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Issue 295 - February 1996

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March 1996

DECEMBER MEETING

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Four teams, each with four members, gathered at our December meeting for the Inter-Society Waterways Quiz - IWA Solent & Arun, Chichester Canal Society, IWA Salisbury and Southampton Canal Society.

Peter Oates had put together a very interesting slide quiz and he also very ably filled the part of quiz-master. Selected slides were of great variety with questions difficult and not so difficult, depending on where competitors had travelled and which books etc they had read. In addition to the correct answer to each question, Peter was generally able to present extra facts about the pictures which gave us further interest. Winners of the quiz were the Solent & Arun team with 46 points, second were Southampton with 37, Salisbury scored 35 and Chichester 31.

As is customary at our December meeting, the break took the form of an American Supper and, as usual, with an ample supply of good things to eat.

Our thanks to Peter Oates for organising the programme and to the teams who sportingly took part. The meeting was very well attended but many more of our own members could have been accommodated on this interesting and jolly occasion.


JANUARY MEETING

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In an excellent and often humorous slide presentation, Chris Davey gave us the history of the Waterway Recovery Group, details of its plant and vehicles, its working methods and practices, including the very necessary health and safety requirements and also referred to problems with recent legislation and bureaucracy. He provided us with examples of the sites worked on by WRG and we were given just a few tasters of the many problems encountered on restoration.

In the second half of the programme, Chris concentrated on Dig 95 which was held on a number of sites on the Thames & Severn Canal over the weekend of 4/5 November. We were bemused with the fantastic planning needed and logistics support for a dig such as this which would involve some 500 navvies: plant tools and equipment needed; buses to take work crews to the work sites; communication points and tea by the gallon. Three van loads of food costing £2600 (just for the weekend) were purchased from one shop.

The Dig itself was tremendously successful; a large amount of the canal was opened up and re-profiled. Much work was carried out on locks, banks, walls and towpaths. It was a remarkable achievement which attracted much media coverage including local, regional and national television.

The evening finished with a lively question and answer session which left us all wanting more of the same.


VISIT BY HUGH McKNIGHT

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Hugh McKnight was to have spoken to the Society at our February meeting. However, his elderly mother (who lives with him) has had to undergo a serious operation and he has been advised that she should not be left alone when she returned home afterwards. Whilst we are disappointed at missing one of Hugh's excellent talks, he has made the correct decision to cancel his visit. We trust that his mother will make a speedy recovery.


SOCIETY NEWSLETTER

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I'm afraid that there was no Newsletter last month (January) for several reasons. Firstly, I had received very little copy from anyone. Next, I moved house 10 days before Christmas - even the few items I had seemed to be lost in a myriad of cardboard boxes. (My new address appears on the back page.) Thirdly, it was Christmas!!! However, this month it's a bumper 4-page edition to make up for it (?).

I must, therefore, offer my apologies to anyone turning up to the February meeting to hear Hugh McKnight in vain (but there again if you had come to the January meeting you would have known).

To help ensure regular editions in future, may I ask you again for articles, news, gossip, experiences, letters, views about what's happening on/to the waterways, or even this newsletter.

Peter Oates, Editor


ASHTON CANAL

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The Society has received the following memo dated 9/11/95 from IWA North West Region Chairman, Michael Payne, about problems with the use of the Ashton Canal.

"After the worst year's catalogue of incidents including reports of up to 15 gangs, some of which comprised of up to 40 children, youths and adults with an age range spanning from Primary School age through to adults in their 40s and indicating a presence of up to nearly a thousand people intent on vandalism, attacks, thieving, intimidation and at least one attempted stabbing the time for a major shift in the authorities attitude is surely more than due.

"This area of the City of Manchester through which the canal flows is to be the site for the development of the complex for the Commonwealth Games and hopefully the National Stadium and surely the current image will not be the one that they will wish to project to the International Community.

"BW plans for 1996 have been announced which will mean that all boats will have to travel in convoy as early in the morning as practicable, with one convoy each way per day and escorted by Police, when available, and by BW staff. No BW staff are now allowed to work, travel or inspect the canal singly. Any boat which misses the convoy, even by a short period of time, will not be allowed to proceed, as experience has shown that isolated boats to be extremely vulnerable, and will have to moor-up overnight.

"This attempt by the gangs to establish a 'no go' area cannot be allowed to succeed bringing the whole future of the Cheshire Ring and in the not too distant future the triple Pennine Ring of which this canal is an essential part into jeopardy. After all the IWA was at the very forefront of the restoration programmes that have already brought and promise to bring major benefits to all users of the canal corridors and in particular boaters both from home and overseas.

"Long term and most importantly sustainable action is what is required and you are asked to take positive action by writing to BW and any other appropriate bodies expressing what I know will be your high level of concern. After all one of the prized qualities of usage of amenities is that they should be freely enjoyed by all and being hustled along in an escorted convoy cannot be what it is all about.

"BW has requested that letters of protest and demands for sustainable action be sent to Ian Selby (Pennine and Potteries Waterway Manager, Marple) to support the case that he is putting to the appropriate authorities."

Editor's comment: This memo projects a serious state of affairs on a canal reopened to boats only just over twenty years ago. It is sad that boats are forced to travel in convoy and flies against the freedom I find so attractive with the waterways. Without wishing to express any particular political view, I feel that such bad behaviour is all too prevalent in society at large these days.

I urge members to write letters to either Ian Selby and/or their MP to register their protest and put their point of view. If you want the authorities to act, then give them reasons.

Mr I Selby, British Waterways, Top Lock, Church Lane, MARPLE, Cheshire.


IS THE NATIONAL TRUST GOING THE WRONG WEY?

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The IWA is concerned at proposed new bylaws for the Wey and Godalming Navigations in Surrey. The Navigations, which run from the River Thames at Weybridge to Godalming, are popular waterways used by many boaters, walkers, anglers and cyclists. They were given to the National Trust in the 1960s by Mr Harry Stevens, the last operator of freight over them. The National Trust have proposed lengthy new bylaws which could remove existing legal rights. The IWA and other user bodies are campaigning to maintain the full right of navigation and to dissuade the National Trust from some of its more stringent proposed rules and regulations.

The new bylaws, as currently drafted, would control both the navigations owned by the Trust and adjacent streams, harbours, etc owned by private landowners. There is concern that the new rules are unsuited to a small river navigation and might be unworkable. The National Trust intends to enforce the new bye-laws through an order under the 1968 Transport Act, even though it has bye-law-making powers under its own Act. This Act specifically provides that bye-laws made under it shall not interfere with the public right of navigation.

There is also concern at the Trust's statement of intended dimensions for craft to use the navigation. Historically, large barges and deep-draughted narrow boats used the Navigations for the carriage of freight. Now, the Trust is proposing a depth of only 2 feet 6 inches between Guildford and Godalming. Many of the older, historic boats could be forced off the navigation to the detriment of all users and the sight-seeing public and contrary to their current legal rights. Among other intended regulations are those to cover warning signals, the display of symbols, a ban on navigation after dark, insistence that boats' engines and heating and cooking systems be turned off when passing through locks, bans for some craft, and a rule against leaving a boat anywhere except at its single authorised mooring - even to go to the pub, to go shopping or to go to church!

Further information on the campaign of protest may be obtained from John Baylis, Chairman of the IWA's Navigation, Technical and Amenity Committee, on 01623 633895, from Audrey Smith, National Chairman of the IWA on 01257 274440, or from Frances Hart, Chief Executive, IWA, 114 Regent's Park Road, London, NW1 8UQ, daytime telephone 0171 586 2510.

Railway & Canal Historical Society Journal Jan/Feb 1996


GLOUCESTER BOAT & WATERSPORTS JUMBLE

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On Sunday 31st March between 10.00am and 5.00pm, the National Waterways Museum will play host to a water oriented jumble sale. We are promised, "Everything the professional or beginner needs for offshore, river, canal or lake at prices and discounts that defy competition. The Event you just can't afford to miss!" Admission: Adults £2.50 (including free admission to the museum), accompanied children free.


ROMSEY SOCIETY

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Monday, 13 May - Graham Horn talks on the 'Kennet & Avon Canal' at King John's House, Romsey. This will start at 8.00pm but as space is limited you are advised to arrive early. There will be an entry charge: Romsey Society members 50p, non-members £1.00.


SOLENT & ARUN BRANCH - IWA 50TH JUBILEE EVENTS 1996

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The following is a provisional list of the various jigsaw journeys and events organised in the Solent & Arun Branch area as part of the IWA's 50th Jubilee celebrations. Further details from Alan White, Wheelhouse, Pottery Lane, Nutbourne, Chichester, PO18 8RW. Tel: 01243 573765.

Jigsaw Section Date or Period Journey Transportation Method Segment Leader / Incorporating Event
West Sussex 5-8 April R Adur: Partridge Green to Shoreham Inflatable Colin Dickinson
West Sussex 9-20 April prov 15/16 Coastal passage: Shoreham to Chichester (Itchenor) Western Konsort "Govean" Gerry Russell
West Sussex 21 April Entry into Chichester Canal through Salterns Lock Boat Chichester Canal Rally
Hampshire 6 April R Itchen - Mansbridge to Woodmill S&A Branch dinghy Peter Boyce
Hampshire 6-13 April R Itchen (Woodmill) to Titchfield Haven Dinghy Peter Glover
Hampshire 14 April Titchfield Canal Walk On display Peter Boyce
Hampshire 15-19 April Titchfield Haven to Portsmouth Harbour Dinghy Peter Glover
Hampshire 20/21 April Portsmouth Harbour to Chichester (Birdham) Motor Launch "Dabblelyn" Graham Deavin
Hampshire 21 April Entry into Chichester Canal through Salterns Lock Boat Chichester Canal Rally
Isle of Wight tba Newport to Cowes & Cowes to Chichester (Birdham) tba tba
Combined 21 April Civic send-off at Birdham (Chichester Canal) Wheelbarrow Mike Laishley
Combined 22 April - 2 May Portsmouth & Arundel Canal: Hunston to Ford Barrow Volunteer required
Combined 3 May Portsmouth Harbour Cruise: Port Solent - Fareham - Camber Dock Sailing Barge "Kitty" Peter Boyce
Combined 4/5 to 11 May R Arun: Ford to Pulborough Boat or Walk Volunteer required
Combined 12 May Arun Sponsored Cruise: Pulborough to Pallingham Branch Dinghy Mike Laishley
Combined 13-31 May (but not 19) Wey & Arun Canal Walk and Boat (incl Drungewick - Loxwood on "Zachariah Keppel") Tony Pratt
Combined 19 May Romsey Canal Canoe SCS Guided Walk and Barbeque
Combined 1-2 June River Wey: Shalford to Weybridge River Cruiser Brian Mitchell
Combined 2-3 June River Thames: Weybridge to Brentford Narrow Boat Leslie Cockerill
Combined 4-25 June Grand Union Canal: Brentford to Birmingham Narrow Boat "Denmead" Alan Buswell

TITCHFIELD CANAL GUIDED WALK

A guided walk, on 14 April, along the path running between the canal and the Titchfield Haven nature reserve for about 2½ miles from the sea shore to the village. Walkers should assemble on the promenade opposite the sea-mark by 10.30am. Drivers can be ferried back to the start from Titchfield if required. No charge but donation appreciated. Walk leader Peter Boyce, Tel: 01705 269642.

The walk will also feature a special guest appearance of SCS member Peter Glover who is breaking his Jigsaw carrying journey, from Woodmill (on the Itchen) to the Camber Dock (in Portsmouth), to attempt boating in his dinghy on the Titchfield Canal.

CHICHESTER CANAL CRUISE-AND-WALK RALLY

On 21April, this rally features a morning parade of dressed boats making a processional passage to Hunston, a lunchtime walk to Salterns Lock to see the arrival of the Hampshire jigsaw piece and the ceremonial joining of the sections by the city's Mayor in an anticipation of the eventual re-opening of the water route between Portsmouth and London. Even without a boat you can join in by cruising on Chichester Canal Society's trip boat Egremont (seats £3) or hiring a rowing skiff (£10) - booking in advance is essential. Otherwise, follow the activities from the towpath (free). Commemorative plaques will be given to boat entries and will be available for purchase. Boat rally entry fees: powered £10; unpowered £5.

CHARTER OF SAILING BARGE KITTY

The Solent & Arun Branch of the IWA have organised a charter on the 100 year old Thames sailing barge Kitty on Friday 3rd May 1996 in a re-creation of a coastal trading passage between Fareham and Portsmouth. The main purpose of the trip is to enable civic and other representatives of Fareham and Portsmouth to give a civic send off to the Jubilee jigsaw pieces. There will also be the loading / delivery of token cargoes between each point. The plan is that she will leave Port Solent at 10.00am to motor/sail for Fareham Quay and Camber Dock, returning to the start point at about 3.30pm. The maximum number of passengers will be about 40, so book your space now. The cost will be £20.00 per head.

Further details from Peter Boyce, Greensleeves Cottage, Hambledon Road, Denmead, Waterlooville, Hampshire, PO7 6PW. Tel: 01705 269642.

ITCHEN TO START

The Hampshire piece of the Jigsaw will be first carried on the non-tidal section of the Itchen Navigation above Woodmill. On 6 April, probably at 11.00am from Mansbridge. Come and watch or even get afloat.

ROMSEY CANAL - GUIDED WALK & BARBECUE

This is the Society's own contribution to the IWA's Jubilee celebrations. Taking place on 19 May 1996, this is to be a relaxing event timed to coincide with the warmer spring weather. The by-then famous S&A Jigsaw will make a final guest appearance in Hampshire on the Romsey Canal before setting off for West Sussex and onwards to Birmingham. Whilst full details have yet to be finalised, a relaxing morning walk by the canal to see the jigsaw afloat will be followed by a lunchtime barbecue with a licenced bar available. Cover in case of bad weather. In addition there will be an exhibition of canal paintings by the well-known artist Harley Crossley.

Note the date in your diary now for the major event to organised by the Society this year.

PULBOROUGH-PALLINGHAM SPONSORED CRUISE

On 12 May, this is a Jubilee edition of the annual cruise traversing the (just) navigable reaches of the upper River Arun. Boats are gradually being excluded from the river above Stopham by a near cessation of river maintenance. Support this cruise to show there is a demand for a fully usable navigation to Pallingham.

'If we fail to persuade the NRA to act in boaters' interests then by the time the Wey & Arun Canal is open to Pallingham from the north the river south of there will be open only to canoes. Bring your own boat - the river is a free navigation and there is no entry fee, so get sponsorship or make whatever donation you can.

THE JUBILEE JIGSAW

As part of its 1996 50th Anniversary celebrations, the IWA Birmingham Branch has created a jigsaw map of the country. Individual pieces of the jigsaw will be conveyed to Birmingham by inland water by the IWA regions and branches, and reassembled at the International Canal Conference in June 1996.

The opportunity presented is to publicise the old and potential water routes between the South Coast and London and the rest of the country, and to gather Civic Greetings for the Towns and Boroughs along the route to accompany the Jigsaw pieces. The events listed overleaf will be well publicised and will be opportunities for celebration and contact between the communities linked by the inland water routes.


SOUTHAMPTON CANAL SOCIETY LIBRARY

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Items in the library may be borrowed by any member from Sue Lewis at our meetings. Please remember to return any books you've finished with so others may enjoy them.


IWA SOLENT & ARUN BRANCH

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Friday, 23 February - Frances Hart, Chief Executive of the IWA, talks about the Association. To be held at Sandham Hall, Coldwaltham (on the A29). Joint meeting with the Wey & Arun Canal Trust, start 7.30pm.

Friday 29 March - Branch and Central Southern Region Annual General Meetings at the Fernleigh Centre, Chichester, start 8.00pm.

Jubilee Year Special Offer - River Arun Guide, by the late Gerry Skinner. The complete illustrated cruising guide by the foremost expert on the Arun, only £1.50 inc p&p from Mike Laishley, 14 Albert Road, Cosham, Portsmouth, PO6 3DD.


NEWS FROM THE SOCIETY SALES STAND

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Paul is pleased to advise that the Society's new supply of screen printed Tee Shirts and embroidered Sweat Shirts are now in stock.

He has limited supplies of Navy Blue tee shirts in medium, large and extra large sizes and Red tee shirts in medium size only. All tee shirts carry a full chest Society logo. Price for tee shirts: just £6.50.

Sweat shirts now in stock include Navy Blue in large size and Royal Blue in medium and large. The sweat shirts display an embroidered Society logo on the breast. Sweat shirts cost £15.00.

A number of members have ordered tee shirts and sweat shirts, so please collect them from Paul or Ray at the Society Sales Stand at any Society meeting.

A new item on sale on the Sales Stand is a Cotton Shopper Bag displaying a large screen printed Society logo. Useful for a number of purposes, including storing clothes pegs, the bags sell at £2.25.

If there is sufficient demand, we can provide Society Burgees for flying on either your own boat or your hire boat. Minimum order to our suppliers is 10. We already have taken orders for three, so if you would like to demonstrate your Society membership to the canal world at large, give Paul or Ray your order. Telephone orders can be made to Paul on 01703 262365 (24 hours).


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