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Issue 385 - September 2004

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Time Gentlemen (and Ladies) Please!

Please don't forget, as from this month we are planning to start all our meetings at the advertised time of 7.45pm - so don't be late, assuming that we will be starting at 8pm!

Day-Star Theatre

Day-Star logo

Just to remind members that 'Day-Star Theatre' will be making their final visit to the Society next month when they will be presenting 'Taking a Chance'. A synopsis of this play was published in our August Newsletter. We hope for a sell-out performance again, so don't delay, contact our Secretary Eric Lewis (details elsewhere in this Newsletter) for your tickets at £4 each, which includes a light supper after the performance.

Society Outings

Members will recall that we have been discussing two possible outings. We are indebted to member, Maureen Greenham, who has organised a combined tour of Gales Brewery at Horndean and a boat trip on "Egremont" on the Chichester Canal. Full details are given below. We will be examining the possibility of arranging a proposed visit to the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum next Spring.

Former Sales Stand Stock

As members are aware, the surplus stock remaining from our former sales stand will be used for raffle prizes. However, it will still be possible to purchase items direct. See details in this Newsletter.

Refreshments Rota

Many thanks to those members who have volunteered to assist with our monthly refreshments. I understand from Gill that we are now OK up to and including December. However, please do not forget that, in due course, we will be looking for volunteers for January 2005 onwards!

"How Clean is Your House?"

Further to the item in the Chairman's Column in the August Newsletter, see the item in this Newsletter.

Paul Herbert

Society Outing

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Maureen Greenham has organised a combined tour of Gales Gales Brewery at Horndean and a boat trip on "Egremont" on the Chichester Canal for Friday 1st October 2004.

Gales logo

George Gale & Co Ltd is Hampshire's leading family brewer having been founded at Horndean in 1847. Their brewery tours provide the visitor with the chance to discover the heritage behind the traditional art of brewing. After a short audio-visual presentation, visitors can savour the smells of traditional brewing at its best and be lured by the wholesome aroma of yeast, hops and winter sown barleys as they are shown the 300ft brewery well, the mill room, the mash tun, copper and open wooden fermenting vessels. After a stop in the cellar visitors make their way to the Old Hopstore. Here amidst a fine collection of old photographs and brewery memorabilia, Gales' prize-winning brews and Old Country wines ensure visitors' taste buds don't go away disappointed.

The Chichester Canal is four miles long and could take vessels up to 150 tons. It was opened in 1822 as part of the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal. The last commercial cargo was carried in 1906. The canal is now owned by West Sussex County Council and is leased by the Chichester Ship Canal Trust. The 12-seater narrow boat "Egremont" operates from Chichester Basin offering the chance to view approximately 2 miles of the canal.

The brewery tour takes about 2 to 2½ hours and the boat trip takes approximately 1¼ hours.

As the "Egremont" can accommodate only 12 passengers, Maureen has booked the boat for two trips: one in the morning at 11.30am, the other at 2.30pm. She has also booked 12 places on each of two brewery tours at 10.30am and 2.30pm. The morning brewery tour ends at between 12.30 and 1.00pm and the morning boat trip ends at about 12.45pm. So, it will be possible for all members on the outing to lunch together at Horndean from about 1.15pm as the distance from Chichester is about 16½ miles via the A27 and A3(M).

N/b Egremont

The landlady of the Ship & Bell (next door to the brewery) will do a buffet (not individual orders) for tours at £4.75 which includes sandwiches, sausage rolls, mini scotch eggs, potato wedges, crisps and peanuts.

It has been usual on the last few Society outings for participants to make their own way to the venues by car as the cost of coach hire these days is too great. People without transport or who don't wish to drive that far could have a lift with others. Maureen is willing to put members wishing to have a lift in touch with those willing to drive.

As the brewery tour costs £4.50 and the boat trip £3.50, the cost for the whole day will be £12.75 including the buffet. Those not wishing to have the buffet lunch may book at the cost of £8.00.

As the outing is restricted to a maximum of 24 people, please contact Maureen Greenham on 023 8040 6951 or e-mail without delay.

August Meeting

The Society's 2004 Annual General Meeting

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Thirty-one members and six guests attended the Society's 37th Annual General Meeting held at the Chilworth Parish Hall on Thursday, 29 July 2004. This was an excellent attendance, considering that August tends to be our quietest month, when many members are on holiday. The AGM was chaired by our Chairman, Paul Herbert, whilst our President, Brian Evans, officiated during the election of the officers and committee.

The meeting followed the usual procedure. With the exception of the Treasurer and Membership Secretary's Report and the 2003/04 Accounts, which were tabled at the meeting, as part of the August Newsletter, all other documentation had been provided to members with the July Newsletter.

The Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer & Membership Secretary presented their reports on activities over the past year. The Chairman commented upon the previous year's successful programme which had seen excellent speakers talking on a wide variety of subjects, and a number of enjoyable special events. Membership was on the increase and high attendances at our monthly meetings had been very encouraging. Publicity via the Newsletter, the Website and the specialist waterways magazines had been very valuable. The Society's financial position remained strong, though the organisation would be facing a number of challenges during the new financial year. The Committee had continued to work well together and provide valuable support. The Chairman thanked the many members of the Society who made things happen and without whom the Society would not be able to operate. In conclusion, the Society could look forward to another successful year. The Secretary commented on the past year's programme and on the future year, speakers already having been booked up to April 2005. The Treasurer & Membership Secretary submitted the Society's unaudited accounts for the year ended 31 March 2004. Income from subscriptions and the monthly raffle had increased and the 2003 visit by 'Day-Star Theatre' had been financially successful, as well as enjoyable. The report detailed the donations made to predominantly waterways societies during the year. Overall, we had had a successful financial year with a balance of approximately £1,400 being carried forward into the new financial year.

Faced with increasing costs for speakers, hall hire, and the forthcoming loss of sponsorship of the Newsletter, the Committee had recommended to the AGM that an across the board increase of £2 be made to all membership subscription categories. However, after a lengthy discussion at the AGM, an amendment was approved raising subscriptions by £3 in respect of 2004/05. Therefore, the family membership subscription is now £16 whilst that for individuals is £12.

Coming to the election of officers and committee, the existing incumbents were returned unanimously and, in addition, an additional committee member was elected, as follows:-

Chairman Paul Herbert
Vice-Chairman Laura Sturrock
Secretary Eric Lewis
Treasurer & Membership Secretary Laura Sturrock
Committee Members Peter Oates
  Martin Cripps
  David Townley-Jones
  Paul Taylor

Peter Oates confirmed that he was willing to continue editing the Society's monthly Newsletter and act as Webmaster.

To conclude the AGM the President took the opportunity to place on record his appreciation of the valuable work carried out for the Society by its officers and committee.

Following the completion of the AGM and the subsequent refreshments break we were entertained by a very enjoyable video showing Society members' the Fry Family and friends cruising the Caldon Canal during very seasonal weather conditions between last Christmas and the New Year. We accompanied them up the canal from its junction with the Trent & Mersey to Froghall, with a side excursion on the restored Churnet Valley Steam Railway, which follows the canal and the River Churnet from Cheddleton to Froghall. Ice and snow were much in evidence on the Caldon but it was not until their boat, 'Onyx' returned to the main line in Stoke, and moored up for their last night before returning to Stoke-on-Trent Marina, that we saw real ice which proved difficult to break through, particularly in reverse. However, they made it safely back into the sanctuary of the marina after what was obviously an exhilarating and enjoyable trip.

Tony finished off the evening with some photographs showing the restoration works in progress on locks 1 and 2 at the beginning of the old and long disused branch to Uttoxeter, which used to leave the Caldon beyond Froghall Tunnel. That branch closed in the 1840s and much of its course was taken over for the building of the North Staffordshire Railway line to Uttoxeter. There is now a 'race' between the canal restorers and the Churnet Valley Steam Railway, to see which organisation can 'reclaim' the track.

Many thanks to the Fry family and friends, and particularly to Tony and Dave, for a very entertaining evening.

Paul Herbert

Snippets from Here and There

Cotswold Cash

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The restoration of the Cotswold Canals has taken a huge leap forward. BW's bid, on behalf of the Cotswold Canals Partnership, to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for £11.3m towards the £25m project to restore six miles of waterway from The Ocean at Stonehouse on the Stroudwater Navigation in the west to Brimscombe Port, east of Stroud, on the Thames & Severn Canal, has received Stage 1 Approval.

As part of the project, the Partnership will also acquire the remaining four miles of the Stroudwater Navigation between Stonehouse and Saul Junction. The project will ensure the protection of the historic structures of the waterways, open a 10 mile multi-user trail and prepare the way for connecting the restored phase one section with the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal in the future.

The £25m phase one project is planned to:

BW and the Partnership now have a year to complete the planning of the works and to secure formal commitments for the remaining match funding, before the Lottery Fund is able to consider final approval of the grant. If all this proceeds to plan, then works on the ground might start towards the end of 2005, or early 2006., BW's online guide to enjoying Britain's inland waterways, celebrated its first birthday on 1 July. During the year the website has had over 750,000 visitors and built up 10,000 pages of information on canals and rivers, waterway services and places to visit. There's information on 250 waterways, 200 walks, over 1,000 waterway businesses, as well as holidays and many, many attractions. Visit to see what information the site offers.

Your Country(side) Needs You!

A national waterway wildlife survey got under way in August and everyone's help is needed. BW is asking everyone to report on the wildlife they see on their local waterway. The information will be added to a species database which records the biodiversity of the waterways and is used to help plan the management and protection of the wildlife. Visit and download details.

New IWA Appointments

The IWA has announced the appointment of the Viscountess Knollys and Paul Wagstaffe as new Vice-Presidents of the Association. Sheelin Knollys is Chairman of The Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council (IWAAC) whilst Paul Wagstaffe retired as BW's Customer Relations Manager at the end of March 2003, when he was made an Honorary Life Member of the IWA.

Paul Herbert
(With acknowledgements to "BW Monthly" July 2004 and IWA Head Office Bulletin, August 2004)

Basingstoke Canal - Summer Water Levels

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Unfortunately water levels on the Canal have dropped to the extent where it is now necessary (5th August 2004) to close the Deepcut, Brookwood and St John's flights of locks. Ash Lock will remain open for use, but only between 9am and 4pm after which the gates will be sealed to ensure water is not lost overnight.

It is standard practice to close the lock flights when water levels are low so that water can be retained in the majority of the Canal for the benefit of users and wildlife. Boats can still enter the Canal as far as Woking or use the 15 miles of Canal from Deepcut to Greywell. Water levels will continue to be monitored and the flights reopened as soon as they are high enough to sustain normal usage. Further information from the Basingstoke Canal Authority on 01252 370073 or


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238 supporters of the Wey & Arun Canal Trust walked 12 miles on Sunday, 13th June taking part in the "Poddle". The Poddle is the annual fund raising event of the Trust who are restoring the Wey and Arun Canal through Surrey and Sussex. In glorious summer weather the walkers left The Wharf, Newbridge (near Wisborough Green) and ended some four hours later after a lunch break at Kirdford.

Trust Treasurer Jim Phillips said "Over £12,380 has been raised. Our sights are set to cross the main B2133 road at Loxwood which will mean that the restored canal can reach the restored Devils Hole lock and beyond".

Organiser Jo Beagles with more than 55 volunteers around the route acting as marshals and manning the 4 refreshment stops, expressed her thanks to all who had helped on the day.

This was the Wey & Arun's 32nd annual sponsored walk and the route took in a new path by Malham Lock.

Wey & Arun Canal Trust Press Release

How clean is your house(boat)?

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The clean boat team

Kim Woodburn and Aggie Mackenzie are two names to strike fear into the hearts of anyone even the tiniest bit slovenly.

They recently gave the fur-trimmed Marigolds treatment to a houseboat at Cropredy on the Oxford Canal for a How Clean is your House? show to be broadcast later on Channel 4.

Safety advisor, South East Waterways, Andy Price and waterway supervisor Jane Marriott (pictured right with Kim and Aggie) were on hand to make sure all went smoothly.

With acknowledgements to "BW Monthly" June 2004

County in unanimous vote against river plan

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The following article from the Leamington Spa Courier was sent to us by members Ken & Margaret Froud. Thanks.

PLANS to allow boats to sail up the River Avon from Stratford to the Grand Union Canal would damage the waterway's ecology, councillors have decided.

People clapped and cheered as members of Warwickshire County Council's environment and rural affairs overview and scrutiny committee voted unanimously against the scheme at Shire Hall on Monday.

Councillors spent six months asking various people what they thought of the idea, culminating in a marathon two-day meeting at the end of June. They left their decision until this week.

Legal advisor Ian Marriott told councillors on Monday they could support, oppose or await further information on the project.

He said: "The officers suggest you are in a position to reach a firm view in principle because it is indubitable the character of the river environment would change."

Regeneration projects manager John Ridgely said: "Some shallow areas will be lost and the ecology would he changed.

"Creatures used to shallow water would give way to deeper water ones."

More than 700 people contacted the council about the Upper Avon Navigation Trust's proposals and 60 per cent were against the plans. Councillors agreed.

Coun Andy Marshall (Lab, Leamington Clarendon) said: "The big issue for me is the effect such a change would have on the ecology of that area."

Coun Eithne Goode (LibDem, Leamington Manor) said: "British Waterways, although neutral, said it has no plans to become a supporter unless there is significant and demonstrable public support for doing so.

"That's the catch. Consultation shows there is not. As a local councillor I have been elected by that public and I can only respond by saying I do not support this scheme. If I did otherwise I would be letting down the electorate."

Coun Gordon Collett (Con, Dunchurch) said the river had been the same 'since the last ice age' and damage done quickly would take a long time to repair.

He said: "I came with an open mind because it didn't affect me but I quickly had my mind made up for me.

"My analysis was that it would benefit a few at the expense of many. This has gone on for years, costing money every time it rears its head. It is time to put it to bed."

The committee's recommendation will now go forward to the council's decision-making cabinet which will discuss the matter on September 16.

It will be up to the government to decide if the project, which has been discussed for 30 years, should go ahead under a Public Works Act.

With acknowledgements to the Leamington Spa Courier 23-07-04


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The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) today reaffirmed its support for extending navigation on the Warwickshire Avon from the present head of navigation above Stratford-on-Avon, to the Grand Union Canal in the Warwick and Leamington Spa area. The Association also expressed disappointment at the recommendation of Warwickshire County Council's Environment and Rural Affairs Overview and Scrutiny Committee, on 19th July, that the county should not support either the principle of opening the higher reaches of the river Avon to navigation nor the creation of a navigable link between the river and the Grand Union Canal in the Warwick or Leamington Spa area.

The decision, which is part of an on-going consultation process not due for completion until September, is not only a setback for waterway supporters such as the Upper Avon Navigation Trust and the new Stratford and Warwick Waterway Trust, but is also contrary to the government's policy document Waterways for Tomorrow.

Ian Fletcher, chairman of IWA's Warwickshire Branch, commented, "The extension of navigation would allow greater public access to a beautiful part of the Warwickshire countryside, offer opportunities to create and enhance wildlife sites, and to add a significant link to a chain of long-distance footpaths. As with other waterway developments, it would provide quantifiable benefits to the local economy."

He added, "Objections to the concept - mainly on environmental and riparian security grounds - are perceived, rather than real, because no detailed scheme has been published. However, as the format of the public hearings that preceded the committee's decision did not allow for supporters and objectors of the proposals to question each other's assertions, a number of objectors' misconceptions were carried through into the decision making process unchallenged."

Vaughan Welch, chairman of IWA's Restoration Committee, said, "IWA offers on-going support to its corporate members Upper Avon Navigation Trust and Stratford and Warwick Waterway Trust, and all those who wish to turn a thirty-year-old dream into reality. IWA will carefully examine the Council's concerns about development of the river Avon, and consider how any foreseen problems and adverse environmental impacts can be resolved or mitigated."

IWA Press Release 30-07-04


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Nutfield at Braunston

Nutfield at Braunston on 3 June 2004 with a newly fitted bottom.

The same boat east of Braunston Tunnel on 6 August 2004

East of Braunston Tunnel
East of Braunston Tunnel

The same boat east of Braunston Tunnel on 6 August 2004

The brass now needs a good clean.

Cleaning a brass porthole
At Norton Junction

Some roses in the enginehole.

Nutfield passes Norton Junction on 6 August 2004.

At Norton Junction

Photos: © Laura Sturrock and Peter Oates 2004

Sale of Surplus Sales Stand Items

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Amongst the former Sales Stand stock we have the following items for disposal:-

For details of prices and up to date availability, please see me at any Society meeting.

Paul Herbert

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Taking a Chance

might be the name of the play but ...
Get your tickets for Day-Star Theatre at Chilworth on 7 October. Contact Eric Lewis now.

Send your comments to the Web Site manager (Peter Oates)

© Southampton Canal Society 2004. Except where otherwise indicated, information on these pages may be reproduced provided permission is obtained from the Web Site manager beforehand and due acknowledgement made to the Society.

Page created 18 August 2004 - archived 6 October 2004.

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