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Issue 321 - June 1998

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Day-Star banner

The Southampton Canal Society is very pleased to welcome the Day-Star Theatre company to perform for us as part of their 1998 Waterways Tour.

The Company

Duffy Marshall known on the cut by his real name Pete but professionally as Duffy. Trained as a drama teacher and as well as performing he writes all Day-Star music and scripts. His most recent television appearances have been in 'Watching', 'Coronation Street' and 'Brookside'.

Jane Marshall as well as performing with Day-Star from the beginning has appeared in the film 'Robin Hood', and in 'Brookside' and paints traditional canalware for canalside shops and gift shops throughout the country.

In 1977 Jane and Duffy Marshall moved on board an old wooden narrow boat called Day-Star. By 1982 they were touring with Day-Star Theatre and this year are on their seventeenth summer Waterways Tour. During that time they have developed a unique style of informal comedy theatre which is often performed in whatever available space there is in canalside pubs or at festivals. Their satirical plays are inspired by life on the waterways but reflect the lives of people everywhere using the highly individual background of the canals past and present. Involving many characters the plays are usually performed by just two actors, few props and a minimum of costume and they will take with them the audience, their imaginations, the pub and anything that just happens to be passing by on a very unusual theatrical journey.

When not touring the canals and rivers in their current narrow boat, the 'Angry Bull', Day-Star are based at Audlem in South Cheshire on the Shropshire Union Canal where they also run their school theatre tours throughout the rest of the year.


TREASURY SELL OFF PLAN SPELLS DISASTER FOR WATERWAYS

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The IWA has today [27 May] issued a strong warning to Government to reconsider plans to franchise for the management of canals currently run by BW, along similar lines to the controversial plans which have been earmarked for the London Underground. IWA understands that in a bid to further reduce the Government's responsibility towards the country's waterways, the Treasury has been promoting this option in opposition to other plans to revitalise BW. The Association is concerned that such a move would be extremely damaging for the national inland waterway network, with lesser used canals falling into disrepair and dereliction through a lack of funds for maintenance.

IWA Chairman, Mrs Audrey Smith, has written an urgent letter to Angela Eagle, the Waterways Minister, expressing the IWA's concern and outlining the probable repercussions of such a move. Mrs Smith has made it clear that the Association will strongly resist these proposals, which it regards as a serious threat to the future of the waterways.

Mrs Smith said today, "It appears that the Treasury wishes to unburden itself by selling off another national asset. Given the nature of the inland waterways of this country, we must question the Treasury's motives in considering this option. We do not believe for a second that the Treasury views this as a way of safeguarding the future of the waterways. Rather, we are concerned that it wishes the Government to wash its hands of any commitment to the inland waterways and to divert the funds elsewhere. It does not seem to care what the wider consequences of this will be."

Mrs Smith added, "The inland waterways of this country are an irreplaceable national asset. They are a rich, recreational, heritage and environmental resource which constitutes an important link to our past and which are valued by a large proportion of the population. The Government has previously emphasised the importance of preserving such features as a contribution to sustainable development. It appears that the Treasury fails to recognise this and their methods so far can only be described as back door, with no consultation being undertaken with user groups. Now that IWA is aware of these plans, we will oppose them in every way possible. We seek the widest support on this issue and urge everyone who cares about this country's waterways to support us in fighting for their preservation.

IWA Press Release 27 May 1998


May Meeting

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Richard Thomas' talk on Bow Back Rivers certainly contained many contrasting scenes in this relatively small area of East London, from waterways almost rural in nature to those poor channels used as refuse tips.

There was a great deal of interest packed into Richard's show, tidal locks that work in two directions, depending on water levels either side, many restored buildings with rustic beauty and historic pictures of bygone trading boats. Many industrial buildings are still in use for their original purpose, some converted to residential and others awaiting decisions.

Pictures taken from No 1, Canada Square (the tower block at Canary Wharf) gave the feeling of air photography and by looking out in all directions gave a comprehensive idea of the lie of the surrounding area.

This was an evening packed with information that was put across in an extremely clear and humorous manner.

It was Richard's third talk to the Southampton Canal Society and he promises that there are more to look forward to.


SOCIETY LIBRARY

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Still NO-ONE has volunteered to look after the books in the library. As pointed out in the last few issues, our librarian, Sue Lewis, will be unable to store the Library's books at home after the Society's AGM in July. Sue is prepared to either continue running the library, to assist the volunteer in any way or to step aside and let the member run the library on their own. Sue has successfully run the loan service for members for a number of years.

If no one is prepared to assist the Society with this by the July's AGM, the Committee will have to arrange for the disposal of all the books. Please consider again whether you could look after these books. If you feel that you can help in any way or can give any ideas, please have a word with either Sue Lewis or Brian Evans.

Does no-one care? From the deafening silence, it appears not.


ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

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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 2nd July 1998 at St John's Ambulance Hall, King's Park Road, 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.


The Newsletter

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Once again, I appeal to those reading this newsletter to send / give me information / articles / notes / letters about your waterway experiences /news/ thoughts / etc. At present, apart from members of the committee, there is only one member who sends in regular contributions. Sorry, Margaret, but space is a bit tight this month - I'll hold over the things you sent to next month in the hope there's space then.

But the rest of you, you must have some thoughts / ideas. Your last waterway holiday, for instance, could be of interest to others. Give it a go - its not that difficult or time consuming.


Events and Meetings in 1998

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The following is a list of waterway oriented events happening around our area. This list proves there is plenty of waterway interest within a moderate distance of Southampton. Something on this list must interest you! Phone numbers of contacts are given at the end of the list.

4th June (Thu) - Southampton CS meeting - Day-Star Theatre with their new show for 1998 (admission charge). Details / tickets from Eric Lewis.

7th June (Sun) - "The Poddle" is the Wey & Arun Canal Trust's sponsored walk. Mostly on the Surrey sections of the canal. Details from John Lisk.

7th June (Sun) - Chichester Canal Guided Walk and Cream Tea. Starts at 2.00pm at Salterns Locks, Birdham. Details from John Cooper.

13th - 14th June (Sat & Sun) - Beaulieu Classic Boat Festival at Buckler's Hard. Boats, trade show, rowing pageant. Organised by Classic Boat Magazine.

27th - 28th June (Sat & Sun) - Anglo-Welsh Waterways Weekend in Bristol Harbour. Open Sat 10.00am - 10.00pm, Sun noon - 6.00pm. Numerous land and water-based attractions. Admission free! Details from Richmond Event Management 0117 9276614.

2nd July (Thu) - Southampton CS AGM and Waterways Videos. Details from Eric Lewis.

5th July (Sun) - IWA Salisbury Branch are organising a boat trip on the Upper Thames starting at Lechlade. Details Tony Fry.

5th July (Sun) - Chichester Canal Guided Walk (as above).

8th July (Wed) - Illustrated talk on The Chichester Canal - Its History by Edward Hill at Chichester District Council Offices at 8pm. Details from John Cooper.

11th July (Sat) - Chichester Basin Barrel Races organised by the Chichester Canal Society. Teams of paddlers in spectacular racing. Details from John Cooper.

18th July (Sat) - Mikron Theatre at Chichester. Performances start at 8.00pm. Details from John Cooper.

18th - 19th July (Sat & Sun) - "Optimist" sailing for youngsters at Chichester Canal Basin. Opportunity to try sailing. Details from John Cooper.

25th - 26th July (Sat & Sun) - Littlehampton Regatta. Many attractions (including IWA Branch stand and cruise). Organised by Littlehampton Harbour Board - contact Paul Naish on 01903 721215 (office hours).

26th July (Sun) - There will be a return cruise from Littlehampton to Arundel in support of plans to create public moorings at Arundel for visiting boaters. Details from Alan White.

25th - 26th July (Sat & Sun) - The Newbury Branch of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust are organising the Newbury Waterways Weekend. This includes a Canal Fair from 10.00am to 5.00pm on the Sunday which will include craft and canalware stalls, waterway and local society stands, boat trips and various other entertainments. Details from Eddie Middleditch 01635 42041.

6th August (Thu) - Southampton CS Members' Slides. Details from Eric Lewis.

9th August (Sun) - Chichester Canal Guided Walk (as above).

23rd August (Sun) - Chichester Canal Water Fair and Steam Boat Rally. NB Please note change of date from that announced last month. Many attractions on and off the water. Parade for all types of boat; chance to cruise the canal in your own boat. Hire a skiff or ride the trip boat. Chichester Canal Basin 12.00 to 5.00. Contact John Cooper (or Alan White if you would like to help run the IWA S&A Branch stand).

28th - 31st August (Bank Holiday) - International Festival of the Sea at Portsmouth Dockyard. Find the IWA S&A Branch stall among 400 other stands and a thousand other boats. Ticket hotline and information on 0870 909 1998. If you would like to help on the IWA stand contact Alan White.

29th - 31st August (Bank Holiday) - National Waterways Festival, Salford on the Manchester Ship Canal. Details from IWA Head Office 0171 586 2556 (office hours).

3rd September (Thu) - Southampton CS meeting - An Evening with our Chairman (Brian Evans - assuming he still is!). Details Eric Lewis.

12th - 13th September (Sat & Sun) - Godalming Working Boat Rally. Details Mike Adams 01483 773512.

17th September (Thu) - Canalside Camera by Jon Sims. Salisbury Rugby Club, Castle Road, Salisbury at 7.30pm. Details from Tony Fry.

20th September (Sun) - Beaulieu River Small Boat Cruise. This will be upstream to the top of the navigation from Bucklers Hard. A launching fee of £6.00 is payable but the river is extremely attractive. A gentle cruise and picnic followed by a cream tea in the village. Details from Peter Boyce.

1st October (Thu) - Southampton CS meeting - Black Country Waterways with Ron Cousens. Details from Eric Lewis.

5th November (Thu) - Southampton CS meeting - A Small Boat on Local Waterways by Peter Glover. Details from Eric Lewis.

19th November (Thu) - Canalware Painting by Bocraft. Salisbury Rugby Club, Castle Road, Salisbury at 7.30pm. Details from Tony Fry.

28th November - 24th December - Father Christmas Trips daily on the Chichester Canal. Details from John Cooper.

4th December (Thu) - Southampton CS meeting - Annual Inter-Society Quiz and American Supper. Details Eric Lewis.

First Wednesday in most months - IWA Dorchester Group meets. Information Graham Pugh 01305 262305.

Throughout the year - Wey & Arun Canal Trust run cruises on n/b Zachariah Keppel on the restored canal. Information from John Lisk.

Throughout the year - Chichester Canal Society run cruises on n/b Egremont on the canal from Chichester. Information from John Cooper.

Telephone numbers of contacts are:

Peter Boyce (IWA Solent & Arun Branch) 01705 269642
John Cooper (Chichester Canal Society) 01243 671051
Tony Davis (IWA Guildford & Reading Branch) 01932 844261
Arthur Dungate (Surrey & Hampshire CS) 0181 737 4896
Tony Fry (IWA Salisbury Group) 01722 710192
Eric Lewis (Southampton Canal Society) 01703 860384
John Lisk (Wey & Arun Canal Trust) 01493 752403
Alan White (IWA Solent & Arun Branch) 01243 573765


Lichfield & Hatherton Canals

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As mentioned in these pages before, I hope that you all have written to John Prescott MP about the Birmingham Northern Relief Road (BNRR). The extract below is from the letter in reply that I received:

Although the Inspector's recommendations were not accepted by the Secretary of State, the decisions do, nevertheless, require the concession company, Midland Expressway Ltd (MEL), to include in the BNRR scheme, at their expense, foundations for an aqueduct to carry the Lichfield canal over the new road and, if the Trust considers it necessary, a pipe for an interim water supply. MEL are also required to work with the Trust to facilitate the full canal restoration works waiving any consequential loss of toll revenue that may result from these works in the future. By waiving any loss of toll revenue, MEL will be making a significant concession for the benefit of the Trust.

The Minister for Roads, Baroness Hayman, had a constructive meeting in early February with representatives of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust and the IWA, together with Michael Fabricant MP and Dr Tony Wright MP. The Minister made it clear that the statutory decisions that had been taken could not be changed. Accepting that situation, it was important to maintain a dialogue to see what could be achieved within the framework which had been set.

The Minister undertook to impress upon MEL the importance which the Government places on fulfilment of the obligations in respect of canal restoration placed upon the company by the decision. This she did at a meeting with MEL at the end of February when she also handed over to the Chairman a copy of a letter sent to her by the Vice-Chairman of the Trust detailing specific points the Trust wished to make. MEL undertook to discuss these issues with the Trust.


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