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Issue 297 - April 1996

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MARCH MEETING

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John Silman began his evening with telling us about the beginnings of postcards, which were simple affairs used to convey messages. Early Post Office cards had the stamp (Queen Victoria) printed on and the price of posting was inclusive.

Postcards have developed over the years to the glossy scenes which we have today but the number of urgent messages conveyed by them now must be very few.

From our present day point of view, early postcards often seemed to depict quite ordinary scenes or happenings and by so doing give us a glimpse of the way of life. The ages of some postcards in John's collection were difficult to tell for the writers had not dated them and postmarks were not clear.

Apart from learning many details from the early scenes which John projected and described to us, we now know that if we wish to make the life of the postcard collector easier we must always date our messages.


DONATIONS

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Following his talk about postcards, John Silman requested that we send a donation to the Hampshire Mills Group. The Society is pleased to forward a cheque for £25 to that organisation.

As the result of an letter from the Droitwich Canals Trust, the committee has agreed to send £25 to help them fund their restoration efforts this summer.


IWA SALISBURY GROUP

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The following is a list of forthcoming meetings of the Salisbury Group of the IWA. All Canal Society members will be most welcome at any the events. All evening meetings start at 7.30pm at the Salisbury Rugby Clubrooms, Castle Road, Salisbury. For details of the group or any of the events contact Tony Fry Tel: 01722 710192.

Thursday 16th May Shared boat ownership - hear the details from Ownerships without the sales pitch.
July Trip to Claverton Pumping Station - details and date to be arranged.
Thursday 19th Sept A fun quiz evening with quizmaster Eric Lewis.
Thursday 21st Nov Fender construction with Ray Brooks.
Thursday 16th Jan '97 Group AGM followed by Ron and Myra's Travels
Thursday 20th March '97 Waterways Recovery Group by Chris Davey.

IWA SOUTH WEST REGION GOLDEN JUBILEE AGM

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The AGM weekend will be based at The Red Lion Hotel, Salisbury, and is to be hosted by the Salisbury Group of the IWA South West Region over the weekend Friday 19th - Sunday 21st April 1996. IWA members are invited to participate in the proposed activities. Further details from Eric Lewis at the April meeting or from Tony Fry, 4 Oakwood Grove, Alderbury, Salisbury Wilts SP5 3BN Tel: 01722 710192.


SOCIETY BOAT TRIP

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A 4-hour boat trip on the Kennet & Avon Canal has been organised for Saturday 29th June 1996. Departing from Bradford-on-Avon Wharf at 1pm, the Ladywood will make the return journey to Dundas Aqueduct.

The cost of the trip will be £5.50 for adults and £4.00 for children under 16. Members will have to make their own way to Bradford - if you require transport, the appropriate arrangements can be made if the organiser is told at the time of booking. A bar will be available on board, from which tea and coffee will also be on sale. Lunch may be ordered for consumption on the boat. Payment for the trip and any lunch will be required at the time of booking and tickets will be issued as receipts.

Further details and booking forms may be obtained from Eric Lewis either at our meetings or from home (address above).


SOCIETY NEWSLETTER

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Whilst I have had lots of news items for the last couple of newsletters, I have had no items from the membership. I would like to have something special for the 300th issue in July. So send me all those pieces you have been getting ready.

Peter Oates, Editor


NATIONAL CHAIRMAN CALLS ON PRIME MINISTER

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National Chairman of the Inland Waterways Association, Mrs Audrey Smith, has called on the Prime Minister to intervene in the A419 Latton Bypass crisis, in a last ditch effort to help save the line of the Thames & Severn Canal. This follows the announcement from Transport Minister, John Watts, that a navigable culvert would not be provided for the canal in the road reconstruction which has now commenced.

In a letter, delivered to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, Audrey Smith expressed the dismay of the IWA at the recent Department of Transport failure to recognise the benefits, to the community and to the local economy, of the Thames & Severn Canal which is now rapidly being restored. Mrs Smith told the Prime Minister "there is now no alternative but to request your most urgent assistance in resolving the current conflict of policies between the Departments of Transport and Environment which has brought about this absurd situation".

Mrs Smith said, "There will undoubtedly be national indignation if this short-sighted, penny pinching Department of Transport decision is allowed to slip through and sabotage the heroic efforts of so many volunteers." On behalf of the IWA, Mrs Smith reiterated the Association's continued strong support for the Cotswold Canals Trust and its restoration work on the Thames & Severn Canal and Stroudwater Navigation.

IWA Press Release, March 29, 1996

Editor's Note: Restoration of the Thames & Severn Canal, along with the Stroudwater Navigation, has been actively promoted and undertaken by the Cotswold Canals Trust for over twenty years. Support for the restoration has been demonstrated by local authorities along the line, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and other local conservation groups as well as numerous weekend work parties and Canal Camps held by WRG.

The event Dig '95, that was held in November and spoken about by Chris Davey at the January meeting, was intended to demonstrate the movement's commitment to the restoration of these canals. I would urge all those reading this newsletter to write to the Prime Minister and / or their MP about this decision. Borrow freely from the ideas expressed in this article. It doesn't matter whether your letter is well written or not - the important thing is to register your protest. Every letter counts: if every canal enthusiast writes, that's over 20,000 individual protests and surely these could not be ignored. Please don't leave it to someone else - they might be leaving it to you!!


WELCOME FOR TOOLEY'S BOATYARD AWARD

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The Inland Waterways Association welcomes the selection of Energy Conscious Design Architects from 103 entries in a Royal Institution of British Architects competition for the design of the Tooley's Boatyard / Banbury Museum project.

Tooley's Boatyard is of great historic significance to waterway enthusiasts and is one of the last traditional boat yards in the country. The IWA has been in close negotiations with British Waterways, Cherwell District Council, Oxfordshire County Council and other concerned organisations to ensure rescue of the historic yard. The IWA believes that the future for Tooley's as a working boatyard is brighter than for a long time. The IWA participated in the judging process and contributed financially to the organisation of the competition.

Tooley's Boatyard was operated for many years by the Tooley family who constructed, repaired and maintained working narrow boats for commercial carrying concerns for much of this century. Just prior to World War II, Tooley's oversaw the conversion of the narrow boat Cressy which was used as a residential boat by Tom Rolt who toured the waterways in the summer of 1939. Tom Rolt's book of his travel 'Narrow Boat' was instrumental in the formation of the IWA.

Prior to the choice being made, the final designs had all been subject to a vigorous two stage evaluation. Those involved were the IWA, the two councils, BW, the National Waterways Museum at Gloucester and Mrs Sonia Rolt.

David Stevenson, who has led for the IWA said, "Great progress has been made over the past year and the dual concept of a boatyard and an associated museum appears to provide the best way of retaining Tooley's for the benefit of all. The IWA looks forward to being involved in the preparation of the Heritage Lottery submission which, if successful, should see the project completed before the year 2000."

IWA Press Release


JUBILEE JIGSAW JOURNEY START

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The start of the water-borne journey to Birmingham by the Hampshire section of the Jubilee Jigsaw will take place on Easter Saturday, 6th April at Mansbridge on the River Itchen. This will form part of the IWA's 50th Jubilee celebrations and will also commemorate 330 years since work started on creating the present Itchen Navigation.

Councillor Margaret Singerman, the Worshipful Mayor of Southampton will send off the Jigsaw piece, and present Civic Greetings to towns along the route. The piece will be carried by water transport on: River Itchen, Southampton Water, Andover & Redbridge Canal, River Hamble, Titchfield Canal, The Solent, Portsmouth Harbour, Chichester Harbour, Chichester Ship Canal, Portsmouth & Arundel Canal, River Arun, Wey & Arun Canal, River Wey, River Thames and Grand Union Canal.

Small boats will be launched into the River Itchen just above the new Mans Bridge from 10.00am. The Mayor is due to arrive at 10.45. At 11.00 she will present Civic Greetings to the mayors of Romsey, Fareham, Portsmouth, Chichester, Arundel, Guildford and Birmingham, all on the route to be taken by the jigsaw piece which she will also send off. A procession of the small boats will make its way downstream to Woodmill. At 12.00 the Jigsaw piece will be transferred to Peter Glover's boat on the tidal Itchen to continue its journey. 12.30 will see a return of the boats to Mansbridge for recovery - followed by refreshment in the White Swan.

It would be nice to see a large number of our members at this event to give a rousing send-off. See you there!


OTHER LOCAL JIGSAW EVENTS IN APRIL

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Our member, Peter Glover will carry the Hampshire Jigsaw piece from the Itchen to the Titchfield Canal where it will arrive on April 14th.

There, a guided walk will be held along the path running beside the Titchfield Canal for about 2½ miles from the sea shore to the village. Walkers should assemble on the promenade opposite the sea-mark at Titchfield Haven 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.

Peter Glover will carry the Jigsaw piece by water to Portsmouth Harbour whence it will be taken to Salterns Lock. On 21st April, the Chichester Canal Cruise-and-Walk Rally will feature a morning procession of dressed boats to Hunston, a lunchtime walk to Salterns Lock to see the arrival of the Hampshire jigsaw piece and its ceremonial joining to the West Sussex and Isle of Wight sections by the Mayor of Chichester 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.

As most of the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal is at present unwatered, the three Jigsaw pieces will be taken to the River Arun by a WRG wheelbarrow to travel up the river at the beginning of May.


CANAL WALK AND BARBECUE

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Don't forget to support the Society's major event for 1996 which will take place on Sunday May 19th starting at 10.00am.

There will be a Guided Walk which includes part of the Romsey Canal (formerly part of the Andover & Redbridge Canal). The Mayor of Romsey will be getting afloat on the canal together with the famous IWA Jigsaw. This will be followed by the Barbecue at Romsey Community School. In addition there will be an exhibition of canal paintings by the well-known waterways artist Harley Crossley.

Sales of tickets for the event are going well. Get yours from either the Editor or from Brian, price £3.50.

In order to make the catering simpler (and to ensure there's enough food for you!), please buy your tickets in advance.


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.

You may also wish to know that there have been the following additions to the library:


SUIAG TRIPS

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A number of trips are being organised this summer by Jon Sims on behalf of the Southampton University Industrial Archaeology Group. Two of these are listed below. Members of the Canal Society will be most welcome to go on either or both of these trips:

Braunston Boat Show

Saturday May 25th - A lively and colourful day out featuring a wealth of traditional, working narrow boats in the fascinating setting of Braunston, the heart of the South Midlands canal network. An especially good day out for children with plenty of entertainment on hand. Cost including coach transport and entry: £10 for adults, £3 for children and £8 for students.

Bathtime

Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July - A weekend along the Avon valley with a moderate amount of walking (around 4 to 5 miles each day). The attractions will include brass mills, other mills, Claverton Pump (working), canal and river locks, aqueducts, old railways and Bath itself. Cost £60 to include coach transport and bed and breakfast in Bath.

Further details of both these trips can be had from Jon Sims, 24 Nutshalling Avenue, Rownhams, Southampton, Tel: 01703 732868.


TWYFORD WATERWORKS

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Following Dr Edwin Course's recent talk on the Thames, the Society made a donation to the Twyford Waterworks Trust. Why not see the work they have been doing at their Open Day on Sunday 12th May. Opening time is from 11.00am to 4.00pm.


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