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Issue 361 - May 2002

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Chairman's Column

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Peter Lewis

Our thoughts are with Peter Lewis, and his parents Sue and Eric, and fiancée Tracey, at this time. During Peter's Easter break from his final year at Bristol University he felt unwell which lead to a visit to his doctor and then immediate referral to hospital where it was discovered, subsequently, that he has a tumour in the lung area. This is obviously going to require a range of treatments over time. There is not a great deal that one can say at such a time other than I know the thoughts and best wishes of all Canal Society members will be with Peter, Sue and Eric and Tracey.

I am pleased to say that Peter is being pretty stoical about it all. He has a very strong Christian faith and I know that this will be a great help during his difficult times ahead.

2002 Annual General Meeting

In the April Newsletter advance warning was given of a likely date change for this year's Annual General Meeting. The Vice Chairman/Treasurer and the Secretary will be away on 6 June and my own situation is currently uncertain. The Constitution requires that the AGM is held before the end of August and, therefore, at its April meeting the Committee decided to change the date of the AGM to 1 August. It is anticipated, at this time, that all the Society's Officers will be able to attend that meeting.

Refreshments Rota

We are anxious to receive further names of volunteers to assist with the Refreshments Rota. We still have no names on the rota for June and July so, unless somebody comes forward, I very much regret that refreshments will not be available at those meetings.

Salisbury Group Boat Trip

Just a reminder about the boat trip around Christchurch Harbour on Saturday 18 May, organised by the Salisbury Group. Details were included in the April Newsletter and elsewhere in this issue.

For bookings - please contact Jon Van de Geer on 01722 412841.

Trip to the Anderton Boat Lift

The Guildford & Reading Branch of the IWA has organised a day trip to the newly restored Anderton Boat Lift, which is also on Saturday 18 May. The cost is £24 a head, which includes a boat trip on the lift. I do not know whether there are any seats left but if you are interested it is worth giving Andy Simmonds a ring on 01483 576176.

Proposed Crofton Trip

Further to the brief item in the April Newsletter, this proposed trip was discussed at the last Committee meeting. It is obvious that the main attraction of such a visit to Crofton would be to see the Beam Engines in steam. There are a limited number of steaming weekends and many of these fall within the main cruising season when some of the Society members who have indicated their wish to go on this trip would normally be on holiday.

The Committee has therefore agreed that Sunday 29 September might be the most suitable date and a provisional booking has been made which will include a guided tour.

Members' Boat Register

Just when I think that we have traced all boat owning members of the Society we discover another. So, to update the item in the last Newsletter, we now have seventeen boats that will be included in the register, the most recent addition being Anne Coleman's.

National Association of Boat Owners

I wish to advise members that I have recently been appointed to the position of Southern Regional Secretary with NABO (National Association of Boat Owners). Whilst I am not yet sure of the exact boundaries of my region, it appears that I will be covering a very large area which includes the Grand Union Canal from near London to Warwick, including the Leicester Line to Foxton; the Oxford Canal from Rugby to Oxford; the Thames from Reading to the Head of Navigation; the Kennet & Avon Canal; plus probably other areas that I have yet to discover.

I do not envisage this new area of work having any impact on my work for the Canal Society.

Paul Herbert


April Meeting

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John Silman, the speaker at our April meeting, is not just a very long-standing member of the Society but he attended its very first meeting back in 1967! His illustrated talk was on 'The History of the Postcard, which had originally been programmed for July 2001 but had had to be postponed.

John explained that the first postcards had been introduced in 1870, at ½d each, and were only available from the Post Office. The first card in his collection dates from 1878.

People then began to make their own cards, a typical design being a silhouette on plain white card. Then came postcards that told a story, particularly disasters, such as a crashed tramcar in Bournemouth which resulted in a number of deaths. Postcards of shipwrecks were also popular, and we were shown a card of HMS 'Gladiator' laying on her side in the Solent after a collision with a merchant ship.

Other categories that started to appear were commemorative and 'In Memoriam' cards eg: a black edged card in memory of the Captain and passengers lost on the 'Titanic'. One card of particular interest was "In remembrance of The Birmingham & District Old Steam Trams - 1/1/1907 - Passing away owing to Electric Shock". In 1904 a card was produced concerning the outrage at the sinking of a number of Hull trawlers, and the loss of their crews, as a result of Russian action (this occurred during the Russian/Japanese War).

It wasn't long before advertising cards for individual businesses were produced. Subsequently commercial advertising cards became common.

Then, of course, came the first of the millions of saucy postcards, sold at the popular holiday results. Tourism (not a term used in those days) jumped on the band wagon with the production of 'common' cards, which were produced in millions, with various locations subsequently overprinted. Later, most seaside resorts and other holiday destinations were featured on cards.

Cards featuring famous people were produced as were occupations, and we saw a card featuring an Old Post Office on Salisbury Plain showing all the staff standing outside.

John then turned our attention to old cards featuring the local area. These included the New Forest Snake Catcher (Brusher); J.Dixey, the Bishopstoke and Eastleigh Milkman; St.Cross Brethren in Winchester; House Boats and the old wooden Toll Bridge in Bursledon; 'The Cowherds' on Southampton Common; the Royal South Hants Hospital; Above and Below Bar, Southampton; the old Floating Bridge and Southampton Docks; and the Royal Victoria Military Hospital in Netley - in all its splendour. There were also poignant views of Southampton buildings that no longer exist.

There was also a card for the Grand Theatre in Southampton which featured a nude. There followed a very interesting dialogue between John and our President, Brian Evans, about the shows featuring nudes that they were 'aware of' - or do I do them an injustice???

There were so many other postcode themes that John showed us but, unfortunately, space doesn't allow them to all be mentioned here.

After the interval members had the opportunity to show their own postcards or other similar material, using the Society's episcope. These ranged from cards showing many local scenes to others portraying the waterways. Of particular interest was a range of beautiful prints from a Cunard Line souvenir brochure for the liner 'Berengaria'. These were both internal and external shots showing just how grand these old liners were. Thanks to those members who brought material along for our enjoyment.

Many thanks John for your most interesting and enjoyable talk. I am sure that the majority of those present hadn't previously realised just how diverse the range of subjects covered by postcards had been, particularly during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Paul Herbert


BASINGSTOKE CANAL CRUISES 2002

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The following information is an update to the listing given in the March Newsletter for the 'John Pinkerton':

EVERY 1st and 3rd SUNDAY AFTERNOON

From Sunday 19th May until Sunday 6th October except Bank Holiday weekends (see below)

2½-hour round trip leaving at 2.30pm from Odiham

ADDITIONAL PUBLIC TRIPS

From Wednesday 31st July until Friday 30th August additional public trips will run on WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY afternoons at 2.30pm from Odiham

BANK HOLIDAY TRIPS

Spring - (Sat 1st June, Sun 2nd June and Mon 3rd June) - Odiham 2-hour return trip starting at 11am, 1.15pm and 3.30pm. Adults £5.00. Children (under 16) £2.00.

August - (Sun 25th Aug and Mon 26th Aug) - Fleet 1¼-hour return trip starting at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. Adults £3.50. Children (under 16) £2.00.

DEPARTURE POINTS:

Fleet - from the Fox and Hounds pub on Crookham Road. ½ mile westward from Fleet town centre.

Odiham - The canal at Colt Hill is signposted down the London Road at the eastern end of the High Street. Cross Colt Hill Bridge and turn right into the car park at the end of the road.


REMUS THE NARROWBOAT AND HIS FIRST ADVENTURE - REVIEW

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Many of us have been waiting in anticipation for the publication of Sue Lewis's first book about the adventures of 'Remus'. As Sue will be the first to admit, writing the book was the easy part. Then came all the issues of trying to find a publisher, illustrator, printer and establishing sales outlets.

This first adventure is a charming book describing 'Remus' arriving at the canalside for the very first time, on a flat bed lorry, then making his way to his moorings on the old Engine Arm at Holt Farm at Napton-on-the-Hill. The tale continues with him being fitted out and painted before making his first ever cruise, down the South Oxford Canal to Claydon.

The book is superbly illustrated by Brian Evans, and his line drawings bring the printed words to life.

A very enjoyable read which I am sure will bring pleasure and delight to many children (and not a few adults). Well done Sue!

'Remus the Narrowboat and his First Adventure' is now on sale at various locations around the canal system and also on the Society's Sales Stand.

Paul Herbert

Remus the Narrowboat

Remus the Narrowboat
and his
First Adventure

Written by Sue Lewis
Illustrated by Brian Evans

Written for children between 3 and 7 years of age.
Remus the Narrowboat is the story of the transformation of an empty hull into a fully fitted, brightly painted boat.
Remus's First Adventure tells of the boat's maiden trip, when he is feeling rather nervous of going through the locks on his own but finding it easier than expected. Exhausted he enjoys a good night's sleep in the company of Mr Owl, before returning to his familiar moorings.

Publication: March 2002
ISBN: 0-9542403-0-8, 160mm x 230mm paperback, UK Price £4.99
8 pages of text, 8 black and white illustrations and colour front cover

Enquiries concerning this publication should be made to:
Remus Publishing
'Silver Link' 51 Friars Croft, Calmore, Southampton. SO40 2SS.
Tele: 023 8086 0384


FIRST CANAL SOCIETY BOATERS GATHERING

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Over the recent Bank Holiday weekend, six boats belonging to members of the Canal Society took part in our very first Boaters Gathering. At Saturday lunchtime five Society members' boats could be found moored at Flecknoe on the five mile pound between Napton Junction and Braunston on the Grand Union/Oxford Canals. (It had originally been planned to hold the event at Stockton but this was subsequently changed to Flecknoe which offered better moorings and views).

Originally seven boats from the Napton area had booked in for this event but Eric and Sue Lewis had to withdraw because of Peter's situation and, subsequently, David and Maureen Butcher were unable to bring their new boat to Flecknoe because of work being carried out on it. However, that didn't stop David and Maureen attending the Saturday night barbecue by car.

The boats attending this first part of the gathering were:

'The Evelyn Broadbent' Paul & Gill Herbert accompanied by Ray Brooks
'Laura' Michael & Angela Faull
'Swallowdale' Peter Oates & Laura Sturrock
'Marianne' Malcolm & Barbara Hartas
'Duorf II' Ken & Margaret Froud

The barbecue was very successful but the evening turned very cool after a sunny day. Once the debris was cleared away the boat crews retired to 'Swallowdale' to continue the festivities and draw the raffle.

On Sunday morning four of the boats cast off heading, in convoy, for Braunston. Ken and Margaret on 'Duorf II' also headed in the Braunston direction but only in order to wind and head back for Napton Junction for the start of their extended cruise via Stratford and beyond.

We were lucky to be able to moor all four boats together at Braunston, and it was then time for lunchtime drinks on board 'Laura'. In due course we were joined by David and Maureen on 'Wychwood No.2' which they were in the process of moving to its new mooring at Napton Marina. Later we had pre-dinner drinks on board 'The Evelyn Broadbent' (Gill and I didn't realise until then that we could accommodate eleven people in our saloon - not bad on a 50' boat!!!). It was then time for all of us to walk up to 'The Plough' in the village for our pre-booked evening meal and, you've guessed it, some more drinks. We had a good meal with excellent service though I have to admit that some of the conversations around the table seemed a bit strange - there was a lengthy discussion taking place regarding the merits of different methods of welding; at the same time there was a conversation about hot flushes (my lips will remain sealed who that was about); and then some interesting comments concerning some strange bright orange inflatable item - I think it was a bed (???) Anyway - it was a very enjoyable evening which really put the seal of approval on the whole weekend.

We all did our own thing on Monday morning before joining together for one last time on board 'Swallowdale' to hold another raffle and for a quick resume about the weekend. It was then time for us all to wind the boats and head back to Napton and, eventually, home.

The view of the whole group was that it had been a fantastic three days and that we should repeat it next year, over the same bank holiday weekend. So, for those Society members with boats moored in the Napton/Braunston area, can you please put the following dates in your diary for the Society's second gathering - May 3rd to 5th. Who knows - there might even be a plaque for those attending next year.

Oh, by the way, the raffles made a total of £22 which will be added to the proceeds of our 9th May Auction and donated to the agreed charities.

Paul Herbert

Postscript: I had written to British Waterways at Braunston advising them of our gathering just in case any maintenance works were taking place at Flecknoe or an angling match was to be held. The response was both helpful and friendly, wishing us a successful weekend with good fun and fine weather. Full marks to BW for their excellent customer care.


SALISBURY GROUP BOAT TRIP

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The IWA Avon and Wilts Branch's Salisbury Group's next 'meeting' will be a boat trip around Christchurch Harbour on Saturday 18 May. The vessel will hold up to 70 people so the Salisbury Group has invited Southampton Canal Society members to join them on this cruise, if anyone would like to join them.

Details are as follows: Meet at 10.30am at Mudeford Quay. The duration of the trip is 1½ hours around Christchurch Harbour and out towards Boscombe Pier. The cost of the boat trip is £5. After the excursion people may wish to partake in a Pub lunch and possibly visit a nearby Nature Reserve in the afternoon.

For details/bookings - please see Jon Van de Geer at our Society's May meeting or 'phone Jon on 01722 412841.


ADVERT

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In response to last month's invitation for free adverts, the following has been submitted by the Editor of Cargoes, the local IWA magazine, and a friend of our Society:

FOR SALE 18ft Coleman open canoe. Robust construction, takes four plus picnic, £150 or EXCHANGE for smaller open canoe approx 14ft.

FOR SALE Trolley, adaptable to dinghy or canoe launching, £5. Colin Ward 01252 875088 (NE Hants).


CONTACTING THE EDITOR

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The editor has recently changed his Internet Service Provider (ISP) and as a result has changed his email address to peter.oates@btopenworld.com Whilst his older email address will still be available for a bit longer, would all members please try to use the newer one. For the time being, the Society's website will remain on the old address but, time allowing, it is hoped to move it within the next couple of months.

Peter Oates


VISIT TO ROYAL GUNPOWDER MILLS

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A group of Society members joined in the Hampshire Industrial Archaeology Society's visit to the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey on Saturday, 13 April. It was good to see that this visit to such an important part of Britain's heritage attracted a full coach load.

This was a fascinating visit to a site where gunpowder and other explosives had been manufactured since the mid 17th century, though none of those earliest buildings have survived. The site closed down in 1991 after 204 years of government ownership and re-opened to the public in 2001 as a major interpretative centre and visitor attraction. A large part of the site has been declared a Scheduled Ancient Monument and within the site boundary there are 21 buildings listed by English Heritage as of historical importance.

Our visit to the site started at the Visitor Centre where we were welcomed and then taken to the theatre where we experienced an exciting (and noisy) audio visual presentation which described the work undertaken at the Mills over the centuries and its importance to the various military campaigns fought by the British over the years. We were then able to walk around the site, seeing the many remaining buildings and structures (many hidden in the surrounding woodland) together with the waterways which, in the very early days, provided the power to run the various machinery, presses etc. Many of us then went on a very interesting land-train journey around the site including through the Nature Reserve, where we were lucky enough to see a deer.

Of particular interest were the remains of the internal canal network, some of which is still in water, which used to provide the main safe means of moving explosives and their base ingredients around the site. These canals, which were once connected to the River Lee, were originally on three different and unconnected levels - high, medium and low. However, in 1878 a lock was constructed at the junction of the upper and middle canal systems. We were able to visit that lock and also the remaining aqueduct, and the site of another.

I am sure that all those who were able to make the trip to the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey had a most enjoyable and informative day and I would certainly recommend a visit to this important heritage site.

If you are considering a visit, I have some information leaflets and other details which I would be pleased to lend to you.

Paul Herbert


Two Bird Stories

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The following were submitted by Margaret and David James. The authors also submitted several slides, one of which is reproduced below. Thanks, Margaret and David, for two charming little tales.

Bird Story 1

Two years ago we arrived at our boat, Calmore Chervil 2, in Calcutt Pond and when checking the coolant header tank in the wet locker found a nest with 3 eggs on top of the tank. Mum (or Dad?) Wagtail was perched on the boat on the other side of our pier and made occasional visits to the nest if he/she thought we weren't looking.

Under normal circumstances we'd have delayed our trip for a week or so - the joys of retirement! - but this time we had a couple of friends arriving from New Zealand especially for a week's N.B. initiation. So we carefully moved the nest to the front deck of the boat behind us, drove to Coventry to collect our friends and came back to start our trip. Boat, nest and wagtail were still all present.

On our return a week or so later all had disappeared and none, including the boat, has been seen since! We now have coloured dangly strips of plastic hanging at the entrance to the wet locker.

Bird Story 2

Last year we were again at "The Pond" when we saw 4 duck eggs in a coil of rope on the front end of the boat behind us (a different one). Mrs Duck eventually arrived and sat on the eggs. After a couple of hours she was still there, panting in the hot sunshine. We offered her a dish of water which she accepted after some initial hissing. Later she flew off with an egg in her beak - yes, we actually saw it! - and returned later, without the egg, to resume her vigil, occasionally flying off for a dip before returning.

Duck and Eggs

After a couple of days she seemed to have deserted the nest and it was then time for us to move off. There were naturally no signs of the eggs when we returned a few weeks later.


Annual General Meeting 2002

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In accordance with the Constitution, notice is hereby formally given of the Southampton Canal Society's Annual General Meeting on the 1st August 2002 at Chilworth Parish Hall, Chilworth Road, Chilworth, Southampton at 7.45pm.

Any member may request an item to be included on the agenda of the AGM by giving at least fourteen days written notice of the item and its nature to the Chairman.

To speed up proceedings on the night, copies of the Officers' Reports to the AGM will be included in the July issue of the Newsletter.


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Page created 12 May 2002. Updated 19 May 2003 - layout changes 13 December 2003.

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