874437 dave.wedd@wrg.org.uk www.wrgbitm.org.uk LONDON WRG Tim Lewis 5 Herongate Road, Wanstead London E12 5EJ 07802 518094 tim@timlewis.org.uk www.london.wrg.org.uk WRG EAST MIDLANDS John Baylis 215 Clipstone Rd. West Forest Town Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895 ESSEX WRG John Gale 24 Longleaf Drive Braintree, Essex CM7 1XS 01376-947360 essex@wrg.org.uk www.essex.wrg.org.uk

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WRG SOUTH WEST Gavin Moor, 54 Kiln Close Calvert, Buckingham MK18 2FD 07970 989245 Gavin.Moor@wrg.org.uk IWA/WRG STAMP BANK Steve & Mandy Morley 33 Hambleton Grove Emerson valley Milton Keynes MK4 2JS 01908 520090 mail@morleytowers.org.uk CANAL CAMPS MOBILES (A) 07850 422156 (B) 07850 422157 'NAVVIES' EDITOR Martin Ludgate 35 Silvester Rd. London SE22 9PB 020 8693 3266 0777 947 8629 (mobile) martin.ludgate@wrg.org.uk 'WRGWEAR' CLOTHING Helen Gardner 33 Victoria Road Northwich CW9 5RE 07989 425346 wrgwear@wrg.org.uk WRG BOAT CLUB Sadie Dean 236 Station Rd. Whittlesey Peterborough PE7 2HA 01733 204505 07748 186867 (mobile) sadiedean@msn.com

WRG DIRECTORS CHAIRMAN Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Road Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk WRG PLANT George Eycott 4 Lewendon Road Newbury RG14 1SP 07771 775745 bungle@wrg.org.uk SITES GROUP Judith Palmer 3 Finwood Rd. Rowington Warwickshire CV35 7DH 01564 785293 jude.moore@btinternet.com WRGPRINT John & Tess Hawkins 4 Links Way Croxley Grn Rickmansworth WD3 3RQ 01923 448559 john.hawkins@wrg.org.uk IWA CHAIRMAN Clive Henderson c/o IWA, Island House Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA clive.henderson@ waterways.org.uk TRANSPORT MANAGER Jonathan Smith 23 Hardings Chalgrove Oxford OX44 7TJ 01865 891 370 jonathan.smith@wrg.org.uk

OTHER DIRECTORS Rick Barnes 11 Lawns Park North Woodchester Stroud GL5 5PP 07976 748345 rick.barnes@wrg.org.uk Mick Beattie 42 Eaton Drive Rugeley WS15 2FS Spencer Collins The Boatyard, 5 Hammond Way Trowbridge BA14 8RS 07790 017418 spencer.collins@wrg.org.uk Chris Davey Angle House Green Terrace Skipton BD23 5DS chris.davey@wrg.org.uk John Baylis, 215 Clipstone Rd. West Forest Town Mansfield Notts NG19 0HJ 01623 633895 Harry Watts 12 St John Road, Slough SL2 5EY 07889 237834 harry.watts@wrg.org.uk James Butler 7 Hawthorne Close Woodford Halse NN11 3NY 07745 256117 james.butler@wrg.org.uk Helen Gardner (see above)

Help us keep this directory up to date If you spot any errors or omissions or know of any changes to any contact details in this list please pass them on to the editor. The next full directory will appear in issue 248, but any corrections received before then will also be included in the next available ‘Navvies Noticeboard’. Thank you for your assistance.


...in which the Navvies editor apologises once again. And again,

Navvies News Canalway Cavalcade needs you!

Thanks from WRG Print We hope that everybody has had a good Christmas and start to the New Year. The last issue of Navvies went into the post before Christmas, complete with the Canal Camps brochure for 2011. Jenny got the artwork for the Canal Camps to the print company in good time and a completion/ delivery date was arranged; so far everything was looking good. But then a lot of white stuff fell out of the sky on certain parts of the country and others suffered with severe frosts. The print company then said that they might not be able to meet the target date as arranged. Meanwhile, because of the cold, I was going to have problems printing Navvies; and so with the fan heater on in the shed for several hours and also leaving the machine running for about an hour - with all of the rollers inked up - all was set to go. Generally all went well, the job taking rather longer than usual. If anybody received a copy with ‘streaky’ marks across the pages then contact either Jenny Black or me for another copy. Because of the possible delay (it was actually delivered on time) with the Canal Camp brochure, and also the non availability of some dates at the London Canal Museum it led to the majority of the ‘stuffing’ (no, not the turkey!) being carried out at home and then taken to the IWA offices in Chesham for onward posting. Many thanks to those folks who attend London Canal Museum for the regular Navvies ‘stuffing’ evenings and also to the Museum for the continuing use of the facility. And, if it’s not too late, can we wish you all a very Happy New Year. John Hawkins, WRG Print

Canal Camps latest news First the bad news: I’m afraid we’ve had to cancel camp 2011-03 which was to be on the Chelmer & Blackwater on June 25 - July 2.

But on to the good news: we’ve already got leaders sorted for lots of the summer camps. Teams confirmed to date include Paul Shaw and Tom Rawlings on the Basingstoke on June 25 - July 2; Ed Walker and Richard Worthington in charge of the River Avon camp on July 2-9; George Rogers and David Salisbury on the Cromford on July 16-23; and Chris Colbourne and Steve Harmes leading on the Montgomery on August 6-13. In the next issue we’ll get the leaders to fill you in on what the work’s likely to be for the first half of the programme, in the first part of our Summer Camps Preview.

Stop press: Training Weekend Just as Navvies was going to press we heard that the date for the WRG Training Weekend had been confirmed as June 18-19. Details about it in the next issue, but in the meantime contact Jenny at Head Office for latest information.

Apologies from the editor (1) ...for one or two odd little errors that somehow crept into the corners of a few pages of the last issue. Hope we’ve managed to do a bit better this time.

Apologies from the editor (2) Unfortunately due to a computer problem we’ve recently managed to lose some emails that were sent to the editor prior to early January this year. There’s a chance that among these might be one or two contributions to the magazine that we hadn’t yet printed. So if you sent in anything before January that you were expecting to see in print, but it hasn’t appeared yet, could you please send it again? And ditto any other requests emailed to the editor that he doesn’t appear to have acted upon. It might not just be the usual level of incompetence. Or it might be. Sorry, and thanks.

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NOTICEBOARD ALL CHANGE AT KESCRG After many years in charge of KESCRG weekend work parties Eddie Jones has finally decided to take a rest from it. Eddie would like to make it clear that although he has also handed over various other behindthe-scenes jobs at KESCRG he hasn’t given up digging or anything drastic like that! He has handed over responsibility for weekend digs to Bobby Silverwood who can be contacted on his mobile phone 07971 814986 or email bobby@kescrg.org.uk. Eddie remains as the general enquiries contact for the group.

Navvies price increase Sorry folks, it’s happened! Navvies has gone up to £3.00 per year minimum subscription. That’s still a minimum subscription that doesn’t cover all our costs: please add a donation if you can afford to.

Inglesham Update The IWA Inglesham Lock Appeal to raise funds to enable WRG volunteers to restore this crucial lock where the Cotswold Canals meet the Thames had raised almost £25,000 towards the £125,000 target as we went to press. To support the appeal see: www.inglesham.org.uk

Moving house Nic Bennett has moved to: The Roundhouse Cottage, Downington, Lechlade, Gloucestershire GL7 3EE If you move house don’t forget to tell Navvies

Dial-a-camp To contact any WRG Canal Camp: 07850 422156 (Kit ‘A’ camps) 07850 422157 (Kit ‘B’ camps)

Stamps wanted

Send used stamps, petrol coupons, phone cards, empty computer printer ink cartridges to IWA/WRG Stamp Bank, 33 Hambleton Grove, Milton Keynes MK4 2JS. All proceeds to canal restoration.

Contacting the chairman: Mike Palmer 3 Finwood Rd, Rowington, Warwickshire CV35 7DH Tel: 01564 785293 email: mike.palmer@wrg.org.uk

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Thanks to Chris Griffiths of Stroudprint for his continued help with Navvies printing

Congratulations to Leonie and Ben O’Donoghue on the arrival of Isla Grace on 9 December weighing 8lb 7.5oz


Underwater angling, poisonous beer, mixers and the need for H&S legislation...

Infill What’s your poison?

I’m afraid our agony aunt Deirdre is away on holiday at the moment but she’ll be back next time. In the meantime here’s a selection of pics showing (above) that the waterways killjoys are at it again, banning the innocent sport of underwater angling on the River Stort, while (above right) at a recent boat festival it seems the chairman now has his own brew. Finally John Hawkins sent in the pic (right) which I’m assuming shows what he expects the WRG mixer to look like when he’s finally finished rebuilding it.

Scenes you seldom see on a dig: No 5

“I only wish we’d had all this health and safety legislation back in my day.”

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