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Issue 382 - May 2004

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Chairman's Column

 
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David James

Our very best wishes for a speedy recovery go to member, David James. David and Margaret were cruising the Cheshire waterways in their new narrow boat when David was suddenly taken ill and had to be admitted to a hospital in Crewe. Once we heard the news a 'Get Well' card was sent to David, on behalf of his Society colleagues. I am pleased to report that the latest news is that he is on the road to recovery and Margaret hopes they will be able to come home by the end of this week. Then they will have to arrange to get their boat back to its home moorings near Napton.

Apart from the obvious health concerns, David and Margaret are particularly disappointed that they will not now be able to attend the Society Boat Gathering this weekend.

'Thank You' Letters Received

Cancer Research UK logoCotswold Canals Trust logo

Two letters have been received by the Society thanking us for recent donations. The first from the Romsey and Wellow Group of Cancer Research UK, is in appreciation of the £50 donation made following the talk given to the Society by Eric and Sue Lewis in March. The second letter , from Jack Telling, Treasurer of the Cotswold Canals Trust, thanks the Society for its kind donation of £50 in respect of Andrew Stumpf's talk to the Society in February. The donation will be placed in the Trust's restoration fund.

Andrew Stumpf

And, speaking of Andrew Stumpf, he is featured, complete with a smiling picture, in a double-page spread in the Spring/Summer issue of British Waterways' magazine 'Waterfront' The article is a question and answer type feature all about restoration, and who better to talk about it than Andrew who is, of course, the Regeneration Manager responsible for restorations in the South of England.

John Ross

Residential Boat Owners Association logo

Members will recall the interesting and entertaining talk given to the Society in May last year by John Ross, Vice Chairman of the Residential Boat Owners Association. John and his wife live on board their converted cement barge, 'Jason' on the River Hamble. On Easter Monday John 'appeared' on the Nick Girdler programme on Radio Solent talking about the merits of living afloat and the various challenges that such boat owners have to overcome.

Society Clothing

I understand from Martin Cripps that the latest batch of Society branded sweat shirts and polo shirts, ordered by members, is now in stock. Can those who ordered items please collect them from Martin, at one of our monthly meetings, as soon as possible.

We have also taken the opportunity to order a limited supply of Society Burgees, and these are also available from Martin, at £8 each.

Proposed Society Outings

There has now been sufficient interest in the two proposed outings mentioned in previous Newsletters to take these proposals to the next stage. However, no one has volunteered to assist in organising these events. More work will be done to investigate costings and possible dates when time permits. More news in a future Newsletter.

Members in Print

During the last few months, three of our Society members have appeared, one way or another, in print. The February issue of Waterways World included a photograph and enquiry about Shelton Lock on the Derby Canal, from Laurie Pearce. In March a letter from Charles Stride under the heading of "In Defence of the Red Ensign" was published in Canal Boat and Inland Waterways. In April's Waterways World the Lewis family's narrow boat 'Remus' was pictured in Limehouse Basin in the late 1980s on the occasion of the opening of the new Thames lock.

Paul Herbert


April Meeting

John Finch, Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation

 
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Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation logo

Each month I usually write a fairly long synopsis about the previous month's speaker or event. I find it particularly difficult to do so this month because an article about John and the Ipswich Branch of the IWA, and a separate article 'A Potted History of the Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation – River Gipping', both written by our member Charles Stride, appeared in our March Newsletter, by way of introductions to John's forthcoming talk to us.

It doesn't leave me much to say (which I am sure is a great relief to many of our members!!!)

John entertained us with his in-depth knowledge of the navigation and its history, illustrating his talk with some evocative slides of the waterway long ago, together with shots of the same locations today.

He described the various efforts in progress to protect the line of navigation with the aim of eventually achieving full restoration. We wish all those involved every success.

For those members with Internet access, if you were not able to come along to the April meeting and wish to know more about the Ipswich & Stowmarket Navigation, look up the following:- www.purbrook.demon.co.uk/iwa/guidemain.htm or www.purbrook.demon.co.uk/gipping.htm

Paul Herbert


Close the Gap!

 
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Following on from Andrew Stumpf's recent talk to the Society, your editor has been asked to make members aware of a petition being organised by the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust:

Why a petition?

Because the decision to build the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway - to close the gap between the Grand Union canal at Milton Keynes and the east of England waterways which terminate at Bedford - rests on a knife edge.

Timing is crucial. The proposed route, and the accompanying opportunity to build the canal as economically as possible, could be lost within a few years, as new housing, the M1 and A421 road widening schemes and the Bedford western bypass, comes under construction. Houses and roads, once built, will not be demolished to build a canal as an afterthought.

B-MKWT logo

The waterway will bring economic, social and environmental benefits across the region, as well as cost savings because material extracted to form the canal can be used to build roads. Studies show that around 75% of the build cost could come from private sector developers involved in these projects. This year the initiative needs funding of just £300,000 to keep development on track by undertaking the next stage of studies to refine costs and benefits.

The waterway already has wide regional support and the support of the full range of local community organisations. The Trust is seeking national leadership from the Deputy Prime Minister because of his responsibilities for the regions, planning reform and the development of sustainable communities in growth areas such as Milton Keynes and Bedford. All four local councils have already written to the Deputy Prime Minister asking him to act in support of the Waterway, as has the Chairman of British Waterways, and English Partnerships. Other relevant Government Departments (Defra), Offices and Agencies (East of England Development Agency, South East England Development Agency, Environment Agency, Highways Agency, GOEast, GOSE) are also being asked to support the Waterway initiative and work with developers and local councils to agree a strategy to co-ordinate plans for economic regeneration, improved transport and increased housing with improvement of the environment.

We are asking all members and supporters of the Trust to bring pressure to bear, in what ever way they can over the next year, on also those who can make this initiative happen. So ... getting as many petition signatures as you can, and sending them in soon, is vital! The back of the petition sheet includes all the information you need to ask people to sign.


B-MKWT logo

We, the undersigned, support the Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway as a key element in the economic, environmental and leisure sustainable regeneration of the MK to Bedford corridor.

We urge Government and associated funding agencies; local authorities and associated developers to do everything they can to ensure its early construction in collaboration with the proposed new M1 and A421 widening, East-West rail link and major new housing developments.

Signature Name Post Code Address
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Please return this as soon as possible to: The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust, PO Box 3611, Newport Pagnell, MK16 0XN; www.B-MKWaterway.org.uk

Copies of this form may be downloaded from www.b-mkwaterway.org.uk/

CLOSE THE GAP!!! BUILD THE BEDFORD TO MILTON KEYNES WATERWAY!

Map of gap to be closed

BACKGROUND

The Trust championed the building of this waterway in the mid-1990s to provide a broad canal link between theGrand Union Canal at Milton Keynes and the River Great Ouse at Bedford to open up the Eastern waterways to boats in each direction and provide an environment enhancing feature that would stimulate sustainable economicregeneration of the corridor between the two ends. This campaign attracted strong support from British Waterways and across the region leading to the formation of a 22 member Project Partnership of national government agencies, local government and other agencies and voluntary bodies pledged to carry the concept into reality. A major preliminary survey has demonstrated the feasibility of the waterway and led to adoption of a route. The critical path now lies through securing financial commitment of all the interested parties.

ACTION ON THE FORM(S)

Please note before obtaining any signatures:-

1. Each person must sign the petition individually - "Mr and Mrs" does not count.

2. The address information is necessary and must be written-in by the signatory.

3. If an individual signs the petition on behalf of a company, then that signature should also be accompanied by the company's stamp if it has one.

4. Signatures should follow one another, ie no blank lines, and there should be no erasures or deletions.

5 Signatures are valid only if collected on the Petition Form or a photocopy of it.

Further copies of the form may be obtained by photocopying it before completion, or downloading it from the Trust website (www.B-MKWaterway.org.uk).

Please return the completed forms to

The Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust,
PO Box 3611,
Newport Pagnell,
MK 16 0XN.

Please keep the completed forms coming !

Close the Gap!!!


Manchester Ship Canal Cruises

 
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Thanks to our President Brian Evans who spotted this in The Independent of 20 March 2004:

Mersey Ferries has just released its schedule of sailings along the Ship Canal between Liverpool Pool Head and Salford Quays. Between 24 April and 3 October, the vessels that normally cross the Mersey will be making 16 round trips on the 35-mile run, each taking around six hours. The standard pattern is eastbound on a Saturday (Liverpool - Manchester) and back the day after. The standard fare of £29 includes bus travel back to the port where you boarded. Book ahead on 0151 330 1444.

Mersey ferry

Paddington Bridges

 
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Roll-up bridge

Following on from last month's piece about Brunel's bridge at Paddington, Brian Evans noticed in The Independent of 3rd March an article about designer, sculptor and architect, Thomas Heatherwick which mentioned his roll-up footbridge designed for the Paddington Basin Redevelopment (pictured right).

The article did not mention that Thomas Heatherwick has also won an award for another, unique bridge. This is seven metre bridge was commissioned by the developers Chelsfield for Paddington Basin in London . The Thomas Heatherwick Studio had worked along-side engineer Anthony Hunt since 1995 researching into the feasibility of building a bridge made only in glass, using advanced adhesives but no other supporting material, fixings or cables.

The deck of the bridge contains pieces of water-cut glass, set on edge and laminated together to form the arch of the bridge. Handrails are made of sheets of annealed glass. The bridge is lit from within by lights set inside each end of the span transmitting light along the length of the bridge.



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