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waterways Keeping Our Waterways Alive

Spring 2010 | ISSUE 227


Centenary Celebrations

THE ANGLER’S TALE Fish & Fishing on the Inland Waterways James Hoseason News & Views A Personal Tribute

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Latest Developments

Restoration Update Grantham Canal Threat

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National Chairman’s Column


A new decade arrives with a challenging agenda for the future of our waterways. The year end saw the publication of some important consultations and studies. During the next few months we will be studying and responding to these in the lead up to the general election. IWAC’s two studies, Insights into the Funding of the Inland Waterways of Great Britain and Funding and Income Sources for a Selection of Overseas Inland Waterways, together add valuable evidence for a planned major paper from them this summer detailing the options open to the Government for the long-term funding of the inland waterways sector in England and Wales. Although Defra’s timetable for Waterways for Everyone has slipped slightly, so that its adoption by the current parliament before its disolution is unlikely, it is still the first major review by government of waterways policy since Waterways for Tomorrow was issued in 2000. In parallel with the development of Waterways for Everyone, British Waterways is continuing to explore its opportunities and options for the future under a Third Sector model with the publication of its consultants’ report Setting a New Course. This provides more vision of how it could be structured in the future. IWA believes that our long held vision of a National Waterways Conservancy is relevant to all these consultations and debates. In order to share this vision with others we plan to update and publish that vision. To some extent this could be seen as a waterways manifesto and we will try to draw it to the attention of candidates of all the major parties during the run up to the election. We have already published a briefing which was distributed widely to MPs with waterway constituencies and to some local authorities. We will need the wide support of our membership during these critical months to ensure that the case for the waterways is well presented, so please keep an eye on our website to find out how you can help. Looking at the future inevitably involves looking back at history. During an adjournment debate in parliament on 30th November the waterways minister reminded the House that the waterways are an asset to the nation. He said: “The Government recognise that the waterways are a tremendous asset, and we remain committed to maintaining them.” We must remember that not many years ago waterways were regarded as a liability with costs of maintaining them exceeding any benefits that were then recognised. We have come a long way but there is still more to be done if the minister’s opinions are to be shared by the majority of the country’s taxpayers and voters. In December 1959 a similar adjournment debate took place when our proposals for an Inland Waterways Conservancy were promoted in the House to widespread support. The vision has survived the test of time and remains relevant even if not yet fully adopted, so please do all you can to support it. It is worth recalling that even in 1959 the vision was not new but had been formulated by our founders, and principally by Robert Aickman in 1947, barely a year after IWA’s inaugural meeting. Of course 2010 sees us celebrate the centenary of co-founder Tom Rolt’s birth - perhaps we can dream that by 2014, when Robert Aickman’s centenary arrives, we will finally see delivery of his Inland Waterways Conservancy. Clive Henderson

Contents 6


News News and views from around the network

18 Tom Rolt Centenary

Former national chairman John Fletcher offers a personal tribute to L.T.C. Rolt

24 The Angler’s Tale

We look at fish and fishing on the inland waterways

From points north, south, east and west

32 Restoration Update

37 Considerate Boating

An innovative scheme promoting good behaviour on the inland waterways

What the press have to say about the waterways

Readers’ letters

Who’s who at The Inland Waterways Association

38 Waterway Cuttings 42 Inbox 44 Directory

WATERWAYS EDITOR: Keith Goss Tel: 01283 742951 E-mail:

ADVERTISING DESIGN: Jill Brown, Bethan Large ADVERTISING PRODUCTION: Samantha Lloyd E-mail: EDITORIAL BOARD: Gillian Smith, Jo Gilbertson, Neil Edwards, Keith Goss, Peter Johns REPROGRAPHICS: Waterways World Ltd, 151 Station Street, Burton-onTrent, Staffordshire, DE14 1BG. Printed in England by Warners (Midlands) PLC, Bourne, Lincs Articles may be reproduced provided permission is obtained and acknowledgement made. ISSN 0969-0654 l

A non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee (612245), Registered as a Charity (No. 212342)

Founded: 1946, Incorporated 1958 Registered Office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA Tel: 01494 783453 E-mail: Web site: Chief Executive – Neil Edwards, Operations & Information Systems Manager – David Forrester Finance Manager – Helen Elliott-Adams Campaign & Communications Manager – Jo Gilbertson l IWA may not agree with opinions expressed in Waterways but encourages publication as a matter of interest. Nothing printed may be construed as policy or an official announcement unless stated, otherwise the Association accepts no liability for any matter in the magazine. Although every care is taken with advertising matters no responsibility whatsoever can be accepted for any matter advertised.

Robin Smithett

ART EDITOR: Liane Hunt ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER: Tony Preston Tel: 01283 742965 E-mail:

COVER PICTURE: Anglers and boaters share the Fossdyke Canal in Lincolnshire.

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010 / 01

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Galvanic Isolator.

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Alternator Need to upgrade your alternator? We provide a range of alternators to upgrade/replace most alternators on common engine types. Unsure of what you have? Send us a photo and we will identify.

A highly efficient DC-DC Charger. Suitable for charging auxiliary batteries from a donor battery when no mains power is available and the engine is running. OSCA-P units are suitable for many applications, including bowthrusters, etc and reduce the need for large diameter heavy cables.

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National Waterways Conservancy Gains Momentum The Inland Waterways Association is relieved that Government has stepped back from the brink regarding any immediate sale of British Waterways’ Property portfolio. The announcement in the Operational Efficiency Programme: Asset Portfolio document ended recent speculation that there were immediate plans to sell BW’s property to fund the National Debt. (visit media/52715/oep-assetportfolio.pdf). National chairman Clive Henderson said: “We have been lobbying Government, privately and

publicly, ever since rumours of this sale surfaced. That has included the orchestration of a political lobby in the Commons and the Lords. We have also given vociferous support to the online petition, that has achieved an unprecedented public response in only a matter of days. We are delighted with the public’s support for the campaign. This decision supports all the economic arguments. British Waterways’ property contributes some £45m per annum towards the £125m the company needs to maintain its inland waterways network, and to have

sold the assets would have had dire consequences for the waterways, not only from a maintenance point of view but also in terms of British Waterways vision for becoming a Third Sector organisation.” Meanwhile, a new document from BW published on 17th December sets out  more detail of intentions and demonstrates that it has listened to IWA’s views and concerns (visit twentytwenty/setting-a-new-course). Key features in response to IWA’s views include: a clear

statement that BW could not survive without government funding; acknowledgement that government could use the opportunity of changed status to reduce their funding of the waterways; the final paragraph in section 5.3 is as close as IWA believes that BW could be expected to go at this stage in suggesting that their remit be extended to non BW waterways; a suggestion that with the new structure a change of name might be appropriate. IWA is to consult its branches and regions and formulate a detailed response in due course.

The National Association of Boat Owners’ (NABO) annual waterways survey has now been published. (See page 16) It details many serious issues affecting the condition of the nation’s waterways. Many IWA members contributed to the survey and as such, both NABO and IWA are keen to share feed back with members and other waterway supporters as this is in line with the SOS campaign, which both organisations openly support (visit current/survey.htm). Meanwhile, IWA asks that waterway supporters continue to promote the e-petition located on the No 10 website during the run up to the election. In early January the petition was No 5 out of over 4,500 other petitions on the No 10 website. It is essential for the petition to be supported as a visible means of demonstrating the widespread support for the inland waterways during the run up to the next election. Supporters are requested to continue to invite their contacts to visit: uk/protectourcanals/ and add their name.

DEFRA consultation on an updated strategy for the inland waterways  – Waterways for Everyone may be viewed at www. waterways/index.htm. Waterways for Everyone sets out the Government’s strategy for further enhancing the public benefits of inland waterways by widening the involvement of stakeholders and by supporting the management and development of the waterways. 

IWA was involved during the pre- publication consultation and is currently consulting internally with IWA region representatives and trustees prior to making a more formal response. Of ongoing concern to IWA is the need to ensure that navigation authorities are not overburdened with unnecessary (ie non-navigational) additional responsibilities. Another issue is, of course, the ever present concern of ensuring adequate and sustainable funding. IWA is also

WRG’s 40th Birthday 2010 is a special year for the Inland Waterways Association’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG). Established in 1970, it is celebrating its 40th anniversary.   Canals have been brought back to life ever since the middle of the 20th century by local canal societies and trusts. But WRG brought something new to supplement these local initiatives. It acts as a co-ordinating force, providing equipment, expertise, publicity and labour to help local restoration schemes. Since it does not focus on individual projects, it can move around the country, giving a concerted push to restoration schemes that need it, providing skills and resources that would not otherwise be available. Mike Palmer, the WRG chairman, said: “I am proud to be associated with WRG, and it has been a privilege to be its chairman for nearly 14 years. I cannot speak too highly of the volunteers who make it work. WRG has assisted so many schemes over the past 40 years that it is hard to pick out key achievements. They are all important as far as I’m concerned. But examples that stick in my mind are the saving of the Peak Forest and Ashton canals from closure and successful restoration of the Kennet & Avon Canal. More recently WRG helped to restore the Barge Lock on the Droitwich Canals and the flight of Aston Locks on the Montgomery Canal.” WRG has already planned its summer programme (see page 7). It is celebrating its 40th anniversary with an exciting schedule of working holidays planned across the country from Newport, Wales to Chelmsford, Essex, to the Chesterfield Canal in Derbyshire, and all the way down to the Grand Western Canal in Devon and Somerset.  


Continued Waterways for Everyone Support Essential for SOS 2010

Defra staff on a recent canal boat trip. interested in the scope for the Third Sector in the management of the waterways, regarding both the proper accommodation of volunteers and also for a form of National Waterways Conservancy and all that this could entail.

Scottish IWA Closes The Scottish Inland Waterways Association had dwindled over the past few years, and late last year there was a formal meeting to close it down, chaired by the then IWAC deputy chairman Fiona Willis. Those present at the meeting agreed that SIWA should be wound up. The main inland waterways group in Scotland has long been the Forth & Clyde Canal Society (an IWA corporate member), which covers the lowland waterways, along with some local community groups around Edinburgh and Glasgow. IWA is not registered as a charity in Scotland and does not actively campaign on Scottish waterways issues. It does, however, have a number of members resident in Scotland, the majority of whom are within North Lancs & Cumbria Branch. 

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spring NEWS IN BRIEF Waterway Recovery Group will be running 23 week-long schemes during 2010. These holidays represent a unique volunteering opportunity and participants can learn new skills (to improve and widen their future employment opportunities), such as bricklaying, the use of lime mortar and using specialist excavation and construction machinery, as well as taking the chance to be part of the team that really make a huge difference to the waterways. They are suitable for all ages between 18 and 70. To receive a 2010 Working Holidays Brochure please contact Jenny Black by email, or telephone 01494 783 453 ext 604.  Alternatively visit WRG’s website for up to date information

Alan Evans

IWA’s next National Waterways Conference will be held on 17th April at Sandwell MBC Council House, Freeth Street, Oldbury B69 3DE. John Edmonds has agreed to act as chairman. The linked topics will be ‘Maintaining the Momentum for Waterways Restoration’ and ‘Volunteer Development’. To register to attend or receive more information please telephone Head Office on 01494 783453 or email gemma.bolton@

Licence charges pegged on the Chelmer & Blackwater The board of Essex Waterways, the subsidiary company of IWA which manages the Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, has decided to hold off imposing any increases in charges for 2010. The only exceptions will be the six residential moorings at Heybridge and newly renovated moorings at Hoe Mill, which have benefited from electrical installations and are to be re-designated as premium moorings in view of the improved facilities. The board agreed that there would be no increases at the improved moorings at Sandford, despite the additional facilities, in recognition of inconvenience caused by the stoppage at Stonhams Lock during 2009.  Commenting on the decision to peg licence and other charges, Navigation Manager Colin Edmond said: ”We aim to run the waterway efficiently, but are always conscious of ensuring that we also represent the interests of the user wherever possible. We hope by imposing a zero increase on fees we can be seen to lead other larger navigation authorities by example”.

IWA Promotions and Communications Committee has organised a discussion and forum for IWA regions and branches to be held on Saturday 6th February at the North Staffordshire Conference Centre, Hartshill Road, Hartshill, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 7NY, commencing at 9.45am. Issues under discussion will include: sharing ideas and asking for views on how to improve branch meetings; the importance of recruitment and retention of members at branch level; how to create pride within and for the Association by increasing the awareness of the Association’s achievements; an update on SOS 2010 and a look at more ideas to promote it. There will also be further opportunities  to look at displays and discuss IWA sales stand work, IWA branch websites and Wild over Waterways activities. To register to attend or receive more information please telephone Head Office on 01494 783453 or email

The prices of IWA clothing are now as follows: Men’s/Unisex polo shirt - £9.25; Lady’s polo shirt - £8.75; Raglan sleeved sweat shirt - £10.35; Hooded sweat shirt, full zip - £20.25; Outdoor fleece, full zip - £19.25. For more information please contact Helen Whitehouse on 01494 783453. A full range of clothing will be available at the IWA stand at the forthcoming Caravan, Camping and Boat Show at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham from 23rd -28th February.

The New Years Honours list included the following appointments: Alison Smedley MBE, former IWA trustee, currently secretary IWA Stoke-on-Trent Branch, secretary Historic Narrow Boat Owners Club; and Brian Cassells OBE, formerly president of the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland, resident in Northern Ireland.

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A Tribute to James Hoseason OBE James was always aware of the importance of providing quality accommodation, amenities and service. He introduced luxury items to his cruisers, including microwave ovens, video recorders and CD players – commonplace items today but for some the height of luxury in bygone years. Recessions came and went, and other businesses went under, but Hoseasons remained profitable. By the time James retired in 1999, the company was selling holidays worth £100 million per annum, and catering for a million holidaymakers a year. A member of the English Tourist Board, a founder member of the Tourism Society and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, he was appointed OBE for services to tourism in 1990. I first met James Hoseason in the early 1980s when, as a ‘wet behind the ears’ News Editor for Waterways World, I went to interview him at the company’s Oulton Broad offices. I must have appeared largely clueless, for James took me under his wing and guided me through the interview, prompting me as to what questions (even awkward ones) I should be asking him. He was, in short, kindness itself. A few

weeks later I met him again at an event in Norwich staged to promote electric-powered boats on the Broads. He greeted me like a long lost friend, and introduced me to everyone he felt I should be talking to. One of his staff said to me on that occasion that “James always treats people well. He just makes everyone feel special.” For me that simple remark summed him up perfectly. He will be sadly missed, not just by his family and friends, but by everyone who knew him. Keith Goss

Waterway Images

IWA vice president James Hoseason died on 7th November, aged 82. For almost fifty years he ran Hoseasons Holidays, a name long synonymous with hire-boat holidays in Britain and on the Continent. James Hoseason was born in 1927 at South Cove, near Southwold in Suffolk, and grew up in nearby Lowestoft where his father Wally was the harbourmaster. In 1944 Wally launched his own motor yacht hire business at Oulton Broad, whilst James pursued a career in civil engineering in London. When his father fell ill with tuberculosis in 1949, James returned to Suffolk to help out at the boatyard, before taking over the business upon Wally’s death a year later. After initially contemplating selling the business, James realised that his only significant competitor was Blakes, a co-operative run from London. He believed that he could compete with and eventually surpass Blakes so he resolved to remain in Lowestoft and build up the business. Over the next few years he guided the company through a period of steady growth, adding holiday parks and holiday cottages to the boating arm of the business.

BW Licence Fees Held at Current Rates Boaters on British Waterways’ canals and rivers will not have to pay a licence rise in 2010. Licence fees will officially be held at their 2009 level, although with VAT returning to 17.5% (from 15%) from 1st January, the effective price will go up by 2.5%. Annual, short-term and Gold Licences are all to be held. However, boaters who pay by credit card will have a £7.50 surcharge. BW wants more people to use debit cards and direct debits, which it says cost less to process. There will be another rise for boaters renewing their licence after August. BW wants to halve the discount for prompt payment, currently set at 10%. There will be an additional 3% discount for paying online. By 2012, the prompt payment discount could be dropped altogether. Since introducing a £150 fine for late payment in April, BW believes the incentive for prompt payment is no longer so important. It is to improve its website to accept Maestro/Switch debit card payments, and renewals for craft whose Boat Safety Certificate is due. The Waterway Explorer licence, introduced in 2003, is to be dropped this year. The licence pays for 30 individual visits in a year, and although it is reasonably popular (300 sales per year), BW says it makes enforcement difficult.

IN BRIEF We don’t get winters like we used to anymore…or perhaps we do. The joys of winter boating are perfectly illustrated by this photograph by Alexa Jane. It was taken on the Upper Peak Forest Canal – but such conditions have prevailed throughout the canal network in recent months. Enjoy!

BRITISH WATERWAYS’ Towpath Tidy will take place between 1st-14th March. All volunteers will be most welcome. For full details visit www. towpath-tidy-2010.

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Spring NEWS Visit to the Belgian Boat Lifts The Trent & Mersey Canal Society is organising a trip to Belgium from Friday 7th to Monday 10th May. The main attraction will be a visit to the Anderton-style lifts on the Canal du Centre and to the new Strépy-Theiu Lift which bypasses the original structures and raises boats 240 feet. It is also planned to travel on the Ronquieres Inclined Plane, and then to visit Bruges for a boat trip, before travelling on to Mons, the site of the Battle of Waterloo, and Brussels. Other visits will be to the boatman’s town of Thuin on the River Sambre with its waterway museum, and to

the obsolete La Fontinette Lift in Northern France. The party will travel by coach starting from Stoke-on-Trent and travel to Dover, making pick-ups as required. Accommodation will be at the three-star Best Western Leonardo Hotel in Charleroi. The cost will be £295, based on two people sharing a double room on b&b basis, with a single supplement of £75. Further details, including colour leaflet, from John Morin, 82a Victoria Street, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 2JL. Tel: 01270 211455. E-mail:

Visit the Belgian boat lifts with the Trent & Mersey Canal Society.

Ouseburn Barrage BRINGS OPPORTUNITIES The Ouseburn, a small, formerly tidal, inland waterway navigable for about a third of a mile from the Tyne Estuary in Newcastle, has been used for navigation since the 18th century. During the 19th century it was busy with keels and wherries serving lead, iron and lime works and potteries but now the lower half is lined with derelict land which Newcastle City Council wants to see regenerated.  As a means of providing a more attractive water frontage, proposals for a tidal barrage had been around for many years and an options study completed in 2001 determined that the best option was a barrage near the mouth, with a full navigation lock. A guillotine-gated lock was recommended for water quality management and flood control reasons. In keeping with the strong tradition of public art developed in the Ouseburn Valley, an artist (Dan Archer) was appointed to contribute to the design, resulting in a unique curved support frame for the gates, picking up the curved character of the high Glasshouse Bridge under which the lock is situated. The tidal lock was designed from the beginning to

be user-operated (one of the few such locks in the UK) using a BW Watermate key (although it is not a BW waterway). The lock can be operated remotely from Newcastle Council’s 24 hour control room and can be set to automatic flood management operation when necessary, during which time it will be closed to navigation. The lock was formally opened (in the pouring rain) last September by Council Leader John Shipley and was navigated by a member of Newcastle Motor Boat Club.  Assembled guests then retired, in traditional fashion, for a buffet in the adjacent Tyne pub washed down with specially brewed ‘Barrage Bitter’ from a local brewery. The lock measures 20m x 5m with a headroom of about 5m at MHWS. Local IWA branch members contributed to consultation on navigation matters throughout the process of developing options and obtaining the Transport & Works Act Order to authorise the project. The waterway runs up a steep sided-valley towards a wooded area crossed by three spectacular viaducts (carrying a road, the Metro and the main line railway).  The upper end of the navigable

stretch has seen significant redevelopment, with artists’ studies, performance space and a real ale bar in the Cluny Warehouse (formerly a flax mill), Seven Stories (The Centre for Children’s Books) in a listed mill building, as well as stables and an indoor riding arena, while the existing slipway and boat club moorings have been retained and improved. The Victoria Tunnel, which brought coal under the centre of Newcastle, can also be visited.  Once the lower part is redeveloped, this should provide more moorings and provide an attractive navigation which

could be served by trip boats from the Cluny, taking in Newcastle-Gateshead quaysides (including The Baltic and the Sage Gateshead) and the Millennium ‘winking eye’ Bridge. The Ouseburn is managed by Newcastle City Council and boaters should contact their rangers for advice. Visit

Attractive moorings on the Ouseburn.

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At the breach site, the canal follows the contour through undulating farmland. Initial investigations suggest that the collapse may have been caused by the failure of an uncharted field drain culvert, or that the clay puddle had eroded – although the canal had been inspected during the previous week and nothing untoward reported. The primary feeder to the Caldon Canal is from Rudyard Lake, and the feed enters the canal at the end of the Leek Arm. To restore levels, water from Stanley Reservoir was used, together with a pump from the River Churnet and the main line of the canal was reopened by the following Monday. Repairs to the Leek Arm are expected to take between 8 and 12 weeks to complete, with provisional estimates of the cost put at up to £500,000. It is hoped, in any case, that the canal will be reopened in time for Easter.

On 17th November the Llangollen Canal suffered a major breach at Cornhill Embankment at Whixall – just one mile from the site of the December 2004 breach at Hampton Bank. The breach occurred on the offside bank, about 400 yards to the east of Cornhill Bridge (47), where contractors were undertaking routine bank strengthening. The earlier breach was caused by burrowing badgers

and these have again been blamed: it is understood that the already weakened bank probably collapsed as a result of new piling being driven in. Contractors had to lay a temporary road to bring heavy machinery to the site, and pipework was quickly installed to maintain the water flow, which is the main drinking water supply for mid-Cheshire. Repairs were completed by Christmas.

PHOTOS: Rupert Smedley

A breach occurred on the Leek Arm of the Caldon Canal early on Thursday 12th November. A boater on the summit level called the British Waterways emergency service at 5.30am to report that the water level was dropping, with a flow back towards the feed from Rudyard Lake reservoir. BW staff were quickly at the site, about half a mile from the end of the canal at Leek, and it was discovered that a large portion of the towpath had been washed away. No housing was affected, but a field below the canal was flooded, and silt was washed into the nearby River Churnet. Stop planks were installed at the west end of Leek Tunnel to stem the flow of the remaining water, and to isolate the end of the canal. An emergency stoppage was put in place from Etruria to Stockton Brook, and a fish rescue was organised.

…and another one on the Llangollen Canal

Michael Minifie

Caldon Breach…

Craning a marooned boat out of the Leek Arm.

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Spring NEWS The Llangollen Canal’s famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was dewatered on 9th November to allow for a routine inspection. The aqueduct is drained by the removal of a large plug, which is located in the middle of the structure, and the honour of releasing the plug fell to a Llangollen

schoolboy who won a competition. The aqueduct took two hours to drain, and around 1.5m litres of water cascaded into the River Dee, nearly 130ft below. It was last drained in November 2003, when a full repaint was carried out, the towpath was refurbished and an all weather surface applied.

Tony Collins

Michael Minifie

Milton Keynes branch held a three-day ‘clean up’ of the canal through the city in late October. Around 40 members and eight boats attended each day, resulting in an impressive haul which included: 40 supermarket trollies; 5 motor cycles, two of which were reported to and recovered by the police; around 25 bicycles in various states of health; a 40 gallon barrel; a cigarette machine; various car body parts. Members also walked the towpath collecting litter, filling 20 bags with bottles, cans and other rubbish. Mud hoppers to aid with the disposal of the haul were provided by British Waterways and towed by members’ boats. Wyvern Shipping Co of Leighton Buzzard made a donation of £100 to branch funds, and a passing boater donated £20 to show his gratitude for the group’s efforts. IWA Milton Keynes branch was a recent recipient of the BW ‘Volunteer Recognition Award’ for its canal clean up efforts over many years.

Pontcysyllte Drained

Michael Minifie

Milton Keynes clean up

Part of the haul lifted out of the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes.

Nottingham Improvements

A new link between the Nottingham Canal/Beeston Cut and the River Trent was officially opened on 6th November. The £1.5m scheme has created a ‘green’ traffic-free multi-user route which, say its promoters, provides a missing link in Nottingham’s waterways. Improvements include the installation of a wider footbridge over Meadow Lane Lock, the creation of a public rest area and a river viewing platform, and the towpath has been resurfaced. As well as an improved facilities building for boaters, additional visitor moorings have been provided along the River Trent. “The Meadow Lane scheme will bring significant benefits to Nottingham,” said waterway manager Sean McGinley. “By further opening up the canal as a cleaner, traffic-free, route into and out of the city, the project will form a key part of Nottingham’s local transport plan, and will be a significant part of the future regeneration plans along the river over the next 10 years.”

Cartwright Communications

Cyclists using the new route at Nottingham.

Historic Warehouse under threat at Brentford The help of IWA members is being sought to save a unique overhang warehouse at Brentford, which is under threat of demolition. Dating from the early 1960s, the warehouse extends over the Grand Union Canal in Commerce Road. This historic structure includes the only example of a fully covered transhipment wet-dock in London and will be yet another instance of disappearing waterway heritage unless imaginative ideas for its potential use are forthcoming very soon.  The Inland Waterways Association believes the building should be retained as part

of Brentford’s regeneration programme. IWA is keen to offer a wider audience an opportunity to present their suggestions to the developers. Members with views on how best to conserve this important piece of waterways history should send ideas and suggestions to: Roger Squires (e-mail rogersquires@ or John Ashey (e-mail johnsashley@btinternet. com) who will forward them to the developers, ISIS Waterside Regeneration, ISIS is expected to present the preferred option in early February.

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Obituary Donald Mackinnon

Olga Kevelos died on 28th October, having suffered a stroke from which she did not regain consciousness. The daughter of a Greek financier resident in Birmingham, she was one of the ever dwindling band of trainee boatwomen who worked for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co during World War II. She was working at the Royal Observatory, but this was closed during the war and Olga was transferred to the Admiralty in Bath. Described there by her bosses as “unable to add up,” Olga was attracted to the canal life by a newspaper advertisement for female recruits, and she joined the small team in late 1943. Lack of any other evidence suggests that Olga may have trained with Daphne French, and she crewed on a number of the boats worked by ‘passed trainees’ without actually being named as captain. She therefore stayed on the boats longer than many other women. After the war she went to Paris with one of her colleagues to study. For a while after returning to Birmingham she operated a travel agency, but soon became involved with a motor cycle racer. Finding that she had a natural aptitude for racing herself, she joined several teams as their works rider. Finding the James machines “too fiddly and slow”, she progressed through A.J.S. to Norton, and it was on a Norton that she won both of her Gold Medals in International six-day trials. One of those, in 1953, was awarded in Czechoslovakia, and Olga retained links with that country until her death. She also raced in Formula 3 cars but, by 1970, she had retired to the

country and joined her brother Ray to run the Three Tuns public house in Kings Sutton, Oxfordshire. During 1978 she made two appearances on the TV programme Mastermind, where her specialist subject was Genghis Khan. Olga was one of the four former trainees who returned to Stoke Bruerne in 2008 for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating their war work. On August 19th 2009 she appeared with fellow trainees Emma Smith and Jean Peters on BBC TV’s The One Show. During the programme the ladies spent time discussing their life on the canals during the war, and about how the experience had changed their lives for ever. In the years after she retired from the Three Tuns, Olga was a formidable quiz team captain. She was still serving as a parish councillor at the time of her death, and the parish church at Kings Sutton was filled almost to overflowing with villagers and friends for a service of thanksgiving for her life on 7th November. Mike Constable

Donald Mackinnon was a stalwart of the Scottish Inland Waterways Association’s Glasgow group in the 1970s. He was always to the fore when there was hard and dirty work to be done such as clearing lock chambers or bow-hauling barges through choking weed. He was a founder member of the Forth & Clyde Canal Society when it was formed in 1980, and was again at the head of the queue when Ferry Queen was converted from an old Clyde passenger ferry into a canal trip boat. Wherever the front line was drawn, Donald was on it wielding a hammer, shovel, welding torch or a paintbrush. However, Donald did not confine himself to physical activities. He was chairman of SIWA, chairman and honorary president of the F&CCS, and he chaired the British Waterways user group meetings for some years. He represented the society on the Forth & Clyde Canal Steering Group, a committee of elected councillors that monitored the Forth & Clyde Canal Local Plan. He was adept at winning over the general public, and he gave numerous talks on behalf of the F&CCS. In organising many events of every size and type, he always had an eye to promoting the cause of canal restoration. Donald’s determination to succeed in his allotted task found a more immediate outlet in those wonderfully anarchic events – the Drambuie Marathons in the 1980s. As one half of the ‘ton-up-kids’

Phyllis May, the narrowboat in which Terry and Monica Darlington travelled the world in their ‘Narrow Dog’ books, was burnt out in a mystery boat fire in Stone. Two other boats sank in the fire on the evening of 24th November. The blaze started on board one of six craft moored together at the long-established Canal

Cruising Company yard, on the Trent & Mersey Canal. Further damage was only averted when Leo McCloskey, a Canal Cruising employee, quickly reversed the others out of the way, then jumped into the water to keep a blazing boat from drifting across the basin. Other canal residents and passers-by were pressed into

(I was the other, junior, half, and we got our name when our combined ages topped 100), he had the chance to compete and campaign at the same time by using the canals. One year we won both the Lowland and Caledonian Canal events – Donald was very proud of that. After the canal’s reopening, Donald maintained his commitment to the cause, playing a big part in fund raising for the F&CCS’s newest passenger vessel. A life lived to the full had started to catch up with him, and he was still recovering from an illness and surgery when he travelled to Germany on family business. He died there on 28th September, just two months before his 80th birthday. In losing Donald the Scottish canals have lost a true champion. As individuals we have all lost a friend, but our thoughts go to his extended family, who have lost a husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He will be sorely missed. Guthrie Hutton

service to stop the fire from spreading further. At its peak, 25 firefighters were tackling the blaze. The cause is now being investigated by police. Terry Darlington told the local Express & Star: “It is quite ironic – the boat has survived storms, hurricanes and alligators only to burn down at its moorings while we were sat at home.”

Steve Wood

Narrow Dog burnt out in fire

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Spring NEWS The River Thames at Windsor.


Emrhys Barrell

It is sad to report the untimely death of David Taylor MP who represented South West Leicestershire. He was an enthusiastic supporter of the Ashby Canal, served on the Defra Select Committees on British Waterways, and was much valued as a regular supporter of IWA’s lobbying activities on all waterways matters.

New Visitor Centre for Grand Western Canal The Devon County Council owned Grand Western Canal Country Park, which encompasses the navigable length of the canal, is to have a new visitor centre built at Tiverton Basin. Although the idea is still on the drawing board, and planning permission has to be sought, the project will see the existing portable cabin replaced by a purpose-built building around twice the size of the current one. Plans for the new centre envisage a single story, timber-clad and environmentally sustainable building, possibly featuring a ‘living’ roof, ground source heat pump and solar panels. The £240,000 funding for the new centre has come from DCC’s ‘Investing in Devon’ programme, and is money raised from the sale of Exeter Airport. “A new visitor centre has been a longheld ambition for the Country Park,” said Mid Devon District councillor, and the canal’s joint advisory committee chairman, Paul Williams. “Tiverton Basin is by far the busiest point along the canal, and it is a much-loved and well managed site. I am certain that the new centre will be a fantastic addition to the area’s appeal to visitors.” The new centre will feature better displays about the history of the canal corridor and the wildlife of the area. It will also provide a valuable educational resource for schools, enabling children to understand more about their local environment and heritage. The building is being designed to sit lightly on the ground, so that there will be no need for extensive excavations. However, to ensure that no damage is done to the limekilns built into the raised canal bank, an archaeological survey will be carried out before any construction work begins. Following public consultation and planning approval, it is hoped that the new centre will be completed by 2011, in time for the 40th anniversary of the Country Park.

Olympics may threaten Thames Navigation Thames boaters are concerned at reports that the navigation could be closed during the 2012 Olympic Games. Olympic rowing events will be held at the Eton College rowing lake, a short way from the river through Windsor. Spectators could also be brought across the river from Windsor Racecourse on the opposite bank. LOCOG, the organisation running the Olympics, is discussing “traffic management measures on the Thames” with the Environment Agency – with closure as one option. LOCOG is worried about security risks

from boats. The EA says that “managing boating is a better option than closing”. It points to the annual operation to maintain navigation while the Henley Royal Regatta is staged on the river itself. Hire-boat and cruise operators have expressed concern, saying they could lose a six-figure sum if the river was closed. “We thought we would be getting some trade out of the Olympics,” said Tim Deaton of Thames River Cruise. LOCOG intends to submit a planning application for any required works early this year.

National Survey of Milestones A national society is seeking to preserve and record milestones beside the canal network. The Milestone Society, which exists to promote and raise public awareness of milestones and way markers, has so far concentrated on roadside markers. The society works to promote the historical significance of milestones and posts, and can provide information about their preservation and restoration. It now plans to expand its coverage to inland waterway milestones, about which it has very little data. The society is asking IWA branches, canal societies and individuals who hold

information about canalside milestones and posts – both historic and replicas – to contribute to its forthcoming national database (www.,, 01246 417984).

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In recent years the annual Waterborne Freight Statistics in the UK has not brought much good news but the 2008 edition, published in November 2009, does show a welcome increase in non-seagoing, internal barge traffic up from 3.4 million tonnes in 2007 to 3.7 million in 2008 – the highest tonnage since 2002. In addition to this traffic entirely inland of the  Smooth Water Line there was penetration of some inland waterways by seagoing vessels employed in one-port movement (eg sea-dredged aggregates, coastwise trade (eg Scottish crushed rock to the Medway) and foreign trade (eg to ports such as Howdendyke, Goole, lower Trent wharves, Mistley, Sharpness and Manchester). At 35.2 million tonnes the foreign trade was the highest since 1998 and accounted for 68 per cent of the domestic inland waterways freight.  The Thames was the busiest waterway and together with the Medway accounted for 2.73 million tonnes of barge traffic. Barges moved about 0.29 million tonnes on the Ouse, 0.18 million on the Trent and 0.23 million on the Severn. Dry bulk goods made up 62 per cent of the total and liquid bulks and unitised cargo 19 per cent each.  One-port and coastal traffic were both down slightly in 2008 on the previous year but overall waterborne freight still accounted for five per cent of the domestic freight tonnage and 20 per cent of the tonne km performed – this compares with rail traffic of five and eight per cent respectively. Yet when it comes to alternatives to road transport it is rail and not waterways that invariably get mentioned.  Given that the recession was beginning to bite in the later part of 2008 the waterborne freight held up reasonably well and it will certainly be interesting to see what has happened in 2009.

In November the governmentsponsored water freight promotion group held a one-day seminar at Chatham on the theme ‘Water freight – an agenda for change’, which was attended by over 60 delegates mainly from the supply side of the water freight industry. Chaired by Tim Lowry, chairman of FbW and MD of Riverline Trading, papers were presented on the experiences and problems of an operating company, planning for change, Crossrail and maximising use of water transport, the changing modal shift grant scheme, the coastal motorway, the role of ports and how green is the water-freight option. The Shipping Minister, Paul Clark MP, put the government’s view on the importance of maximising waterborne freight. All papers can be accessed on the FbW website (

The main message to emerge from this highly successful seminar was that modal shift depends on communication, co-ordination and co-operation between the varied stakeholders and a degree of joined-up thinking that hitherto has all too often been lacking. There is clearly an important role for FbW as a key facilitator in this and Peter Ward, the new Executive Director, is keen to swing the approach towards the demand side – the potential customers in manufacturing and retail trades. It has to be hoped that government funding for FbW is maintained at a level which allows it to do the job of proactive water-freight promotion for which it was created and which post-Copenhagen assumes even greater importance as a means of reducing carbon emissions.

FREIGHT FACILITIES GRANTS From 1974 when freight facilities grants were introduced to assist railways in attracting traffic from the roads, IWA pressed for extension to waterborne freight projects and this happened in 1981 since when there have been alterations to the conditions and procedures. Between 1983 and 1996 nine grants were awarded for water freight but the scheme was then revamped with a big increase in the number and amounts awarded. Between 1997 and 2004 there were 39 awards totalling £19.4 million but the number of applications then tailed off - only about two awards annually from 2005 to 2007 and none in 2008.  It is not wholly clear why, despite money being available, that there should have been such a decline in applications but possible factors might have been the conditions that needed

to be met and possibly also the procedures involved. As from 2009 FFGs for cargo-handling facilities will operate alongside a Mode Shift Revenue Support (MSRS) scheme for bulk freight by rail and for all freight by water where the cost of the rail or water transport is greater than that by road. It is therefore operating cost support with all cases based on the calculation of environmental benefit and value for money (see DfT Guide to Mode Shift Revenue Support scheme, 2009). The government is keen to attract applications for waterborne freight projects and it must be the hope that interested parties respond in good numbers to take full advantage of the support on offer. A Waterborne Freight Grant for up to three years is also available to coastal shipping where it is more expensive than the road option.

FbW chairman Tim Lowry (left) with Minister for Shipping Paul Clark.

Docklands goes green Construction work in Docklands is putting little burden on the streets of London. Aggregates from various suppliers on the Thames are loaded into barges with a capacity in excess of 1,000 tonnes and are delivered to a large floating batching plant moored in the dock.

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INL AND WATERWAYS FREIGHT Please send any news and views on inland waterways freight to David Hilling c/o IWA Head Office


Very few would argue with the logic of this statement but it seems not to have been extended to water transport. The IWFG has for long argued that it makes no sense to press for greater use of water transport when the wharves at which freight could be handled have fast disappeared at the hands of planners and property developers. Several speakers at FbW’s Chatham seminar drew attention to the continuing decline of wharf availability for freight but also to service the craft which carry the freight.  The wharf ‘safeguarding’ for freight handling introduced on the Thames in 1997 provides a model that should be extended to all waterways with freight potential – houses, hotels and offices do not have to be on waterfronts – handling of waterborne freight does. On many of our waterways existing, former and potential freight handling locations have been redeveloped for other uses. Just one example from many might be Essex Wharf on the Lee Navigation which as recently as 2009 was handling dredged materials, recyclables and construction material but is now subject to a planning application for residential development. Given the rhetoric regarding a postOlympic legacy of greater use of the navigation does it make any sense to abandon what would be a strategic wharf? Planners concerned with all our waterways must adopt the principle of ‘safeguarding’ of wharves if there is to be any chance of a modal shift in favour of water transport which government supposedly favours. Essex Wharf on the Lee Navigation.

TRANSPORT STRATEGY CONSULTATION The draft of the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy has been published for public consultation. At 354 pages, it is not for the fainthearted, but IWA members who make the effort may be inspired to send feedback to help to raise the profile of water transport. The document covers a wide range of issues, including freight, walking, cycling, buses, trains and accessibility for the disabled. However, the proposals will not, unfortunately be enough to enable London to meet its targets for the reduction of carbon emissions. Although waterway transport is mentioned, its potential as a key instrument in the battle to achieve fuel-efficient transport is not highlighted. While the possibilities deriving from the tidal Thames are explored, there is no reference to the seven miles upstream of Teddington that come under the jurisdiction of

the Environment Agency, despite this part of the river being eminently suitable for waterborne freight. Structured feedback questionnaires are available online at shaping-london, and an opportunity to respond more fully by email is provided at


During November and December 2009, Wood, Hall & Heward’s Leeds & Liverpool short boat Clitheroe moved 800 tonnes of material from Rye House, on the River Lee near Stanstead Abbots, to Cheshunt, five miles downstream. Each load consisted of 50 one-tonne bags containing stone, gravel and topsoil for use in towpath upgrading work.

Transport Trust Award

Jon Sims

Among the recipients of the 2009 Transport Trust awards are Peter Oates and Laura Sturrock, who are restoring the former GUCCCo motorboat Stanton. Built by Yarwoods of Northwich in 1936, Stanton was one of the last boats used on regular long distance traffic. Latterly owned by Braunstonbased Blue Line Canal Carrying, and operated by Jim & Doris Collins, Stanton, along with butty Belmont, carried coal from the North Warwickshire coalfield to the Kearley & Tonge jam factory at Southall, Middlesex. This was known by boatmen as the Jam ’Ole Run, and continued until 1970. The boat subsequently changed hands several times until bought by Peter & Laura in 2007. They have received a grant of £750 from the Transport Trust to help them bring the vessel back to her original cargo carrying condition. The Transport Trust is inviting entries for its 2010 Restoration Awards, the closing date for which is 30th June 2010. Award criteria and entry forms are available from the Transport Trust, 202 Lambeth Road, London SE1 7JW (020 7928 6464) or e-mail

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news Middlewich Big Lock on the Trent & Mersey Canal – hard to work according to the NABO survey.

NABO Report Criticises BW System An extensive survey by the

National Association of BoatOwners has concluded that British Waterways’ canals and rivers are becoming harder to navigate – but non-BW navigations, such as the River Thames, are getting better. A total of 370 boaters on BW waters responded to a detailed questionnaire on their 2009 cruising experiences. Its purpose was to test the claim by Robin Evans, BW’s chief executive, that “the network is now in better shape than at any time in decades”. John Slee, who co-ordinated the survey, concluded: “It is clear that the majority of boaters who answered our surveys disagree with Robin Evans.” 73% of respondents said that the BW network was in worse shape than five years ago. On other waterways, such as the rivers run by the Environment Agency, only 29% thought this, while 36% had seen an improvement. Locks were singled out for particular criticism, with 82% of boaters reporting that some were more

difficult to operate than they would have hoped. 47 of the respondents reported “near misses” as a result of lock faults. An even higher number, 84%, said that lack of dredging had caused problems when trying to moor up. Though the survey was run by NABO, over half of respondents were not NABO members. NABO believes that deterioration in the BW network is leading to disillusionment among many boaters – especially given the rising cost of boating. BW’s Caroline Killeavy welcomed the report. “The NABO Condition Survey provides good information and our Waterway Managers will use the data as they plan for next year’s works. Unfortunately, we simply do not have enough money to do everything. We have to constantly make decisions on priorities to try and deliver the best value that we can for the waterways.” The reports on both BW-run and other waterways, totalling almost 100 pages, can be downloaded from www.nabo.

Licence evasion halved since 2007 British Waterways says licence evasion dropped again last year – almost halving since 2007. 5.3% of boats observed in November’s ‘National Boat Check’ were not displaying a valid licence, compared to 10.4% in 2007. The biggest improvement since last year was in the former South East region, which includes the southern Grand Union Canal, where evasion has historically been high. There was, however, a small increase in the South West, including the Kennet & Avon Canal. Some river navigations, such as the Bristol Avon and the Yorkshire Ouse, were in flood and could not be checked. The November date was chosen because most boats have returned to a home mooring for the winter. Simon Salem, BW’s marketing director, said the fall was a result of enforcement work, the new £150 charge for late payment, and the ‘License It or Lose It’ campaign. 70 boats have been seized in 2009 as a result of enforcement action. Boats worth less than £1,000 are generally crushed, with more valuable ones sold on. Until now, the evasion rate has been calculated by BW staff walking the towpaths in November – but this will not be repeated in 2010. “We are now collecting data about boat sightings so regularly, and in such large quantities, that the National Boat Check will not be needed next year. Instead we will be able to publish data on progress in spring and autumn, based on our regular sightings programme,” Mr Salem said. In parallel, BW is asking boatowners with a valid licence to make sure that they display it. New stickers are being affixed to boats pleading “Please don’t drain our resources, display your licence.”

Swinford Toll Bridge Sold

The Swinford Toll Bridge across the River Thames near Eynsham sold at auction in December for £1.08m. The bridge, which opened in 1769, carries nearly four million vehicles a year, and traffic at the toll can be very heavy during morning and evening rush hour periods. Prior to the sale, there was a vociferous local attempt to get Oxfordshire County Council to buy the bridge and scrap the charges – 5p for a car and 50p for a lorry. However, a 1767 Act of Parliament granted private ownership of the bridge and its income from tolls to the Earl of Abingdon and “to his heirs and assignees for ever”. Because of the Act, the owner is exempt from income, capital gains and inheritance tax, or VAT. The tolls produce an annual income of around £195,000, and the deal also came with a stone cottage and a small parcel of land.

IWA Region Chairmen

An item in the Winter 2009 issue of Waterways sought nominations for region chairmen for London and South West regions. There was one nomination for London Region – James Kennerley (nominated by Roger Squires). There were no nominations for South West Region. There is therefore no need for any ballot to take place. Mr Kennerley’s appointment takes effect from 26th March.

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Tom Rolt Centenary A personal tribute to L. T. C. Rolt – one of the founders of IWA - by former National Chairman John C. Fletcher


here are some days which stand out in the memory when perceptions are heightened - but those memorable days tend to belong more to childhood. A short time ago the call came from another organisation for “someone who knew Tom Rolt and would talk about his waterway influences”. “But I didn’t know him,” I protested. “I only met him once.”

Guardian about a group of enthusiasts who were trying to save a railway; one of the many narrow gauge Welsh railways that my father remembered from his adolescent years. “I’d like you to ride on it; it might not even exist next year.” In his, even then, ancient 1937 Ford 8 father drove me through Dolgelly (as it was then) and over the tops; down a steep-sided valley to Abergynolwyn. A train wheezed

on my own! My head was well below the level of the window so the guard came out, round the end of the carriage and took my shilling and I asked for “a child single to Dolgoch please.” The guard disappeared into his van and returned with the appropriate ticket – a white ground with two green stripes on it – and my change, which I think was 8 (old) pence (about 3p); took me to the next carriage;

Many years later I was to see a photograph of Tom Rolt on the Talyllyn Railway – the railway he saved – and realised then that this was the friendly guard who had looked after me on that well-remembered day Even in the early 1950s steam trains were something of a novelty for me. My usual train journeys were on the electric trains alongside the still active Bridgewater Canal between Timperley and Manchester. On an early postwar holiday in west Wales, however, my father wanted me to have a train ride. He had read in The Manchester

into the station on rails held apart by turf and only just over two feet apart. Dad had given me a shilling (5p) for my train fare and after the engine had shuffled round the three four-wheeled carriages, I went to the booking office window, built into the side of one of the carriages. It was to be my first railway journey

unlocked the door; reassured me; and locked me in. The whistle blew; the train gently lurched off, rolling from side to side down the uneven track. Meanwhile father drove slowly down the parallel road and when he came to a gate into the fields between the road and the railway he would wait for the train to catch him up - and

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he would wave. It was perhaps 10 to 15 minutes later that we reached the first station, Dolgoch, and the guard came and let me out, and father was waiting to collect me. Many years later I was to see a photograph of Tom Rolt on the Talyllyn Railway – the railway he saved – and realised then that this was the friendly guard who had looked after me on that wellremembered day. Later still I was to read and hear that he had then lived at Dolgoch, in a caravan, with Sonia, the love of his life, but I had little understanding of the uproar that this had caused in the deeply religious non-conformist Welsh valleys! To me he was a kindly man looking after a little boy on his first solo train journey which just happened to be on a magical railway. And Rolt was doing an exciting job ( I didn’t realise how exciting) but he still had time to look after me.

Waterway Images


Above: The Talyllyn Railway – saved by Tom Rolt. below & RIGHT: Two of Tom Rolt’s best loved railway books.

As an adolescent I cruised on the Norfolk Broads with friends (including the eldest son of the family I had stayed with in west Wales) and later repeated the experience with my first wife Margaret. And then I had proposed touring all the ‘Great Little Trains of Wales’, but petrol coupons were issued and touring seemed to be less than a good idea. Instead we hired a canal boat from Adlington, just down the road from our home in Blackburn, and took it across the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to Skipton, where Margaret bought me a copy of Rolt’s The Inland Waterways of England. I enjoyed the quality of the prose immensely and it helped me to see the canal as Rolt might have seen it. During a holiday on the southern Oxford Canal the following year more Rolt waterway books were purchased, including a (then) recent edition of Narrow Boat and as my interest deepened, so I joined IWA.

Once I became active I met people who had known Tom in his waterway days – none more so than the late Martin Grundy who told me about meeting Tom during a family cruise up the Welsh Canal before IWA had been formed – and cruising on a working boat with Sonia Smith (as she then was). It was a story he was later to incorporate in an illustrated talk, and which, much later and along with his brother Crick, he was to deliver before IWA’s Diamond Jubilee Dinner. That was a dinner at which Sonia, by now of course Tom’s widow, sat next to me – on the evening my first wife died. Sonia’s eloquence, as she wrote to me about it afterwards, matched Tom’s – as did her kindliness. By then I had drawn on my role as IWA national chairman (the only time I did so) to evoke memories of that earlier occasion and take a footplate ride on the Talyllyn Railway, on the locomotive named Tom Rolt in his memory. As ever, as organisations mature, those who remain involved did not experience the formative years – indeed I was only a toddler in 1946 when IWA was formed, and so we rely on others for a perspective of the contributions of various major players. There have been varying reports by those who were there about the contributions of Rolt and Aickman. Perhaps, like the four gospels, the stories vary according to the perceptions of the story teller. So can a more remote perception be any more accurate? Tom most certainly was an engineer who could set down his observations with elegance, and the practical ways in which his interests took him, be that ancient sports cars, waterways, or anachronistic railways, were also elegantly related. Had Tom not decided to move around on the canals in the latter part of the Second World War and write about his observations and experiences, then Aickman would not have read it. Aickman would not have felt the urge to meet Tom and explore his knowledge and his passions and they would not have met at Tardebigge. Without the complementary talents and passions becoming evident at that meeting it would not have led to the creation of The Inland Waterways Association. They both had big personalities, but those personalities found their expression in entirely different ways.

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Waterway Images

Waterway Images


OPPOSTIE PAGE BOTTOM LEFT: Sonia Rolt and IWA dignatories at Chester, standing beside a plaque commemorating Tom’s achievements. OPPOSTIE PAGE BOTTOM right: The memorial to Tom Rolt at St Michael’s Church, Stanley Pontlarge.

Above left and left: The two plaques installed at Tardebigge on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to commemorate the meeting between Tom Rolt and Robert Aickman.

But they created a campaigning organisation that was to meet the needs of the widest franchise of any group of waterway enthusiasts and supporters in the country, and to use the Audrey Smith analogy, to sire ‘the waterway family’ of the vast raft of waterway organisations that exist today. Had the two founders not had far from different perceptions then, no doubt, there would not have been such a public falling out between the two of them, but would IWA as an organisation have been, and be able to continue to be, an organisation with appeal to such a wide range of specific enthusiasms within its membership? I think not. As the years pass those who hold sway within the organisation lead it in varying directions and as an organisation it gains from that diversity of spirit. Neither founder would recognise much of the inland

waterway system we have enjoyed in the last decade, but surely with the wondrous benefit of hindsight, both would have recognised the contribution of diversity. Although they were both writers, I suspect only Tom would have been able to chronicle the history with eloquence and the eye of an engineer looking at the on-going developments of the waterways that we all love, and so tenderly regret those aspects that have now gone forever, and which inspired him to write Narrow Boat. I am sure he would have forthrightly expressed his views when through ignorance or malice on the part of those managing and running the waterways, elements of the fabric of the waterway structure were deliberately demolished or replaced with little good reason. But would he be surprised at the direction waterways have been recently taking?

At the beginning of the final chapter of The Inland Waterways of England (published in 1950), he indicates that he is the sort of person who enjoys the remoteness of the waterways, but recognises that they cannot be maintained in navigable order for a handful of waterwayminded people. He comments how inextricably bound up are canals with other water courses and goes on to advocate the promotion of the use of waterways for leisure. Charles Hadfield wrote on the dust jacket of one edition: “In Narrow Boat and The Inland Waterways of England L.T.C. Rolt gave us two books that will last as long as men and women love canals.” And so he did, but perhaps above all the former title was the catalyst which set in train the formation of the Association. For me his later writings, including his autobiography, are just a glorious bonus.

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CRESSY CRUISE RE-ENACTMENT Trent & Mersey Canal. Following the line northwards, Heron will reach Middlewich in time for the Folk & Boat Festival from 18th-20th June. From there she will cruise to Chester to join in the celebrations that IWA Chester Branch is planning for the weekend of 25th-27th June.  Tom was actually born in Chester in 1910 so it is fitting that a Centenary Celebration Dinner is also planned for that weekend in the historic Chester Guildhall. Heron will then rejoin the original Cressy route and cruise down the Shropshire Union Canal, then up the Staffs & Worcester before rejoining the Trent & Mersey. From there the route will take her along the Coventry Canal, down the Oxford Canal passing again through Banbury and on towards the Thames.  Heron’s cruise will finish at the IWA National Festival & Boat Show (The Tom Rolt Centenary Event) at Beale Park, Pangbourne on the River Thames over the August Bank Holiday weekend. During her travels Heron will be decorated appropriately, telling the Rolt story and promoting IWA. Any boaters or other enthusiasts who may wish to join Ron and Mary for all or part of the journey would be most welcome. For further information about the Cressy re-enactment cruise please contact

Waterway Images

Waterway Images

Tom and Angela Rolt’s narrowboat Cressy at Frankton on the Montgomery Canal.

Cressy is seen here at Market Harborough in 1950 during IWA’s first National Rally.

Waterway Images

Waterway Images

August 1939 saw a young, newly married couple, Tom and Angela Rolt, leave Banbury to cruise the inland waterways aboard their narrowboat Cressy. As part of IWA’s Tom Rolt’s centenary celebrations, Ron and Mary Heritage from IWA Oxfordshire Branch will attempt to re-enact the Rolts’ iconic Cressy cruise, leaving Tooley’s boatyard in Banbury at midday on 24th April in their narrowboat Heron. Tom Rolt was also a founder member of the Talyllyn Steam Railway and the Vintage Sports Car Club and it is hoped to have representatives from the latter – helping to give Heron a good send-off. Local dignitaries have already offered their support to the occasion. Meanwhile, pupils from the North Oxford Academy are planning to track the cruise route and also produce displays, carry out interviews and design publicity for the event as part of their International Baccalaureate studies. From Banbury, the cruise heads north towards Braunston – the heart of the inland waterways system. Then the route goes on to the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union Canal and descends through Foxton Locks to Market Harborough, the site of IWA’s first National Rally in 1950. From Market Harborough Heron will travel north through Loughborough and along the River Soar, before joining the

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The Angler’s Tale We take a look at fish and fishing in Britain’s inland waterways – and the increasingly harmonious interaction between boaters and anglers


ritain’s inland waterways – both navigable and unnavigable – are home to scores of different species of freshwater fish. The game fish – salmon, trout and char – are to be found in fast flowing rivers, most notably in Scotland and Wales, whilst coarse fish inhabit all manner of lakes, ponds, flooded gravel pits, rivers, drainage dykes and canals throughout Britain. They range from well known species such as bream, carp, chub, perch, pike, roach and tench, through tiny gudgeon and minnow, to catfish and zander, the latter being a perch/pike type hybrid introduced from Eastern Europe in recent times.

The Canal Network Built for boats and trade, but ideal for fish – that’s Britain’s canal network. Thanks to natural evolution and a

programme of stocking by British Waterways and others, coarse fish abound in the majority of canals around the country. The Shropshire Union, for example, has a good stock of roach, perch, tench and chub, with bream to be found along the wider lengths and at winding holes. Meanwhile, carp are to be found in a number of locations, but are especially prolific along the Middlewich Branch where fish grow to over 20lb. The Trent & Mersey Canal is well stocked with roach, gudgeon and perch, with certain areas also boasting good numbers of bream and tench. The canal through the Potteries, where angling is an especially popular activity, is home to prolific shoals of the main species. Further south the Kennet & Avon Navigation is one of the country’s major canal fisheries. Fish are particularly abundant in the clear waters of the Kennet between Newbury and

Kintbury, where bream, carp, perch, pike, roach and tench are to be found. The westernmost section of the navigation between Devizes and Bath is renowned for its pike.

River Navigations Such has been the improvement in water quality in the River Thames in recent times that salmon have been spotted in the river on many occasions. But it is as a habitat for coarse fish that Britain’s premier river navigation excels, being home to barbel, carp, chub, perch, pike and roach. The Trent is also popular with anglers, with good stocks of carp including many specimen fish over 30lb, whilst the Severn and Avon also offer a variety of species, barbel being a frequent catch on the former. Arguably Britain’s best coarse fishing river, however, is the Great Ouse, along with its tributaries the Cam, Lark, Little Ouse and Wissey. Here are to be found huge shoals of bream,

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Britain’s Main Freshwater Species Barbel British Record: 17lb 1oz Distribution: Rivers throughout England Bream British Record: 16lb 9oz Distribution: Lakes and rivers, the Great Ouse being a top location

Common Carp British Record: 56lb 6oz Distribution: Lakes, ponds, canals and rivers throughout England and Wales Crucian Carp British Record: 4lb 2oz Distribution: Mainly ponds and smaller lakes Chub British Record: 8lb 10oz Distribution: Rivers and lakes throughout England, the River Kennet and Hampshire Avon being especially favoured


Dace British Record: 1lb 4oz Distribution: Swift flowing rivers Eel British Record: 11lb 2oz Distribution: Lakes, ponds and sluggish rivers Perch British Record: 5lb 9oz Distribution: Found in all manner of waters throughout the country Pike British Record: 46lb 13oz Distribution: Rivers, canals, lakes and gravel pits Roach British Record: 4lb 3oz Distribution: Probably Britain’s most common fish, roach are to be found in all kinds of waters


Rudd British Record: 4lb 8oz Distribution: Mainly found in quiet lakes and ponds

Tench British Record: 14lb 3oz Distribution: Lakes, ponds, sluggish rivers and some canals

Fishing for perch on the River Avon at Eckington Bridge.

plus chub, dace, perch, pike and roach. There are eels, too, although far fewer than in earlier times, along with zander, which inhabit the waters downstream of Ely. The Norfolk Broads have been popular with anglers for over a century and the main quarry here is pike, which frequently grow to over 20lb and live in both the broads and connecting rivers.

A Popular Pastime Angling is Britain’s largest participation sport. According to whose statistics you believe, there are either almost 300,000 anglers in Britain (Sport England) or in excess of 2 million ( The Angling Trust). The true figure probably lies somewhere in between. And the vast majority of them are coarse fishermen, for the simple reason that most people live within a few miles of a river, canal, lake or pond where coarse fish can be found and caught. Some waters are of course privately owned or administered by angling clubs and associations, but others may be fished by anyone who is in possession of a valid rod licence, which may be purchased from the Environment Agency ( The main techniques are float fishing, ledgering and spinning. Float fishing

involves a float made of cork, wood or quill which lets the angler know when a fish takes the bait. No float is used in ledgering; instead a weight is used to hold the bait on the bottom of the river, lake or pond and bites are indicated by the twitching of the rod tip or by electronic bite alarms attached to the line. Spinning is a technique used for catching predatory fish such as pike and perch and uses a lure which is dragged through the water to replicate a small fish. Sometimes plugs are used, these being more lifelike than spinners and able to operate at varying depths in the water. In recent years there has been an upsurge in pole fishing. Poles are made of exceptionally light carbon-fibre material and can be in excess of 15 metres long. Instead of using a reel, the line is attached by a short length of elastic to the tip of the pole. When a fish takes the bait the pole is taken apart in sections until the fish can be landed. The main advantage of pole fishing is that it enables the angler to place the bait gently and accurately in a particular spot, causing less disturbance to the fish and keeping greater control over the line. Pole fishing is especially common on canals, where anglers can drop their bait over to the far bank where good shoals of fish are often to be found. IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010 / 25

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Carp Fishing The single most popular branch of coarse angling is undoubtedly carp fishing. The common carp is the nation’s largest fish and is widely distributed throughout the country, in rivers, canals, gravel pits, lakes – even in humble farm ponds. And most carp waters will hold plenty of fish in excess of 15lb, a 20 pounder being the normal weight for ‘specimen status’. Weights have increased greatly in recent times and nowadays more and more waters are home to fish of 40lb or more. But it’s not just about size, there is a magical quality to carp fishing that is difficult to define. It’s what makes anglers leave the comfort of their homes in early evening to spend the night camped beside ponds and lakes all over England. Certainly carp possess great cunning and strength, such that landing any fish over 15lb can be regarded as a fine achievement. And the hope is always there that one day the monster fish, perhaps in excess of the British record of 56lb, could end up on the end of the line. As the saying goes: “Once a carp fisherman, always a carp fisherman…” Specimens like this make carp fishing the most popular branch of coarse angling.

In an attempt to confirm or dispel the existence of an improved relationship between boaters and fishermen, we conducted an impromptu – and admittedly unscientific - survey of attitudes along the Trent & Mersey and Staffs & Worcs canals in late November. But it brought forth some revealing, and occasionally amusing, comments, as published below: Boaters on Anglers “I don’t have a problem with anglers these days – they don’t seem to fish right by the locks like they used to in the past. Nor do they leave their tackle behind anymore.” “They always look so miserable! Otherwise they’re fine by me.” “I don’t understand why they have to use those enormous poles – just to catch tiny fish most of the time.” “The fishermen round here are brilliant. They always clear away all their rubbish and I’ve often seen them tidying up the towpath of general litter.” “They sometimes seem to resent having to pull up their rods to let boats go past. But I’ve never encountered any rudeness from them.” “Good on ‘em! The more people who use the canals the better in my book – that’s more people to fight for their proper maintenance.” CC-BY

Anglers on Boaters… “I like to see boats on the move. It means the locks are being opened, the water flows and the fishing is better.” “Most of them are just fine. Just occasionally you get someone going way too fast and making waves – that really does get on my nerves.”

Anglers and Boaters In the less enlightened days of the 1970s and ‘80s anglers and boaters did not enjoy the best of relationships. In those times the letters pages of Waterways World and other canal magazines carried frequent tirades against fishermen, complaining of thoughtless, selfish and occasionally aggressive behaviour towards boat crews. No doubt the angling press published similarly hostile comments relating to boaters. But a live and let live attitude has largely taken over since then

and conflict is a rarity today. The healing process has been helped by various initiatives, including regular meetings between boat clubs and angling societies who share the same waterways. One such takes place on the Staffs & Worcs Canal where the members of Stafford Boat Club host anglers from the Isaac Walton Angling Association based at nearby Eccleshall. Anglers and boaters take early morning tea and biscuits together, have a discussion on matters of mutual interest, and then go their separate ways to boat or fish.

Relations between anglers and boaters weren’t always as good as they are now!

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“Boaters seem a fairly considerate bunch on the whole.” “The one thing that is annoying is when they run their engines for ages while moored up – destroying the peace and quiet for everyone.” “You expect boats on canals so that’s it, end of story. Fish in a lake if you don’t like boats.” “Boaters are great. But I would say that, wouldn’t I, because once or twice a year I hire a boat on the Fens or the Broads. To go fishing, of course.”

American Signal Crayfish The American Signal Crayfish is wreaking havoc in Britain’s waterways – an alien invader eating everything in its path. The species was first introduced into Britain in the 1970s to be bred on farms for the restaurant trade, but a handful of the creatures escaped and 30 years on there are now millions to be found in rivers throughout the land. A voracious predator, the six-inch ‘Signal’ eats almost anything it encounters including plants, invertebrates, snails, small fish and fish eggs. In most of the waterways of southern England, it has already annihilated the smaller native White Claw Crayfish and is threatening fish stocks in some areas. The invasive crayfish has now reached plague proportions and marine biologists have been looking at ways of controlling its spread. Attempts to introduce a specific fatal crayfish disease have already failed and trapping and removal have been disregarded as impractical. The development of a river banking system which deprives the crayfish of the habitat it needs for shelter and breeding has had a measure of success in some limited areas, but is not thought to be the complete solution to the problem. So the search goes on for a means of getting rid of, or at least controlling, this unwanted import from across the Atlantic. In the meantime, if there is a silver lining, it is that the ‘Signal’ is said to be exceptionally good to eat…

“My pet hate is large groups of ramblers – 20 or more at times. You can hear them coming for about five minutes before you see them. Blah, blah, blah. (But they probably don’t like making their way past lots of anglers so it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other, isn’t it?).”

Robin Smithett

“Boaters, cyclists, dog walkers – we all have to share the canals don’t we? So I just smile at everyone, which is easier of course when I’m having a good day on the water.” CC-BY

… and other towpath users “Some cyclists do my head in. They zoom along like they’re in the Tour de France, then whinge about us not moving our gear out of the way.”

The Fossdyke Canal is a popular waterway with anglers.

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The Angling Trust The Angling Trust is the umbrella organisation representing all fishermen in England, whether coarse, game or sea anglers. It campaigns on conservation issues; for protection of angling; for increased Government and Environment Agency support for angling and fisheries; for control of nuisance predators; and for co-ordinated action on poaching and fish theft. The Trust also aims to provide quality coaches from diverse backgrounds; to set up angling education programmes; to provide increased opportunities for everyone to be able to participate in angling; to organise national and international competitions; and to support angling club development. The Angling Trust has a legal arm, Fish Legal, which uses the law to fight pollution, over abstraction, habit degradation, unlawful access restrictions and damaging barrages, weirs and hydropower schemes, on behalf of angling clubs, fisheries and riparian owners. For full details on The Angling Trust, including a list of angling clubs and associations in all areas of England, visit

CASTS Coarse Angling Skills Training Staffordshire (CASTS) was established in 2007 by husband and wife team Mark and Erica Wilton to provide angling tuition for individuals and youth groups throughout Staffordshire and neighbouring counties. Since then they have successfully coached around 700-800 young people, many of them on schemes run in conjunction with local police initiatives. The overriding concept of CASTS is that engaging youngsters in sports such as angling is a cost effective and proven way of tackling problems of anti-social behaviour, educational under-achievement and youth crime. CASTS works in partnership with local policing units, local authority youth services, drug and alcohol support organisations and schools. These bodies approach CASTS and ask them to arrange courses for groups of youngsters whom they feel would benefit from coaching and time spent quietly by the water. Funding comes from a variety of sources, including local authorities and the National Lottery. The tuition sessions provided by CASTS are run by qualified Level II angling coaches and take place at a variety of venues, including the lake at Baden Hall, near Stafford and Fisherwick Lakes near Lichfield. Coaching is also provided at a number of indoor venues, as well as on the Staffs & Worcs Canal near Stafford and at Stone on the Trent & Mersey Canal. Mark Wilton, an experienced match angler and qualified coach, supervises many of the sessions himself, as well as serving as CASTS treasurer. “It’s a humbling experience”, said Mark, “watching children from desperately sad and deprived backgrounds really take to angling. In some cases, the tuition and support they receive from CASTS represent their first positive experience of adults taking an interest in them and showing them kindness and encouragement. Nine out of ten times they respond positively and that is what makes being involved with Mark and CASTS so rewarding.” Erica Wilton As well as learning about fishing, the of CASTS. youngsters are also taught to respect the environment of the waterways. At the end of their sessions they undertake clearing up and litter picking along the canal or around the lake. And for those who wish to continue angling after their course has come to an end, fishing tackle and a rod licence are provided so that they can continue to fish independently. For full details of courses run by CASTS, contact Mark and Erica Wilton, 18 Vardon Close, Stafford ST16 3YW. Tel: 01785 227452, e-mail: casts@

Angling and IWA IWA regards angling as an important and beneficial activity on inland waterways and engages in regular meetings with representatives of The Angling Trust and other angling groups. At local level, IWA branches are being encouraged to enlist the active support of angling clubs and associations in local campaigning events staged to highlight the threat to our waterways posed by continuing Government funding cuts.

Young anglers on the BCN.

Setting up on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood.

Roger Butler

So what have been your experiences and interactions with anglers on the canals? We should like to hear about them so please write to Inbox (see pages 42-43) and let us know. Ed.

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Progress on the Stover Canal

Following years of negotiations, volunteers from the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust are celebrating a landmark victory. After an appeal, a planning inspector has granted planning permission for the redevelopment of a trading estate on the outskirts of Hereford. The decision was made on the grounds that the developer has agreed to restore an infilled section of the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal as part of the development. Around 115 new canalside homes, along with a convenience store and other retail space, are planned for the College Road site. The landowners have signed a legally binding obligation with the council and the H&GCT which commits them to excavate a heavily contaminated infilled cutting and restore a 1/4-mile section of the canal in the city from the boundary of Aylestone Park up to Aylestone Tunnel. The agreement involves the safe disposal of the contaminated material which, at 2008 prices was, estimated to cost £1.2m. When the development is complete, the developer will transfer the freehold of the canal and associated operational land, which includes Aylestone Tunnel, to the Trust. Occupiers of all residential and commercial properties will pay an index linked annual sum towards the maintenance and management of the canal in the city. “The developer approached us aware of our past successes in working together with landowners and investors to gain maximum benefit for all concerned,” said H&GCT’s David Penny, who represented the Trust throughout negotiations and during the appeal procedure. “Although the planning inspector acknowledged that the development would mean a loss of some land used for employment, he acknowledged that the likely benefits associated with the reopening of the canal would be substantial.”

Stride Treglown

The Stover Canal in Devon is probably one of Britain’s lesser known canals. It was originally built to carry pottery clay, but later granite was brought by tramway from the Haytor quarries to the canal’s terminal basin at Ventiford. Although it was only a little under two miles long, the canal had five locks. Despite being out of use by 1939, the canal line still exists, but its restoration is a considerable task for the Stover Canal Society, which was formed in 1999. The work of clearing the 70 years’ worth of vegetation has been going on for some time, with work parties meeting on the last weekend of each month. About a mile of the canal line has now been cleared, and work is currently concentrated on the length of canal alongside the Sibelco UK quarry. SCS work parties are sometimes augmented by volunteers from other organisations, including large parties of cadets from the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, and the Waterway Recovery Group has also made visits to the canal. Last August, a canal open weekend attracted more than 500 visitors to the Silbelco site, to which there is normally no public access. “The ultimate aim of the Society is to see a return to full navigation,” said SCS work party organiser George Whitehead. “To have an inland link for boats from the Teign Estuary would be an attractive proposition. But there is a major obstacle to achieving this, as a railway bridge directly over the second lock was strengthened some years ago. This reduced the air draft considerably, and obliterated the lock. However, the rail line is now rarely used, and the last clay train working was around two years ago.” For further details of the Stover Canal and the work of the SCS visit Robert Coles

Hereford & Gloucester Canal Trust Victory

The slipway being built by Waterway Recovery Group and the Canal Trust in Aylestone Park. The cleared towpath of Devon’s Stover Canal.

Robin Smithett

Robert Coles

ABOVE: A plan of the College Road development.

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RESTORATION UPDATE Burslem Branch Clearance

Bedford-Milton Keynes Progress

After years of campaigning by members of the Burslem Port Project, there is restoration activity at last on the Burslem Branch of the Trent & Mersey Canal in Stoke-on-Trent. BPP aims to restore the 3/8-mile canal to Burslem Port, which once served the pottery industry. Regeneration agency Renew North Staffordshire has sponsored the project, and a grant of £46,800 has allowed Stoke-based company PM Training to work with teams of up to 20 unemployed young people. As part of a course in environmental management and groundwork techniques, the teams have been clearing the overgrown line of the canal, which will then enable a more detailed examination of the work required to restore the canal. “Renew North Staffordshire has demonstrated their faith in the project by funding this initial work,” said BPP (and IWA Stokeon-Trent Branch) chairman Roger Savage. “This will open the way for other volunteers to become involved in the future and, whilst there is no guarantee that our project will be fully realised, this is a very good sign of progress. Once restored, Burslem Port could provide an attractive haven for boaters visiting Stoke-on-Trent.” The scheme has the full backing of Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley who said that several past projects within Stoke-onTrent have been realised through the active involvement of local communities. Rupert Smedley

Negotiations are underway for the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust to hand over responsibility for the waterway link project to a consortium of local councils and agencies. “As the project moves forward different organisational structures are required,” said B&MKWT chairman Jane Wolfson. “The project has made tremendous strides, but it has grown and matured beyond the capabilities of a single charitable trust.” The Trust will be a founder member of the consortium, and will maintain its role as a

campaigning and community involvement body. Planning permission has been secured on a quarter of the route in Milton Keynes, and the entire stretch of the proposed 16mile link, between the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes and the River Great Ouse at Kempston, is protected in local and regional plans. The first funded structure – an underpass beneath the new A421 dual carriageway near Stewartby – is now finished. Once complete, the waterway will pass into the care of consortium members who will provide funding to maintain it.

Tony Collins

Rupert Smedley

Unemployed youngsters at work on the Burslem Branch of the Trent & Mersey Canal.

Pocklington Grant

The Pocklington Canal is 91/2 miles long, and runs from the River Derwent at East Cottingwith to Canal Head, a mile south of Pocklington. The Pocklington Canal Amenity Society was formed in 1969 to protect and restore the canal to a navigable waterway, and its members have carried out extensive restoration work on the canal and its structures. The canal is navigable for about half its length on a section between East Cottingwith and Melbourne Arm. Six of the nine locks have been restored, and eight of the nine are Grade II Listed. In addition, four road bridges crossing the canal are classified as Scheduled Ancient Monuments. A £90,000 scheme to provide landing

stages at locks and bridges on the navigable section of the canal is to benefit from a grant of £45,000. The funding has been awarded as part of the Rural Development Programme for England, which is backed by the European Union’s LEADER fund. The award has been made following an application from the Pocklington Canal Partnership, which comprises the PCAS, British Waterways, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Natural England, English Heritage and the Environment Agency. There is currently no provision for boarding boats at locks, and the new landing stages will make it safer for those using the canal, including the crew and passengers of the Melbournebased New Horizons, the popular trip boat

The underpass beneath the A421 near Stewartby – the first funded structure on the new waterway link.

operated by the PCAS. It was a condition of the grant that half the expenditure had to be incurred by the end of January this year, and so work began in earnest as soon as the award was announced. The canal is to further benefit from an agreement announced in December last year between British Waterways, English Heritage and East Riding of Yorkshire Council. A new Heritage Partnership Agreement is intended to improve the management of the heritage structures along the canal. For further details of the PCAS, e-mail chairman Paul Waddington at waddington@ (01405 763985), or visit the society’s website at www.

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010 / 33

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Grantham Canal News

Uttoxeter Canal is Feasible

The Grantham Canal Society says a Nottinghamshire road-widening project, part of the Government’s programme to stimulate the economy, poses a grave threat to restoration of the canal. Although the new line of the A46 road will include a bridge over the canal, a connecting road – Stragglethorpe Lane – will be left at its existing height, blocking navigation. The restorers say it would cost only £300,000 to raise the road as part of the £350m road programme, but millions to do it at a later date. John Brydon, vice-chairman of the society, describes it as a now-or-never situation. “The amount of work to provide the new bridge is minute. The Highways Agency say the bridge can be raised at any time in the future, but all the resurfacing and road closures would have to be done again. What a waste of time and money.” Canoeists have joined the campaign, and transport charity Sustrans says a bridge would make it easier for local people to cycle to work and the shops. The Highways Agency says that it is powerless to act. “We have helped the society with some surveying work, but because this particular bridge is outside the scheme boundary, there is a limit to how far we can go. The road will not prevent the society from carrying out restoration work or constructing a new bridge in the future.” All waterway supporters are asked to urgently write to raise their concerns and ask for the scheme to be reconsidered and the bridge plans to be altered to allow for navigation to take place, by sending letters to : Local MP Kenneth Clarke; Secretary of State for Transport, Lord Adonis, as well as his Under-Secretary, Chris Mole MP. Other MPs along the line of the canal who may be interested to hear from you include: Alan Duncan MP and Quentin Davies MP.

An outline study, commissioned by Staffordshire County Council and the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, has reported that the restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal between the Caldon Canal at Froghall and gravel pits at Uttoxeter is a feasible project. The report, prepared by consulting engineers Halcrow, has taken six months to compile, and runs to over 70 pages. Halcrow report the challenges that any restoration will have to overcome, not least the diversion of the original course through the villages of Oakamoor and Denstone, where the original line is built over. The report concludes that the restoration is a viable project from an engineering point of view and, although there are various obstructions, none are insurmountable. Although the Trust wants to work toward restoration of the canal itself, its initial aim is to create a walking route along the length of the Uttoxeter Canal, utilising as much of the original towpath as possible. This will link into existing footpaths from Oakamoor to Denstone, and into the Caldon Canal towpath through to Leek, Rudyard and Stoke-on-Trent. Full details on the proposals for restoration may be viewed on the Trust’s website at

The Inland Waterways Association’s Restoration Committee invited members of the Wendover Arm Trust to a pre-Christmas lunch on 12th December. Following the meal, Michael Wright of IWA’s Hertfordshire branch presented the Trust with a cheque for £1,000 towards its continuing work on the Wendover Arm.

Work in progress to replace a bridge over the Grantham Canal at Langar Lane, Harby.

Tony Pitman

The Grantham Canal was formally abandoned in 1936, and several highway improvement schemes since then have led to the flattening of the original hump-backed bridges. However, as part of the continuing restoration of the canal, a bridge at Langar Lane, Harby, is being refurbished by Leicestershire County Council. Work during the £80,000 project will see the bridge strengthened, and a facility will be provided to add a hydraulic lifting mechanism in the future. “We aim to restore the canal as a fully navigable waterway,” said Grantham Canal Society chairman Mike Stone. The canal is a linear country park and, since 1990, one road bridge, three farm bridges and one footbridge have been restored to navigable height, and five locks have been restored. In addition, 22 miles of the canal now have an all-weather towpath, much used by visitors. “The restoration of Langar Lane Bridge is another step forward in our efforts to restore the 33-mile canal from the River Trent at West Bridgford, through the Vale of Belvoir to the market town of Grantham.”

IWA Supports Wendover Trust

34 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010

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RESTORATION UPDATE Progress on the North Walsham & Dilham Canal




The North Walsham & Dilham Canal – the canalisation of the River Ant – was opened in 1826. This Norfolk canal was just under nine miles in length, and ran from Antingham Bone Mills to Wayford Bridge, with six locks capable of taking small 20-ton wherries. Although built for the carriage of coal, it remained cheaper to transport this overland from the coast, and so the main cargoes were to and from the mills and local area – including the weekly cabbage wherry to Great Yarmouth. In the late 19th century, some of the first pleasure wherries converted from commercial craft were based on the canal, but the last wherry to use the canal was the motor Ella in 1934, and the section above Bacton Wood Mill soon became dry, whilst the remainder of the canal fell into disuse. There have been various plans to restore the canal over the years, and Robert Aickman and Teddy Edwards visited it in 1953. In 1972, David Hutchings claimed that the length to North Walsham was one of the easiest canals to restore, since the lock structures still existed, bridges had not been lowered, and no works had been built to obstruct navigation. Since 2000, the East Anglian Waterways Association has been holding regular work parties on the canal, with the aim of returning it to use and as a local amenity. In 2008 EAWA was instrumental in the setting up of the North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust and, over the past nine years, extensive work has been carried out in conjunction with the then canal owners – the North Walsham Canal Company. The work has concentrated on the section between Honing and Bacton Wood locks, and the canal has been reopened to canoeists up to Honing Staithe Cut. Here the 100-yard

branch has been cleared, and a circular walk has been established leading off the Weavers’ Way long distance path. Lock chambers have been cleared of tree growth to slow their deterioration, and at Briggate extensive work has been undertaken to clear the original millpond and remove extensive tree growth from the Ebridge-Bacton Wood pound. At Bacton Wood the towpath has been cleared, and a permissive path is planned to link with a ‘lost’ canalside public footpath which once led to the Wherry Inn at Royston. The owner of Bacton Wood Mill has restored the building and wants to have the dry section of the canal rewatered so that the mill can operate again. Accordingly, extensive work has been undertaken at Bacton Wood Lock to replace brickwork and reinstate the paddle gear, and the lock will eventually be regated. The mill owner has provided much of the labour and materials for this work. After nine years of negotiation, the Old Canal Company has now purchased from the North Walsham Canal Company the top 21/4 miles of the canal. This comprises the two pounds either side of Bacton Wood Mill, and the two locks at Bacton Wood and Ebridge. OCC’s aim is to bring water back to the mill, to have the lock fully operational and to return water to the canal to allow boats to run from Ebridge to Royston Bridge. This will return a much missed asset to North Walsham, this being one of the few Norfolk towns not to have a waterfront. Further information on the canal, work parties and North Walsham & Dilham Canal Trust can be found at the East Anglian Waterways Association website at Ivan Cane

Bacton Wood Lock undergoing restoration.

An early 1900s view of Royston Wharf.

Chesterfield Canal Trust chairman Robin Stonebridge (right) receiving a cheque for £5,000 from Geoff Lennox.

Ivan Cane


Just before Christmas, the Chesterfield Canal Trust welcomed its 1,000th member. On Monday 21st December Geoff Lennox, chief executive of Smart Teachers, a teacher recruitment agency operating in England, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, donated £5,000 to the Trust and was given an honorary Trust membership by coincidence becoming CCT’s 1,000th member. Following the Trust’s lease of former workboat Python from British Waterways (see Autumn 2009 Waterways), CCT will be using the boat as an educational resource under the banner of the ‘Learning Boat project’. Now fitted with lockers to contain equipment, costumes and props, the boat will be taken to villages and towns along the canal and will serve as a flexible, multipurpose educational platform. The donation from Smart Teachers will be put towards the project.

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010 / 35

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20/1/10 10:00:18

Robin Smithett

The Considerate Boater Manual offers invaluable advice on negotiating lift bridges and how to moor (Below Left).

Considerate Boating


he Considerate Boater scheme was the brainchild of Steve Vaughn, a narrowboater of some 15 years’ experience. He and his family began by hiring boats for several years and soon became thoroughly hooked on the joys of boating. They eventually bought a new sailaway craft from Calcutt Boats, fitted it out and set about exploring as much of the waterway system as time would allow. Their enjoyment of cruising the network has only been compromised by one factor: the inconsiderate attitude sometimes displayed by a small minority of fellow boaters. In response, Steve decided to launch the Considerate Boater scheme in November 2008, an entirely non-commercial venture which aims to promote good standards of behaviour on the inland waterways of Britain. The response has been exceptional. Within a year the scheme had received the support of hundreds of private individuals, as well as in excess of 70 corporate bodies. These include IWA, British Waterways, Association of Pleasure Craft Operators (APCO), National Association of Boat Owners (NABO), Canal Boatbuilders Association (CBA), National Community Boats Association and the Angling Trust. From within the waterway industry, the level of support has been most encouraging and is still growing.

Already aboard the Considerate Boater bandwagon are such major players as: ABC Leisure Group, Andersen Boats, Ashby Boat Company, Black Prince, Calcutt Boats, Canal Experience Training, Chertsey Meads Marine, Clifton Cruisers, College Cruisers, Guildford Boats, Inland Waterways Cruising School, Kate Boats, JD Narrowboats, Narrowboat President, Norfolk Broads Boat Hire, Oxfordshire Narrowboats, Pillings Lock Marina, Shire Cruisers, Willow Wren and many, many more. The support of so many hire companies and training establishments is especially encouraging for the organisers of the scheme, who targeted the co-operation of such firms to spread the word through their customers.

Considerate Boater Manual Considerate Boater produces a Boaters Video – a useful learning tool for newcomers – and a Considerate Boater Manual: A Guide to boating etiquette on the UK inland waterways. The manual may be downloaded from the Considerate Boater website and, after a brief introduction, deals with the following topics: angling – maintaining cordial relations with fishermen; negotiating bridges safely; disabled access – respecting disabled mooring facilities; protecting the environment by adopting good practice; respecting and helping hirers; locks and

locking – how to be helpful, considerate and safe; meeting other boats on the cut; how to moor – away from bridges, water points, winding holes, bends etc; passing other boats (both moored and moving); controlling your speed – emphasising the importance of not going too fast; dealing with lift and swing bridges; negotiating tunnels; using water points properly; winding holes – how to turn your boat efficiently and without fuss; liability concerns – remaining aware of the potential risks associated with the use of the waterways. With a number of clear illustrations, the manual is an invaluable guide for all inland waterway users, not least firsttime boaters. IWA is pleased to be a supporter of the Considerate Boater scheme and wholeheartedly identifies with and endorses its aims and objectives. Members are encouraged to offer their support, read the Considerate Boater Manual (and even obtain a copy of the Boaters Video) and make any valid suggestions within the spirit of the document (for future editions) direct to the authors through their website. Considerate Boater stickers are available for display on boats whose owners aspire to practice good boating etiquette on the inland waterways. To find out more about the Considerate Boater scheme visit IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010 / 37

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Heritage Talk It has been quite a lively ending to the first decade of the 21st Century so far as the waterways are concerned, and this is reflected in some of the stories from the news media. Two articles from The Daily Telegraph perhaps underline the general political feeling abroad today. Simon Heffer commemorated the 200th anniversary of the birth of W.E.Gladstone with a lengthy leading article, in the course of which he stated “his was an ideology driven not by self-gratification, but by a determination to see the country prosper and its people brought as far as possible out of poverty.” Heffer gave various examples of Gladstone’s far-sightedness, but one that he did not mention was his (frustrated) attempt to bring the railway system under Government control during the 1840s. Had this taken place as Gladstone wished, we should undoubtedly have had a far better waterway system, with sufficient investment to keep it up-to-date, not to mention a railway system that would have been Beeching-proof. The other article, by Loyd Grossman, struck an even greater resonance. Under the strapline “Preserve our past and create a better future” Grossman argued that our national heritage was a huge asset that should be more appreciated by politicians. “Most people think of ‘heritage’ as being about museums and castles, but in fact it’s anything – from an

The Yorkshire Post also rejoiced over the success of a project for encouraging barn owls. “Nesting boxes were set up at 16 points along the lower River Aire and River Don last year and have proved very popular” (with owls, let me hasten to interpolate). In November a headline read “More voles found in survey of wildlife on inland waterways”. The paper revealed that “British Waterways said 89 voles had been seen making their home on inland waterways this year, twice as many as last year. Most of the sightings of the UK’s fastest-declining mammal were on the Kennet & Avon Canal”. Not content with reportage from

the West Country, the paper also published a spectacular picture of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct being drained, with water pouring 130 feet into the Dee with the caption “It never drains but it pours.” And finally, just to show that the Post is anything but provincial in its subject matter “More than 2,000 square metres of land beside the Grand Union Canal in west London has been given over to 18 ‘baby-grow’ allotments for first-time gardeners. The plots are small to encourage new allotment holders to get into growing fruit and vegetables without being daunted by the size of their patch of ground, said British Waterways”.

Call for Prison Labour Unlike some other campaigners, the Yorkshire Post, or at least its readers, does not seem to wish to let the DEFRA payments scandal be forgotten. The recent disastrous floods in the North of England were the subject of an angry letter from one of the paper’s readers in December. The writer suggested that Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary “might like to reflect on the £200m taken from the National Rivers Authority budget by his predecessor”. The correspondent continued darkly “I can think of a readily available source of labour that could be used to clear vegetation and rubbish from our rivers and waterways, to the benefit of everybody in the United Kingdom”. As if in reply to the question raised, the BBC News website revealed “Discussions

are under way for inmates from Shrewsbury prison to lend a hand on the Montgomery Canal.” Well now, haven’t we come across something like this before, on the southern Stratford Canal. “The aim is for inmates to learn new skills as they help upgrade sections of the 35-mile waterway. British Waterways regeneration manager Andrew Stumpf said it was hoped the scheme would come into effect early in the new year. The initiative would be aimed at helping inmates achieve recognised qualifications, he said…”A lot of prisoners have skills already. If they are not skilled they can train on the job. There’s a wide range of tasks that can be undertaken. Even if people have very few skills, you can match the jobs to everyone’s ability so that they can all succeed.”

Waterway Images

One of the Purton Hulks beached by the Severn Estuary.

Anglo-Saxon church to a vintage motor cycle – that has been left to us by previous generations. It is all the artefacts and buildings and ephemera that define us as a nation; as a result it is clearly the government’s responsibility to help us look after it.” Well, coming from an American that is good fighting talk that ought to be heeded by all those who plot to do down our waterway system. Loyd Grossman is incidentally both a UK resident and chairman of the Heritage Alliance, a group of 75 non-governmental, not-forprofit and voluntary organisations (including IWA). He hopes “to help move heritage up the popular and political agenda”. Meanwhile, the Yorkshire Post reported that “Hundreds of visitors were expected…at the biggest ever event hosted by the Yorkshire Waterways Museum at Goole.” This was last September and, with the greatest respect to the citizens of Goole, it is hardly the sort of place to which large crowds would wish to throng, but give it a museum of the waterways and see what happens. A later edition of the same paper picked up on the story of the Purton Hulks, a group of vessels beached over the last hundred or so years in the Severn Estuary to prevent erosion in the Sharpness area. “Barges excavated from ‘graveyard’” ran the headline, somewhat alarmingly, but fears of necrophilia were assuaged by the next paragraph, which assured us it was a “ships’ graveyard”.

Good News for Owls and Voles

Voluntary labour restoring the Montgomery Canal at Welshpool – could prisoners be employed to carry out similar work?

38 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010

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Send all your waterway cuttings to

Focus on Idle Women Earlier last year the magazine You published an illustrated article about Emma Smith, whom many will recall was the author of the book “Maidens Trip”, based on her wartime experiences on the Grand Union and adjoining canals. The magazine’s reporter Mary Greene managed to produce an article that was not condescending or patronising and at the same time captured a little of the essence of the wartime waterways. “It was an adrenalin-filled dash in and out of the London dockland, where you wouldn’t want to be caught for the night” recalled Emma, now a sprightly 85, “I remember seeing doodlebugs (V1 rocket bombs) going across the sky and how pretty they looked – like fireworks – but they were deadly”. The article concluded by remarking that a new edition of “Maidens Trip” was due to be republished that week. It also had a colour

photograph of Emma and three other so-called “Idle Women” taken in 2008 at Stoke Bruerne. One of these, was none other than IWA Vice President Sonia Rolt, and another was Olga Kevelos, who, sadly died last October. Olga’s picture also appeared in the magazine article aboard the boat Dipper at Bulls Bridge in 1943. Lengthy obituaries appeared in both The Times and The Daily Telegraph. As well as her wartime canal adventures, Olga rode motor cycles in International Trials “She was to ride with varying degrees of success in every Scottish Six-Day Trial until she finally retired from the sport in 1970, and in every International SixDay Trial until 1966. during that time she won the backing of almost every major British motorcycle manufacturer . (A tribute to Olga Kevelos is published on page 12 of this issue.)

Emma Smith, Sonia Rolt and Olga Kevelos photographed at Stoke Bruerne in 2008.

David Blagrove at IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA




Reports from the East Midlands The other part of the country where the local Press has dealt with its waterways on a fairly regular basis recently is the East Midlands. The Derby Telegraph was impressed with last summer’s third annual Erewash Canal Festival, and reported that the lead member for Erewash Borough Council’s culture and leisure activities said that they “were all looking forward, with great anticipation, to an even bigger and better festival in 2010”. Readers, and users of the Trent & Mersey Canal, will doubtless recall a farm trailer falling into the canal near Stenson in October 2008 and depositing fertiliser in the canal and completely blocking it with the ruins of the bridge as well as the offending trailer. The Derby Telegraph subsequently informed us that work on restoring the bridge will commence this January and will take some three months to complete. BW’s spokesman was reported as saying “The bridge will be reconstructed as part of our winter programme of repairs.

Wherever possible we will use bricks that are reclaimed from the original structure and we will source other materials that are sympathetic to the original in order to complete the work. It is expected to cost up to £200,000.” Heritage doesn’t come cheap, but full marks to BW for making an effort. “Water buses to take fans to football matches, a boat race, riverside restaurants and a floating market are all part of £3m plans to transform the River Soar” proclaimed the Leicester Mercury in November last. One hopes that this is a project that will succeed, since the article went on to state “A 23-mile stretch between Loughborough and Kilby Bridge is set to be transformed into a bustling hive of activity within a decade. The plans were unveiled…following a £100,000 inquiry into how best to develop the county’s canals”. Once again, heritage-based projects look like being one way to go in the future.

Waterway Images

Fiery Fred at Skipton The seedier side of the waterways was well represented this time, mainly by (who else?) the Yorkshire Post. A quick selection of stories will suffice. “Body of missing man found in canal”, from London; “Firefighters rescue dog from mudbank”, from Selby; “Mugging suspect rescued after diving into canal”, from Leeds; “Man, 72, denies canal rage killing”, from Garstang, Lancashire, “River search after

body part found”, from Hull. But the paper made amends for all this by its story that “A statue to commemorate the late Freddie Trueman is now likely to be erected on land at the canal basin at Skipton”. Ah well! Yorkshire has produced some great figures over the years, but “Fiery Fred”, the first man to take 300 Test Match wickets, was something else. Good luck to Skipton, say I.

Damaged bridge on the Trent & Mersey Canal near Stenson.

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010 / 39

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Windlass in My Belt

Waterside Pubs

- The best pubs on the inland waterways This book contains 150 of the best waterside pubs in England and Wales. Most of these can be reached by car but if you can, visit by boat or canoe, or walk or cycle along the towpath to them. However you get there, enjoy! Other main features of this book include - detailed maps to locate pubs, other pubs worth trying and pub facts. 160 pages 147 colour photos 26 maps £14.99

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An autobiographical and evocative tale of a young boy’s journey into manhood set against the background of the Midland canal system in the 1950s and 60s. An enduring passion begins with early family trips and his parent’s purchase of a canalside cottage at Stoke Bruerne. It tells of his acceptance into the canal community and gives a vivid account on life on and journeys in, a working boat. An eulogy to friendship and the lost world of working boats. 296 pages, Pbk £14.99

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An inspiring, historic read, encapsulating the working lives of two charming,  unforgettable characters. The ‘Number Ones’ were the proud elite of boat people who owned and operated their own cargo-carrying narrowboats. The term probably originated from boat gauging registers where there was a column for ‘fleet number’. 100 pages, Pbk + Free CD ROM of original BBC interviews £19.99

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Bookshop Spr10.indd 1

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IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010 / 41

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Do you have something to say about IWA or Waterways? It’s your magazine so please write and tell us your views. We will aim to publish responses to letters that ask questions about any aspect of IWA policy or decision-making. Please write to The Editor, Waterways, c/o IWA, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA or e-mail The Summer 2010 issue of Waterways will be published in May 2010. Editorial copy closing date is 1st April 2010.

More on Gravesend Basin

Frank Price – Brummie through and through

John Reeve, in his letter on the possible transfer of British Waterways into the Third Sector, stated that Sir Frank Price was a ‘City man’ and that ‘His City’ had been London and his experience was

in running the capital via the London County Council. Unfortunately, he is mistaken. Sir Frank Price was born in Hockley and ran his home city of Birmingham.  Waterways World, who ran a series on his life in 2007, noted that he represented his local ward at the age of 27 and went on to become Lord Mayor of Birmingham at the age of 42. He was knighted in 1966 and wrote an autobiography entitled Being There. John Reeve is of course correct when he states that he was a down to earth administrator and that he had superb political skills. Steve Parkin, Towcester, Northants

Photo courtesy of David Bolton

In his letter in IWA Waterways, Winter 2009, John Reeve, retiring NE & Yorkshire Region Chairman, looked back over 23 years membership of the IWA Trustee Board and expressed less than enthusiastic views about the way in which the bureaucratic structure of BW had grown in that time. I am sure that many would agree with him wholeheartedly.    He recalled that when he became involved in IWA committee work the “redoubtable Sir Frank Price headed BW” and said that he was a ‘City man’. His City was London, he said, and “his experience was in running the capital via the London County Council.” This surprised me as Sir Frank was a Brummie through and through. He was born in 1922 in a back-to-back house in Lozells, one of the less salubrious parts of Birmingham, and it was the desire to improve the living conditions of his fellow citizens that drove him into politics.       He became a City Councillor in Birmingham in 1949, and was an Alderman from 1958 to 1974, during which time he was Lord Mayor from 1964 to 65. He was obviously a man of considerable talent and great energy. Even so, I would have doubted whether he would have had time to devote himself to the affairs of London in the way that John Reeve suggests, bearing in mind his many other interests and commitments. If he did, then my admiration for him increases even more. But did he? I can’t help wondering whether John got it right.     Stanley Holland, Birmingham


£27.00 £34.00

Details of all other rates are available from IWA Head Office – see the Directory on page 44.

Thanks for the item on the Thames & Medway Canal in the Winter 2009 issue of Waterways (Restoration Update). While supporting efforts to further restore the canal, I would like to take issue with some points raised by Adrian Stott. Perhaps it would have been useful to have a photograph of Gravesend Basin and surrounding buildings as they are now to compare to the artist’s impression of the Albion Quay scheme. This would show that, far from being “a derelict industrial site”, there are warehouse units in use for boat and engine repairs, together with a crane capable of lifting up to 16-ton boats out of the Thames. These will all go to make way for more apartments, to add to those already lining the basin and will be another example of the river losing its crucial infra-structure of boatyards. We would like to see Gravesham Borough Council doing everything possible to preserve the marine aspects of this area and this includes other points raised by Adrian – the need for a second lock gate and no impediments to canal restoration possibilities. Not mentioned, but advocated by Gravesend Yacht Club and a boon to sailors, is the need for a lay-by pontoon outside the lock, next to the club’s premises, and a commitment to retaining the existing boatyard adjacent to the lock. Surely Gravesend BC and developers can devise ways of maintaining good-size units, a decent crane and a working boatyard, while improving facilities around the basin as opposed to just using it and the river as scenery for more flats? Peter Finch, Chairman, River Thames Society and IWA member. CORRECTION In the ‘SOS 2010’ article in the Winter 2009 issue of Waterways we erroneously stated that the “SOS campaign has received the support of…the Boating Association, formerly the Great Ouse Boating Association (GOBA).” This should, of course, have read “formerly the Trent Boating Association.” We apologise unreservedly for this error and wish to thank Mike Costello, GOBA Treasurer, for drawing it to our attention.

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In Praise of Leicester I was very disappointed at the headline and prominence given to the item regarding the Leicester Section in the ‘Cuttings’ pages of the Winter edition of Waterways. We in the Leicestershire Branch of the Association have striven for years to dispel the myth that Leicester is a canal no-go area. To highlight the actions of vandals in the way that you did, even among members (who will hopefully recognise your tongue in cheek approach) is, in our view, irresponsible and counter-productive. It is recognised that you were quoting the local press who have a habit of distorting the truth for their own ends and generally making mischief when reporting the antics of mischief makers. But the prominent headline and the tone of your final paragraph are yours, and without knowing the truth, members considering a cruise along this delightful waterway may, understandably, be deterred. I can assure readers that Leicester and its waterway approaches present no more of a problem to boaters than any other major town or city. There have been a small number of ‘anti social’ incidents over the years but these have generally been of a minor nature and have affected the

movements of a tiny proportion of the many craft that enjoy our waters. I stress that, statistically, you are most unlikely to experience a problem on the Leicester Line. Whilst on my ‘soap box’ perhaps you will allow me to sing the virtues of Leicester itself.  There are secure pontoon moorings (accessed by BW key only) adjacent to Castle Gardens Park in the centre of town from where it is a short walk to some remarkably historic sites, the largest undercover market in Europe, a wealth of cultural events of all kinds and cutting edge retail therapy opportunities. We have something for everyone! If you are contemplating a foray in this direction and have any doubts or questions please don’t hesitate to contact our branch representative on the ‘Directorys’ page of this issue.  Better still, make your visit coincide with Leicester’s annual Riverside Festival on 5th/6th June when you’ll be doubly welcome! John R. Evans, Acting Chairman, Leicestershire Branch It is pleasing to say that more positive reports on Leicestershire’s waterways are highlighted in ‘Cuttings’ in this issue - Ed.

Boating on the River Soar south of Leicester.

Sad decline of the Slough Arm Visitors attending the Slough Canal Festival in 2009 may have observed, on the Friends of Slough Canal stand, photographs of previous festivals going back to 1969, with boats moored into the distance on both sides of the waterway. This year’s event could scarcely have been more different, the number of visiting craft barely running into double figures.  The present state of the western end of the Slough Arm is a disgrace to its (publicly

funded) owners, with blanket weed over long sections impeding and, in at least one case, preventing the passage of boats. The official excuse for this, I understand, is that since little use is made of the Arm, BW is unable to spend much money on maintenance. If this is the case, what hope is there of ever attracting boaters to cruise this length?  One would not wish to return to the time when, for instance, IWA members cut through chains preventing use of locks

Threat to free moorings? I am old enough to remember the good old days when you could drive into town, park on the road and visit your favourite shop. As road traffic increased some enterprising folk opened car parks, where, for a small fee you could park your car if the streets were full. Then came the men with yellow paint to prevent you from parking on the road. The car park owners rubbed their hands and increased their charges. I relate this because I have just read BW’s proposals for mooring trials - Mooring policy for BW’s network in England & Wales: public consultation Nov ’09-Jan’10”. These include areas where you will not be allowed to moor and areas where you will be charged £10 a night to moor. Does that sound familiar? The proposals include a section on residential moorings. I believe that the long term implications of these proposals will be that BW will refuse a boat licence if you do not have a primary residence other than your boat or proof that you have a residential mooring. In order for the mooring trials to take place new legislation and licensing terms will be required and once the precedent is set BW will be in a position to extend the ‘trials’ across the country at will and without further consultation. Please do not let these ‘trials’ slip through unopposed, otherwise 20 years from now this publication will have a letter from someone saying I remember the good old days when you could moor anywhere along the towpath free of charge… I offer one final thought. BW wants to become a Third Sector organisation and one of the examples they give is building societies. I think this is an excellent idea as all waterways users could be members and therefore owners of the system, thus preventing faceless quangos from manipulating the organisation for political ends. Mike Allen, via e-mail

(it would be illegal now anyway, since the abolition of the Public Right of Navigation) but what has happened to the pioneering spirit which characterised the Association in its early days? Surely there are boat-owning members prepared to put up with a little inconvenience in order to draw attention to a section of waterway which is rapidly declining to a state not much better than some abandoned lengths currently up for restoration. Mike Timms, via e-mail

IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010 / 43

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DIRECTORY HEAD OFFICE Island House, Moor Road, Chesham HP5 1WA . Tel: 01494 783453 e-mail: Website: Vice Presidents: Harry Arnold, David Blagrove, Chris Coburn MBE, David Court OBE, Brian Dice OBE, David Fletcher CBE, Illtyd Harrington JP, David Hilling MBE, Tony Hirst OBE, John Humphries OBE, The Viscountess Knollys DL OBE, The Earl of Shannon, Sonia Rolt, Audrey Smith OBE, David Suchet OBE, Sheila Suchet, Paul Wagstaffe MBE, David Wain OBE All Trustees and National Committees can be contacted via Head Office. Board of Trustees: Clive Henderson (Chairman), Doug Beard, Ray Carter, Alastair Chambers, Les Etheridge (Deputy Chairman), Alan Platt, John Pomfret (Deputy Chairman), Paul Roper, Peter Scott, Paul Strudwick, Vaughan Welch (Deputy Chairman), Ian West Finance Committee:   Les Etheridge (Chairman). Contact via Head Office. David Carrington, Mike Dyer, Gordon Harrower, Nick Parker, Gillian Smith, Ian West, Alan Wiffen, Kerry Williamson             Navigation Committee: Roger Squires (Chairman). Tel: 0207 232 0987.  John Baylis (Deputy Chairman), Alastair Chambers, Ian Fletcher, Steve Connolly, Peter Kelly, John Pomfret, Peter Scott, Vaughan Welch      Restoration Committee: Vaughan Welch (Chairman). Tel: 0121 477 9782.     Chris Birks, Ray Buss, Geraint Coles, Tony Harrison, Tony Hinsley, Martin Ludgate, Keith Noble (Deputy Chairman), Paul Roper, Martin Smith, Mike Valiant, Luke Walker Promotions and Communications Committee: Jerry Sanders (Chairman). Tel: 01283 716 158. Julie Arnold, Helen Bedingfield, John Bedingfield, Ray Carter, Madeline Dean, Elizabeth Payne, Jim Shead, Gillian Smith, Frank Wallder, Vaughan Welch, Helen Whitehouse Waterway Recovery Group:  Mike Palmer (Chairman). Tel: 01564 785293.           Inland Waterways Enterprises Limited Board of Directors:    Les Etheridge (Chairman). Contact via Head Office    Neil Edwards, Clive Henderson, Ian West     IWA Festivals Division: Ian West (Chairman). Tel: 01564 230104.   Inland Waterways Freight Group:  John Pomfret (Chairman). Tel: 01788 891027. Hon. Consultant Engineers: Roy Sutton, BA Hons MICE,  Tony Harrison, BSc (Hons), DHE, MICE. Tel: 01491 872380             Hon. Consultant Planners: Bob Dewey BA (Hons), MBA, MRTPI, Martin Jiggens IWA Committee for Wales: General secretary, Gerallt Hughes. Tel: 01341 250631 Essex Waterways Limited Board of Directors: Roy Chandler (Chairman), Colin Davis, Neil Edwards, Jim Jenkins, John Pomfret. Navigation Manager: Colin Edmond

Regional Contacts                 East Midlands Chairman: John Pomfret. Tel: 01788 891027.                      Eastern Secretary: Nigel Long. Tel: 01733 553782.              London Deputy Chairman: Roger Squires. Tel: 020 72320987.               North East & Yorkshire Chairman: Peter Scott. Tel: 0114 2301870.                     North West Chairman: Alan Platt. Tel: 01352 720649.                       South East Chairman: Paul Roper. Tel: 0118 9813381. South West Secretary: Peter Kelly. Tel: 01752 843556.      West Midlands Chairman: Vaughan Welch. Tel: 0121 4779782.    

DIRECTORY Branch Contacts                 Avon & Wiltshire  John Gornall. Tel: 0117 962 4644.       Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Vaughan Welch. Tel: 0121 4779782. Cambridge  Stephen Foote. Tel: 01763 838936. Chelmsford Jan Thurston. Tel: 01702 529553.                 Chester & District Gillian Bolt. Tel: 0151 678 9300. Chiltern Melville Errington. Tel: 01494 678056.      East Yorkshire Mrs Chris Stones. Tel: 01482 875894.                     Gloucestershire & Herefordshire Martin Turner. Tel: 01291 650605. Guildford & Reading Paul Roper. Tel: 0118 9813381.    Hertfordshire Michael Wright. Tel: 01727 860137.                      Ipswich Charles Stride. Tel: 01728 831061.     Kent & East Sussex Roy Sutton. Tel: 01342 317569 Lee & Stort John Shacklock. Tel: 01992 465643.                       Leicestershire John Evans.                    Lichfield Phil Sharpe. Tel: 01889 583330. Lincolnshire  Penny Carnell. Tel: 01469 530138.     Manchester Steve Connolly. Tel: 01942 679310.                       Merseyside & West Lancs Andrew Lawton. Tel: 01695 572389.                       Middlesex Robin Bishop. Tel: 020 8452 2632. Milton Keynes Peter Caswell. Tel: 07702 668924.                     North & East London  Roger Wilkinson. Tel: 0208 4589476.          North Lancashire & Cumbria Madeline Dean. Tel: 01257 231861.              Northampton  Jan Andrews. Tel: 01604 858023.                      Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire  Contact via IWA Head Office. Oxfordshire Ron Heritage. Tel: 01869 277400.                       Peterborough Nigel Long. Tel: 01733 553782.                     Shrewsbury District & North Wales  David Aylwin. Tel: 01691 830403.             Solent & Arun  Brendan Whelan. Tel: 01903 816012.                   South London Lesley Pryde. Tel: 07787 372408.                      South Wales  Jeff Roberts. Tel: 01225 872095.                       South Yorkshire & Dukeries Mavis Paul. Tel: 0114 2683927.                         Stoke-on-Trent   Alison Smedley. Tel: 01538 385388. Warwickshire Sue Roy. Tel: 01926 497845.                     West Country Chris Jewell. Tel: 01288 352298.                       West Riding Alastair Furniss. Tel: 0113 2539401.

44 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010 pg 044 Directory.indd 44

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IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010 / 45

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Classified Directory BOATS FOR SALE





Mann Buck Steel Ballast BOAT BUILDING

Visit the IWA shop for books, maps, guides, DVDs, gifts, chandlery and IWA merchandise: BOAT HIRE

CHANDLERY DAVE CLARKE BOATBUILDERS 50ft Budget Range hull & superstructure Trad or Cruiser. To include Steel doors,

7DBV Windows, ballast & Anodes. £12,800. Quotes for any type or size of shell. eg Dutch Barge & Sailaways. Unit 163, Boughton Industrial Estate, Ollerton, Newark, Notts NG22 9LD Tel & Fax: 01623 836330

Stone Boat Building Co Ltd Large range of chandlery for all your inland and offshore requirements.

Soar Valley Steel Boats Ltd Red Hill Marina, Ratcliffe on Soar, Nottinghamshire NG11 0EB TEL: 01509 678955 MOBILE: 07957 166310 WEB: EMAIL:

Calorifiers • Calor Gas • Diesel • Pump Out For the widest choice of canal holidays visit You can choose from 11 different start locations and more than 200 boats. We operate Viking Afloat, Alvechurch Waterways Holidays, Red Line Boats and Wessex Narrowboats. So go online today or call 0330 3330591 (local rate) for a brochure.

Tel: 01785 812688 Fax: 01785 811317 Mail order catalogue disc available on request

COURSES Paul Widdowson Boats Trad, cruiser, semi, narrow beam, widebeam, Dutch barges, shell or sailaway. For the boat you want call Paul on 01623 835777; Mobile: 07754 483949 Email: Web:

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Marketing your company costs less than you think with IWA and reaches thousands of readers in the magazine and free online. To find out more about our low cost advertising rates speak to Tony Preston on 01283 742965 or email

46 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010

classified Spring10.indd 2

Please mention IWA Waterways when responding

20/1/10 15:30:29

To advertise here please contact Tony Preston

☎ 01283 742965

Correspond to: Tony Preston, IWA Waterways, 151 Station Street, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire DE14 1BG | Next issue deadline: 2nd April 2010.




Tranquil Rose


A holiday aboard our floating hotel ‘Tranquil Rose’ offers you fully serviced accommodation, with good food freshly prepared aboard each day by our creative and imaginative chefs. With the added bonus of cruising the Royal River Thames, Grand Union Canal and adjoining waterways accompanied by your hosts Steve and Steph. Tourist Board “Operator of the Year” Silver Award Winner

HHHH HEART OF ENGLAND TOURIST BOARD A totally relaxing and carefree holiday

For a copy of our colour brochure, call 07966 248079 or write to Thames & Chilterns Holiday Cruises Ltd, 2 Appleshaw Close, Tadley RG26 3BB e-mail:




WANTED. HONORARY DIRECTOR for a Midlands based charity. Applicants should preferably live within the West Midlands, and should have extensive commercial experience, the intellectual acumen to help to develop and grow the Charities business, be prepared to contribute approximately 2 hours per week, and attend bi-monthly Board Meeting in Dudley. The reward is contributing to one of the best canal-based visitor experiences in the UK, at the start of an exciting new phase of development. Please contact:

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SURVEYORS YDSA The Small Craft Specialists Professional surveyor & designer members offering the complete range of services, from pre-purchase and insurance surveys to BSS inspections.

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IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010 / 47

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WATERWAYS ADVERTISING Spring 2010 Waterways is distributed free to all members of the Association with a readership of over 20,000. Advertising in Waterways offers a precisely targeted medium for businesses in all fields connected with inland waterways, such as boating, hiring, insurance, building, publishing, catering, chandlery or brokerage. To advertise in IWA Waterways please contact Tony Preston, Advertising Manager, 151 Station Street, Burton-Upon-Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1BG. 01283 742 965 or

Index to Advertisers AB Tuckey ...................................................................... 30 ABC Leisure Group ........................................................3 Adverc BM Ltd .................................................................5 Arlen Hire Boats .......................................................... 45 Aston Marina ....................................................................4 Axiom Propellers .......................................................... 17 Barclays Marine Finance .................................................3 Bargee Bill ....................................................................... 45 BC Boat Management .................................................. 29 Blisworth Tunnel Narrowboats ................................ 41 Boatshed Grand Union ............................................... 22 Braunston Marina ......................................................... 17 Caldwells ........................................................................ 45 Canal Boats Cruises of Riley Green ........................ 29 Canal Cruising Co ........................................................ 22 Canal Junction ............................................................... 45 Castle Narrowboats .................................................... 30 Channelglaze .................................................................. 48

Church Minshull ............................................................ 41 Church Minshull Brokerage ....................................... 23 Colecraft Engineering .................................................. 30 Debdale Wharf ................................................................4 Fox’s Boats ..................................................................... 48 GJP Marina Developments ......................................... 29 JL Pinders ........................................................................ 45 Land & Water ................................................................ 22 Lee Sanitation ...................................................................4 Limekiln Ltd ................................................................... 23 Maestermyn Group ...................................................... 45 Mel Davis ........................................................................ 31 Mercia Marina ..............................................................IBC Newton Crum Insurance ........................................... 45 Orchard Marina ............................................................ 41 Pennine Cruisers .............................................................4 Powercell Batteries .........................................................3 PRM Marne .................................................................... 31

Riversdale Barge Holidays .......................................... 30 Rose Narrowboats ....................................................... 22 Shobnall Boat Services ...................................................4 Swanley Bridge Marina ................................................ 31 Taylors of Fenny ........................................................... 30 The New & Used Boat Co..................................... OBC Tingdene Marinas ............................................................2 Towergate Mardon ...................................................... 17 TR Boat Handling ......................................................... 22 Ventnor Farm Marina .................................................. 30 Videoactive ..................................................................... 41 Websters Insulation ..................................................... 45 Wharf House Narrowboats ...................................... 22 Whilton Marina ........................................................... IFC Worcester Marine Windows .......................................4 World Leisurewear ...................................................... 29

48 / IWA WATERWAYS / spring 2010

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Waterways Spring 2010  

Thw Magazine of the Inland Waterways Association

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