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Southside News September 2009

NB Panacea dwarfed by the Thames Barrier en route to the Boat Show at ExCel Photo: Tim Lewis

The Newsletter of the South London Branch of the IWA Campaigning for the conservation, use, maintenance, restoration and development of the Inland Waterways


Welcome to the September Edition of Southside News I hope you’ve enjoyed the waterways this summer and managed to miss the deluges. Alan and I took our boat nb Inglewood, based at Fradley Junction in Staffordshire, up the Coventry Canal in May and took her out again on the Trent and Mersey in early July. On both occasions we introduced our grandsons not only to the vagaries of the English climate (three of them live in Hong Kong and are keen off shore sailors) but to the beauty of our countryside and the joys of inland waterways (not counting the two occasions of a fouled propeller...). We in the South London Branch are very keen to gain the interest of younger people - hence our introduction of ‘Learning Afloat’ and our links with Tideway Adventurers - so we’re delighted to announce another series of courses at Little Venice on 10th and 11th October. You can find more information and a booking form on Pages 14 and 15. We were very fortunate to have had perfect weather for our trip around the Isle of Sheppey on PS Kingswear Castle in July and were pleased that so many attended - I hope our Chelmer and Blackwater trip on Victoria in October will be just as successful - so if you’d like to come there are still a few places left - just pick up the phone. Libby’s trip to the ExCel Boat Show in January wasn’t quite so balmy - read all about her ‘chilling experiences’ on Page 11. Alan Eggby will be trekking all over the country with the Famous Waterways Game and the Sales Stand - check out the programme on Page 6, come to help or just join in the fun. Alan Smith has been out and about exploring what remains of the waterways on ‘our patch’ and on Page 16 uncovers ‘The Grand Surrey Canal’. He’s also booked a whole raft of speakers for the Social Meetings at Croydon, so take a look at our Social Calendar on Page 5 and come along to see us. Finally, I know it’s far too early to think about Christmas but we have already arranged our Christmas Dinner which, by popular demand, will be at Caprini’s near Waterloo Station - so if you want to reserve your place (and make sure you get a raffle ticket) complete the form on Page 19 and return it straight away. If you have any contributions, news or comments you would like to see in print please send them to me - all members’ contact details appear on Page 18.

Christine Smith Publicity Officer & Newsletter Editor IWA South London Branch

The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Inland Waterways Association or of the South London Branch. They are, however, published as being of interest to our members and readers. The IWA accepts no liability for any matter within this newsletter, including adverts.




Your Branch Chairman Needs You!


Social Meetings Calendar 2009-2010


Forthcoming Branch Activities


South London’s Social Meetings Report


A Thank You Note


Icy Waters to the Boat Show


Tideway Adventurers & Learning Afloat at Little Venice


Tracing the Grand Surrey Canal


Who’s Who - contact details


Christmas Dinner Reservation


How to Find Us

Back Cover

A peaceful mooring near Alrewas on the Trent & Mersey Canal


Photo: C Smith

A Message from the Branch Chairman By the time you receive this edition the summer will be nearly over and the branch meetings at Croydon will be restarting on 9th September. It would be good to see more members attending these meetings. The Church Hall is only two minutes’ walk from East Croydon rail and tram stations. The autumn sessions conclude with the Christmas dinner on Friday 11th December and the winter/spring meetings restart on 7th January. Twenty two members and friends enjoyed a glorious summer cruise from Chatham aboard PS Kingswear Castle on 25th July. The branch stand will still be out during September and early October - see the Branch Activities report on Page 6 for full details. Alan Eggby Branch Chairman

Your Branch Needs You! [Alan indicating a point of interest during the cruise around the Isle of Sheppey aboard PS Kingswear Castle on 25th July] Photo: C Smith


South London’s Social Calendar 2009 - 2010 The following South London Branch Social Events will take place at 7.30 for 8.00 p.m at: The Primary Room The United Reformed Church Hall Addiscombe Grove Croydon CR0 5LP How to get there? Please see the map on the back cover. Wednesday 9th September

*Presentation: ‘A Look at Lesser Known Canals’ by Alan Smith

Wednesday 7th October

Presentation: ‘Joeys, Joshers & James - A BCN Miscellany’ by Phil Clayton from the BCN Society

Wednesday 4th November

Presentation: ‘History & Restoration of the Thames and Medway Canal’ by Brian Macknish of the Thames & Medway Canal Association

Friday 11th December

Christmas Dinner - Caprini Restaurant, near Waterloo Station. To reserve your place see the form on Page 19.

Wednesday 6th January 2010

Talk about Raymond, the last wooden working boat, by Steve Miles of the Friends of Raymond

Wednesday 3rd February 2010

Talk about ‘The Wilts & Berks Canal Restoration Programme’ by Ken Oliver (previously scheduled for February 2009 but cancelled owing to bad weather.)

Wednesday 3rd March 2010

AGM - Speaker to be arranged

Wednesday 7th April 2010

Talk ‘Restoration of the Wendover Arm’ by Roger Leishman of the Wendover Arm Trust

Wednesday 5th May 2010

Talk about Hampshire Waterways by Peter Oates of the Southampton Canal Society

Wednesday 2nd June 2010

Presentation about The Higher Avon by Roger Clay from The Stratford & Warwick Waterways Trust

Admission is free to all, members or non-members, although we do request a contribution towards room hire and refreshments. For more information contact: Alan Smith, tel: 020 8255 1581 or email: * This is a programme change: owing to unforeseen circumstances Roger Clay is not able to give his presentation on this date but has been rescheduled for June 2010. Apologies for any inconvenience.


Branch Activities The Branch Stand has attended three events since my last report, these being the May Fayre at Eltham, Mottingham Festival Fête and Kingston River Festival. At all three places we ran the Waterways Game and sales stand. With the present economic situation we are finding that visitors are cutting down on spending. We have also been suffering from lack of help at these events. Setting up the stand and getting the gazebo opened is extremely hard work with just two people, so it would be nice to see a few other members helping with the stand, if only for two or three hours. Listed below are the events for the rest of the summer and early autumn: Saturday 29th to Monday 31st August

IWA National Festival. Redhill Marina, Ratcliffe on Soar, Nottinghamshire. 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (5:00 pm Monday)

Saturday 5th September

Great River Race, Ham. Stand will be situated near the race finishing point.

Sunday 6th September

Angel Canal Festival, City Road Lock, Regents Canal 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th September

Mayor’s Thames Festival, Potters Field Park, Near Tower Bridge. 12:00 noon to dusk

Sunday 4th October

Cruise through remote rural Essex on the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation aboard the barge ‘Victoria’. 12:45 to 17:00. Places on this cruise are still available, at the time of going to press. Please contact Alan or Christine on 020 8255 1581 if you are interested.

Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th October

Learning Afloat at Little Venice from 10:00 am each day For more information and a booking form see Pages 14 and 15

Please remember: if you require any items featured on the IWA website shop e.g. waterways books, maps, cards etc., when you place an order through the branch, we make money for branch funds. Place your order through any committee member - and save postage too! Christmas Cards and 2010 Calendars will be available from the sales stand at all these events and also at the branch social meetings from September onwards. Alan Eggby


Social Meetings Report At our last meeting of the season on 3rd June, John and Margaret Bell from the Massey Shaw Marine Vessel Preservation Society gave an unusual presentation on the Massey Shaw firefloat, a vessel whch dates from 1935. She was based on the Thames and was one of the small ships that went to Dunkirk in 1940. She was retired in 1971 and berthed in St. Katherine’s Dock. In 1981 firemen formed a group to preserve her. She is currently in South Dock, Surrey Quays and it is hoped to have her on the Thames next year, once repairs have been completed. It is also hoped to take her to Dunkirk for the 70th anniversary in 2010. For more information about this project go to: or email:

Massey Shaw’s arrival at Dunkirk, 1965 Photo: (Copyright) by courtesy of London Fire Brigade

On 25th July several members enjoyed a cruise on Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle, starting at Chatham Historic Dockyard, steaming down the Medway into the Thames estuary for a circumnavigation of the Isle of Sheppey before returning up the Medway. The highlight was undoubtedly the passage of the Swale, the narrow and shallow channel separating the island from the mainland. A Lancaster bomber was sighted circling the island, believed to be waiting for its fighter escort for a flypast at the Lowestoft Air Show. We waited at the Kingsferry Bridge for a train to pass before it could be lifted for us and several following yachts. We were then “buzzed” by jetskis who performed tight turns right under our bows with the intention of drenching us with spray but with only marginal success. Conditions were perfect for this cruise which took nearly nine hours of continuous sailing, or rather steaming. The day was rounded off by a meal in a rather noisy pub in Rochester. Looking forward to the new season of social meetings, you will see from the Calendar that we now have a full programme through to June 2010 and we hope you will give our speakers your full support. Many come long distances and it is disappointing when attendances are low. The first meeting on 9th September 2009 was to have been a talk by Roger Clay from the Stratford & Warwick Waterways Trust but he has had to pull out and this will now be on 2nd June 2010. In his place, I will present a slide show entitled “A Look at Some Lesser-Known Canals.” Alan Smith


PS Kingswear Castle

For more information about Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle please go to: http://www., email: or telephone Chatham Historic Dockyard on: 01634 827648

Passing Thames Barge Orinoco Photo: C Smith


Kingsferry Bridge lifted for PS Kingswear Castle

Photo: A Smith

A Thank You Note! Through the pages of Southside News, I would like to put forward a note of thanks to Alan Eggby for organising the trip around the Isle of Sheppey on Saturday 25th July 2009. It was brilliant! We had very good weather and the water was not at all choppy, as I had expected, as I am not a good sailor! The trip was part of a birthday present for my wife, Sandy. It was very special for her, as she was born on the Island and lived for the first part of her life in Queenborough. We have visited the Island, as you would expect, many times over the years, and have seen many changes. It was very exciting to be on the water, to see the Island from a different perspective. We found a few seats up in the bow and spent most of the time there. We were ably helped by a group of friends of the Paddle Steamer Kingswear Castle. Our thanks to them for all the snippets of information that came up as we travelled along in the boat. Although it was a 9 hour trip, I was surprised how quickly it went. I only had one worrying moment and that was as we moved away from the jetty. We were going astern, ‘ah ha’ I thought, does the skipper know that boats normally go forward!! Not to worry, he was only turning around to set off on our journey. As I said, it was a brilliant trip and I would go again if one is organised. On a personal note, my wife Sandy and I have a narrowboat in a marina in the Northamptonshire area and, guess what? Our boat is called Queenborough as well. In looking for a suitable name, we did not have to look far. It will always be a reminder to us of where Sandy came from. Looking forward to more trips like this, Regards from two happy boaters, George and Sandy Goodwin nb Queenborough No. 3


Know somone who wants to sell a boat? We will donate ÂŁ100 to the Waterways Recovery Group for every boat we sell, introduced by an IWA member. Four Simple Steps: 1. The boat should be on the Grand Union, in London or on the Lee and Stort 2. You should seek consent from the owner to make the introduction 3. Phone or email Phil with contact details for the owner. 4. When we sell the boat we will donate ÂŁ100 to the IWA on your behalf

Call or email Phil Bassett:

T: 01923 275139 M: 07794 005741 10

Icy Waters to the Boat Show at Excel, Royal Docks, January 2009 January ice threatened to stop the St Pancras Cruising Club trip down river to the Royal Docks at the start of this year’s Boat Show at ExCel. Some were iced in to the west of London whilst those who left the moorings at St Pancras were ice-breaking all the way along the Regents Canal. One boat decided to turn back but Doris Katia, Barnaby and Panacea made it to Limehouse to join other crews for the evening briefing at the Cruising Association and a good hot meal! The following morning there were six narrowboats, a Dutch barge and Tug Major crunching through the ice up Limehouse Cut to Bow Locks. Cruising down Bow Creek we found ourselves opposite the Dome / O2 arena in no time and the vast expanse of the water ahead. We turned down river towards the Thames barrier, an impressive structure from a small narrowboat. The next ‘hazard’ was dodging the Woolwich ferry and there are some amusing pictures around making this look much tighter than it was! Approaching the Thames Barrier

Photo: L Bradshaw

The entrance to the Royal Docks is at the eastern end so, in effect, we travelled the length of the docks eastwards on the river to reach the entrance; then went all the way back again from the lock to the western end of the dock where we were due to moor for the duration of the show. Inside the dock we had to keep as far away from City Airport as we could as we went past, so that we did not interfere with their navigation equipment. A very welcome drop (or two!) of single malt appeared on Doris Katia, courtesy of Andrew and Frances Phasey as we celebrated our arrival.


Allan Scott and Ann Lynes wrapped up against the frosty morning

Tug Major


Photos: L Bradshaw

Whilst some crews dispersed at this point I was due to work on the IWA stand for the two weekends so it was handy to have Panacea available to sleep on, also to avoid the various train line closures that others had to contend with. Panacea’s crew members for the trip were two South Londoners, Allan Scott and Eric Garland, a friend of mine, Ann Lynes, and me. Eric was also working on the IWA stand and at the close of the show we completed the stock take, packed up the stand and watched it all leave to go back to head office. We were not really looking forward to an early start the next day! As it turned out, the weather conditions were poor so there was doubt whether we would be able to leave the next morning. A decision was to be made at 5am. In the end the trip had to be postponed to the following day so we all went back to sleep again and then had a lazy day around the docks. As they had to get back, Tug Major and the Dutch barge managed to get out on the afternoon’s locking. Fulbourne and Tug Major going downstream

Photo: L Bradshaw

Tuesday brought better weather and conditions and we had to start before 6am in order to clear the runway at City Airport before 6.30. An almost silent convoy of six narrowboats chugged down to the lock in the darkness following the silhouette of the Navy warship and its tugs who were taking the first locking out. A good return trip and, although the tide was rapidly falling in Bow Creek, we all managed to get through the lock and back on to the non-tidal waters. I was originally due to work that day but, as the only radio operator on board, I had got agreement from my boss to go in late. As we went through Bow Locks I disappeared below to change, jumped ship at Three Mills and took the District Line to Mile End and the hospital – probably the most unusual (and time-consuming) way to go to work from docklands to Mile End but definitely the most interesting! It is not yet known whether there will be a trip for next year’s boat show, the dates of which are 8th-17th January. Much depends on the price which was higher this year than previously. However, I expect Panacea to be there if it happens. Libby Bradshaw, NB Panacea


Learning Afloat Get your hands on the tiller! Learning Afloat is a new initiative run by the Inland Waterways (South London Branch) and the Tideway Adventurers Narrow Boat Project. It is designed to be run alongside the “Wild Over Waterways” programme and it aims to provide an introduction to and natural progression for narrowboating skills including nationally recognised awards for adults and young people Tideway Adventurers and the IWA are delighted to be able to offer a number of introductory sessions to Narrow Boating on the weekend of 10th and 11th October 2009, sailing from Little Venice. The cost per session is £10 for minors, £20 for participating adults and £30 for families (2 adults plus children) Each session will last approximately two hours and will provide participants with an introduction to: • • • • •

Safety on board Boat Systems (Engine, Drinking Water, Loos, etc) Lines and Knots Mooring and Casting Off Basic Handling (taking the helm)

The introductory sessions are open to all but anyone aged below 12 years must be accompanied by a responsible adult (who will have the option whether or not to participate). Any participant under 18 years will require a signed parental consent form prior to embarkation. If you need more information or assistance with completing the booking form please contact Mike Simmons, whose details are on Page 18. 14

" I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I

Please return your completed form to: October Learning Afloat Tideway Adventurers Narrowboat Project Denham Yacht Station 100 Acres Sanderson Road Uxbridge UB8 1NB Please tick the day and time slot you would prefer:

Name:.............................................................................................. Address:.......................................................................................... .......................................................................................... Telephone numbers:........................................................................ Email (in capitals):........................................................................... Number of participating adults:...................................... Number of participating children:................................... Family Group:.................................................................

Please tick if a consent form is required for an unaccompanied minor over 12 years of age A deposit of £5 per participant is payable with booking, please make cheques payable to ‘Tideway Adventurers Narrowboat Project’ Learning Afloat Training is provided by Tideway Adventurers Narrowboat Project, Registered Charity No. 1026388. 15 Email:

Tracing the Grand Surrey Canal In the last Newsletter Brian Andrews gave an account of the waterways which once existed in our area. I had previously written an article on what little can be seen today of the Croydon Canal. Brian mentioned that much of the route of the Grand Surrey Canal is traceable, so I’ll have a look at that this time and hope it will inspire you to take your A-Z and explore it for yourself. Undoubtedly the best part is the Peckham branch which opened in 1826 and closed with the rest of the canal in 1971. The canal used to be invisible from Peckham High Street, access being by a narrow road, Canal Head. With the opening of the award-winning Peckham Library, this area has been opened up and the branch is recognisable as a canal, albeit without water! It is spanned by two imposing bridges carrying Commercial Way and Willowbrook Road which were built in the 1870s when the area was built over. The route of the branch is now a well-used path. The junction with the main line is just about traceable by a dip in ground level. Turn left here and cross Trafalgar Road and you are in Burgess Park, the realisation of a long-standing dream of an open space in this denselypopulated area. Although a campaign to retain the canal as a water feature was mounted, this failed and the line of canal is marked by the straight path through to Camberwell Road, just south of the junction with Albany Road. The only indication there was once a canal here is a huge footbridge which is retained as a "feature". Incidentally, the final ½ mile of canal including the basin, was closed and drained in 1960, having been disused since 1945. Returning to the junction, beyond Glengall Road the canal route disappears under development as far as Ilderton Road (South Bermondsey station is just to the north). This section includes Old Kent Road which crosses the line of canal just south of the junction with St. James's Road. Various commercial premises along Peckham Park Road include "Wharf" in their address as a reminder they were once canal-served. On the north side of Old Kent Road, just north of the junction with Peckham Park Road, is Canal Grove, a terrace of houses, the oldest of which dates from the 1820s. They were not canalside, but it is thought they were sited to take advantage of the view as the canal broadened at this point to fill a natural depression known as Kent Road Pond. The owners' rural idyll didn't last long as in 1832 the intervening land was bought by the South Metropolitan Gas Light and Coke Co. who considered it an ideal site to receive coal by canal. Modern buildings now occupy the site of the gas works and canal. Continuing east from Ilderton Road, Surrey Canal Road occupies the site of the canal and you can appreciate how wide the canal was (it could accommodate sailing barges). The first railway bridge carries the South london line between South Bermondsey and Queens Road, Peckham and I well remember travelling to London Bridge this way when I lived in Streatham and seeing the canal banks lined with timber barges. The next bridge is a footbridge and marks the site of a former railway bridge which is due to be reinstated under Phase II of the scheme to incorporate the East London Line into the London Overground network (Surrey Quays-Clapham Jct.). A station may be provided here. On the south side of the road, Mercury Way marks the site of the junction with the Croydon Canal, a short section of which remained in use until the 1960s. The next railway bridge carries the line from London Bridge to New Cross Gate, originally the London & Croydon Railway which bought up and abandoned the Croydon Canal. The East London Line is the next bridge and immediately


south of the road, where the line splits for New Cross and New Cross Gate is known as Canal Jct. Surrey Canal Road ends before the next railway bridge but the canal continued under the bridge, an area now used for industrial premises. The canal bridge at Evelyn Road is still in situ. Continue north up Evelyn Road and take the first turning right, Oxestalls Road. This rises up to cross the canal on a concrete bridge which as been infilled - it was only built a few years before the canal closed. Adjacent to the Pepys Estate, a grassed area marks the ste of the canal, but further progress is barred by a mass of brambles where the old Deptford Wharf branch railway ran. The next item of interest is the sole remaining canal building, a small office off Plough Way. This was adjacent to the entrance lock to Greenland Dock which was extended across the canal, the original route being clearly visible opposite the slipway. Beyond here the Surrey Docks absorbed the canal and subsequently the area has been redeveloped as part of Docklands development. Access to the Thames is now only via South Dock. The Surrey Quays area is a fitting end to tracing the route of the canal, particularly as some water is at last evident!

Grand Surrey Canal: Footbridge in Burgess Park Camberwell Photo: A Smith

I hope this article gives an indication of what remains of the Grand Surrey Canal, a grandiose scheme which became essentially an extension of the Surrey Commercial Docks, the only dock system on the south side of the river. When it was in operation, nobody took much notice of it. There was no long distance traffic, no traditional narrow boats, just workaday Thames lighters bringing timber to the extensive wharves, all now a memory. Alan Smith Editor’s Note: Owing to space constraints it was not possible to reprint the photographs and map of the Croydon & Grand Surrey Canals, which appeared in Alan’s and Brian’s articles in the February and June 2009 editions of Southside News.


IWA SOUTH LONDON BRANCH COMMITTEE & OFFICERS 2009 BRANCH CHAIRMAN & SALES OFFICER Alan Eggby (Elected 2009-2012) 137 Strathyre Avenue, London, SW16 4RH Tel: (020) 8764 8194 e-mail: DEPUTY CHAIRMAN Libby Bradshaw (Elected 2009-2012) Ground floor flat, 61 West Side, Wandsworth Common, London, SW18 2ED Tel+fax: (020) 8874 2787 e-mail: or BRANCH SECRETARY Lesley Pryde (Elected 2008 - 2011) 2 Hepworth Road, Streatham, London, SW16 5DQ Tel: Home: (020) 8679 9866. Mob: 07787 372408 e-mail: BRANCH TREASURER & MINUTES SECRETARY Dorothy Robbie (Elected 2007 - 2010) 23 Porcupine Close, Mottingham, London,SE9 3AE Tel: (020) 8857 6367 e-mail: SOCIAL MEETINGS SECRETARY & CROYDON CANAL CAMPAIGN OFFICER Alan Smith (Elected 2008-2011) 41 Jubilee Avenue, Whitton, Twickenham, Middlesex. TW2 6JA Tel: Home: (020) 8255 1581. Mob: 07774 890750 e-mail: or PUBLICITY OFFICER & NEWSLETTER EDITOR Christine Smith (Elected 2008-2011) 41 Jubilee Avenue, Whitton, Twickenham, Middlesex. TW2 6JA Tel: Home: (020) 8255 1581. Mob: 07774 890750 e-mail: or EX-OFFICIO AS REGION CHAIRMAN Roger Squires 46 Elephant Lane, Rotherhithe, London,SE16 4JD Tel: (020) 7232 0987 e-mail CHILDREN’S AND YOUNG PEOPLE’S OFFICER Mike Simmons (Elected 2009-2012) Tideway Adventurers Narrowboat Project Denham Yacht Station, 100 Acres, Sanderson Road, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1NB Tel: 07875 841423 or 07930 352388 e-mail: MEMBERSHIP OFFICER (Non Committee) Jane Davey 30 Siddons Road, Croydon CRO 4JR Tel: (020) 8680 2213




SOUTH LONDON BRANCH CHRISTMAS DINNER The South London Branch Christmas Dinner has been arranged for Friday 11th December, 7:30 for 8:00 pm at: Caprini Restaurant 77 Waterloo Road London SE1 8UD (opposite Waterloo Station) Estimated cost for 3 courses & coffee is £25.00 per person (excluding wine, beer and soft drinks) PLEASE RESERVE ………...... PLACES FOR ME AT THE CHRISTMAS DINNER FIRST NAME ……………………………….................................................... LAST NAME ……………………………………………….............................. CONTACT TELEPHONE Nos: ……………………………………………….... ADDRESS .................................................................................................... ....................................................................................................


Please return your form to: IWA South London Branch Social Secretary 41 Jubilee Avenue Twickenham TW2 6JA Do not send any money yet. A menu, with a selection of courses for you to choose from, will be sent to you as soon as it has been finalised by the restaurant, estimated to be in early November, when a deposit of £10.00 per person will be required. 19

IWA South London Branch Social Meetings are held at: The United Reformed Church Hall Addiscombe Grove Croydon CR0 5LP

The Inland Waterways Association is a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee. Registered in England no. 612245. Registered as a charity no. 212342. Registered Office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, Buckinghamshire HP5 1WA Tel: 01494 783453 Web: Printed by Leighton Printing, 15 Palmer Place, London20 N7 8DH.

Southside News - September 2009  

The magazine of the South London Branch of the Inland Waterways Association

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