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Issue 300 - July 1996

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300 NOT OUT - A LONG INNINGS

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The Southampton Canal Society Newsletter has now been published on a fairly regular basis for nearly 29 years. Eric Lewis has a comprehensive collection of old SCS newsletters and I have been looking at these recently. Part of my interest was trying to find out who has been editor before me. Somewhat surprisingly(?), some editors seem to have tried to hide their light under a bushel by not announcing who they were.

The first issue is dated November 1967 and appeared as a single, stencilled foolscap sheet folded in half to give four pages. The editor seems to have been Mr Robert E Rice and Mrs Bessie Allcock did the printing (but their credits for these tasks appear only in the second issue). The newsletter gives details of the Society's second work party on 12th November at Sulhamstead Lock on the K&A, and has a report of the Society's 4 hour boat trip at Newbury aboard John Gould's Motorboat Kelston in September.

The first year saw seven issues and ever since there have been between ten and twelve issues a year. In July 1972 it was reported that the Committee had purchased a secondhand duplicator which had been reconditioned by Roneo with a 1 year guarantee for £22.50.

The 45th issue in October 1972 was the first issue not in the folded foolscap format and was the first to comprise two sheets of paper. This also appears to be the issue when Misses Daphne and Diana Lusby became editors. The next two years saw a variety of different size issues, both in the number of pages (usually 4 or 6) and paper sizes. March 1973 was the largest ever issue (number 50) with four pages of news plus a ten page article by Peter Wheble about a holiday on his new boat.

New Year 1975 was the beginning of a two year stint by Margaret and David Kesslar-Lyne to be followed in turn by Pauline Hockley at the beginning of 1977 with issue 96. This and the following 20 issues saw the introduction of pictures drawn by Pauline's husband, Charlie. This was no mean feat when you consider that he had to draw straight onto the typing stencils with a needle-like implement. I can tell you that I would not be editor of this newsletter if I still had to do it that way!

Sadly, Pauline had to give up being editor through ill-health and her obituary appeared the following May. For a number of issues, there seems to have been no regular editor - a few seem to have my hallmark as I think I recognise an old typewriter of mine.

I have just discovered that there were two issue number 127 in both October and November 1979. Maybe I'm too late in celebrating this 300th issue!! At the 1980 AGM, the Chairman thanked Jan Durrant and Annegret Evans for typing the newsletter and someone called Peter Oates for doing the duplicating. It seems that Brian Evans became editor and Annegret the regular typist for the next few years. In August 1983, the family were involved in a car accident and an anonymous typist took over for a few months.

During 1985 there were a number of appeals for help with the newsletter, but I have been unable to find any mention of who was producing the newsletter until June 1990 when Tony Coles is thanked for composing and typing the Society's publication, but I suspect that Brian Evans was editor for much of the 1980's. Every so often there were appeals for items for the newsletter, but if your only contact with the Society was the newsletter you wouldn't have known who was editing them. During the 10 years up to 1993, only three or four issues had more than 2 pages.

Tony Coles retired from the editorship at the 1995 AGM and I have taken on the mantle for the last year. I hope I can continue to inform the membership as well as past editors (whoever they were). Oh yes, my name and address can be found elsewhere in the newsletter.


CANAL POEM

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Annegret Evans recently attended a meeting 'Poetry for Pleasure'. She thought the following verse might be of interest to members:

Southampton's wise sons found their river so large,
Though t'would carry a ship, t'would not carry a barge;
So they wisely determined to cut by its side
A stinking canal, where small vessels might glide:
Like a man, who, contriving a hole in his wall,
To admit his two cats, - the one large, t'other small, -
When his great hole was cut for the first to go through,
Would a little one have for the little one too.

Henry Pye (1745 - 1813; Poet Laureate from 1790), an epigram on the Southampton & Salisbury Canal.


Chairman's AGM Report

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The Chairman reported an interesting year of meetings with a continued high standard of speakers on varied waterways subjects.

Attendances seemed to have been a little higher. One disappointment was Members' Evening in August with a low turnout and few slides.

Meetings had been lively. Not just the formal part but the evening generally, with chat, the raffle, sales stand and library table all contributing to a pleasant evening out.

The December meeting stood out when Quizmaster Peter Oates had run a lively meeting in which our own team had competed with Solent & Arun Branch IWA, Salisbury Branch IWA and Chichester Canal Society. Solent & Arun won and all present enjoyed the wonderful buffet.

Whenever we had visitors they were impressed: we have no canal but we have numbers and enthusiasm.

He reported that the Society was well thought of and taken very seriously. It had received a number of publications and draft plans. Members were encouraged to read these.

IWA Golden Jubilee Year had seen a big increase in interest and activity in our area. Our own celebration had been quite marvellous, despite the weather being a bit mean. Members of IWA Solent & Arun had been well impressed. The Mayor and Mayoress of Romsey enjoyed both the canal trip and barbecue and described them as 'fun'. Brian thanked all who helped to make the occasion so successful.

The Chairman felt Peter Glover should receive a special mention since he had attended most of the Solent & Arun celebrations, afloat in one kind of boat or other. Thanks to him, the SCS badge was seen, attached to his boat, and was now in photo albums across the area.

Brian said that his thanks would be long and repetitive; long because many deserved them and repetitive since the same members had starred as in previous years. Thanks were given to:

Ray Brooks for his support; he had resigned from the committee but would still be helping with the sales stand. Paul Herbert had produced excellent minutes in committee, worked on the exhibition stand and much more. Eric Lewis, as secretary, had planned our programme well ahead, advertised our meetings widely and organised the forthcoming boat trip. Laura Sturrock had produced the accounts and supported the Society, with her partners Hunt & Co, by printing all our newsletters and posting them to members. Peter Oates, as Newsletter editor, performed an important task keeping all our wide-flung members in touch. Martin Cripps, also a committee member of IWA Solent & Arun Branch, organised our regular raffles and obtained the Society Tee shirts and sweatshirts. The Chairman stated that working with this committee had been a great pleasure.

Outside the committee, two members deserved to be thanked: Sue Lewis for vastly increasing the usage of the library and no AGM would be complete without mention of tea maker Joyce Mayhew and her helpers.

For the future, there was the rest of the Jubilee year to enjoy, and beyond that, IWA Solent & Arun Branch had suggested that we might have an annual event similar to the one at Romsey. Maybe with Eastleigh Borough Council, we can one day work towards a little boating event in the Itchen Valley Country Park.

NEW COMMITTEE MEMBER

Dave Townley-Jones was elected unopposed to the Committee at the AGM to replace Ray Brooks who has retired. All the other officers and Committee members were also re-elected without opposition.

After the AGM, we were treated to some waterway videos by Eric Lewis.


CANAL SOCIETY LIBRARY

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Gill Herbert has donated two large jigsaws with, I am told, a waterways theme to the Society library. For a small charge, you too can enjoy these as much as Gill has. Our librarian, Sue Lewis, can help at any meeting.


NEWS ITEMS

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A report by IWAAC (Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council) was recently published. Entitled Britain's Inland Waterways: An Undervalued Asset, it takes a strategic long-term view of inland waterway navigations. Although IWAAC's remit is solely with BW navigations, IWAAC argue that these could not be considered in isola.tion and their report looks at all water.ways in Britain, which total over 5160 miles. A copy of this report is available for members to read at the Sales Stand.

The Society's collection of old newsletters which is in the safe-keeping of Eric Lewis. The collection appears to be complete apart from the one issue: 66 which should have the cover date July 1974. If any member knows of the whereabouts of a copy of this or, even better, is willing to donate one to the Society's collection, Eric would love to hear from you.

The July meeting is also something of a milestone for the Society in addition to this being the 300th Newsletter. It is the 350th meeting.

The Society's Display Stand, last used at the Romsey barbecue, has been in temporary storage at Paul Herbert's house for well over a year. It now has to be found a new home. If nowhere can be found, the stand will have to be dismantled. So if you have a little spare space, please contact Paul Herbert as soon as possible.

The national series of sponsored walks, IWALK, will happen over the weekend of 5/6 October. Local details not finalised but book the dates now.

Society burgees have been received and are now in stock. These are in dark blue with the Society logo in white. Would all those who have ordered a burgee and not yet collected it from the Sales Stand, please do so. If you want one but didn't order one several months ago, then again visit the Sales Stand and see Paul Herbert.

The IWA Solent & Arun Branch's Jigsaw pieces travelled in a total of 18 craft: 1 inflatable, 2 sailing sloops, 1 sailing yawl, 2 sailing dinghies, 5 other dinghies, 1 motor launch, 4 narrow boats, 1 sailing barge, 1 river craft and in addition the 'Jigsawmobile' (a special trolley) all contributing to an estimated mileage of 367. This was on a total of 17 rivers, canals and other expanses of water.


Crossword - by J Coomber

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Looking through old SCS newsletters, I found this in issue 100 (May 1977). Whilst not an entirely waterways crossword, I thought some of you might like another go just for fun! Answers on page 6. [End of this page]

Crossword

CLUES ACROSS
1 Starving shallows on K & A
5 Not a canal Society
7 Kind of union
8 Bloody canal!
9 Show record does not win
10 Its a fact
14 Summing up
16 Runs west from 5 down
18 Hot stuff ........
19 ...... for a red skin?
22 Caches
24 11th sign of the zodiac also
26 One of a list
27 Tell tale
28 This was quite a cruiser!
29 We must go via Hurleston

CLUES DOWN
1 Bargain
2 They live in part of Italy
3 Always fish around, hot and Bothered
4 Reel eg
5 Salt water canal?
6 Bother
11 Aston perhaps
12 Finding ones way on it?
13 Prolific along the Caledonian, of course
14 Palindromic vigour
15 Cold motive power
17 He is no boater
20 Could join, or could separate
21 Undermine
23 Round, but no porthole
25 Employed secondhand


WATERWAYS QUIZ

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The following appeared in the November 1976 Newsletter under the title Christmas Quiz. Although not Christmas (quite yet!), I thought this might be a bit of fun and wile away the odd wet, summer's afternoon in 1996. Answers on page 6. [End of this page]

  1. The first length of the Bridgewater Canal was opened from Worsley to Manchester in which year? (a) 1756 (b) 1759 (c) 1761
  2. The pound lock was first used in Britain on which waterway? (a) River Thames (b) Exeter Canal (c) River Wey
  3. The inclined plane has been used on some canals both at home and abroad to avoid excessive loss of water and time. The first in Britain was opened in 1789 on which canal? (a) Bude Canal (b) Grand Western Canal (c) Ketley Canal
  4. A famous modern inclined plane is that at Ronquieres in Belgium. What is the difference of levels that this structure overcomes? (a) 176 feet (b) 222 feet (c) 258 feet
  5. In which part of the country were sailing vessels known as Trows in common usage? (a) River Severn (b) Norfolk Broads (c) Yorkshire
  6. Staircase locks consist of a series of locks with the top gates of each lock forming the bottom gates of the lock above. The single staircase with the largest number of chambers in Britain is at which location? (a) Bingley (Leeds & Liverpool Canal) (b) Banavie (Caledonian Canal) (c) Foxton (Grand Union Canal - Leicester Section)
  7. When did the last barge reach Winchester from Wood Mill? (a) 1869 (b) 1885 (c) 1906
  8. On which canal in England is the earliest tunnel to open that is still navigable? (a) Trent & Mersey (b) Chesterfield (c) Staffs & Worcs
  9. What is the name of the 70 foot long towrope that might be used by a pair of narrow boats? (a) Cratch (b) Keb (c) Snubber
  10. Who or what were 'Greasy Ockers'? (a) Cabin boys on Mersey flats sailing from Liverpool (b) Crew members of Birmingham based steam powered narrow boats (c) A kind of ground paddle
  11. What is the name of the junction of the Ashton and Peak Forest Canals?
  12. Which two waterways does the Anderton Lift connect?
  13. Which town is situated at the southernmost extremity of the connected inland waterway system?
  14. When did the last boat navigate to Basingstoke Wharf? (a) 1890 (b) 1913 (c) 1933
  15. A new lock was built in 1975 on the Trent & Mersey Canal to replace one that was later demolished. Where did this happen?
  16. What was the name of the boat made famous by L T C Rolt in his classic book 'Narrow Boat'?
  17. The 29 locks at Devizes on the Kennet & Avon Canal enable boats to climb or descend which height? (a) 224 feet (b) 247 feet (c) 261 feet
  18. Which was the last inclined plane to be used on the canals of England? (a) Trench (Shropshire Union) (b) Foxton (Grand Union) (c) Marhamchurch (Bude Canal)

WRG MAKES IT 'NOT SUCH A BLACK COUNTRY FESTIVAL' THIS YEAR!

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WRG has sent the Society the following notice:

This year the National Waterways Festival returns to the popular and scenic destination of Windmill End, Dudley, in the heart of the Black Country. The main event runs from 24th to 26th August over the Bank Holiday weekend. 1996 sees the added emphasis of the IWA's Golden Jubilee and WRG intend to help you party all the way to celebrate 50 years in business. As well as the party atmosphere of the entertainers, boats, traders and crafts, WRG has added to an already packed programme with three extra entertainments for anyone interested in the waterways.

The Boater's Quiz

Boater's quizzes are undoubtedly the most popular evening in any Canal Society's social calendar, but are you ready to become the National Champions? Will you club or branch win the coveted prize and return home as the victors?

Eyes down at 9pm on Thursday 22nd August, in the beer tent. Teams of any size can enter the fun to test their luck and knowledge on a wide variety of waterways topics. Question master will be the Navvies Editor, and quiz guru, Martin Ludgate. There will also be 'guest questions' from various personalities of the waterways to push you to your limits.

This free entertainment is open to all Festival boaters and caravanners. However, WRG would like to extend the invitation to all canal organisations, boat clubs, IWA branches, who would like to enter a team. Entrance is by Festival wristbands or by ticket.

The WRG Pantomime

At 8pm on Saturday 24th the entertainment tent will be the venue for a rare spectacle as WRG swap their red T shirts for sequins and tights to present "Diggerella"! The age old story of a poor, honest (lock)chamber-maid who wants to go to the Princes Ball. The plot might sound familiar but never before has this fairy tale been quite so wet, never before have the ugly sisters been quite so ugly and never before have Princes Balls been so big! Featuring the unlikely named Baron von BW as "the baddy" and Basingstoke the horse as the pantomime cow!?! Together with a cast of thousands loitering within tent, this should be a night to remember.

The WRG Amateur Dramatic Society (WADS) hope to raise wads of cash with this once only presentation of what may be a midsummer nights dream but is more likely to be a restoration tragedy. This too is open to all Festival boaters and caravanners, so feel free to come along and guess which has more culture - us or the beer?

The Boaters Games - 'It's a Lock-out'

'It's a Lock-out' takes place at 2pm, Sunday 25th, in the main arena. WRG throw down the gauntlet to teams from all corners of the waterways system. We intend to try your boating skills (and a few others besides!) with a series of challenges that test your experience and ingenuity when faced with the very worst that our canal system can throw at us.

Teams from both British Waterways and IWA Council are already confirmed, so could your team show them up and run away with the prize?

Respected referees from the waterways scene will be on hand to ensure fair play, so get your jokers, polish up your windlasses and prepare to do battle! Teams of up to six members may apply from any canal society, cruising club or IWA branch.

Your editor will be at the National again this year. If anyone is interested forming a Society team for either the Quiz or the 'It's a Lock-out' please let him know as soon as possible (the August meeting at the very latest) and I'll try to make the necessary arrangements.


GOVERNMENT EMBARRASSMENT OVER THAMES AND SEVERN CANAL

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National Chairman of the Inland Waterways Association (IWA), Mrs Audrey Smith, has, in forthright terms, told the Prime Minister that the Department of Transport's attitude towards the provision of a navigable culvert for the Thames & Severn Canal "should be cause of concern and embarrassment to the Government".

The latest call from the Association's National Chairman follows an earlier letter to the Prime Minister to intervene in the A419 Latton Bypass crisis, in a last ditch effort to help save the line of the Thames & Severn Canal. This resulted from the announcement by Transport Minister, John Watts, that a navigable culvert would not be provided for the canal in the road construction which has now commenced.

Mrs Smith explained to the Prime Minister that she was "concerned" as the Transport Minister was "grossly misinformed" about the economics of the restoration of the waterway. "There is no doubt that the restoration of the Thames & Severn Canal is both practical and economically advantageous", Mrs Smith said. Recent studies undertaken by the Cotswold Canals Trust and local authorities have demonstrated that income from a restored waterway along the canal corridor would repay the investment to complete the restoration many times over.

The National Chairman concluded by requesting the Prime Minister to "intervene to prevent this ridiculous situation continuing any longer". MPs along the line of the canal, aware of strong local feelings in support of the canal restoration, have put intense pressure on the Minister to think again and the Minister has agreed to a further meeting with the Cotswold Canals Trust in mid June.

Officials from the Highways Agency, aware of the debacle over the Department's failure to allow for a navigable culvert have commenced discussions with the Department of the Environment to develop new guidance for highway schemes and waterway restoration projects. The IWA is involved with these discussions.

IWA 4-6-96


£2m scheme to bring boats into the heart of our towns

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After publishing some newspaper cuttings about the Warwickshire Avon in the May issue, Ken and Margaret Froud have sent me more from the Leamington Courier. I'm afraid space prevents including them all, but the main article appeared under the headline above and is as follows:

Ambitious plans to link the Grand Union Canal with the River Leam were officially unveiled yesterday (Thursday, 13th June).

UANT (the Upper Avon Navigation Trust) has launched a bid to connect the two waterways at Radford Semele, creating the unique opportunity of boating through the historic heart of Leamington and Warwick.

A series of locks and canals would be constructed at points along the river to chart a safe and idyllic route through the countryside ending in the shadows of Warwick Castle.

More than £2 million is needed to make the dream come true, but the trust is convinced it will prove a winner with tourists and residents alike.

UANT council member Geoffrey Holroyde said: "We're extremely excited about these plans - they would be a fantastic asset to the area. We're keen to get this scheme up and running as soon as possible, and we're convinced it will capture the imagination of a wide audience. There's a lot of money involved, but if people support the idea, we will raise it."

Fianancial benefits from the Leam Link could also provide a major boost to businesses in and around Leamington and Warwick.

Mr Holroyde said: "The evidence we've collected indicates people aren't staying in the area because the canal is in such a terrible state. But we would create new moorings, giving people the ideal place to stop and explore the towns. More importantly, they will also be spending money here. The financial spinoffs could be massive with tourists able to come through Leamington and Warwick."

Plans were drawn up in 1974 for a scheme to link the canal with the River Leam at Warwick to open a route through to Stratford. Opposition from a number of groups contributed to the withdrawal of the scheme, but the latest Leam link is for an entirely different route taking boats in the opposite direction through Leamington. The trust estimates a maximum of 20 boats would use the river route every day during the height of summer, and members are adamant the link will not cause any damage to local wildlife.

Mr Holroyde said: "We're as keen on the environment as everyone else. Our plans include the provision of a wide range of wildlife features aimed at creating a host of new habitats for birds, fish and animals. The islands in particular will be great place for bird breeding away from foxes and other predators. Far from damaging the natural environment, we're enlarging and enriching it in a unique way."

The proposals have the approval in principle of the British Waterways Board, the authority for the canal (subject to the safeguarding of the board's interests) and of the private landowner concerned. The scheme is also being discussed with officers of Warwick District Council and the Environment Agency (successor to the National Rivers Authority).

And if all goes according to plan, fundraising could begin by the end of the year. For more information about the plans contact David Hutchings, manager UANT, Bridge 63, Harvington.

Leamington Courier, 14-6-96

A plan published with this article shows that four locks are planned to link the Grand Union with the centre of Warwick. Two will link the GU at Radford Semele with the River Leam, with two more on the river in the centre of Leamington Spa to bypass existing weirs. At a number of sites, islands will be created and with other measures, the Trust plans a whole series of environmental improvements.

If members wish to see any of the other (or this) articles, contact the editor. Thank you Ken and Margaret for sending these cuttings in. Please keep us informed of progress.


ANSWERS TO WATERWAYS QUIZ

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  1. (c)
  2. (b)
  3. (c)
  4. (b)
  5. (a)
  6. (b) Banavie (Neptune's Staircase) has 8 chambers, Bingley has two staircases one of 5 the other of 3 chambers, Foxton has two staircases of 5 chambers each, which are separated by a short pound.
  7. (a)
  8. (c) Cookley and Dunsley Tunnels were opened in 1771. Armitage Tunnel on the Trent & Mersey Canal had its roof removed in 1971 due to subsidence.
  9. (c) A cratch is the support of the gangplank located at the front of a narrow boat and a keb is an iron rake for fishing articles from the bed of a canal.
  10. (b)
  11. Dukinfield Junction
  12. The River Weaver Navigation and the Trent & Mersey Canal
  13. Godalming on the River Wey
  14. (b)
  15. Lock 36 (Stoke Bottom) Stoke-on-Trent to make way for a ring road
  16. Cressy
  17. (b)
  18. (a) Closed 1921, Foxton closed 1910, Marhamchurch closed 1891.

CROSSWORD ANSWERS

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Across
1 Hungerford
5 Mafia
7 Grand
8 Vein
9 Disclose
10 Proven
14 Precis
16 Wardle
18 Chilli
19 Apache
22 Hoards
24 Aqueduct
26 Item
27 Sneak
28 Emden
29 Llangollen

Down
1 Haggle
2 Genoese
3 Feverish
4 Dance
5 Middlewich
6 Fuss
11 Villa
12 Navigation
13 Erica
14 Pep
15 Ice
17 Landsman
20 Channel
21 Weaken
23 Oriel
25 Used


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