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May 2018

TOWPATH TELEGRAPH Journal of the Inland Waterways Association’s Milton Keynes Branch

A421 blow to Bedford-MK Waterway Spring Cleanup report CanalFILE, part 11 News from BCS and WAT WAT Grand Draw tickets inside Branch Facebook page goes live Teams from three Milton Keynes companies, Santander (pictured with our very own Andy ready to issue plastic sacks!), Worldplay and Leica Geosystems joined in the Branch Canal Cleanup on 13—14 April. Sixty-five volunteers put in over 500 hours’ work over the two days, retrieving an estimated six tonnes of rubbish. See report onPage 4. Photo: Santander. Registered Office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA Tel: 01494 783453 Web: www.waterways.org.uk A non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee. Registered in England no. 612245. Registered as a charity no.212342.

f Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/iwamiltonkeynesbranch/


Welcome to May 2018 Towpath Telegraph “Are we in for a hard winter?” we asked in the last edition. Well, it certainly had a sting in its tail! Happily as we prepare this edition, spring finally seems to have arrived. Not so happy is the news that the A421 dualling east of MK is scheduled to go ahead without provision for the BedfordMK Waterway. Please see Page 9.

Chairman’s Column AGM and Committee news Branch Facebook page goes live Three MK companies help with Spring Cleanup Diary BCS prepares to rebuild Bridge No 1 A421 dualling “within weeks” blow to B-MK Waterway CanalFILE—part 11 Eastern Region Update Meet Tav Kazmi, CRT Waterway Manager Dave takes over Fenny Lock Adoption Scheme New Members Mikron still touring after 47 years Poor weather affects Wendover work parties Getting in touch with MK Branch

2-3 3 3 4-5 6 7 8-9 10-11 11 12 13 13 14 15 16

Chairman’s Column

Rather than produce the usual piece encouraging your support - which of course I do - I thought a mini-biography might prove enlightening for my first column as Branch Chairman. I was born in 1950 in Dorking, Surrey. My mother was a Mancunian and my father a Londoner. They had met when my father was billeted with my mother’s family in Manchester after WWII. I have always had a fascination with boats, and even now I recall a boat trip when a wee lad on the Wey and Arun navigation from Dapdune Wharf in Guildford.

After leaving school (Taunton, Somerset) I trained as an Accountant in London, and have worked as such mainly in the warehouse and distribution industry, and as Treasurer for various amateur groups as well as IWA-MK. This included ten years as Treasurer at Aylesbury Rugby Football Club, followed by four years as President. My boating interests were much enhanced by an enduring friendship with a local family who owned a chalet on the Solent near the Hamble river. Many weekends were spent there, pottering about or sailing over to the Isle of Wight or one of the mainland ports or rivers - never a dull moment. Sadly that all came to an end, when the chalet was sold, and I looked elsewhere. This elsewhere was Stewartby lake, especially handy as I was working in Ampthill at the time. But the banks kept intruding – not as spacious as the Solent, but you cannot be too choosy. A couple of unexpected capsizes made me question my ability to be in proper control and I decided that the time had come to move to something more placid. In the meantime as a family we had enjoyed several hire-boat canal holidays. My late wife’s diagnosis of muscular dystrophy meant I became her carer, and a narrowboat seemed a good idea as an alternative way of indulging in my love of the water and also as an escape on my days off duty. The library palls after a while! So Rock Partridge came into the family life – an ex-Alvechurch hire boat, 60ft, semi-trad stern. Initially based at Gayton, I moved it to Napton about three years ago. As well as the Caledonian Canal, on which I have spoken to the Branch, other boating trips worthy of mention have been sailing in Friesland, canoeing the river Loire, and sailing the Essex/Suffolk coast in a converted Swedish grain carrier (which later sank!). Tim Armstrong, Branch Chairman. Page 2


AGM and Committee news

The only hitch at the Branch AGM on 15 February was that your outgoing Chairman neglected to ask the outgoing Secretary for his report! So here it is: During the past year, eight Committee meetings were held, with an average attendance rate of 74%. A chart showing individual attendance records is available for inspection. Member numbers for the branch have fallen by 7% this year, from 326 to 303. Nationally membership has fallen by 3.5% over the year. Six of the elected Committee members retire by rotation, and four of them have agreed to stand for reelection. Fortunately, four additional members were co-opted in January, and have agreed also to stand for election tonight.

My apologies to Philip for this omission. I and Philip Strangeway resigned from the Committee, having served nine and seven years respectively. The four new members are Pat Titmas, Diane Witts, Chris Durham and David Tucker. Many thanks to them for coming forward and bringing the Committee's strength up to eleven. At the Committee Dinner on 26 February, in thanks for his five years as an outstanding Branch Secretary, Philip Strangeway was presented with a framed print of Bingley Five-rise staircase. His wife Karen received a flower arrangement in thanks for her support . On 8 March, the Committee elected officers for the coming year. Tim Armstrong takes over as Branch Chairman, and Diane Witts is Branch Secretary. David Tucker has bravely taken over as both Treasurer and Social Secretary. Chris Durham has offered to help set up a Branch Facebook presence (see below), and Dave Porter (previously without a post) has taken over from Rodney Evans as Fenny Lock Adoption Scheme Co-ordinator. See Page 13. All other Committee posts remain as previously. The full Committee and other post-holding members are listed, with their contact details, on the back page.

Above: Philip and Karen with their picture. Photo: Les Franklin. Below: Les and Sheila Franklin, with the painted churn. Photo: Richard Brown.

At the Cleanup meal on 13 April, Sheila and were presented with a painted churn, beautifully executed by Carol Brown, together with flowers. May I take this opportunity to thank the Committee for this wholly unexpected gesture, and once again for their unfailing support during my Chairmanship. I wish them every success under Tim Armstrong’s Chairmanship. Les Franklin.

Branch Facebook page goes live

Our Facebook page is now live at https://www.facebook.com/iwamiltonkeynesbranch/ It already has lots of local news, and we expect that it will play an important part in efforts to fight the decision to dual the A421 with no provision for the Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway—see Page 9. To this end, we ask Branch members on Facebook to Like the posts, and thus ensure that the page becomes as well-known as possible. Page 3


Three MK companies help with Spring Cleanup Friday 13 and Saturday 14 April saw dozens of volunteers turn out to give the canal through Milton Keynes a thorough spring clean. IWA MK Branch members were joined by Iain and Jamie on the Canal & River Trust dredger and volunteers from The Parks Trust. For the first time, volunteers from three Milton Keynes companies - Santander, Worldpay and Leica Geosystems - also joined in. The event was sponsored by the Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd, who provided staff, the hopper tug, and specialised equipment.

Ocean Princess arrives at the Friday lunch stop with the hopper. The Friday was dry, though dull and cool, but Saturday brought warm sunshine. Previous rain had left the towpath very muddy, but no-one seemed to mind. A total of 65 volunteers clocked up over 500 hours' work over the two days, not counting the dozens of hours spent preparing for the event. The Cleanup worked the usual northward route from Fenny Stratford to Old Wolverton, with an overnight stop at Giffard Park. Walkers litterpicked and dealt with larger items of rubbish, and the waterborne work was done as usual from the hopper (towed by James Griffin on The dredger retrieves an oil drum. Ocean Princess), and from the pan (towed by Brown Trout skippered by Jonathan Brown). The CRT dredger helped to retrieve the heaviest submerged items. The chance was also taken to cut back vegetation that was affecting visibility on blind bends on the canal. Page 4


Spring Cleanup—continued. On both days, volunteers from The Parks Trust carried out separate litter-picks, working on the towpaths and on the Trust’s adjacent parklands too. The usual variety of items was recovered, including a large dinghy, bikes and motorbikes, supermarket trolleys, timber, chairs, a car clamp, running machine, various shoes, old fishing rods, and a ship in a bottle! The haul amounted to an estimated six tonnes, and will be disposed of by Canal & River Trust’s contractors. Sonny King, Volunteer Development Co-ordinator, Canal & River Trust, said: "500+ hours is a fantastic achievement, and you all have much to be proud of. Thank you to Santander, Worldpay and Leica Geosystems for their support. And of course a huge thank you to every volunteer who came out over the weekend to help. Canal & River Trust is always happy to support and work in collaboration with great volunteer groups such as yourselves to enable events like these, by providing staff time, workboats and other assistance where possible. We are very much looking forward to the A weary volunteer contemplates the haul. next one." IWA Milton Keynes Branch is grateful to Canal & River Trust for its support with staff, workboats, dredger and safety equipment, to The Parks Trust, Santander, Worldpay and Leica Geosystems for the splendid contribution made by their volunteers, and to the Wyvern Shipping Co Ltd for sponsorship, and for providing the tug for the hopper, support staff, and the specialist grappling hooks used on the hopper. Thanks to all the volunteers for a tremendous job tidying up after those who dump rubbish. Our next Cleanup is planned for 12-13 October, from Fenny Stratford to Leighton Buzzard. Report and pictures: Les Franklin.

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Authorised Boat Safety Scheme Examiner Visit my website: http://www.boat-safetyexaminer.co.uk Contact me by phone on 01234 767156 or mobile 07976 900113 Alternatively e-mail me at: alan_breck_stewart@msn.com Page 5


Diary We hope to see you when we are out at our summer events—please come and say hello. Our events are listed in bold below, along with selected events being organised by others. And we’ll look forward to seeing you when our 2018-19 season of Branch meetings begins on Thursday 20 September. Tuesday 8 May

19 - 20 May

25 - 27 May (also 28 May subject to weather, manpower and traffic) Saturday 2 June 10am—4pm

Sunday 3 June 12.30—4.00pm

21 – 22 July

Northampton Branch meeting: The Middle Danube and Connected Waterways, talk by John Pomfret. Walnut Tree, 21 Station Road, Blisworth, NN7 3DS Rickmansworth Festival Historic boats, entertainment and food at this friendly event. More info at: http://www.rwt.org.uk/festival

IWA MK Branch Lock Help Weekend, Three Locks. Sat evening (weather permitting): Bring-your-own barbecue. Our major fundraising event for waterway causes. If you can help, please contact Les Franklin. Over and Under the Hill - a walk over Blisworth Hill, with free outward or return boat trip through Blisworth Tunnel. Register in advance at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/walk-about-stoke-bruernetickets-42037354860 Wendover Arm Trust Restoration Open Day. Watch volunteers restoring the canal, and enjoy some tea and cake! Parking at St Mary the Virgin, Church Lane, Drayton Beauchamp, HP22 5LU http://wendoverarmtrust.co.uk/events.html Buckingham Canal Society Cosgrove Festival. Boats, stalls, food and drink at this low-key, friendly event.

http://www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk/events-and-news/annual-festival/

Saturday 28 July Branch stall at Linslade Canal Festival. Tiddenfoot Waterside Park, Linslade. Help us fly the flag at this busy event. If you can help, please contact Tim Armstrong or Les Franklin. 25-27 August

Sunday 2 September 8-9 September

Thurs 20 September

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IWA Festival of Water, St Neots. A weekend of fun for boaters and all who love the water. Regatta Meadow, St Neots, PE19 7AB https://www.waterways.org.uk/events_festivals/festival_water/ Wendover Arm Trust Restoration Open Day. Details as 3 June. Stoke Bruerne Village at War weekend. The usual mix of nostalgic fun and entertainment! http://www.friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk/

IWA Milton Keynes Branch meeting: Vintage waterway videos, with David Tucker. Royal British Legion, Melrose Avenue, MK3 6PU


BCS prepares to rebuild Bridge No 1 Work is going well at Cosgrove - our volunteers have completed building a floor in the bed of the canal to provide a base for them to work from when the next stage of the restoration of Bridge No 1 begins. Over the weekend of 10-11 February, we were joined by a group from London WRG who worked with our own volunteers on site, removing more of the soil from the Bridge wing walls and building a flight of steps on the steep slope up to the bridge. These steps have made things a lot easier for walkers, particularly as the towpath is very muddy at present.

Volunteers build the base for the bridge formwork. Photo: BCS.

Because of the amount of rain we have been having lately, several BCS volunteers have been returning to the bridge site most days to pump out the large amounts of water building up in the canal bed under the bridge. This needs to be kept clear to allow the next stage of work to begin, which will be installing the scaffolding and formwork for the bridge. The good news is that most of the canal is ‘in water’ at present and looks like a ‘real’ canal which is always good for publicity!

Discussions have been taking place with Phil Emery, CRT Heritage Officer, on the design of the bridge and this has now been approved. On 6 March, a group of students plus teacher from Milton Keynes College who are on a brick laying course visited the site in preparation for them, together with students on carpentry courses, to help with the work of restoring the bridge. At a previous work party, the volunteers worked on the towpath along the Grand Union canal and removed branches overhanging the towpath, and cleared the space where our stalls will be situated at this year’s Cosgrove Festival over the weekend of 21-22 July. We have received several requests from outside companies who again are keen to join us on ‘community or team building’ days this year. As well as the work at Cosgrove we will be continuing the regular work at our other sites at Bourton Meadow and Hyde Lane Nature Reserve site, so busy times ahead! We welcome any groups or individuals who would like to come to see our sites where volunteers are working, and to hear about our future plans and I would be very happy to show people around. Athina Beckett, Buckingham Canal Society. Page 7


A421 dualling “within weeks” blow to B-MK Waterway On 22 March, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced that work will start "within weeks" on dualling the A421 between M1 Junction 13 and the roundabout near Eagle Farm, from where the road through Milton Keynes is already dualled. However, it has emerged that no provision has been made for the Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway, which is planned to pass under the road just east of the Eagle Farm roundabout. M1

A421

A421 Bedford

B-MKW route

Above: the section to be dualled.

Junction 13

Right: Looking east towards the MI and Junction 13, at the point on the present singlecarriageway road where the waterway route is projected to cross. This blow comes despite the fact that the waterway’s route is protected in all relevant Local Plans; despite the existence of the already-built culvert for the waterway between Stewartby and Wootton on the Junction 13 - Bedford section, upgraded some years ago; despite the inclusion of the waterway in several developments, both planned and ongoing along its route; despite official recognition of the important part the Waterway Park can play in bringing a sense of place to planned new communities along the Oxford-Cambridge corridor; and despite massive local support for the project. Chris Howes, Eastern Region Chairman, has been involved in urgent discussions with BMKWT, other IWA Trustees and the road-building consortium. He writes: Did the road planners, in their enthusiasm to announce accelerated plans to dual the A421 in Milton Keynes, simply ignore the proposed Bedford to Milton Keynes waterways link? It certainly appears so. The route of this exciting new waterway, for which plans are well advanced, appeared to be protected in all the relevant Local Plans, until Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, announced that the Government has found £22.5m to dual the stretch of road between Milton Keynes and junction 13 of the M1. Regrettably no provision appears to have been made for the waterway; quite the opposite, it is to be ‘tarmacked’ right across it. Following a vigorous campaign by the Bedford - Milton Keynes Waterways Trust, the road building consortium, led by Central Bedfordshire Council, has now recognised the importance of the waterway, and offered to make provision for it - at a cost. The B-MKWT should pay for the cost of a culvert - estimated at £3m. If this isn’t bad enough, the Council further demanded that B-MKWT pay a whopping £150,000 within 3 weeks [from about 19 April—Ed.] to fund the design costs for the culvert they ‘neglected’ to include in Page 8

Jane Hamilton, speaking on BBC “Look East”, on 5 April.


A421 dualling—continued. their original designs. At the time of going to press, it is not clear either how this figure was established, or what flexibility applies to this near-impossible deadline. Although £3m is a large amount of money, there is precedent where significant funds for similar protection of waterways have been raised after major campaigns. In many ways the most unreasonable demand is for the production of £150k in a ridiculously short time. IWA stands in full support of the B-MKWT who are campaigning for:1: Recognition that the B&MK Waterway should be endorsed as part of the infrastructure planned for the Oxford/Cambridge corridor (and therefore properly funded); 2: Support from partners to secure funding for the culvert to ensure the A421 upgrade fully meets local plan policy, as other projects have been required to do. 3: Help from Consortium partners and other agencies in building a strong business case and bidding for available funds; 4: The need for a more realistic timescale so that a way forward is achievable, with time to raise short term funding for the design fees for the A421 culvert. IWA members and supporters, particularly those living in the constituencies which the waterway route passes through, are asked to write to their MP in support of B-MKWT’s campaign, and to ask him or her to write to the Secretary of State for Transport to ask for full support for the provision of a crossing to be included in the scheme. Chris Howes, Eastern Region Chairman. The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway route passes through these MPs' constituencies: Mohammad Yasin MP - Bedford

Nadine Dorries MP - Mid Bedfordshire Mark Lancaster MP - Milton Keynes North Iain Stewart MP - Milton Keynes South

mohammad.yasin.mp@parliament.uk dorriesn@parliament.uk officeofmarklancaster@parliament.uk iain.stewart.mp@parliament.uk

Other MPs’ contact details are at: https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

Editor’s comment: This campaign is not just about boaters wanting somewhere new to boat. The waterway is widely seen in official circles as a catalyst for bringing a sense of place to the new communities planned for the Bedford - Milton Keynes corridor—Central Bedfordshire itself says it supports the scheme! But without boats it will be a dead waterway. Neither B-MKWT nor IWA questions the need to improve this stretch of road. Something went “right” to enable the existing culvert to be built on the already upgraded Bedford-Junction 13 section, but something has gone seriously “wrong” this time.

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CanalFILE . . . . . . . . . .

Welcome to CanalFILE! If you look at the lives of the historic buildings along the Grand Union canal you can’t help noticing that they have been influenced by their proximity to the canal. In this series of articles, we will be taking a look at a number of historic buildings and thinking about how and why the canal had an influence on them. We begin with BRADWELL WINDMILL.

WHAT IS THE MILL LIKE? Bradwell Windmill stands proudly in close proximity to the canal and the Grafton Street aqueduct. It was built of local limestone, which is unusual— local windmills were usually built of brick. The mill has three storeys. The first floor has two sets of grindstones, one for wheat and the other for barley. The second floor contains the hoisting gear and hoppers. The grain, once it had been Bradwell Windmill hauled to the top floor using wind-power, made its way down through the mill by gravity as it was ground and bagged. Originally the mill had 52-foot curtain sails. The sails of the present mill have been shortened. HISTORY OF THE MILL The mill was built sometime between 1805 and 1816 at a cost of over £500 (which was expensive!) for Samuel Holman, who bought the land on which to build it. On his death in 1825 the mill passed through his family until it was purchased by Elizabeth Curtis in 1846. It was then bought by Robert Adams whose son (also Robert) combined milling with farming to create a profitable business. He used a steam plough engine to provide turning power on days when there was little wind. By 1876 the mill had ceased to be used which means that it was only milling for around 70 years. In 1949 the mill was acquired by Wolverton Urban District Council for £80. By this time the roof had collapsed, and the sails were beyond repair. A new roof and sails were constructed, and the interior was repaired so that it could be opened to the public. However, in 1967 a sail was blown off in a gale. It was purchased by Milton Keynes Development Corporation and restoration began in 1976 but was not completed. In 1992 it was given to Milton Keynes Borough Council, and further restoration took place including the fitting of new sails. The Friends of Bradwell Windmill were able to hold their first open day Page 10


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

in 1996. Further restoration took place in 2014.

HOW WAS THE MILL INFLUENCED BY THE CANAL? The canal was almost certainly used to bring building materials to the site. Samuel Holman probably also saw the possibility of using water transport to serve a wide market. He could use the canal to bring grain to the mill and to transport the flour from it. Ironically, the forces that were causing the decline of the canal were also contributing to the decline and eventual closure of the mill. Flour could be more easily distributed by rail. This became an increasing problem with the decline of arable farming in north Buckinghamshire and the importing of wheat from the US. In addition, the windmills and watermills could not compete with newer steam powered mills. INTERESTING FACTS Bradwell is the oldest tower mill in Buckinghamshire. The ground floor has a fireplace. This is unusual in a mill, because the combination of fire and flour dust could be explosive. Mill stones come in pairs. The lower (stationary) stone is called the bedstone, and the upper (rotating) one is the runner stone. They are each cut with a pattern of grooves to produce a scissor-like action to grind the grain. The gap between the stones is adjusted carefully so that the grain is ground not too coarse, not too fine. The grooves on each stone have to be re-cut every so often to keep them grinding efficiently. Different kinds of stone are used to grind different grains. VISITING THE WINDMILL The Windmill is open 1.30 - 4.30pm on the last Sunday of the month from April to October, and on some other days. For details, go to: http://www.miltonkeynesmuseum.org.uk/windmill-open-days/ See you in the next edition!

Jane

Text: Jane Bidgood. Photo: Richard Schmidt.

Eastern Region update

I’m pleased to report that we have reconvened an Eastern Region Committee after an absence of several years. The Region’s Branch Chairmen all met during March in a Church Hall in Huntingdon, where we narrowly avoided taking part in a Ladies' Yoga session! We had a useful exchange of news from around the Branches. IWA supports the aims of the Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust in opposing the threat from the A421 dualling at Milton Keynes, and considers the non-provision for the waterway to be short-sighted and ill-considered. Urgent discussions are taking place on this—see Page 9. 2018 is the summer of Festivals in the Eastern Region, including the Bedford River Festival in July, and the IWA’s own Festival of Water in St Neots over the August Bank Holiday. I hope to see as many of you as possible, particularly at St Neots. Chris Howes, Eastern Region Chairman Page 11


Meet Tav Kazmi, CRT Waterway Manager At a useful meeting at Canal & River Trust’s Offices, Tim Armstrong, David Tucker and I met Tav Kazmi, who was seconded as Waterway Manager (South East) following Vicky Martin's departure last autumn. Having gained a degree in engineering with a Masters in Water Management, he joined British Waterways about 17 years ago, and served in various roles. With the Waterways Trust (BW's charity arm that was set up long before it turned itself into a charitable Trust), Tav was their representative on several grantaided projects, including the Foxton Inclined Plane and the Cotswold Canals. More recently he was involved with the revitalisation of London’s Bow Back Rivers. Tav expressed himself very keen to work with other bodies such as IWA, not only because using voluntary help allows the Trust to achieve more than its current budgets would otherwise allow, but also to show Government that it has the support of "independent advocates" (his phrase) such as IWA in order to ensure ongoing Government support when its present Grant Aid agreement ends. Tav was interested in the Branch's work, and asked us many questions. He was unable to attend the recent Cleanup, about which he had been well informed by Sonny King (who was also present at our meeting), but hopes to take part in a future one. In turn we asked him about CRT's impending re-organisation, including the re-configuration of its Regions, and were told that this was far from settled at this stage, but “Watch this space!” Text and picture: Les Franklin.

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Dave takes over Fenny Lock Adoption Scheme Dave Porter has taken over from Rodney Evans as Co-ordinator for the Branch's Fenny Lock Adoption Scheme. The Branch owes a substantial debt to Rodney for his work since the Scheme's inception, including identifying the work to be done, organising the work parties, and – perhaps most important – keeping CRT and other stakeholders on side. The Scheme has not only transformed the Fenny Lock area, but has also brought prestige to the Branch. As he hands over to Dave, Rodney looks back on the Scheme. The Adoption of the canal between Bridges 94 and 96 by our Branch was negotiated and approved in 2012. Our primary offer was to adopt Fenny Stratford Lock and its immediate environs including the swing bridge, Pump House its gardens, fencing and seats, relief map feature and motorcycle barrier before the railway bridge. CRT wanted adoptions to be at least a mile of canal, but accepted the bridge 94 –96 length in the end. This was the first Adoption offered and established in the South East Region, so we were a path leader for CRT.

Rodney Evans (centre) and Adoption founder volunteers receive the Adoption certificate from BW’s Miriam Tedder (right) in 2012.

The lock and immediate surrounds have been our prime focus, which has entailed major clearing up and repainting of all the features acknowledged by CRT. The work has extended to towpath hedge restoration including getting CRT to cut back the excessive height. We planted 100 whips to fill the gaps in the hedge caused by neglect. Offers to install extra mooring rings on the visitor moorings and to improve the towpath in harness with CRT were never taken up; towpath restoration is now being done by Milton Keynes Council. Other work undertaken beyond the Adoption remit has been a campaign for maintenance of the Broadwalk running behind the towpath hedge. This is a TESCO responsibility that had lapsed, but has been revived through negotiation with TESCO, enlisting support from MK Council and CRT. The work has involved splendid work by the volunteers from within and outside the Branch. Dave Porter expects to convene work parties soon, and would be grateful for offers of help. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Dave at david.porter@waterways.org.uk

New Members We extend a warm welcome to the following members who have joined the Branch since the last edition, and hope to meet you at our summer events. Please introduce yourselves to a Committee member. Mr P & Mrs L Parker, Leighton Buzzard.

Page 13


Mikron still touring after 47 years The statistics are almost unbelievable: in those 47 years, the Mikron Theatre Company has produced 60 original shows, written 360 songs, boated on the inland waterways for over 28,000 hours, and performed over 4,850 shows to over 395,000 people. These days the shows aren't often about the canals, but Mikron still brings people to canalside venues - as well as care homes, dry docks, lifeboat stations, youth hostels, and even inside a tunnel! Their two shows this year are: Get Well Soon (GWS) Seventy years ago, Aneurin Bevan gave us free healthcare for all, but all is not well at St Monica’s Hospital. They’re facing bugs, bed-blockers and a battle to save A&E. Can Bevan's dream survive the demands and pressures of the 21st century? Can Nurse Danuta save the day with her Polish pastries and proverbs? With tunes, transfusions and titters, join Mikron as they make a surgical strike on the state of our NHS. Revolting Women (RW) tells the female suffrage story through the eyes of a less wellknown Pankhurst, Sylvia, who fought for the vote alongside working women in the East End. Sylvia meets Lettie, and together they push to Parliament, to bend the ear of the Cabinet. Full of political satire, song and more suffrage societies than you can shake a stick at, Revolting Women unravels a contentious and momentous movement in history! Local performances are as follows: Sat 23 June, 3pm, The Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne, NN12 7SE (RW) Sun 24 June, 3pm, Lionhearts Cruising Club, Nicholas Mead, MK14 5EL (GWS) Thurs 28 June, 7.30pm, Globe Inn, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 2TA (RW) Fri 29 June, 7.30pm, Grand Junction Arms, Tring, HP23 5QE (GWS) Wed 4 July, 7.30pm, Rising Sun, Berkhamsted, HP4 2EG (RW)

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Poor weather affects Wendover work parties No relining work was possible at the January and February work parties due to poor weather. At the February work party, trial holes were dug to determine the exact line of the canal bed through the tip at Little Tring, where buried contaminants forced withdrawal of the HLF bid last year. When the boundaries were pegged out in 1997, an existing offside fence was assumed by BW to be correct, but when WAT later installed the towpath boundary, it was found that the canal line strayed a little from the course suggested by the 1997 work. The first two days of the work party that should have begun on 2 March were cancelled due to the arrival of the "Beast from the East". By 4 March, it was just possible to do some scrub bashing, and lay some bed lining. CRT has belatedly restored the water flow from Wendover by cutting the reed growth that had blocked the channel, resulting in loss of water from the system, drying out of the new Phase II stretch, and loss of wildlife, especially fish. WAT hopes that the wildlife will return, and that CRT will keep closer watch on the reed growth.

The “Beast from the East� grips the Wendover Arm in March. Photo: Steve Bonser.

Ray Orth, who has been running the Trust's restoration work parties for some time, plans to move away from the area in the next year or so. He will continue to run the work parties for a few more months, but the Trust is considering how restoration work will continue after he moves. Ray has also been giving talks about the Arm (he was IWA Milton Keynes Branch's guest speaker last November), and the Trust is seeking one or more volunteers to continue these talks. We wish Ray all the best for his move, and thank him for the splendid work he has done for the Trust.

From WAT web site, April 2018.

WAT GRAND DRAW TICKETS are enclosed with the printed edition. For more tickets, please contact Michael Wright on 01727 860137. THE

THREE LOCKS STOKE HAMMOND

SERVING FOOD EVERY DAY 10% DISCOUNT ON FOOD FOR IWA MEMBERS

T: 01525 270214 E: thethreelocks@epicpubs.com www.thethreelocksstokehammond.com Page 15


Getting in touch with MK Branch Two Committee members stood down at the Branch AGM in February, and the remaining members and four new members were elected. Thank you to the newbies for coming forward. Here are the details of your new Committee; they deserve your support! Please also see Page 3.

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Get the latest waterway news at these web sites. Addresses change frequently, but these were correct on 18 March 2018.

Chairman:

TIM ARMSTRONG tim.armstrong@waterways.org.uk

Vice-Chairman:

VACANT

Secretary:

DIANE WITTS diane.witts@waterways.org.uk

Membership:

PETE BICKERS pete.bickers@waterways.org.uk

Treasurer and Social Secretary:

DAVID TUCKER david.tucker@waterways.org.uk

Education Officer:

JANE BIDGOOD education.mkbranch@waterways.org.uk

Social Media:

CHRIS DURHAM chris.durham@team.waterways.org.uk

Buckingham Canal ATHINA BECKETT Soc Representative: athina.beckett@buckinghamcanal.org.uk B-MK Waterway Trust Reporter:

MARIE DRAPER marie.draper@waterways.org.uk

Trade Representative:

JAMES GRIFFIN james@canalholidays.co.uk

Cleanup Supervisor:

VACANT

Fenny Lock Adoption Scheme:

DAVE PORTER david.porter@waterways.org.uk

Committee member:

PAT TITMAS pat.titmas@team.waterways.org.uk

Editor and Publicity:

LES FRANKLIN (non-Committee) les.franklin@waterways.org.uk

Webmaster:

VERNON DRAPER (non-Committee) vernon.draper@waterways.org.uk

Planning:

TONY BIRCH (non-Committee) Contact via Les Franklin

IWA homepage: https://www.waterways.org.uk MK Branch pages: at above address, under “IWA Local”, select “Milton Keynes”. MK Branch Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/iwamiltonkeynesbranch/ Canal and River Trust: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Trust: http://www.b-mkwaterway.org.uk Buckingham Canal Society: http://www.buckinghamcanal.org.uk Wendover Arm Trust: http://www.wendoverarmtrust.co.uk Friends of the Canal Museum: http://www.friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk Leighton Buzzard Canal Society: https://en-gb.facebook.com/LeightonBuzzardCanalSociety/

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of The Inland Waterways Association or of the Milton Keynes Branch. They are however published as being of interest to members and readers.

Profile for The Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Telegraph May 2018  

The newsletter of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association

Towpath Telegraph May 2018  

The newsletter of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association