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Issue 450 - July 2010

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Chairman's Column

 
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Andy Berncastle

Andy BerncastleWhen Gill and I returned from our early summer cruise we learned, with great sadness, of the passing of Andy Berncastle on 12 June.

Andy was a great supporter of both Southampton Canal Society and the IWA Solent & Arun Branch, and of the waterways movement in general. Andy had been suffering from cancer for some time. Our thoughts go out to Hilary. A Service of Thanksgiving for his Life was held at St Mark's Church, Ampfield on Friday 25 June, which was attended by our President, Brian Evans and Gill (I was unable to attend as I was away from the area). If any member would like to make a donation in memory of Andy, it should be made to Cancer Research UK. I can forward it to the appropriate person.

July Meeting

Welcome to Ali Morse of The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust who will be giving us an update on 'The Itchen Navigation Project'.

Society Horse-Drawn Boat Trip

Following on from the information published in the last Newsletter, Maureen has organised a horse-drawn boat trip from Kintbury on the Kennet & Avon Canal on Saturday 2 October. As usual, confirmation of that trip will be dependent upon sufficient interest from our members. At present interest has been slow, so please sign up now! Full information on this cruise is included below.

Day-Star Theatre

Don't forget, tickets for Day-Star Theatre's production of "The Worst Summer Ever" on Friday 8 October are now on sale. Have you got yours yet?

Society Visit to Bursledon Brickworks

Details of the Society's visit to Bursledon Brickworks on 10 June are included in this Newsletter.

Chairman's Cruise

As I write this Gill and I have recently returned from our six week early summer cruise to Llangollen. We experienced virtually all types of weather, and temperatures, excluding snow! Our cruise started off from the Society's Boat Gathering at Braunston where, in addition to meeting up with all those Society members who participated in that weekend, we also saw Ken and Margaret Froud who came over to Braunston, by car, from their residential boat at Napton. When we reached Hopwas on the Coventry Canal we stopped over with Sonja Moorse and her son Mike and daughter-in-law Jennie. Much later in the cruise we met up with Pete and Jane Marshall of Day-Star Theatre. So, much to remind us of the Canal Society on route.

2010 Annual General Meeting

A reminder that our 2010 AGM will be held on Thursday 22 July and all documentation will be published in the next Newsletter. The formal part of the meeting will be followed by a Cheese & Wine Evening.

Paul Herbert


Society Horse-Drawn Boat Trip

 
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The horse-drawn Kennet Valley

Trip on the Kennet Valley

From Kintbury on the Kennet & Avon Canal

Saturday 2 October 2010

2.00pm to 5.00pm

Cost: £14 for seniors and children; £15 for adults

To include cake, scone with cream and jam, tea/coffee on board

Bookings: Maureen Greenham tel 02380 406951 or email maureen.greenham@talktalk.net


Day-Star Theatre

 
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The Worst Summer Ever

Day-Star Theatre

will be visiting the

Southampton Canal Society

on

Friday 8 October at 7.45pm

Tickets £8: available from Angela Rose and Anne Coleman

An American Supper will follow the show.


June Meeting

 
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John Silman - Industrial Properties, the Wey & Arun and "Saucy Postcards"

Tony Yoward was scheduled to join John Silman for the evening but unfortunately was unable to make it. However, John brought us all in to participate in the slides hence the "banter" of the evening was good. John showed us many slides - too many to detail individually but some of the highlights were as follows:

We started off with a selection of old slides of the Wey & Arun Canal and the surrounding area (some of the slides were on loan from Tony Yoward). We travelled from the Mediaeval Bridge at Stopham on the River Arun. A wooden ferry, at a fast flowing part of the river, for "carts & animals" looked interesting! We also saw the now closed Hardham Tunnel on the Arun Navigation.

Then as part of a tour of the country, we had a look at "Grimes Graves" Norfolk, the Stone Age Flint Workings. Then we made a stop at 1804 "Moira" Iron Blast Furnace on the Ashby Canal.

Of course, we studied one of I K Brunel's masterpiece's the 1859 Tamar Bridge and the Clifton Suspension Bridge completed after his death. Then moved into Somerset to see the Peat cutting. Further south a view of the "Merchants Railway" a Tramway on Portland, used to load Portland stone onto boats, etc.

We now know the Beaulieu Estate has a Tithe Barn! John was brought up on a farm estate in North Hampshire, hence his interest in Industrial History. We looked at farm machinery and stationary engines. He recommended visiting the Electric Museum at Christchurch.

Some of us remember "Prefabs." Next a superb slide of Salisbury Cathedral looking right up inside the spire. Finally, after a very interesting evening, a few old "Saucy Postcards" which caused a few giggles. Thank you, John.

Angela Rose


Society Visit to Bursledon Brickworks

 
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On Thurs 10th June around 20 Members paid a visit to the Bursledon Brickworks on what started out as warm, damp afternoon which fast became a monsoon! Ideal for canal people. This restricted the outside tour, however this was more than made up for with what went on inside.

The clay preparation and brick extrusion areaWe split into two groups, our group Guide being ably assisted by Brian Greenham. We started with some museum & brickworks history, moving onto the area where the brick moulds are displayed. Here we were shown how the moulds are used or as demonstrated "thrown" this involves throwing the clay by hand into the mould, not as easy as it looks.

Then we moved onto the clay preparation and brick extrusion (sounds painful) area. Here we saw some heavy machinery, large clay rollers and extruders driven by lay shafts from the Engine House next door, and various brick pressing & related machines.

Left: The clay preparation and brick extrusion area.
Below: The large single cylinder steam driven engine.
Pictures copyright © David Townley-Jones

Our guide explained how the clay is processed and the methods used by a skilled operator who wire cut the extruded bricks into small batches.

The large single cylinder steam driven engineNow into the Engine Room housing the large single cylinder steam driven engine, which still operates and is demonstrated on special steam open days. The original Lancashire boilers are still in place, decommissioned and retained as a static display, steam being generated now by modern plant.

We then entered the brick drying rooms located on two floors where spent steam from the engine plant is used to dry the bricks through heating coils & slated timber floors. Previously bricks were dried outside, this process was seasonal & weather dependant.

Bursledon Brickworks was the first works to come up with the idea to use spent engine steam to dry bricks inside, this we were told increased brick production from 80,000 to 20 Million bricks a year thus transforming the whole industry of brick making.

By now the Bursledon Monsoon was at its peak so grateful cover was taken in the Kilns. There were 12 kilns originally; this is where the dried bricks were fired or "cooked".

After the bricks were fired and cooled slightly, they were loaded by hand into barrows & taken to the Wharf. For Society Members this was an interesting bonus. Although we never made it outside there is a lovely mural inside the museum of the wharf, showing the loading of the barge "Langstone" which shipped loads to Sussex & Surrey via the Portsmouth, Chichester and Wey & Arun canals. Sadly the barge was lost but there was an excellent model of it on display & other artefacts.

This was followed by a walk through the maintenance & training workshops, where conservation & other skills are taught.

Finally a rush to the tearoom, where Maureen provided an excellent (not for the faint hearted) cream tea.

Plus a peek for some of us at an amazing (4 Million) matchstick model of an oil-rig.

A great afternoon despite the rain & well worth another visit sometime to see what's on offer outside?

David Townley-Jones


Changes to boat licence fees 2010

 
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In November 2009 British Waterways published a short consultation paper on proposals for changes to boat licence fees for 2010. There were 57 responses to the invitation for feedback, including 14 from organisations representing boat licence holders. Based on this feedback, decisions have now been made on changes to boat licence fees and the payment process.

Sally Ash, BWs' head of boating, says: "These decisions have been made after careful consideration of consultation feedback from our boating customers and their representative organisations. We regret the need to apply a small general increase to licence fees, but are now confident that this is what the great majority of customers would prefer to the alternative contained within our original proposals.

"When the financial climate was more stable, BW was able to offer longer term certainty over the level of licence fees. It is our sincere hope that more secure funding for the waterways will emerge from the proposed move to the third sector, helping us in time to return to more predictable licence prices."

www.waterscape.com - 9 June 2010


Annual General Meeting 2010

 
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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 22nd July 2010 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, Paul Herbert (contact details here).


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