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Issue 470 - March 2012

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Chairman's Column

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March Meeting

A warm welcome to Peter Oates & Laura Sturrock with "Ellesmere Port& Liverpool 2011." This presentation will include pictures of the 2011 Easter Gathering at the Ellesmere Port Museum, the crossing of the Mersey to Liverpool and a journey along the new Liverpool Link.

Peter & Laura have travelled down from their home at Nether Heyford, Northamptonshire for this evening. We all very much appreciate it.

Committee Members

At a recent committee meeting, Paul Herbert and Maureen Greenham both announced that they were retiring from the society committee as from the AGM on July 5th. They had previously mentioned this at the last AGM.

Paul has spent the last year as Vice-Chairman assisting myself. He also had spent many years on the committee and a good few as chairman.

Maureen has also done us all proud for the last few years as our social organiser.

We will miss them both. It will leave the committee short of members.

Please, members, have a think about volunteering to take their place. We will be asking for nominations by the AGM, but it would be nice to have some feedback now. If you want further information, please speak to one of the members of the existing committee.

Think hard, it is your society.

April 5th Meeting

Tony Shadick will be showing film footage of SCS boat trips; Railway at war; some Classic Goodwood Air shows; the rebuild of an old coast guard boat and a SCS trip to the Thames by bus. This is just a snippet of the evening's programme as one of our members, Rob Unsworth, is celebrating a Birthday!! and wishes to spoil us all with some nibbles, etc.

Alan Rose

David Hill

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David Hill, a Southampton Canal Society member for many years, died on the 9th February aged 83. David had dealt with health problems for many years, his mind was good although not able to communicate through partial paralysis.

David formerly worked with post graduates at Southampton University on the technical side dealing with aeronautics.

David attended Canal Society meetings until he was too infirm. His wife Mary has always come along to our meetings wherever possible and joined us on our various outings. Speaking to Mary she plans to continue coming to our meetings, particularly as the Spring and Summer evenings are just around the corner.

Six members of the Society attended the funeral on 22nd February: Brian and Annegret Evans, Monica Lanigan, Eva Drinkwater, Sue Derbyshire and myself.

Angela Rose

Queen's Diamond Jubilee river pageant

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It has been revealed that more than a million people are expected to flock to London's River Thames for her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June.

The Bank Holiday weekend from June 2 to 5 will be the focus of the 2012 Jubilee celebrations, marking the Queen's 60-year reign with a river pageant featuring a 1,000-strong flotilla on the River Thames.

More than a million people are expected to line the route to witness the spectacle - a tribute to Britain's maritime history - with the Queen's royal barge as the centrepiece.

The Prince of Wales, patron of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, was the first person to suggest the idea of a water borne tribute to the sovereign.

The £12 million event will feature a seven-mile long procession that will include Dunkirk little ships, historic vessels, steam boats and tugs, rowed shallops and Dutch barges and passenger ships.

Pageant master Adrian Evans has given an outline of the event which will be a focus of the extended Diamond Jubilee bank holiday weekend in the summer.

He said: 'We're planning for well over a million people to congregate on the Thames bridges, on balconies and riverside properties and the river's edge to watch the pageant and salute the Queen, resplendent on the Thames in her glittering royal barge.

'We'll be placing just under 50 big screens along the pageant's route to help people get the most of the day. 'BBC, ITV and Sky will be broadcasting the event live and distributing their feed worldwide, taking the pageant's audience into the hundreds of millions.

'We hope the buildings along the pageant route will dress out in appropriate jubilee style, with bunting, Union flags and red, white and blue. 'The pageant is a once-in-a-lifetime event, one that will reclaim the Thames as a royal route.'

The Queen will review the flotilla before it sets off from Albert Bridge near Chelsea and when it reaches its final stop, Tower Bridge in the City of London.

The pageant will take place on Sunday June 3 and travel under 14 road and rail bridges, feature 20,000 people on the water and take 90 minutes to pass any given point.

The flotilla will be divided into 10 sections, with the music herald barges separating each group.

It will be led by the Royal Jubilee Bells - eight church bells that will sound a quarter peal and be answered by churches along the route - and Gloriana, a hand-built 88ft rowbarge covered in gold leaf.

Mr Evans, the event's pageant master, said 115 boats which ply their trade carrying tourists up and down the Thames would be included in the event., 6 Feb 2012

Book Review

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Too Narrow To Swing a Cat: Going Nowhere in Particular on the English Waterways

by Steve Haywood ISBN No: 978-1-84953-065-1 RRP: £8.99

Published by Summersdale Publishers Ltd, 46 West Street, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1RP.

Book cover

I found this "little gem" in my local library in Chandlers Ford. As I usually do I read it from front to back without looking at the back first. Consequently it was not until I reached the end that I found the author Steve Haywood had written other Waterway Works which I have now ordered from Hampshire County Libraries and I look forward with anticipation to reading more of his tales from the Canal Bank and Boat.

His interest in the canal system and in the history of these ex-arteries of commerce now being "restored" is in every way a mirror of my own feelings about how far restoration should be carried. I am concerned that Major Works (such as huge marinas) will completely change the way we look at the navigable waterways of Britain and we shall have canals like the Thames with No Moorings signs everywhere.

So more power to Steve Haywood's pen in the fight against commercialisation and I thoroughly enjoyed his style and the running theme on his very unusual cat.

John Silman

Environment minister calls water summit

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The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, called a Water Summit meeting in London yesterday, writes Harry Arnold.

Senior representatives all groups interested and involved in water usage gathered to discuss the current drought situation. As well as officers of the Environment Agency (EA), the British Waterways (BW) hydrologist attended to provide evidence.

No formal statement has yet been issued but the minister approved a drought order for southern England - enabling authorities to take certain measures, like implementing hosepipe bans. An EA spokesmen appeared on national TV to warn that - unless there is very considerable rain over the next month - the situation is approaching that of 1976; the worst year on record.

BW has issued a notice saying that as a result of the continued dry weather, the reservoirs which supply the Grand Union Canal, Leicester Line are not refilling as planned, so work needs to be undertaken to reduce water loss on the canal to prolong the 2012 cruising season.

During the period Saturday 17 March 2012 to Sunday 1 April 2012 the length from Lock 38 (Kings Lock) to Lock 31 (Double Rail Lock) will be closed to allow the eight locks to be drained and have all the gates relined to reduce water leakage through them. The adjacent pounds will also be lowered, so no boats will be permitted to moor within this length for the duration of the works.

Up to date information can be obtained on 01827 252000 during normal office hours. 20 February 2012

CRT Elections

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Calling All Boaters - Use Your Vote


Canal & River Trust Election!

AWCC is pleased to announce that DAVID PEARCE, their former
National Chairman, will be the AWCC nominee for the CRT Council.

David Pearce

Not in GNASHERS II ! But on the Volga Delta in Russia, taken by Roger Squires

For more details, visit ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Society received the following email from David Pearce who is a member of the Southampton Canal Society. David is standing for election of boaters to the Council of the new Canal and River Trust.


I have not been to a meeting for a long time, but life seems to get increasingly busy. I have got myself tied up over the last 3 years with what is now to be called the Canal & River Trust through the British Waterways Advisory Forum and inevitably I am now standing for the Council as the official AWCC candidate. I would appreciate any support the SCS members felt they could give me in the election. A poster is attached [see above] and there are more details on including what to do if you do not have your voting papers, which every boater should have got by now.

I still have Gnashers II at St Pancras and Roger Squires and I went on a 5,000Km cruise through Russia last year. It makes a good talk!

Kind regards,


Good luck, David. Members who are BW licence holders are eligible to vote in this election. Voting opened on 8 February and closes at 12 noon on 9 March 2012.

February Meeting

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Brownsea Island - John England

It was good to catch up with Bob and Ann Dukes, they both looked very well and enjoyed meeting up with friends from SCS.

We appreciated them bringing John along, he was the perfect speaker and has been a volunteer for Brownsea Island for many years. Brownsea Island is 1¾ miles long and ¾ mile wide and is the largest of 3 islands in Poole Harbour. A hermit lived there in the Middle Ages, monks from Cerne Abbas in 1530 and by 1903, 350 people lived and worked on the Island.

In 1907 Baden Powell held the 1st Scout Camp on the island. Marconi, who was a friend of the Island's owner, was a frequent visitor.

In 1927 a reclusive Mrs Bonham- Christie arrived. She cut the staff down from 250 to 3 people. Many of the worker's families had lived all their lives on the island and were forced off "lock stock and barrel". These drastic measures meant that the land and buildings deteriorated.

1942 saw part of the island commandeered for the war effort, with the object of distracting the Luftwaffe away from the Cordite Factory on the up-side of Poole Harbour.

Mrs Bonham-Christie died in 1962 at the age of 98; she left the island to her grandson and subsequently the island was passed over to the Government in lieu of her death duties.

The Government handed over ownership of the island to the National Trust. The Dorset Wildlife Trust, John Lewis and the Scouting Association donated funds and with the aid of many volunteers, the island opened to the public in 1963. It became a tourist attraction rich in history and wildlife.

Dorset Wildlife Trust manages a large nature reserve, including the Lagoon, internationally important for bird watchers, and the elusive Red Squirrel.

Now 30 people and 8 children live permanently on the island. The volunteers and summer staff travel over each day from Poole Quay and Sandbanks.

The Visitor Centre and Outdoor Activities are open from April to October.

To catch up with John ,again, he is involved in the guided tours on Tuesdays. is the web address.

Angela Rose

Bishopstoke History Society - 'The Itchen Navigation'

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Advert for repeat presentation

In our February Newsletter an advertisement was published for a talk to be given by Bishopstoke History Society on 14 February. The subject was an illustrated presentation about The Itchen Navigation. Your Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and members Eric and Sue Lewis decided to go along. In the event, because of work commitments, Alan and Angela were unable to attend. However, Monica Lanigan was also in the audience.

We were amazed to be told on our arrival at the Bishopstoke Community Association Centre that all seats had already been taken and there was standing room only 'and not much of that!' From their comments it was apparent that the History Society speakers were as amazed as us at the high attendance, which I estimated to be in the region of 120.

Three speakers took it in turns with elements of the presentation. It was obvious that considerable work had been involved with researching the topic. Apart from much historical detail we were shown numerous illustrations and photographs, a number of which the Society members present hadn't seen before. The opening slide credited a number of people with assistance in the preparation for the presentation, including Southampton Canal Society, Dr Edwin Course and Peter Oates (I learnt later that Peter had been particularly helpful).

I made myself known to the speakers during the interval and was 'invited' to give a vote of thanks at the end, which I duly did, making sure I got in a plug for our Society.

It was an excellent presentation and the small membership of Bishopstoke History Society should be commended, both for their research and for their actual presentation. They are repeating their presentation at Bishopstoke Methodist Church (see right) and I would urge Society members to attend, if at all possible.

It is possible that the Bishopstoke History Society might give the same presentation to our Society sometime in the future.

Paul Herbert

Greetings from our Warwickshire Branch

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Your editor was pleased to receive the following email recently from our Warwickshire members Ken and Margaret Froud:

Dear Peter and Laura,

You may have heard on the towpath telegraph that I have now joined the Laptop Brigade. It's taken me 80 years though. Six months ago I didn't even know how to switch one on so I went to Silver Surfers at the local library for some tuition. I called it Silver Sufferers.

Anyhow, I can now send emails and receive them of course and can therefore pick up the news letters on line saving the cost of postage. Every little helps as they say at Tesco's.

We've settled down nicely in our flat but miss" Humping coal" ," Sawing logs", "Carrying diesel" "Emptying loos" and it's marvellous!! Our last cruise was to Calcutt and was sold on brokerage to a very nice couple who are living aboard in the Hungerford area. We haven't really had time to miss the boat , what with having to set up home here and socialising with the residents and endless visits from family friends. It's great!!. We hope to meet up again sometime .

All the best to you both Ken and Margaret.

Ps ...You may be interested to know that my laptop is a Samsung RV720 with a 17" screen...."..Bly Blittish "

Society Photographic Competition

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Sykehouse Lock

Sykehouse Lock on the New Junction Canal.

Omitted from last month's issue, this was the winning photograph by Eric Lewis in January's Photo Competition. © Eric Lewis

Major plans to re-connect Chichester Ship Canal with the sea

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Exciting new plans to re-connect Chichester Ship Canal with the sea - which would see boats from all over the world come into the city - have been revealed.

The Chichester Ship Canal Trust exclusively told of its plans to the Observer, which also include transforming the canal basin area by building an educational hub with offices and opening a brand-new shop.

Map of Chichester Canal

The trust wants to build a moving bridge at Donnington and create a lock near the Witterings at Cutfield, which will allow boats to enter the canal.

No-one is more excited about the plans to open up the canal than chairwoman Linda Wilkinson. She said: "It's something different and seems quite sensible. The bridge would only take up the space that is already there. I have been with the trust for 30-odd years and it's getting quite exciting now.

"It's all happening at the same time. We'll have the new shop and the other building and bridge. It would be nice to make a start with the bridge this year - even if it's on December 31. I think it will be a brilliant."

She added: "It would bring new life into Chichester."

Speaking of the transformation of the basin, she added: "I think it will look extremely nice and what it's doing hopefully is lifting the whole of that part of Chichester. It has been an orphan for a long time. It should make that attractive. We should have boats coming in from all around the UK and abroad."

Mrs Wilkinson admitted the plans for opening up the canal were 'up in the air' and there would be some obstacles in the way to make the trust's dream vision become a reality.

She also said the trust would need to consult with residents on the Manhood Peninsula about its plans for the moving bridge in Donnington and the creation of a lock underneath the road in the Witterings.

The Chichester Ship Canal Trust recently bought the old stable block next to its current temporary mobile home shop at the basin. It hopes to change the building into offices, a waiting room for those waiting for canal trips, facilities for boat-users, a kitchen, toilets and facilities to create a space to educate people about the canal and its history.

Cllr Cherry said: "We took over the building about three months ago. It's in pretty bad condition, we are getting architects in to get a clear idea to put into working order.

"It's a great thing if people are waiting outside on a lovely day, but it's not so great on a rainy day. We need additional facilities."

The canal trust will be getting a new shop at the basin, to replace the temporary shop that has been there for more than a decade.

As part of Linden Homes' development for around 80 properties at Stockbridge Road, money was dedicated to building the trust's new shop, and it is hoped it will open within the next few months.

Chichester Observer - 2 February 2012

Details of the restoration proposals can be found on the internet at:

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

© Southampton Canal Society 1999 - 2012. 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 5 March 2012 - archived 15 April 2012.

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