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Issue 389 - February 2005

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Chairman's Column

 
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Belated Greetings

As this is our first Newsletter of 2005 I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all members a 'Happy New Year'. Hope you all had a good Christmas. We are well on with the booking of speakers for this year and one has even been engaged for 2006! In addition, we are considering plans for a Society Outing or two. Maureen Greenham, who organised the successful visit to Gales Brewery in Horndean and the boat trip on the Chichester Canal last October, is organising a trip to the Weald and Downland Museum at Singleton. See below for further details. Society member, John Silman, who is also a member of the Hampshire Mills Group, has also come up with ideas for a future visit, with a 'milling' flavour. More details of that proposal in due course.

Newsletter

As I announced at our January meeting, it had not been possible, for a variety of reasons (including the Christmas and New Year festivities and disruptions to normal life) to publish a Newsletter last month. Items planned for that Newsletter have therefore been carried over to this issue.

E-mail Contact

I am in the process of changing my internet Service Provider, which is causing me and my computer a few difficulties. I am currently 'offline' so will not be able to receive e-mails for a while. Therefore, I would be grateful if members could refrain from using that method of contact until I advise otherwise, most probably with notification of my new e-mail address. If anyone has sent me an e-mail in the last ten days, I would not have received it. Would they please mind printing off a copy and sending it to me via 'snail mail'. Many thanks.

Change of Date

There has been a problem with our hall booking for October. Apparently this was due to a 'hic-cup' in the hall's booking system. Will members please note that our meeting for that month will be now held on the second Thursday, viz. October 13.

Refreshments Rota

Many thanks to those members who have volunteered to assist with the refreshments for our monthly meetings. We do have gaps on the rota from May onwards so are still looking for your offers of help.

Raffle Prizes

Our members must be amongst the most generous in any organisation. We are all grateful to those who continue to donate prizes for the monthly raffle, thereby swelling the coffers of the Society.

Paul Herbert


Weald and Downland Museum

 
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Set in 50 acres of beautiful Sussex countryside is a very special place to wander amongst a fascinating collection of nearly 50 historic buildings dating from the 13th to the 19th century, many with period gardens, together with farm animals, woodland walks and a picturesque lake.

Rescued from destruction, the buildings have been carefully dismantled, conserved and rebuilt to their original form and bring to life the homes, farmsteads and rural industries of the last 500 years.

The exhibits include a majestic timber framed farmhouse from Kent; a striking market hall from Hampshire; a Victorian school; a medieval shop; carpenters, plumbers and brick-makers workshops; barns; a granary and a tread wheel from the South Downs.

Pause at the working water mill where stone ground flour is produced daily, experience a recreated Tudor farm, enjoy a picnic by the millpond or a walk in the woods.

For a complete contrast visit the Downland Gridshell, the Museum's workshop and store for supporting collections - in an amazing award-winning architectural tour de force, the first timber gridshell in Britain. Tours daily at 1.30pm.

Society Trip

It is planned to arrange a trip to the Museum on Sunday 22nd May, meeting there about 10.15am.

Maureen Greenham is arranging a guided tour at 10.30am taking in the main exhibit buildings lasting for about 1½ to 2 hours. Lunch would follow this and is available at their restaurant by the lake or we can picnic in the grounds. After lunch we would regroup at 1.30pm for the Gridshell tour until about 2.10pm. After this people will be free to wander around on their own as desired.

Our group will probably be limited to 25 and will cost £7.50 each to include the tour. More next month.


December Meeting

Annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz & American Supper

 
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A large audience welcomed the teams competing in the 2004 Inter-Society Waterways Quiz hosted by Southampton Canal Society, winners of the 2003 event.

Despite invitations being sent out to every canal society etc in the region, it was the usual three teams taking part, viz. IWA Solent & Arun Branch, The Salisbury Group, and our own Society. We are very grateful to the two other teams for continuing to support this long-running event. Our quizmaster was Chris Davey, a figure well known to all taking part. He had offered to take on this role following the 2003 quiz and we were very appreciative of his offer and the hard work he had obviously put in to make the quiz both entertaining and exacting, on teams and audience alike.

Chris had introduced some new 'angles' to the quiz, including questions to individual team members, which I am sure some found rather nerve wracking. There was all the usual banter between the teams and the quizmaster, and the occasional cries of 'foul', but all in very good nature, of course. As usual, the audience was able to take part and Chris had devised separate questions for them.

The result of the team event turned out to be a re-run of the previous year with the Southampton Canal Society team, consisting of Laura Sturrock, Peter Oates, Eric Lewis and John Silman, taking the honours, closely followed by Solent & Arun Branch and the Salisbury Group. The trophy was awarded to Southampton's team captain, Peter Oates.

The audience questions had proved to be very tough with the winner being Lynn Olding, who was presented with a bottle of wine. The Society then made a presentation to Chris in appreciation of his splendid efforts. Congratulations and many thanks to all those who took part, and particularly to the team and individual winners.

The 2005 Inter-Society Waterways Quiz will be organised by our Society and will be held at Chilworth on Thursday 1 December.

Following the Quiz, everyone retired to the ancillary hall and enjoyed the traditional American Supper. Many thanks to all those who generously contributed food etc, and particularly to all the helpers who laid out the tables, worked in the kitchen and cleared away at the end of the evening.

Paul Herbert


January Meeting

Members' Slides, Prints and Photo Competition Evening

 
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Another very successful Photographic Evening was held in January and, as has become traditional, we were entertained with a wide variety of topics with slides and photographs exhibited by members: Frank Stokes, David James, John Massey, Alan Howarth, Laurie Pearce, Andy Berncastle, Brian Evans and Eric Lewis.

Subjects covered included a wide range of views on the northern waterways, including the Shropshire Union and Trent & Mersey Canals, the River Trent, the Stainforth & Keadby Canal, the Aire & Calder and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal; a range of assorted canal craft, including some very strange ones!!! Seattle, Lake Washington and the Hiram M Chittenden Locks; the Northern (closed) Reaches of the Lancaster Canal; the Millennium Link (Ribble Brook); a further miscellany of canal scenes; Chatham Dockyard and Waterworks; the Queen Mary in dry dock in Southampton and her final trip to her new home in the USA. The show continued with a holiday cruise on the River Charonne in France (including a view of shops bearing the name legend 'Paul Herbert'); more on the French waterways - the Canal du Berry; the waterfront and Telford's bridge at Bewdley on the River Severn and the locks and basins at Stourport. That part of the evening concluded with the South Oxford Canal; the Falkirk Wheel; and the final Calmore Junior School's 'Adventure Afloat' cruise in 2004.

After the conclusion of the exhibition, we came to the annual competition, which this year attracted 11 entries. There was a very close result, with two entries running neck and neck. However, there can, of course, be only one winner, which was Eric Lewis with a photograph of modern development in the once derelict Salford Quays. Eric was duly presented with his prize - a bottle of wine.

Many thanks to all those members who took part in another very entertaining evening.

It has been suggested that next year we include a special section of humorous or unusual photographs, something that proved to be very popular many years ago.

Paul Herbert


"TORY PLANS FOR BRITISH WATERWAYS WOULD BE A DISASTER"

 
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The Inland Waterways Association (IWA), Britain's leading waterway charity, has sharply criticised plans announced by the Conservative shadow chancellor, Oliver Letwin MP, to sell off British Waterways assets, as being "unworkable, unrealistic and deeply damaging". The Association believes the political proposals are ill considered, and that they would undo much of the good work to rebuild and regenerate Britain's waterways that has taken place in recent years.

In response to Oliver Letwin's comments on BBC radio yesterday, IWA national chairman, John Fletcher, explained:

"British Waterways has a portfolio of properties that supports its management of the nation's canals and river navigations in its care. Many of these properties are historic and integral to the waterways themselves, and in other cases they provide income without which it would be impossible to maintain the waterways to standards required for Health & Safety, as well as meeting minimum legal maintenance requirements. If a future elected government, of any persuasion, were to confiscate these properties from British Waterways and sell them off, as Mr Letwin suggests, in order to reduce taxes, the move would simply backfire, since a much bigger annual government grant-in-aid would be required to fund the deficit."

John Fletcher continued:

"Whilst IWA is a national charity with no political allegiance, we simply could not allow any political party to pursue such a damaging policy without the most determined opposition. The Association enjoys many good friends at Westminster and I am sure Mr Letwin would find that some of his fellow Members of Parliament within his party would find it extremely difficult to support such a policy. We would also recommend to our 18,000 members and the many associated organisations and waterways groups to strongly oppose such a policy and to lobby against it wherever they could. I am sure it would become a major election issue. I fear that Mr Letwin has been extremely ill advised on this issue, and I hope the suggestion will quickly be withdrawn as a misunderstanding."

IWA Press Release - 18th January 2005


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