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1 to attempt (eg the fulfilment of an obligation) by exertion of effort; 2 archaic to strive to achieve or reach ~ vi to make an effort to do something n a serious determined effort

Northampton Branch Newsletter - November 2010

Branch wins Achievement Award For a second time, Northampton Branch have won the Association’s Branch Achievement Award. The official citation for the 2010 accolade stated: As well as the annual boat gathering, with a strong campaigning element (next year will be the 40th year they have organised it), the Branch maintains a very successful programme of year-round activities, a very good newsletter and a website presence. They are closely involved in the Friends of the Canal Museum, who organise what look like becoming annual fixtures in Stoke Bruerne – the Gala Weekend and the Village at War event, both based around the canal at Stoke Bruerne.

Chairman Bernard Morton (right) receiving the award from Regional Chairman John Pomfret

Continued on page 11

Stoke Bruerne’s Award Winning War Weekend Goes with a Bang The canal village of Stoke Bruerne resounded to the sound of mortar and gunfire over the weekend of 2nd-3rd October for a repeat of its now annual World War II re-enactment staged by The Friends of The Canal Museum.

Continued on page 22

The IWA was founded in 1946 to campaign for the retention, restoration and development of Britain’s navigable waterways and for their fullest commercial and recreational use. The IWA is a registered Charity (no. 212342) , whose work is supported by members’ subscriptions.


AA unique opportunity to experience the delicate flavours of Indian cuisine at its best!





EDITORIAL MUSINGS Welcome to the last edition of Endeavour of 2010. Feed back that I have received on the new style has been positive. Thank you. Now that winter is here and we top up our diesel tanks to stop condensation, well that might change next year! This is all being brought about by the New Fuel Directive which means that inland waterways have to have lower sulphur in our diesel. This fuel is likely to be road diesel with a red dye in it, which has 7% biofuel added. Biofuel only has a shelf life of up to six months and will affect overwintering of boats. It is also more corrosive than red diesel and will damage oil seals and plastic fuel lines. Not only this, it will encourage the diesel bug to breed clogging up fuel lines and filters. Damage can be exacerbated by the presence of water in the system, so this will need extra and rigorous cleaning and checking, though there are some biocides that will help. The measures must be correct. And there’s more bad news — the new fuel will be more expensive and not so efficient. Life for boaters is getting worse and worse. Let’s hope that they can sort out the problems before it drives us all off the canals. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Happy Boating — or whatever is your thing in and around the waterways.

REGIONAL NEWSLETTER ON-LINE Members are reminded that Aegre, the East Midlands Region newsletter which features information about all the Branches in the Region, including Northampton, is available (in full colour) to read on-line on the IWA website at: aegre_online Or just go to and follow the links to Regions & Branches, then East Midlands




6th 7.45 IWA MK Branch Christmas Social– ticket event at MK Village Pavillion, Worelle Ave Middleton MK MK10 9AD off Tongwell Street A4146 (V11) (Rodney Evans 01908 376449) 11th 5pm Stoke Bruerne Village: Illuminated Boats and Carol Singing. Hot food and beverages. Lantern procession, carol singing on the Museum Green with the children of Stoke Bruerne Primary School illuminated boats, and village gift shop open for last minute Christmas Presents. Prize for best illuminated boat . More info e-mail 14th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree, Blisworth Social/Quiz organised by Mick and Catriona Butler


11th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree, Blisworth Speaker Pat Crecraft - Daniel Adamson Up Date 20th 8pm Friends of the Canal Museum Speaker Tim Coghlan - "Evelyn's War" as serialised in Canals and Rivers magazine. 24th 7.45 IWA MK Branch Meeting — James murders the Nile, with James Griffin, Managing Director of Wyvern Shipping Co (see above for venue)


8th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree, Blisworth Speaker Mike Beech– Foxton IPT /Archives 17th 8pm Friends of the Canal Museum Speaker TBA 28th 7.45 IWA MK Branch AGM followed by BW South East Update for boaters, with Jeff Whyatt, General Manager, BW South East (see above for venue)

Buckingham Canal Society Work Party Dates December 2nd, 12th, 16th, 30th January 9th, 13th, 27th February 10th, 13th, 24th For further details contact Athina Beckett on 01908 661217



Stowe Hill Wharf, Heyford Lane, Weedon, Northants NN7 4SF Tel: 01327 341365 Stowe Hill Workshop is now run by Graham Shepherd & Robert Gudgeon

● Boat Building

• • • • • • •

Full Repaints Hull Blacking/Stern Gear Inspection and Repairs Engine Repairs and Maintenance Complete Fit-Out and Woodwork Alterations Plumbing Installations and Repairs Electrical Installations and Repairs

All work undertaken, from simple tasks to complete fit-outs

Cornhill Lane, Bugbrooke, NN7 3QB by Bridge 36 on the Grand Union Canal Tel: 01604 832585 Under the management of Richard Williams and Paul Hazell





Branch Chairman’s Jottings by Bernard Morton More quickly than anyone expected arrives the news that British Waterways is definitely to be abolished and instead to be reorganised as a charitable trust. I understand that the move to charitable trust status must be completed by April 2012. That really isn’t far away – even before the Olympics! To my mind, this must only be good news. Over the past year or so, the uncertainties regarding the future of BW have become more and more tortuous, especially in view of the regular financial cuts in Government grant-in-aid. More cuts are inevitably still to be made, but at least now we know generally where the future lays. I say “generally” because I believe to date no decision has been determined about non-BW waterways – in our case our principal concern must be the Environment Agency controlled River Nene. The logical step would seem to be for EA’s navigation requirements to become the responsibility of the new Trust, with flood control and associated environmental management issues hived off to a separate body. We shall just have to wait and see. What is clear, however, is that the Association’s relentless lobbying at the highest Governmental level has had considerable influence. Broadly speaking it’s the outcome that Robert Aickman campaigned for decades ago, namely a national navigation authority. There is still much work to be done in settling the detail, but we can rest assured that the Association will be well in there, advising and cajoling, to ensure a fair and equitable outcome. Verdict: so far, so good. On the domestic front, the big news is that the Branch’s annual Gathering of Boats in 2011 has been upgraded to “national” status. In official parlance, we are to host the IWA’s National Campaign Rally over the May Day weekend, Saturday 30th April to Monday 2nd May, although, of course, boats will be gathering from Friday, 29th if not earlier. Please see separate leaflet enclosed with this issue of Endeavour. This, naturally, has thrown a load of extra work on to the shoulders of the Boat Gathering sub-committee whose members are now meeting monthly to set the whole thing up. Is there anyone out there who would be prepared to lend a hand? Your assistance is urgently needed; there is only so much that the present band of volunteers can do. Please contact me (details inside back page ) or John Pomfret, the new Chairman of the organising sub-committee on as quickly as possible. Meanwhile I have to say that support for the Branch’s monthly social meetings so far this autumn and, in particular, the Annual Dinner, has been disappointing.

7 Those there at the dinner numbered barely 30. Why? The venue was The Boat Inn at Stoke Bruerne, the prime choice when we switched venues several years ago and attendances were around the 70 mark with a waiting list. The Boat Inn offers excellent surroundings and good food, so I really do need to know why there is this lack of interest. The price of the meal has been held in check, but somehow I doubt whether this is the principal reason. Is it because we lack a speaker or some form of entertainment? Please give your committee some feedback; bear in mind that we are here for you and wish to provide you with what you want. Let’s have a good turnout for the December Christmas social meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn at Blisworth on Tuesday 14th December at 8pm. It’s the annual Quiz Night (with mince pies) orchestrated by Mick and Catriona – a good fun evening with lots of laughs and prizes too! If you have them handy, please bring along with you table decorations to add to the festive feeling and there will be a prize for the best decorated table. Perhaps some of you can recall that Mick organised the Friday night Beetle Drive at the Boat Gathering in April. Now, no-one can say that wasn’t hilarious … Good news time – as you can see from the story on the front page, Northampton Branch has been awarded the IWA’s Branch Achievement Award for 2010. This is the second time the Branch has received this accolade and it is a genuine feather in the cap for all of us. One of the chief reasons we gained this award was in recognition of the efforts of ALL Branch members in supporting local causes. Well done, everybody. And finally it’s the time of the year to take stock. I know many of you, in “Strictly” terms, keep boating (yes, thinking of dancing, what about an annual dinner and DANCE? I’m told we held such occasions once, and black tie jobbies at that!). Indeed, winter boating has a special charm of its own, but whether you’re afloat or on the land, sincere Season’s Greetings. May 2011 be a good one for all of you and for the waterways at large.

GRAND JUNCTION BOAT COMPANY Boat Building and Fitting, Marine Engineers, Electricians, Agents for Yanmar Diesel Engines CANAL MAINTENANCE YARD, BLISWORTH ARM, NORTHAMPTON NN7 3EF Tel: 01604-858043


STEVE KEEPS THE GRAND JUNCTON BOAT CO FLAG FLYING For almost two decades, a popular port of call in our area for boaters with mechanical problems needing attention has been the Grand Junction Boat Company based at the BW maintenance yard at Gayton Junction. Present proprietor Steve Sullivan took the company over in the summer of 2007 from Richard Gill, who founded it in 1991. Richard, who is now a fully qualified boat safety examiner (and regular Endeavour supporter), developed a thriving and well respected operation which is being capably upheld by Steve and his two principal engineers, Trevor Boom and Simon Peek. “I like to think the high reputation of the GJBC is continuing,” says Steve. “If our consistently full order book is any guide, then it is definitely a happy situation. We do advertise a little, but much of our work is local and comes via personal recommendation although we do have some boats being brought here from quite long distances.” It appears no task is too big or too small to be tackled. Complete re-engineering to routine servicing and minor adjustments just to ensure your engine runs more smoothly are all handled with equal professionalism. Other jobs undertaken embrace electrics, central heating installations and fabrication together with general fitting out and alterations, including joinery. The company also carries out work for River Canal Rescue. As well as an administration office, the GJBC leases two workshops on site – one for engineering requirements and the other for timber work. Both Trevor and Simon are fully trained engineers – Trevor worked for Richard Gill and stayed on, whilst Simon, a live-aboard, has been at the yard for two years. Meanwhile Steve, Northampton born and bred, spent several years in the motor trade on repair work and therefore now concentrates on fabrication – re-plating and so on. In fact he was a “snap on” tool dealer operating out of an imposing Mercedes van when he visited the yard one day and found Richard was looking for a successor. “I thought I could fit in here,” Steve recalls “It was certainly a challenge but I am pleased I took it up and now things seem to be going along really well.” Normally there is space at the yard for up to four boats although at busy times six can be accommodated, depending on length and breasted-up three deep.

9 Even in his relatively short time in the canal world, Steve has noticed a preponderance for the “more mature” boater. He observes: “It’s a pity there are not more young people on the cut, but then I suppose it is the cost of it all. The young people you do come across are often on parents’ or grand-parents’ boats.” Despite this he is optimistic for the future of the inland waterways. Realistically he adds: “In these difficult financial times, it’s a question of constant adjustment, isn’t it? There seems to be as many boats about as ever, which is good from our point of view as they all have engines which will need attention from time to time!” Steve is also a strong supporter of the IWA, recognising its work in sustaining in particular the viability of the canal system. “To be honest, were it not for the IWA’s efforts in years past, would I and my colleagues be earning our livings here today? Probably not. Instead we have a live canal in pretty good condition providing pleasure and work for many. Long may it last.” Roger Hasdell

From left Steve Sullivan, Trevor Boom and Simon Peek


Prism approves application for Sculptor Due to the decision to re-bottom Sculptor in wood, more than £26,000 is now needed to carry out essential repairs to ensure the future of the historic ex-working narrowboat Sculptor, but the good news is, PRISM (The Fund for the Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material), have agreed to provide £13,000 of match funding. The most urgent work required to safeguard Sculptor is complete re-bottoming (or planking) of the hull. Linked with this major task is work involving the repair of replacement of worn rivets in the rubbing strakes on the lower hull and the doubling, or replacement, of hull plating behind the knees. The Friends of the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne urgently need your support to raise the current fund total from £12,000 to £13,000 and to set up a contingency fund of around £4,000 to cover unforeseen problems which are likely to occur when the work is begun. Sculptor departed Stoke Bruerne on Saturday 6th November on her way to Brinklow on the North Oxford Canal where the work will be carried out. We will keep you informed in Endeavour of her progress. Donations to the Sculptor Appeal can be made via Laura Sturrock, Treasurer of The Friends of The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne, at 39 Church Street, Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire NN7 3LH (cheques made payable to Friends of The Canal Museum) or make your donation online.

Continued from front page


Branch Wins Achievement Award They are members of and contribute significantly (financially and in manpower terms) to the Blisworth Canal Partnership and the Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership – both of which are very active. They organise an annual clean-up weekend (preceding the rally) to maintain navigability of the West Bridge Branch of the River Nene in Northampton. They have a planning officer and maintain very effective monitoring of local planning applications and contribute comments/objections as appropriate. They maintain pro-active links and ongoing dialogue with the Environment Agency and BW – one example of recent success has been putting pressure on BW and the Council to press a housing developer to fulfil their planning agreement to reinstate a historic crane at lock 17 on the Northampton branch canal.

Thank you your approach to selling was so much more professional than the ‘other’ boat company

along the canal. Barbara O (seller) Just like to say thanks for not only selling my Dad’s boat, but the kindness, for keeping me in touch with the whole process and helpfulness you showed. Linda D (seller) Again may I offer deepest thanks for your kind encouragement and patience over this drawn-out procedure. Richard & Pat F (buyers) Many thanks. It was a pleasure working with you and you have made what was a bit of a traumatic experience for us both as painless as possible. In particular we have appreciated your good communication and very professional style. Andy & Julie W (sellers) Thank you for doing a great job of keeping in touch with us. All the very best and thank you again for your excellent service Gloria & Norman L (sellers) Just wanted to say thanks for everything – you have helped our little dream to happen. We can recommend you as a broker 10 out of 10 . Helen & Pete K (buyers)

rugby boat sales

We don’t need to shout about it. Others do it for us. At Stowe Hill Wharf, Weedon –also diesel, pump out, gas chat, smile ….…01327 342211

12 BRANCH COMMITTEE MEETINGS REVIEW September Branch Magazine The August edition of Endeavour was late being distributed because of approval delays at a higher level! Sorry about this. Advertising rates have been reduced due to the reduction in size of the newsletter. This has been generally welcomed by our valued advertisers. Membership Members were emailed as to whether the were willing to take Endeavour on line. 36 replies were received, 29 in favour and 7 against. This means that 65 in total are willing to receive it online. Planning Planning permission has been granted for the Office and Facilities Building at the Becket ’ s Park Marina. Andy Timms, mentioned the proposed new bridge over the Buckingham Arm and Grand Union Canal at Cosgrove. The committee were against the building of a low level bridge over the Buckingham Arm and would support the Buckingham Canal Society if they raised a formal objection. IWA Festivals It was reported that the National Festivals Committee had approved Burton-on Trent as the venue for 2011 Festival. The committee expressed disappointment that the Northampton proposal had been overlooked and that the 250th anniversary of river navigation as far as Northampton had been missed. Crane Lock 17 Lynda Payton reported that the Crane had been re-installed at its original site near lock 17 on the Northampton Arm at Far Cotton. This had been done without the knowledge of BW and others. As a result the Crane is in an isolated position and could be vandalised. The BW Project Manager for the Northampton Arm was no longer in place and it would be wise for the Branch to co-ordinate future works for the site.

13 October Treasurer ’ s Report Laura Sturrock stated that she wishes to stand down at the next AGM, thereby giving the committee plenty of time to find a replacement. Branch Dinner The number of bookings was low at 28 and might not be sufficient to hold the event as it would be unfair to The Boat Inn to reserve the whole restaurant for the dinner. The beneficiary of raffle proceeds was discussed and decided to go to the Crane at lock 17. The other nomination was the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance as it is always a worthy cause. Branch Magazine Tony Clarke reported that most people are pleased with the new A5 format. Local Societies It was stated that the Village at War at Stoke Bruerne was a success despite the poor weather on Sunday. IWA National Campaign Rally A press release was recently published which confirmed the selection of the Northampton Branch for the venue of the IWA National Campaign Rally 2011. This is to be held in Beckets Park Northampton. John Pomfret outlined that some discussions had already taken place between the Branch and various other organisations including Northampton Borough Council, BW, EA and Caravan Club. There has already been a lot of interest from traders wanting to attend the event. Lynda Payton stated that she was happy to deal with any publicity. Any Other Business John Pomfret was pleased to announce that the Northampton Branch had been awarded the IWA National Branch Achievement Award for 2010. The Silver Salver was formally presented to the Deputy Chairman ( Eric Young ) It was suggested that a more formal presentation be made at the next Branch Meeting.

14 November Treasurer ’ s Report The Northampton Arm Guides were ready and it was explained that John Cheesbrough, who lives at Arm End, had volunteered to keep the box on the wall at the water point replenished with guides when required. Planning Issues Lynda Payton said that she had responded on behalf of the branch to the Daventry Waterspace Consultation. She had highlighted some issues regarding the shape of the canal bank profile that would prohibit mooring in some places. She had also commented on the lack of certain types of retail premises that were missing form the plan for the Daventry Canal Basin. The inclusion of these premises would help to ensure that the canal and basin would be used for more hours during the day and would help with security issues. A discussion followed regarding the ‘ Planning Obligation Strategy ’ . This is a fund that all developers are obliged to contribute to as a condition of the granting of Planning Permissions. It is a fund used to enhance and provide local amenities. Lynda Payton said that it was important that the branch ensures that local waterways and surrounding area were included in any possible benefits from this fund. Regional Meetings There has not been a Regional Meeting since the last committee meeting and the committee members were disappointed that no Regional Meeting had been held. IWA National Campaign Rally John Pomfret has been elected as Chairman of the Rally Committee. IWA 2011 Events Leaflets were available to committee members to distribute; they will also be available at Branch Meetings. The Canal Clean-up prior to the Rally will now take place on April 17th a week earlier than normal as Easter is the weekend before the Rally


A magical celebration of Christmas on the canal… Take a boat trip on the Grand Union Canal, listen to Christmas carols from the children of Stoke Bruerne Primary School. Join in the carol singing and watch a procession of illuminated boats. It’s all happening on Saturday 11th December between 5pm and 7pm at the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne. There'll be hot soup and roasted chestnuts to keep out the chill, the museum shop and other canalside gift shops will be open for a great choice of last minute Christmas presents as well as a chance to get piping hot beverages from the museum café. After 4pm there will be free car parking in the Museum car park, a free mince pie with every hot drink purchased in the museum café and if you spend £10 in the museum shop choose a free Christmas gift! All in all, the perfect start to your family's Christmas celebrations. The first boat trip on “Charlie”, which joins up with the illuminated boat procession at Blisworth Tunnel, leaves from outside the museum at 5pm. The illuminated boats will be arriving about 5.15-5.30pm when the children’s procession leaves the school for the museum green via the Wharf, Boat Inn and lock footbridge ready for the carol service at 6pm. Afterwards there will be a judging and the awarding of a prize for the best illuminated boat. We look forward to seeing you there! Organised by The Friends of The Canal Museum, The Canal Museum, local businesses, villagers and Stoke Bruerne C of E Primary School. For more information telephone the Canal Museum on 01604 862229 or go to or


Northampton’s Waterways – where’s the history all gone? by John Pomfret The demise of Northumbria Branch having finally stimulated me to transfer my membership to Northampton Branch, after living in Braunston for seven years, I thought I should get more involved and attend the Northampton Boat Rally 2009. It also gave me a reason to navigate the 17 locks for the first time for six years (hopefully without spending two hours jammed in Lock 16 by an almost submerged gas bottle, which is what happened the previous time – in the dark of course – law of Sodd). I also looked forward to visiting the Westbridge Arm, a rare chance to ‘do’ a waterway I hadn’t been on before. After a good day’s run from Braunston, including a stop at Lock 16 – but this time to join the young boat crew in front observing a grass snake in the canal - the first thing that struck me was how different the waterside had become since I first boated that way in 1970. It’s now quite difficult to picture the canal and river as they must have been in their carrying heyday - no black GU shed, no Smith’s Timber wharf on the river – instead, waterside housing everywhere! This got me thinking about what other wharves there had been and where they were now. Even in 1970 I didn’t remember there being much. “Oh well”, I thought, “must be up the Westbridge Arm; all will be revealed when I go up there”. So I did (more of that later) but I was still none the wiser – I saw very little trace of former activity, The Latimer and Crick warehouse on the site of the Commissionexcept some walls at the ers’ Wharf, now converted to residential use gasworks that could have been wharves. So when I got back I thought I should find out and assisted by chats with Rodney Hardwick (his mooring is next to mine) and the help of David Blagrove’s book on Northamptonshire Waterways plus extra poking around during the 2010 gathering, it all became clear. The reason a lot of the waterway history has disappeared is not just because wharves have been cleared away, it’s that they have gone and moved the waterways themselves.

17 First the canal was moved in 1879 to make way for a railway engine shed (nothing against engine sheds, especially when they are full of steam engines but why did they have to build it on top of the canal?), then the bit of the river with many of the wharves was moved in the 1970s to make way for the new Carlsberg Brewery (see map). A bit of research on the library clarified that there were indeed numerous wharves in Northampton, many now under the new brewery. The first wharves in Northampton appear to have been the Commissioners’ Wharves on the north bank of the river downstream of South Bridge, served by fen lighters making their way upstream when the river was finally opened to through navigation in 1761. Although this provided a link to imports via Wisbech and Entering the new cut across Baumsholme, past agricultural/forestry products the Carlsberg Brewery, dating from the 1970s from the Fens, the fortunes of the navigation were variable and it was not until the coming of the canal link and access to Warwickshire coal that industrial development really took off and waterborne traffic grew significantly. Even this had a shaky start, with the Grand Junction Canal Company having to be forced to build first a tramroad (in 1805) and, in 1815, the canal branch. Wharves then developed rapidly, bringing coal to a variety of premises, including the gasworks from 1824 (one of the earliest). Timber wharves were located on both banks of the river, up arms on the south bank and at the head of the Westbridge Arm, while Nunn Mills had wharves above and below the weir. These have all been cleared and most replaced by housing or car parks, while the section of river infilled to build the brewery included wharves for the two old breweries (Northampton Brewery Co and Phipps Brewery), as well as the Fellows Morton & Clayton wharf and others. Former wharf locations are shown on the map. Waterway traffics gradually succumbed to railway competition, with many premises gaining rail connections, and it is ironic that the last regular traffic down the canal Arm was not bound for the major Continued on page 20

Site of the former arm to Hughes Coal Yard and Weston Wharf

Waterways of Northampton


ran rthern B ene No Riv er N n Branch) to (Bramp


River diverted when Castle Station expanded in 1881

Inset Former wharves on the Carlsberg site


Filled in by 1928

Existing navigable waterway

Filled in by 1946

Lines, Tangye and Co, later Johnson Wright engineers & wharf FMC wharves, (tannery and coal wharf by 1928)


Existing non-navigable waterway Waterway or watercourse now filled in

Castle station (LNWR) (1859-present)

Hughes coal yard & wharf

Railway (existing or former) with dates Principal road (existing)

Northampton South Junction (Formerly Roade Line Junction)


Brick & tile wharf NBC wharf

Filled in by 1956

Effecive limit of navigation 2009

West Bridge

Former wharf

NBC covered wharf

IWA winding hole Nene Valley Drainage and Navigation Nene Valley Drainage and Navigation Improvement Commissioners 1st District Improvement Commissioners 2nd District Fo ot

Watkin's steam saw mills & wharf (late C19), replaced by Corporation Depot and wharf between 1900 & 1921

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Marvell's Mill (C13 or earlier). Corn mill, then cotton mill from 1742 and corn mill from 1806. Demolished 1920s

op Lo on am pt No rth

919 6

(1 88

Loco shed (1881-1965)

Canal route from (1879) 1)

Baulmsholme (Carlsberg 1973-present)

GJC Northampton Branch (1815-1879)

Latimer & Crick

Phipps Brewery (1817 -1973)

a Co


Former Junction Wharf at terminus of tramroad from GJC at Blisworth (1805-1815)

Calvesholme Weir

Globe Works/ Rice's Foundry (1847 - 1970s)


Cotton End wharf (GJC/GUC)

Duston Junction West

Bridge Street Junction

(1845-present but out of use)

Bridge Street station (LNWR) (1845-1964)

S - South Bridge, also known as Smith's Bridge (rebuilt1816)

Midummer Meadow

Calves' Meadow or Calvesholme

Smith's steam saw mills

Lion Brewery (Early C19, demol.1946)

Red House Weir

Nunn Mills, wharves above & below weir (mills date from 1610 or earlier, expanded by Westley & Clarke 1859, closed 1968) River Nene (navigable Peterborough to Northampton by 1761)

Goods station (MR) (1872-1962)

(1845-present but out of use)

Hardingstone (1845-197 2) Junction

Lock No. 16


Cow Meadow

Commissioners' Wharf Formerly timber yards

Shipley Wharf

Lock No. 17

(1 85


River Nene infilled mid-1970s

River Nene new cut

Freemen's Common (later Cattle Market site)

NBC Phoenix Brewery (1857-1974)

Overflow 5)

Ea r l - Th Cowpe e 15 r's Arc h Viadu ct es

River Nene Western Branch (Kislingbury Branch)

Gas Works 1824-1970 Demolished 1973

Northampton Lock formerly Cow Meadow Lock (rebuilt 1937)

) 39 19 287 (1

Duston Junction North

St John's station (MR) (1872-1939)


e lat s ed ork ten s w gh ga rai r S t 9 fo C1


Hughes & Co coal yard Weston Wharf


Gas Works s) 970 to 1 C19

Filled in about 1974-5

Gas Works (1824-present)



(1 8

81 -p

re se n



(1859-present but out of use)

Corp o

Me ad ow

E T Trenery G Savage & Sons timber building materials & sawmills (gone by 1928)


Scale (miles)



Continued from page 17

industrial centre of Northampton but to Whitworths Mills at Wellingborough. So, back to the Westbridge Arm, what is there to see? The two branches of the river now join upstream of the canal (instead of almost opposite as before) and the first section takes you northwards along a straight, landscaped channel which has never included wharves. Approaching a sharp left hand bend under a concrete bridge, you could close your eyes and picture the coal wharf on an arm straight ahead (now Sylvan scene on the Westbridge Arm a car park) and a line of wharves along the old course of the river to your right, however, there is lumpy water under the bridge so best keep your eyes open and feel your way carefully. Passing those obstructions, I found the rest of the channel clear up to the winding hole, passing through the gasworks site and under the new Towcester Road which cuts right through the former site of the 13th century Marvell’s Mill. I suppose I could have stopped at the winding hole but there had definitely been a wharf further upstream at Watkins Steam Saw Mills, later replaced by a wharf serving the council depot so I thought “why not give it a go”? OK there are some big stones under the railway bridges but no real problems in getting up past most of the recently piled edge of the council depot but that’s as far as it went. With West Bridge and the maltings housing the Frog Island Brewery tantalisingly in sight, there was no way I could get past the silt bank under the former depot access bridge, so a gentle retreat in reverse was the order of the day. In 2010 I repeated the exercise but in reverse, thinking I might be able to work my way up through the silt but managed to remove a mattress Westbridge and Frog Island Brewery just out of reach from the river under the railway bridges using the propeller (not advised!) and ran out of time (and energy) to do more. However, it wouldn’t take much to make this navigable again and it got me thinking about how to encourage more use of the arm – perhaps a trip boat operation combined with brewery tours?

21 So that was the Westbridge Arm. What about the western (Kislingbury) branch of the Nene, which was never officially navigable. So off I went, past the pontoon at B&Q, under Towcester Road, under the footbridge, under the railway bridge on the line linking Castle Station and Approaching the navigable (east curve) railway bridge before Bridge Street Station – all grounding on the remains of the demolished west curve bridge starting to look quite pretty then an abrupt halt! A bit of broddling with the shaft seemed to suggest this was due to rather large bits of the former railway ridge on the Duston West to North curve being in the bottom of the river. The river upstream seemed fairly passable and later visits on land suggested that it might be possible to get to beyond the ‘15 arches’ viaduct of the main railway line, where a convenient side stream could easily make a winding hole. Barbecue mooring out on the flood meadow anyone? How about we have a work party to clear the stones and give it a try at the 2011 campaign rally? So, it seems most of the waterway history in central Northampton has been irretrievably filled in or replaced by modern housing. The restoration of the crane by Lock 17 helps to maintain the links with the previous freight activity on the waterways but perhaps there is also scope for interpretation panels along the waterside paths to remind people of what was once there.

Sales Table Just a reminder to all Branch members—we now have a “New Look” sales table, selling good quality stock at extremely low competitive prices. Please support this. All good quality items gratefully accepted and Eric Young trying a scarf for size with Catriona waiting for the sale of course all proceeds go to your Branch fund. Thanking you in advance. Catriona Butler


Continued from front page

Stoke Bruerne’s Award Winning War Weekend This colourful 40s event was opened on the Saturday morning by local MP Andrea Leadsom accompanied by Churchill (aka canal personality Ken Roseblade) and Field Marshall Montgomery (Alan Oliver). This year’s event was bigger and better than ever, with a vintage fair complete with dodgems and a helterskelter. Attractions also included a replica Spitfire, musical entertainers George Formby (aka Paul Casper)

A spiv doing some business and Lola Lamour; and a special Land Army display featuring vintage tractors and a Dig for Victory garden along with farm implements and static animals. Even the poor weather on Sunday didn’t deter families from turning out to experience what it was like to live in the austere 40s and learn how to do the “Lambeth Walk” at the popular afternoon tea dances. There was plenty to do for the chil-

A replica Spitfire dren too – with Wild About Waterways running activities in the Canal Museum which was offering free admission on both days. And as usual, there was plenty of activity on the water with boat trips and vintage boats, as well as trading boats selling “black market” cheese and delicious fudge. A combat re-enactment

23 A £50 prize to the “best dressed house” in Stoke Bruerne judged by “Churchill”, who toured the village by jeep, was won by Rory O’Farrell and his partner Kirsty at Rosebud Cottage who not only taped up their windows but hung out bunting and played stirring wartime music to entertain the passing crowds. All surplus proceeds go to The Friends of The Canal Museum in their work supporting the Museum. The event also benefits local charities and organisations such as Greyhound Rescue, the Village School, RSPCA, Stoke Bruerne Parish Church and the Scouts.


Nene 250 and the IWA National Campaign Festival, Northampton, 2011 250 years ago next year, after many tribulations, the Nene was finally made navigable from its tidal reaches at the seaport of Peterborough to Northampton. Although the Nene navigation was not an unqualified business success, it did focus attention on the Northampton riverside and the advantages of water transport, such that when the Grand Junction Canal was trying to argue its way out of constructing the authorised branch to Northampton, the city fathers forced them to construct first the tramway in 1805, then the canal branch in 1815. This proved to be much more influential in the industrial development of Northampton and the riverside became alive with wharves handling all kinds of material. Over more recent years, commercial freight traffic to Northampton has ceased and wharf areas have been redeveloped. In line with the Local Plan, which requires waterside development to provide access to the river for waterside activities, good access has been provided but recent development has been confined to housing, with nothing to encourage the public to visit the riverside – no shops, pubs, restaurants, visitor attractions or facilities for river users. As a result, unsurprisingly, the very accessible river and canal banks remain largely dead for much of the time, although various organisations, such as IWA, the Sea Cadets, St John Ambulance (community trip boat) and Rotary Club (with their dragon boats event) do make use of the water. The need to connect the town with the river is starting to be recognised and the Environment Agency’s marina, which is planned to be a visitor attraction as well as a mooring place, is due to open in spring

25 2011. It is hoped this will be a catalyst for greater use of the riverside and plans are in hand to link this with the town centre via the old railway line that went to St John’s Street station. So in 2011 we have the 250th anniversary of the Nene Navigation, a marina opening and a campaign needed to get the riverside revitalised – it seems like an ideal year for the National Campaign Festival to visit Northampton. We have been in discussions with Northampton Council, who are interested in all three aspects, and with the Environment Agency, ANRC, AWCC, BW, Rotary, St John, Northampton Enterprise, WNDC and others and the favoured solution for celebrating the 250th anniversary is a series of events through the year from March to October, badged as ‘Nene 250’, with individual bodies running the separate events. Our annual boat gathering on May Day bank holiday weekend, enlarged to be the IWA’s National Campaign Festival for 2011, will be one of these events. Others include the Sea Cadets Laforey Day, a play boat competition at the Nene White Water Centre, the Marina official opening, ANRC festival at Titchmarsh, Rotary dragon boats, a one day 250th anniversary event on 7th August, cultural Olympiad events leading up to the Olympics 2012. There will be more; watch this space! With this being a bigger event that usual, we will need more help. Anyone who can assist or help with loan of equipment (any spare marquees around?) please contact me as soon as possible – many thanks. John Pomfret, Festival Chairman

BW Winter Stoppages 2010/2011 10th January— 4th February Braunston Locks 31st January—18th February Stoke Bruerne Locks 14th February –11th March Buckby Locks If you notice a problem with facilities on the canals phone 0845 6715530 and don't assume someone else has already called. If you encounter an emergency on the canal network phone British Waterways 0800 47 99 47


Blisworth Canal Partnership Lock beams for Blisworth - and yes we do know they are upside down! And yes we did put them in that way on purpose, we’ll leave it up to the readers to think why! If you recall these beams were televised being removed from the Bucky Flight earlier in the year and in the true spirit of recycling, they have been given a new lease of life as seating on the grassed canal side area opposite Blisworth Mill. Members of the Partnership team intend to paint them and spruce up the existing balance beam by Candle Bridge at the same time any day soon. British Waterways staff, notably Mike and Bill who helped Partnership members set down the concrete plinths for the beams to rest on, and Martha Holdom who masterminded the crane lift, have all been brilliant to work alongside. David Tuckey also donated his time, skills and heavy lifting equipment without which the task would never have been successful. Our thanks go to all of them. The £1000 donated by Northampton Branch towards our ‘Walk in the Woods’ Pocket Park will soon be put to good use. Jeff Whyatt, General Manager, BW South East, has praised the Partnership for the high standard of its Management Plan for the project and has signed the adoption agreement. This adoption agreement will be fully signed up by the Partnership by the end of October and the planned work will be ready to be organised. We have also been successful in our bid to The Woodland Trust for 420 trees and are seeking donations of tree guards and stakes if anybody knows a favourable source for these we’d appreciate the knowledge. The Partnership has many volunteers waiting in the wings to help clear and replant the site. We’ll be advertising the dates for work parties on our website, in the local press and if allowed the Northampton Branch website. The more the merrier so to speak, why not come and join us. None of our work towards this project would have been successful without the commitment of Dan Barnett, Martha Holdom and James Clifton at BW. They continuously help and encourage us and have been as supportive as we could have possibly wished for. Passers-by will have no doubt noticed that the thousands of gallons of water usually seen cascading down the culvert by the north portal of the tunnel have vanished. The whys and wherefores appear to be a mystery. Fisher Brook, the water course that

Lock beam being lowered into place

27 feeds it has all but dried up. This has been running for centuries and the eldest members of our community cannot remember it in this state, even through the severest of droughts. The Environment Agency paid a visit at our request and used their professional expertise to confirm that the water had gone. We are now pursuing a fuller explanation. British Waterways are to send engineers into the tunnel to ensure that the brickwork casing is not being deluged. Anybody any ideas as to the missing water? Jan Andrews, Blisworth Canal Partnership

NEWS FROM THE NENE As you will be aware, the Coalition Government has announced that British Waterways is to be replaced with a new charitable body. The Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon MP, has explained that the move will 'give users of the waterways a greater say in their future management and help to ensure they remain part of our natural and cultural heritage, of value to society and the economy’. Future funding for the new body should come from a combination of a guaranteed, long-term Government contract, commercial income and growing charitable receipts from donations and legacies. We have been working closely with British Waterways and Defra for some months now to determine whether Environment Agency navigations should be transferred to the new body, proposed to be up and running by April 2012. An in-depth analysis of the structures that may need to be included and options for operating navigations independently of water and flood risk management are being investigated, before the Minister decides if the Government are minded that our waterways should come under the management of the new organisation. Richard Benyon MP stated at the AINA conference in November that he will make further announcement early in the New Year 2011. Whilst the type of body our Anglian Waterways will be managed by in the future is still undecided, one thing we can be certain of is continuing pressures on our budgets. With this in mind, income collected from boat licences is increasingly important as it is used to directly maintain and improve our waterways. This year we have issued 300 offence tickets, 40 warning letters and successfully prosecuted 6 cases where boat owners had failed to register their craft. We will continue to take enforcement action that will benefit the majority of boaters who always register their craft properly. As a reminder, all boats kept, let for hire or used on Environment Agency waterways, including the main river, private moorings, marinas and backwaters, must be registered. Registration discs must be displayed on craft so that they are clearly visible and it is the owners responsibility to inform us in writing of a change in ownership of the boat – until this is done they remain the legal owner and responsible for registering it. The civil engineering works at Northampton Moorings are complete and the floating pontoons are all installed. The finer points of the contract for the construction of the facilities building are being worked through and construction will start soon. 720 marginal plants, including loosestrife, aquatic grass, sedge and iris, have been planted into specially created shelving around the perimeter of the marina. These will benefit wildlife and help to make the marina an attractive place to visit. Continued on page 31





RESTAURANT º BARS º BOAT TRIP ——————————————


Enjoy a full evening of fine wines accompanying a 6 - course celebration meal with entertainment and dancing to the Lincoln Noel Trio

£85.00 per person

01604 862428 The Little Mermaid Canal Shop Stoke Bruerne Danish Gifts, Glassware Wooden Toys, Jewellery, Candles, Canal Prints and Flower Decorations


Open daily from 10.30am to 4.30pm (closed Mondays & Tuesdays) until end of year. Jan & Feb, only Saturdays & Sundays from 10.30am to 4.30pm


The Wharf, Stoke Bruerne, NN12 7SE 07721 - 505525


Grand Union, Oxford & Leics Canals Rivers Nene and Thames RING:



SUPPLIES We are a family run, customer friendly business based adjacent to Bridge 32 at Nether Heyford. Our service point is clear of moored boats making your stop quick and easy. We offer the following services:

• • • •

DIESEL – always competively priced PUMP OUT – no meter clock here BLUE TOILET FLUID ODORLOS – organic waste tank treat-


CALOR GAS – all sizes of bottled gas including Camping Gaz.

SOLID FUELS – all types of smokeless fuel or coal. Plus firelighters, sticks and logs.

New on the lockside at Stoke Bruerne SUBLIME INDIAN CUISINE New fully licensed restaurant Serving the finest ingredients with careful preparation TAKE AWAY SERVICE AVAILABLE

CHARNWOOD STOVES – all sizes of multi-fuel stoves with or without boilers

MORRIS OILS – popular grades of engine oil plus water resistant grease FUEL SET FUEL CONDITIONER Most major credit cards accepted. Open: 8.00am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 1.00 pm on Saturdays Fred Tarry Bridge Cottage Furnace Lane Nether Heyford Northampton, NN7 3JY Telephone/Fax: 01327-341202 Email :

Tel: 01604 863330/863654 5 The Canalside, Stoke Bruerne, NN12 7SB



Branch Annual Dinner Where was everyone? We only had about 30 there. Is there a problem with the venue or do we need entertainment? Please let a member of the committee know your views. Details inside back page.

Val Joyce with her prize

The people who did attend had a good time and enjoyed good food. A successful raffle was aided by plenty of prizes and first class support from those there. Many thanks.

Eric Young with his prize

Continued from page 27

News from the Nene You can now find out about the facilities the marina will provide online at where you can also download prices, a plan of the moorings layout, and complete a moorings booking enquiry form. Updates and photographs of the moorings will appear on this website. This winter we aim to carry out full drain downs at Alwalton and Ditchford Locks and repairs at Upper Barnwell Lock. Time, weather, and budget permitting we may also carry out a full drain down at Lower Wellingborough Lock Sue Cant is the Environment Agency’s Team Leader for the Nene Waterway

The River Nene proposed closure schedule Upper Barnwell Lock 10 January 2011 – 23 January 2011 Alwalton Lock 17 January 2011 – 20 February 2011 Ditchford Lock 14 February 2011 – 20 March 2011 Lower Wellingborough Lock (provisional) 14 March 2011 – 17 April 2011 As always, the overlapping dates are to allow for poor weather and river conditions. We will do our best to keep stoppages to a minimum. Please remember that the above dates are provisional and subject to change. Our final closure notice will be published on our website a minimum of one month before the first closure.

Northampton’s waterside development Endeavour learns that the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation has agreed to compulsory purchase land near the River Nene in instances where the owners are unknown. This will widen the area along the riverside for building new houses and hopefully encourage new job opportunities. The land will also be used to construct a new road linking the proposed Ransome Road scheme with the waterside development, thus providing the area with the potential to become one of the town’s proudest features.



BUCKINGHAM CANAL SOCIETY John Bercow, MP for Buckingham and Speaker of the House of Commons, who recently became a patron of the Society, along with several Buckingham and local parish councillors, visited three of our work sites on Saturday 2nd October, writes Athina Beckett. The visit started at the BBOWT Nature Reserve where the group were shown the repair work being carried out on the lock and also the hedge- laying work along the footpath. The group then moved on to Little Hill Farm where a mile of canal has been cleared and most of the restoration work on the canal bridge has been completed. Finally the group moved to our Bourton Meadow site where again the bed of the canal has been cleared this time in preparation for this section to be rewatered when funding becomes available Mr Bercow was very impressed with the amount of work that had been done by volunteers and the Society and supported our view that to rewater the site at Bourton Meadow should be our next project. The BCS has also just started working with Stowe School. Pupils taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh awards will be spending some of their time working on the Buckingham Canal as part of the practical section of this course. So far we have had one visit with 21 pupils working in three separate groups. This went very well with further visits planned from October to December. We are still continuing with our team ‘team building’ days and have had second visits from both the Open University and Santander from Milton Keynes. If you would like to join us, work party dates are: December Thursday 2nd, Sunday 12th Thursday 16th, Thursday 30th January Sunday 9th, Thursday 13th, Thursday 27th February Thursday 10th, Sunday 13th, Thursday 24th March Thursday 10th, Sunday 13th, Thursday 24th

For further details contact Anthina Beckett on 01908 661217



All advertisements must comply with the requirements of the Trades Descriptions Act and avoid misrepresentation of goods offered for sale. The Business Advertisements (Disclosure) Order 1977 requires that businesses seeking to sell goods must clearly indicate this in an advertisement.

COMMERCIAL RATES (suggested donations) 1/4 Page (box) £12.00 1/2 Page (box) £25.00 Full Page £40.00 Discount of 10% for 4 issues

Other sizes by arrangement

CLASSIFIEDS (suggested donations) £1.50 for 22 words, 15p each additional word £3.50 for box around classified advertisement

BRANCH SOCIAL MEETINGS Regular Branch Social Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month from September to May inclusive at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth, at 8pm. All members and non-members welcome. Food and drink available

Next meetings: Tuesday, 14th December Quiz night with Catriona and Mick Butler Tuesday, January 11th Pat Crecraft - Daniel Adamson Up-date Tuesday, February 8th Mike Beech - Foxton IPT /Archives Tuesday, March 8th AGM followed by Speaker TBA Tuesday, April 12th Colin Edmond - Chelmer & Blackwater Past, Present and Future Tuesday, May 10th Speaker TBA The next edition of Endeavour will be published February 2011


WHO’S WHO IN NORTHAMPTON BRANCH 2010/2011 Bernard Morton

Branch Meetings

07785 375787

Graham Treagus

E-mail: bernard.morton

E-mail: graham.treagus


Branch Secretary Andy Timms E-mail andy.timms

Deputy Chairman & Police Liaison Officer Eric Young E-mail:

Membership Secretary Geoff Woods E-mail geoff.wood

Treasurer Laura Sturrock E-mail: laura.sturrock

Committee Member Bill Joyce

Heritage & Planning Officer Rodney Hardwick 01604-584919

Newsletter Editor Tony Clarke 07939 977859 E-mail tony.clarke

Website & Publicity Officer Lynda Payton E-mail:lynda.payton

E-mail: bill.joyce

Boat Gathering Sub-Committee Members John Pomfret (Chairman), Bernard Morton, Catriona Butler, Michael Butler, Peter Canfield, Jenny Copeland, Peter Copeland, Kevin Cousins, Roger Hasdell, Sandie Morton, Jenny McCalman, Eric Young, Bill Joyce and Sam Samuells (also occasional member:Ian Bekusch)

Non-Committee posts Sales: Catriona Butler 01604 473756

Archivist, Endeavour Advertising & Distribution Roger Hasdell 01604 767212

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Endeavour - November 2010  

Newsletter IWA Northampton

Endeavour - November 2010  

Newsletter IWA Northampton