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Issue 468 - January 2012

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Chairman's Column

 
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January Meeting 2012

It gives me great pleasure to wish all members a happy and interesting year in 2012.

This month we are holding our Annual Member's Photographic & Competition Evening, full details of which were published in the last newsletter.

February Meeting

On the 2nd February we look forward to John England's talk on Brownsea Island. Our former member Bob Dukes, from Dorset, will be coming along for the evening, to accompany John on the journey.

Alan Rose


Government responds to consultation

 
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Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon MP, has today (20 December 2011) published the Government's response to the supplementary consultation on the transfer of British Waterways in England and Wales to the Canal & River Trust.

The Government response clarifies a number of technical aspects related to the Transfer Order, and confirms that the new Trust will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act for those statutory functions which it inherits from British Waterways.

Tony Hales, chairman of the Canal & River Trust, comments: "The Trustees support the Government's conclusions including those relating to the Freedom of Information Act. We are committed to ensuring that the new Trust operates to the highest standards for openness and transparency in its new status. The Minister's statement is another important step towards the establishment of the Canal & River Trust next year."

http://www.waterscape.com/features-and-articles/news/3247/government-responds-to-consultation


Queen's green energy scheme nears completion

 
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The day when Windsor Castle is powered by green energy came a step closer today when the second of two 40-tonne turbines was lifted into place at the Environment Agency's Romney Weir on the River Thames.

Once up and running in the new year the Archimedes screws, the largest in the UK and designed to be fish-friendly, will generate 300 kilowatts of energy every hour for up to half of the royal residence. Any surplus electricity will be sold back to the national grid by the developer Southeast Power Engineering Ltd (SEPEL) for use in homes in Windsor.

The largest hydropower scheme in the south east of England is being built by Jackson Civil Engineering for SEPEL and is set to cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by 790,000kilos.

To help ensure the £1.7million project both generates clean energy and improves the local environment, the Environment Agency - who permits and will regulate the scheme - is requiring a new fish pass to be installed at the Weir. The new pass will enable over 12 species of fish including trout and perch, as well as endangered eels, to migrate up this stretch of river - some for the first time in over 200 years.

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/news/135850.aspx


Dockers' return

 
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SOME 25 miles east of London, on the site of a former oil refinery, the biggest infrastructure project most people have never heard of is under way. Giant earthmoving machines level mounds of sand and mud dredged from the River Thames. Reinforced concrete pillars as tall as Nelson's Column are sunk at the rate of one a day. They will support the quay and the cranes that will unload containers at the London Gateway port. The first three of six berths will open in December 2013.

In the 1920s London was the world's biggest port, with ships unloading straight into dockside warehouses in the East End. Bigger ships and the rise of shipping containers knocked it off its perch in the 1960s, and the dockers' unions almost finished it off. London has nearby Tilbury, a smallish port that concentrates on food. But London Gateway will return the capital to entrepôt status. Capable of handling 3.5m containers a year from the biggest ships, the port will be as large as Felixstowe, currently Britain's biggest port, and twice the size of Southampton, the next largest.

The port's developer is DP World, the third-biggest ports company in the world and owned by the emirate of Dubai. It is also building one of Europe's largest logistics parks next to the docks. This will have a new double rail link up to the warehouse doors, for those companies that wish to build their own sidings, and an upgraded road link to the M25. The developer claims London Gateway will do more than provide new port capacity to satisfy Britain's appetite for imports; it will change the way goods move from ship to shop.

Today most imported consumer goods from East Asia enter Britain in containers through Felixstowe or Southampton and travel on lorries along the A14 trunk road or the north-south A34 to a cluster of warehouses around Leicester and Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Streams of articulated lorries then ferry containers - some empty, others filled with waste paper and assorted rubbish - back to the ports for shipping to China. At the new port, containers can be transferred straight to warehouses, with the cargo leaving in smaller loads going directly to the south-east's shops. London Gateway claims this will save millions of miles of lorry journeys, equivalent to taking 2,000 vehicles a day off Britain's roads.

Rivals are not treading water. Felixstowe is adding new deepwater berths, and Southampton plans to do the same. Although London Gateway will be automated and close to market, it will take longer for ships to steam up the Thames, points out Matthew Gore of HFW, a law firm specialising in international commerce. But Simon Moore, chief executive of London Gateway, argues that it will save hard-pressed retailers money. He expects to announce the first customers among shipping lines and cargo-shippers before the end of the year.

The Economist, 10 December 2011


December Meeting

 
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The Annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz

The winning team

Above: Quizmaster Nick Grundy with the winning Southampton Canal Society team (left to right) Paul Herbert, Eric Lewis, Alan Rose and Brian Evans.

Below: Nick Grundy being presented with an old waterways print.

Photos: © Ray Carnell

The Quizmaster's reward

As always this evening proved to be a popular and humorous event supported by 49 members and visitors.

The winning team of 2011, IWA Guildford & Reading Branch, organised the quiz. The other teams taking part were IWA Salisbury Group, IWA Solent & Arun Branch and Southampton Canal Society. Nick Grundy was Quiz Master and his son Ben the efficient scorer.

After a closely fought contest over Nick's excellent questions our own team, of Paul Herbert, Alan Rose, Brian Evans and Eric Lewis won with 97 points. Runners-up were Guildford & Reading, closely followed by the teams from Solent & Arun and Salisbury.

The audience were encouraged to write down the answers and the winner, Janet Cunningham was presented by Guildford & Reading with an old waterways print as was the Quizmaster Nick.

Many thanks also to all those who generously donated prizes for the Christmas raffle. A special "thank you" to Pam McKeown who again had baked another of her splendid Christmas Cakes as the star prize in the raffle.

To round off the evening we all enjoyed the traditional American Supper provided by our Members. Many thanks to all those who assisted in the Galley and clearing away at the end of the evening.

Alan Rose


Christmas / New Year Lunch

 
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Maureen Greenham has been busy organising the fourth Society Christmas / New Year Lunch on Saturday 14th January 2012 at 12 noon. As previously, this will be enjoyed at the Blue Hayes Restaurant, Salisbury Rd, Shootash, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 6GA (SU323217).

Maureen has said that any unused crackers left over from Christmas would be most acceptable.

If you have any queries or problems, please contact Maureen as soon as possible on 02380 406951 or via email maureen.greenham@talktalk.net.


Restoration of Burslem canal will cost £51.5m less than forecast

 
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WORK to reinstate part of a former canal will cost £51.5 million less than forecast.

Government agency Renew North Staffordshire had priced the restoration of the Burslem Branch Canal at £56 million.

But a study by engineering firm AECOM has predicted that the design and construction of the Burslem Arm will cost £4.5 million; one-12th of the original sum.

It is estimated that an additional £1 million will then be needed to rebuild a footbridge and historic warehouse along the stretch.

It is a major breakthrough after a 16-year fight to reconstruct the canal at Middleport.

David Dumbleton, aged 75, who is a trustee and project officer for the Burslem Port Trust, said: "I am absolutely delighted that the hard work is starting to pay off.

"This is an important step for the project, but there are still many challenges ahead. We believe the project can be completed within 18 months of receiving funding."

The Burslem Branch Canal opened in 1805 and closed after a major breach in 1961. If plans go ahead, the Burslem Arm will once more be a branch of the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Trust member Roger Savage said: "The new study has given us the plans we need to submit and the cost for digging up the canal area.

"We were originally quoted such a large sum because we were told we would have to put costs aside to buy land, but this is no longer the case.

"We are delighted to hear that the cost is not going to be as much as expected, because when you compare it to £56 million it's quite a small figure. This project will bring regeneration to Middleport."

It is estimated that 27,000 narrowboats and boats sail along that stretch of the canal every year.

Mr Savage, who is also chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent branch of the Inland Waterways Association, added: "We are looking for funding to ensure that the project can go ahead, including a potential bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund."

http://www.thisisstaffordshire.co.uk, 30 December 2011


Major 'Crick' Grundy

 
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A month before Nick Grundy visited Southampton as quizmaster (see above), his uncle, Crick Grundy, died.

Major Christopher (Crick) Grundy, who died on 4th November, was imbued with the spirit of the inland waterways from the earliest days. Born in Colne, Lancashire in 1926, he was the eldest son of Reginald and Marjorie Grundy. His parents' first boating holiday - an unusual concept in those days - was in 1934 on the Shropshire Union Canal; Crick and his younger brother, Martin, first joined them on a cruise in 1938. Both were immediately captivated by the canals.

In 1945, Reginald bought a 30ft converted ex-ship's cutter, then called Hobson's Choice. Renamed Heron, the family took it on several cruises on the (then semi-derelict) Llangollen Canal. Famously, in 1947 and 1948, they met up with Tom and Angela Rolt on their narrowboat Cressy, and joined them in overcoming many obstacles and difficulties to successfully reach the head of navigation at Llangollen.

On several occasions in the 1950s and '60s, whenever a canal was threatened with closure by the authorities, Crick Grundy had the habit of turning up either on Heron or by car with his portable boat, The Blue Bath, on the roof rack. These 'tactical sorties' aimed to prove that the particular waterway could be navigated. The survival of the Aylesbury and Stourbridge canals and the Dudley Tunnel are among his credits over this period, while Crick was also involved in the campaign to save the Basingstoke Canal.

His campaigning activity was particularly noteworthy, as it had to be fitted in with his professional career in the army. When he returned from the Korean conflict (in which he was awarded the MC) in 1952, he joined the committee of the Inland Waterways Association's North-West branch. This was the start of many years service on IWA committees - including the national Council. He would become a good friend and confidant of both Robert Aickman and David Hutchings, and his calm and shrewd mind at times provided a useful counter-balance to their more volatile natures.

David Hutchings returned to his architectural practice after the record- breaking restoration of the southern Stratford Canal. The National Trust, which remained in charge of the canal, appointed Crick Grundy as their manager in 1966 - coupling it the curatorship of nearby Packwood House. It was a tricky and difficult job to take on. The restoration had been pushed forward at great speed for political reasons, leaving the reopened canal needing much more work to put it into a fully reliable, navigable state. Crick had to juggle a shortage of funds and never-ceasing demands for maintenance work; he would be out at all hours, and in all weathers, to deal with problems caused by what he called "the extraordinary efforts of the users".

Crick's most lasting contribution to the waterways was his work for the Upper Avon Navigation Trust. When David Hutchings took on the restoration of the navigation between Stratford and Evesham, Crick helped him in drawing up the plans (which were for a virtually new navigation) and, particularly, with the complex negotiations with landowners and the river board.

Much of his most vital work, like this, was behind the scenes. In the 1950s, he had worked with Aickman to draft the memorandum and articles that set the course for the IWA. The two then worked together to secure UANT its new Act of Parliament, which permitted it to run the navigation and raise tolls. Crick rightly remained proud of this achievement by a small, independent charitable trust. This culminated in the successful reopening of the river by the Queen Mother in 1974.

In the course of his life, Crick owned a Chinese junk, a converted ex-BCN narrow boat and devoted much time in recent years to working on the conversion and fitting out of a 57ft Calder and Hebble keel, Draepwelle. He is survived by his wife, Hope, whom he met in 1966 when she was a member of the crew of the pair of hotel boats, Mabel and Forget Me Not, and by his daughter, Jemima.

David Bolton
Waterways World, January 2012


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