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Issue 317 - February 1998

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Arun Navigation Campaign Cruise

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The IWA Solent & Arun Branch, celebrating its 20th birthday this year, has decided to change the name of its annual sponsored small boat cruise on the River Arun. Alan White writes:

For 15 years we have faced the delights and hazards of the Arun above Stopham. Over the period we have held this event we have billed it variously as fund raiser, pleasure cruise and campaign cruise. All three aspects are encompassed by the event: the cash surplus, though seldom more than a hundred pounds or so, is important; the pleasure element of a boating experience through this beautiful rural Sussex valley is unsurpassed. However, as a campaign cruise it has had little impact. We haven't really carried forward the message that the river above Pulborough requires some navigation work if it is ever to provide an adequate conduit for boats between the lower river and the Wey & Arun Canal.

We have certainly failed to convince any of the Arun's controlling bodies, past and present. This is partly due to the Arun's having no navigation authority above Arundel. The common law right to navigate the river appears safe enough but it is not part of the EA's responsibilities to maintain it to any particular standard for navigation. More important perhaps, the greater part of the river above Pulborough is designated as an SSSI and there is not yet a Management Agreement in place. When our cruises started 15 years ago, EA predecessors at least gave the impression of listening to what we said but gradually, as regional water authority gave way to National Rivers Authority and that in turn to the Environment Agency, it has become very clear that the only voice that has the ear of the EA is English Nature.

We cannot get from EA an unequivocal statement that recognises that the historical use of the river by boats for trade and pleasure is a legitimate interest deserving EA support. We remain hopeful that the representations we have made will be taken into account when the Management Agreement is formulated but we cannot claim widespread public support for our aims if only because there is not widespread public awareness of what we are advocating. As the Wey & Arun Canal Trust continues to drive the restoration south towards Pallingham, the time has come to be bolder about expressing boaters' interests in the river.

We must ensure that the river to Pallingham is administered and managed such that any necessary improvements in navigability can be and are carried out at the appropriate time. The river should be maintained to at least as good a navigational standard as the Wey & Arun Canal will be when it is restored to meet the river. That could happen within a decade and the time to start work on the river to minimise the impact on both budgets and environment is nigh.

We clearly need to project a sharper image of our desire to restore the Arun's navigability lest in a few years time a navigable canal emerges from the woods at Pallingham to find a river so overgrown with both vegetation and environmental regulation as to render the dream of restoring the Lost Route as distant as ever.

Renaming our annual spring outing will not of course transform the situation but it may focus attention on the need to win hearts and minds - and wallets too. Restoring the South Coast's link to the waterway network is a worthwhile idea but, for such views to prevail, we have to assert them more positively. Hence the name change to the Arun Navigation Campaign Cruise. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet and a cruise by any name is still good fun, but everybody knows a rose has thorns and now perhaps everyone will get the point of this cruise.

If you can lay hands on a small boat (up to 12ft) and would like information about joining this cruise on Sunday 10 May, call the organiser, Alan White on 01243 573765 (or email iwa.solent.arun@dial.pipex.com). Larger boats would be especially welcome but would need to allow at least two days for a return passage from Littlehampton.


DAY-STAR THEATRE

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After the much enjoyed performance at our Birthday Party last June, Day-Star have been booked to appear again next June. They will be performing their new production for 1998. The Committee also plans that light refreshments will be available after the performance. Unfortunately, we shall have to make an admission charge this time to cover the not inconsiderable costs. Initially, tickets are being offered exclusively to SCS members at a price of £2.50 until the end of March. Thereafter, tickets will available to the public at a charge of £3.50. Eric Lewis has the tickets on sale NOW!


December Meeting

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Four teams assembled for the Annual Inter-Society Quiz: IWA Solent & Arun Branch; IWA Salisbury Group; IWA Avon & Wilts Branch and Southampton Canal Society. There was excitement throughout the whole contest for only a few points separated the teams at any one time. From time to time, team members were completely stumped by difficult slides which quizmaster Eric Lewis had found among his collection.

Half way through the evening, teams and audience paused to partake of the ample American Supper which, as usual, proved too large for complete consumption. Joyce Mayhew was presented with honorary life membership of Southampton Canal Society for serving up refreshments at all meetings. Peter Oates had designed a certificate / scroll and this was handed to Joyce by Emma Osborn whose idea the presentation had been.

The quiz resumed and eventual winners were Southampton Canal Society - though only just. The team members were presented with the 'new' quiz trophy.

Everyone had an exciting, jolly and interesting evening. Our thanks to the Lewis family: Eric for all the preparation and performing the quizmaster's job, Sue for keeping score and to Peter the projectionist.

It was great to see so many IWA friends who had travelled long distances to be with us. A little more support from our own Society members would not have gone amiss.


January Meeting

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'Paris to Switzerland', the title of Ron & Myra Glover's slide show, was really true. It is possible to cruise to Switzerland. The Glover's latest boat, which they keep permanently based on the waterways of Mainland Europe, is capable of cruising the Rhine, which enabled them to visit Basel in Switzerland.

Using slides of several holidays, Ron & Myra put together a superbly interesting journey across France and into Germany and Switzerland. There was something for everyone - large waterways, smaller waterways; industry, countryside; tunnels, bridges, cavernous locks, commercial boats, leisure craft, the Arzviller Lift, you name it - they tried it. Myra gave most of the commentary with Ron helping with some of the more technical bits, a very interesting and expert presentation.

If you missed this delightful slide show then try to get along if Ron and Myra put it on somewhere else in the locality.


Charles Lewis

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It is with the deepest regret that we announce the death of Charles Lewis who was a member and regular supporter of Southampton Canal Society for many years. We extend our sympathy to his wife Mary, Eric, Sue and Peter.


IWA Solent and Arun Branch Events 1998

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The following is taken from a preview by Alan White of meetings and events planned in the IWA S&A area for 1998 which appeared in the recent issue of Cargoes, the local IWA Branch Newsletter.

3rd March (Tue) - The Solent & Arun Branch was formed 20 years ago on 3 March 1978 and the same date in 1998 has been chosen for the AGM. Cynical members, aware of the deplorably low attendance at AGMs, might conclude that thereby a quiet birthday is intended. Not so: unashamedly there will be a brief look at some of the highlights of the past but the main purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the aims and strategy for the opening years of the next millennium. The AGM will take place in the upstairs committee room of the Denmead Community Centre, The Old School, Denmead, Waterlooville, Hants.

Drungewick Aqueduct Cruise - Sometime during the spring, the Wey & Arun Canal Trust will be holding a small boat cruise on the Loxwood / Drungewick section of the canal. For the time being, opportunities to take your own boat on the canal are limited but this event has been offered as acknowledgement of the gift by the Branch of £1000 towards the rebuilding of the Drungewick Aqueduct. Details of cruise available from John Lisk.

19 April (Sun) - Informal walk along the lower section of the Andover and Redbridge Canal, taking in a visit to the Eling Tide Mill and a pub lunch. Details from the guide, Peter Boyce.

10th May (Sun) - Arun Navigation Campaign Cruise. This is the 16th running of the Pulborough - Pallingham Sponsored Small Boat Cruise but with a new name. See article on the front page of this newsletter.

Football Fever - For Italians and others uninterested in the World Cup Finals, the Chichester Canal Society will be organising a series of events including the Basin Barrel Races, Optimist sailing experience, a visit by the Mikron Theatre and Cream Tea Walks. Details of these events and trips on n.b. Egremont are available from John Cooper.

7th June (Sun) - Just before the opening World Cup matches, you have a perfect opportunity for pre-TV exercise by supporting the Wey & Arun Canal Trust's sponsored walk (The Poddle) on some of the Surrey section of the canal. Poddle details from John Lisk.

25 & 26 July (Sat & Sun) - By the end of July there should be little to prevent us enjoying the rest of the boating year. Littlehampton Regatta has events on and off the River Arun. S&A will have their sales stand there.

26 July (Sun) - There will be a return cruise from Littlehampton to Arundel in support of plans to create public moorings at Arundel for visiting boaters. The IWA have been pushing Arun District Council, claiming there is widespread support for this facility, so it is vital to get a good turnout on the water. Details from Alan White.

16th August - Chichester Canal Water Fair provides another opportunity to get out in a boat. You may bring your own, hire a skiff or ride the trip boat. There will be various attractions and stalls including contributions from the Branch. Contact John Cooper (or Alan White if you would like to help run the S&A Branch stand).

August Bank Holiday - While anybody who's anybody in the IWA will be slumming it in Salford, Solent & Arun Branch will be winning friends and influence at the International Festival of the Sea at Portsmouth. Just what we do will depend on what the organisers will allow us to do - and how much help you offer us. If you are prepared to be listed as a provisional volunteer (this means we may be able to offer you a job - for you to accept or decline) or would be interested in taking your boat onto Portsmouth Harbour, contact Alan White. At the very least we shall be operating a sales stall / display stand showing the work of waterway restoration, the IWA and our vision of Portsmouth's waterway route to London.

20th September (Sun) - The last Branch outing of the year will be the Beaulieu River Small Boat Cruise. This will be upstream to the top of the navigation from Bucklers Hard. A gentle cruise and picnic followed by a cream tea in the village is what we have in mind and would nicely round off another active year.

The telephone numbers of contacts are:

Peter Boyce 01705 269642, Alan White 01243 573765, John Lisk 01493 752403, John Cooper 01243 671051.


Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society

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SHCS holds a series of illustrated talks each winter. The venue is the Westgate Centre, Woking, alongside the Basingstoke Canal, at Chobham Road Bridge. Meetings start at 8pm. Admission free. Tea, coffee and biscuits provided.

10 February (Tue) - "Direct Television from Alexandra Palace" by Arthur Dungate. Arthur produces Audio Visual displays for SHCS. He used to work for the BBC Television Service in the 1950s. This talk recounts some of his experiences of Television in those pioneering days.

10 March (Tue) - Panama Canal (provisional) by John Humphries. John in association with Hugh McKnight has in previous years presented 16mm films of his voyages along the canals of the continent. Although circumstances have prevented him from visiting SHCS recently, hopefully in March he will be able to present a film trip, possibly on Panama.

8 April (Tue) - "The Foxton Inclined Plane" by Mike Beech (Curator of the museum of the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust). This talk will detail the Trust's plans to restore and rebuild this engineering marvel to full operation.

Further information from Arthur Dungate on 0181 737 4896


SUIAG TRIPS '98

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SCS member Jon Sims, wearing his hat as Chairman of the Southampton University Industrial Archaeological Group (SUIAG), is organising two trips for that group (not nearly as highbrow as the title might imply). Members of SCS are welcome to go on either trip, although bookings for the Forest of Dean outing were going very well the last I heard. Further details from Jon Sims on 01703 732868.

GLOUCESTER DOCKS

Saturday Feb 7th

Escape the winter gloom with a day trip to Gloucester Docks and its fabulous collection of tall and stately warehouses. One of these contains the British Waterways National Waterway Museum with floor after floor of exhibits, displays, artefacts and state of the art interpretations on all things to do with canal and river navigation. A great one for the kids. Outside in the docks are several boats, in a variety of widths and lengths, which are open for exploration. Don't miss the steam powered bucket dredger. Another warehouse contains the equally fascinating Museum of Advertising and Packaging. A great insight into a much overlooked subject. Cafes and bars are available in the docks complex.

Price £7 Adults, £3 Children. Please note this does not include admission to the museums. This can be paid on the day depending on your choice. Party rates will apply (eg Adult £3.50 at the Waterways Museum, £1.95 at t'other one). If you move quickly you should be able to visit both!

FOREST OF DEAN 1998

April 17th-19th

A return to the superb welcome of The Fountain Inn at Parkend, a museum in itself sitting amidst a wealth IA. This year we will be including a ride on the Dean Forest Railway as well as more tramway hunting through the forest. Other visits may include the Dean Heritage Centre or the ancient iron diggings at Clearwell Caves plus a drive through the glorious Wye Valley. Limited accommodation remains in the pub with plenty of places still available in The Lodge. This features comfortable bunk rooms (with a variety of different sized rooms if you are choosy about your sleeping partners!). There are excellent hot shower facilities, a kitchen for coffee etc and a TV lounge if you wish to bring some IA Videos.

Pub £90 (£95 single), Lodge £70 including coach travel, accommodation and all meals including packed lunches. Bargain of the year. For flexibility, admission charges are not included but these will be at party rates.


IWA Guildford & Reading Branch Events

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The branch are holding the following meetings at the Basingstoke Canal Centre, Mytchett Place Road, Mytchett, Surrey (off A321 Frimley - Guildford road). Talks are illustrated by colour slide or video. Doors open 7.30pm, start 8.00pm.

23 February (Mon) - "Basingstoke Canal, History and Restoration" by Tony Harmsworth.

23 March (Mon) - Branch AGM, followed by "Limehouse to the Medway by Narrow boat" by Norman Woolley.

20 April (Mon) - "Kennet and Avon Heritage Lottery Fund" by John Laverick (BW Project Manager).

12 & 13 September (Sat & Sun) - Godalming Working Boat Rally. Largest ever (?) gathering of working boats at the southernmost point of Britain's connected inland waterway system. Full weekend event. More information from Mike Adams 01483 773512.


IWA Salisbury Group

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The group meet at the Salisbury Rugby Club, Castle Road, Salisbury at 7.30pm on the following occasions during 1998. More details from Tony Fry on 01722 710192

19th March (Thu) - The BCN Marathon Challenge presentation by Chris and Helen Davey.

21st May (Thu) - The Canal du Midi by Frank Stokes and Dereck Johnson.

July - Boat Trip: details from Tony Fry.

17th September (Thu) - Canalside Camera by Jon Sims.

19th November (Thu) - Canalware Painting by Bocraft.


Bits & Pieces

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Thanks to Ray Brooks for resurrecting the 'silver' cup and painting canal roses onto it. Also thanks to Eric Lewis for turning a beautiful wooden plinth to carry the cup and for obtaining and attaching engraved plates noting the winning teams of all the Inter-Society Quizzes that have so far taken place.

Letters of Thanks for Southampton Canal Society's hospitality at the December meeting have been received by the Chairman from Robert Kelley, Secretary of the IWA Avon & Wilts Branch and from Peter Boyce, Chairman of the IWA Solent & Arun Branch.

We are indebted to the Brooks and Lewis families for providing overnight accommodation for members of the IWA Avon & Wilts Branch quiz team.

Camping Afloat - Adventure holidays on the inland waterways with Birmingham & Midland Canal Carrying Co. Want to know more? Contact the Chairman.

Society Library: Sue Lewis has been running the Library successfully for a number of years. However, for domestic reasons, she will be unable to store the books at home after the next AGM in July. Therefore, we need to find a volunteer to look after the stock. Sue is prepared to either continue running the library, to assist the volunteer in any way or to step aside and let the member run the library on their own. Members have found the library useful, informative and entertaining. It would be a shame if it has to close next July. So if you have enjoyed using the library in the past then please consider lending a hand to the Society. Volunteer please!!!

Working Parties: The Society has not been actively involved with restoration work parties for a number of years. Paul Herbert has suggested that some members might like to attend occasional working parties, say once or twice a year, to work on, for instance, the Wilts & Berks or the Thames & Severn Canals. Anyone interested is asked to contact Paul either on the Sales Stand at meetings or on 01703 262365.


Prioritisation of Waterways Restoration Schemes

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The Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council (IWAAC) has embarked on an independent assessment of the priorities for waterway restoration. The study was announced by Viscountess Knollys, IWAAC Chairman, in early October following an IWAAC visit to the Kennet & Avon Canal. IWAAC is the body set up under the 1968 Transport Act to advise the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on matters affecting the use and development for recreation and amenity of the national waterway network.

In an IWAAC press release, it was stated that Angela Eagle MP, Parliament.ary Under-Secretary of State for the DoETR asked for this work to be added to IWAAC's current work programme because the Council, an independent body, is an appropriate forum to carry out an assessment which will be fair to all parties involved and will help raise the profile of the waterways.

A set of consultation papers was sent to all the restoration groups currently known to IWAAC, a selection of local authorities, some key funding agencies and statutory bodies setting out the Council's intentions and draft criteria to be used for the assessment. More than 70 organisations have responded to the papers.

As the IWA has long been opposed to the prioritisation of waterway restorations, the press release recorded that the IWA will not necessarily endorse the outcome of IWAAC's work. IWA has felt that the priorities would be different for each funding agency as each has different aims and criteria. Also it has felt that small restoration projects, providing mainly local benefits, should not be judged on the basis of a national list of priorities and that existing local authority support for some projects might be threatened by such a list.

According to a recent IWAAC press release, reaction to IWAAC's study has been largely positive although there has been concern and criticism from some quarters. The Heritage Lottery Fund has stated that the review is timely and useful and should enable a coherent strategy to be presented. Indeed, the Fund has confirmed that it will not be considering any new applications for funding for waterway projects until the study has been completed.

The Fund has acknowledged the "understandable concern" that IWAAC's review may result in grants being concentrated on a few outstandingly important waterways, but has given reassurance by stating "that the Trustees are sympathetic to the idea of small, more locally based projects, particularly those which might address needs such as improved access, education and interpretation."

Despite the IWA's reservations about the value of setting priorities, other than by bodies with resources to provide, its Restoration Committee has offered to provide any factual data and expertise that may assist IWAAC in its work. It has urged waterway societies to co-operate with IWAAC's work by providing any relevant factual information but has suggested that they should avoid providing statements of a subjective nature.

The above has been taken from several recent IWA publications. The Editor of this newsletter has also received an unsigned document about this matter. The originator would appear to be Michael Handford who claims to be a member of all waterway societies (including this one). He puts forward a strong, if pithy, argument for supporting setting priorities for restoration. I might have put his case in this newsletter but feel disinclined to do so if he is not willing to put his name to his views.


Editor's Plea:

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I attempt, in this newsletter, to provide information and news to members about aspects of the waterways, particularly local, from sources that members may not be see. However, I am all too aware that this is a personal selection. I would welcome articles, comments, letters, etc from members. If you feel something is missing or could be better - why not put it right?


Send your comments to the Web Site manager (Peter Oates)

© Southampton Canal Society 1998 - 2003. Except where otherwise indicated, information on these pages may be reproduced provided permission is obtained from the Web Site manager beforehand and due acknowledgement made to the Society.

Page created 9 June 2003 - layout changes 7 December 2003

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