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Issue 330 - April 1999

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IWA SUPPORTS WATERWAY FREIGHT CARRIAGE

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The Inland Waterways Association today reaffirmed its full support for possible expansions in waterway freight carriage by calling on all users of the inland waterways to recognise the benefits of such usage.

The Association has made it clear that it believes commercial carrying should be an integral part of future waterway usage. IWA is concerned that 'not in my back yard' objections to proposed schemes aimed at bringing back working boats on some waterways may jeopardise a valuable opportunity to revive water based transport. With the Government appearing to be keen on embracing 'new' modes of transport in order to reduce pressure on Britain's gridlocked road network, IWA believes that there is an opportunity to revive the fortunes of the waterways by diversifying their usage. The Association hopes that schemes will receive support from a wide range of users.

IWA National Chairman, Mr Richard Drake, today said "It is important that existing users of the waterways not only accept, but champion commercial carrying on a wider scale. Commercial carrying by boats is, after all, the reason why canals are here in the first place and this should not be forgotten. Furthermore, water based transport is far more fuel efficient than either road or rail transport and, therefore, has certain environmental benefits, which should be appreciated."

Mr Drake continued "There have been concerns expressed that commercial barges may pose a hazard to other users, particularly those of small boats, and also where children are involved. Whilst we recognise these concerns, they appear to be ill founded. Increases in commercial carrying will not turn the waterways into the equivalent of motorways, nose to tail with large commercial barges. Recreational craft would still constitute by far the biggest proportion of traffic and people would probably notice very little change. In any event, pilots of commercial craft are well trained, experienced and capable and should pose no threat to other users. This really is an opportunity which must be grasped with both hands, as we do not know how long the political climate will be so favourable for commercial waterway use."

The Government's White Paper on Integrated Transport, issued in July 1998 recommends that appropriate freight transport be moved from road to waterway. At a recent meeting with inland waterway user representatives, the waterways minister, Mr Alan Meale, M.P., said that the Government were committed to moving 3% of all road freight to the waterways. IWA applauds this commitment. Whilst the majority of such waterway freight will be by coastal shipping and large vessels appropriate to estuaries and wide waterways, IWA believes there remain appropriate niche markets for traditional barges, narrowboats and other craft of modest dimension. Such freight movement by canals and river navigations is not only environmentally friendly, but adds colour and vitality to the inland waterways.

IWA Press Release March 8th, 1999


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DAY-STAR THEATRE COMPANY

with their new production for 1999

followed by light refreshments

Thursday 6th May 1999

7.45pm

St John Ambulance Hall, Kings Park Road, Southampton

Tickets: £3.00 each including refreshments

Bring your friends and family for an evening of live theatre

Get your tickets from Eric Lewis, 51 Friars Croft, Calmore, Hants, SO40 2SS. Tel: 01703 860384

Cheques / postal orders should be made payable to Southampton Canal Society.


March Meeting

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For years, Members' Slides evenings have been poorly attended - maybe they were regarded as unworthy of attention. However, the March meeting was excellent and amongst the most interesting of our meetings.

As usual, variety played a big part, different speakers with different ways of presenting their subjects, slides taken by different photographers of many varying subjects. This year more slides were brought along than could be shown in one evening which means that now we are sure of having some in reserve for the future.

The program went as follows -

Each member who had brought along slides was invited to enter just one slide into a photo competition. The audience present then voted for the one of the eight they liked best and the competition was won by Terry Phippard who was presented with a book.


Springtime

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As I walked along the towpath at Romsey on the beautiful evening of 14th March, I heard, several times, the 'plop' of something jumping into the canal. But I was always too slow to see what was going on. Then suddenly, on the offside bank there were two voles scampering around in the vegetation. Ratty was well and truly awake from winter hibernation. It had never occurred to me what they lived on until the reeds begin to spout new shoots. These two were eating ivy leaves and it seemed with great relish.

Brian Evans


IWA Solent & Arun Branch AGM

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The meeting was held on Sunday 21st March aboard the SS Shieldhall, moored at Ocean Village, Southampton. Southampton Canal Society was represented by the Phippards and Evans's.

In his report, Chairman, Peter Boyce, referred to the highlights of the previous year including a visit to Eling Tide Mill, the Arun Campaign Cruise, Littlehampton Regatta and demonstration cruise, the Beaulieu River Cruise and manning a successful stand at the International Festival of the Sea at Portsmouth.

He outlined a similar programme for 1999 and emphasised that there was much to do in the Solent & Arun Branch area stretching from East Sussex to the Dorset Stour.

After the business came teabreak when those present sampled the delicious cake that can be purchased on the Shieldhall. This was followed by an interesting talk about the Shieldhall and visits to the engine and boiler rooms and the bridge.

Brian Evans


Bits & Pieces

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Society Secretary - After a number of years in the post of Secretary, Eric Lewis has decided to step down and hand over his duties to someone else as from the AGM in June although he is willing to remain on the Committee, if elected. The vacant post provides an opportunity for someone to join in the running of the Society. The main duties involve organising speakers for our monthly meetings, dealing with a small amount of correspondence and attending meetings of the Committee. If you are at all interested, have a word with Eric or Brian Evans. The post is an essential one - give it some thought before volunteering.

Mead Mill Museum, Romsey - We have, in the past, advertised the museum. Please note that it will only be open to pre-arranged parties in the 1999 season. Bookings can be made by telephoning 01794 512350.

The Newsletter - It has been suggested in Committee that this title is a little ordinary and unexciting. Thus it has been decided to run a competition amongst members for a more distinctive name. Come up with an interesting name and you could win a small prize!

Thanks to the Ridleys for a donation to Society funds as the result of the recent sale of their two canoes to another member.

Philip Osborn spoke about the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal and showed a number of slides at last month's Members' Slides evening. At the age of 12 that was quite a brave thing to do. The Committee would like to thank him and hope that he enjoyed it as much as everyone else did.

Waterways Quiz is to be chaired by Eric Lewis for the IWA Avon & Wilts Branch on board the Sabrina in Bristol Docks. Date: Thursday 15 April at 7:30pm. Contact Bob Kelley on 0117 974 4221 for more details.

Don't forget next month's meeting when the Day-Star Theatre will be visiting us. Whilst some members may be unhappy with the entrance charge that we are levying, the costs of providing this entertainment are considerably higher than our more normal meetings. Where else can you get live entertainment and refreshments thrown in for just £3.00? Why not get some of your friends, even those who don't know about the canals, to come? They (and you) might enjoy it.


Easter Bunny Boat Trips 1999

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Children may bring their parents and grandparents down the Canal to look for the Easter Bunny and find his Easter Eggs!

Saturday 27 March

to

Sunday 11 April

Boat leaves Chichester Canal Basin at 9.20, 10.40, 12.00, 13.20, 14.40 & 16.00

Fare: Adult or Child £5.00

An Easter Present for every child!

Please note that whilst children of all ages are welcome to participate, the Easter Bunny Trips are aimed principally at the under 10's. Egremont is completely accessible to all wheelchair-bound persons and those with restricted mobility.

ADVANCE BOOKING ESSENTIAL

Telephone Jenny Pine on 01243 670786


JOHN GOULD MBE

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John Gould toiled for half a century to see the gloriously sunny day in August 1990 when the Queen reopened the Kennet and Avon Canal.

He acquired a pair of narrow boats with the intention of trading on the canal soon after the last war; however by 1951 the waterway had become unnavigable. Working with a former colleague, John Knill, who died last year, Gould began a ferocious fight. Their persistence produced a petition of 22,000 signatures and helped prevent a proposed Act of Abandonment from reaching Parliament in 1955.

In the meantime, Gould had fought and won a lengthy court case with the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive over the loss of revenue from his narrow boats. With the ensuing compensation, he acquired a series of pleasure craft and houseboats. These provided the income he needed while fighting his sometimes lonely campaign for funding of restoration.

Once restoration started, he strived for an authentic rather than standard solution and many of the plans and schemes were modified thanks to his intervention and knowledge of detail.

Typically, he accepted his appointment as MBE in 1992 and a plaque at Newbury Lock not for himself, but on behalf of all those whose perseverance during the long wilderness years of campaigning had paid off.

John Gould, engineer and waterman, born 8 June 1913, died 19 March 1999

The Independent 27 March 1999


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