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Issue 396 - October 2005

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Chairman's Column

 
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Rita Johnson

It is with much sorrow that I have to report the passing of our member, Rita, last month, after a short illness. Our sympathies go to husband, Derek and their family, including members Norma and Frank Stokes; Norma and Rita were sisters. Appropriate cards have been sent on behalf of the Society.

October Meeting

Welcome to member John Silman and to Tony Yoward who will be asking us "So you think you know about Industrial Archaeology?"

Newsletter

Due to reproduction difficulties, the size of our Newsletter has had to be reduced until further notice. We will therefore have to concentrate on news mainly applicable to the Society and any inconvenience to members is regretted.

Donation

Many thanks to former members, Brian and Sylvia Allen, who have kindly made a donation of £25 to the Society in appreciation of minor assistance that Gill and I were pleased to give them recently.

Storage of Society Equipment

Further to the item in the last Newsletter, just to confirm that the Society is anxiously seeking storage for some of its equipment. If you think you may be able to help, further details were in that Newsletter or, alternatively, please have a word with me as soon as possible.

Donated Canal Prints

Further to the item in the last Newsletter concerning a Garth Allan canal print donated to the Society by Paul and Viv Taylor, members Tony & Jackie Coles have also kindly donated a print, this time of Hawkesbury Junction through the iron towpath bridge, painted by Alan Firth. Both prints will be auctioned at our Christmas meeting. Many thanks to Tony and Jackie.

Refreshments Rota

Yes, I know, you get fed up seeing appeals about assisting with our monthly refreshments ... but we do need you to come forward. Please see Gill with the date(s) you are willing to assist.

Paul Herbert


   
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Garth Allen print

The Garth Allen print to be auctioned at our Christmas meeting - see Chairman's Column above.

 
Head of the tidal Beaulieu River

Society member Colin Huggins moored at the head of the tidal Beaulieu River earlier this year.


Boat for Sale

 
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Brian and Sylvia Allen, who live in Southampton and are former members of the Society, have decided to sell their boat Ragtime. Brief details of this are given below:

40ft All steel Tug Style Semi-Trad Narrowboat. 1990. 4-berth. Beta/Ford 33hp Engine. 240v Ring Main. Inverter. Built-in Battery Charger. Bathroom with hip bath and shower. Cooker. Fridge. Boat Safety Certificate until August 2007. Lovingly cared for and in excellent condition. £28950.

Contact Brian Allen on 02380462432 or 07887710083 (mobile) for details.

Editor's note: After the Newsletter went to be printed but before the October meeting, the Editor heard from Brian that the boat had been sold.


August Meeting

2005 Annual General Meeting

 
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Because of the shortage of space in this issue of the Newsletter this will be a very much abridged version of the proceedings of the Society's 38th Annual General Meeting held on Thursday 28 July 2005. Twenty-five members attended the AGM which was chaired by our Chairman, Paul Herbert, whilst our President, Brian Evans, officiated for the election of Officers and Committee.

The meeting followed the traditional procedure, all officer reports had been published in advance in the Society Newsletter, though the Treasurer tabled amended 2004/05 accounts at the meeting (showing just a minor adjustment). The Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer & Membership Secretary presented their reports, highlighting issues of particular note. In summary, the Society continued to be successful with a full and varied programme of speakers and a number of enjoyable special events and outings. Membership numbers had been sustained and attendance at monthly meetings had been encouraging. Our financial position remained sound, despite a number of pressures and increased annual running costs. A year end balance of approximately £1,300 had been carried forward into 2005/06.

The success of the Society depends upon the support of the whole membership, and in particular on its officers, committee and the small band of members who regularly provide active assistance in a number of areas of its work. The AGM gave an excellent opportunity to thank all those in person.

A number of decisions had to be taken by the membership at the AGM. Those particularly concerned the future of the Newsletter and the new year's subscriptions. Since the Society lost the previous sponsorship of the Newsletter we have been faced with potentially high printing costs. Fortunately, one of our Committee members has been able to arrange for the printing of the Newsletter without cost to the Society, an action which is very much appreciated, but we are still faced with the cost of envelopes and postage etc. The Committee had discussed this issue and a number of options were put before the AGM, where other options were raised. The AGM decided to continue with a monthly Newsletter but where members were prepared to receive copies electronically (viz. via email), then that would be facilitated. Members will be surveyed on this suggestion in a future Newsletter. Regarding subscriptions for 2005/06, again there was a lengthy discussion, and the AGM agreed that these be increased to: Family Membership - £18 and Individual Membership - £13. Regarding the surplus stock in hand from the former Sales Stand, the Committee had agreed to write the value of that down over four years. That would represent good accounting practice. However, members would still be able to purchase stock items, at cost. (Details in next Newsletter).

The other major financial decision was to increase the refreshment price to 30p with immediate effect!

We then came to the election of Officers and Committee. With the exception of Paul Taylor, who regrettably had had to resign from the Committee for family reasons, all existing incumbents were returned en bloc. In addition, two additional Committee members were elected, Maureen Greenham and Alan Rose. Peter Oates confirmed his willingness to continue as Newsletter Editor and Society Webmaster.

To conclude the AGM, the President thanked the Officers and Committee for all their work on behalf of the Society.

Following the AGM, members were entertained to a hi-tech presentation of a recent excellent DVD of the Lichfield & Hatherton Canal - thanks to Martin and Peter for providing the DVD and equipment.

Paul Herbert


September Meeting

'The Work of the Upper Severn Trust' with Jeremy Coles

 
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For our September meeting Jeremy Coles gave us a very interesting illustrated talk on the Upper Severn Navigation.

He explained that 200 years ago the River Severn was navigable up to Ironbridge, some 85 miles from Bristol, and that the plates for the SS Great Britain were brought from Ironbridge on the river. In the early 1800's 75 cargo vessels were registered at Bridgnorth alone and trading along the River Severn.

We saw pictures showing the extremely low water levels of the river today, mainly due to water extraction, (some 85 million litres a day), as well as pictures showing other rivers, both in the UK and Europe, which have been restored.

The right of navigation on the Upper Severn still exists and plans are being developed for its restoration to a navigable waterway. Appropriate sites for locks and weirs are being established and the use of inflatable weirs is being considered. The river could also be used to produce some hydro-electric power.

There is a small amount of trade on the lower reaches of the river consisting of gravel movement by boat but this would be able to be developed if the river was fully navigable.

There is great resistance to change but hopefully in time the authorities will see the benefits of a fully restored navigation."

Sue Lewis


£1.7m bid to revive a great river

 
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HAMPSHIRE: National Lottery aid is being sought to save the Itchen Navigation waterway

Karenza Morton reports Karenza Morton


IT is one of Hampshire's greatest rivers but parts are so overgrown you can barely see the water and in others discarded motorcycles and bikes are commonplace.

Further upstream, paths that have been trodden for centuries are slipping away, leaving muddy trails and difficult, narrow walkways.

The River Itchen has long been vaunted as the priceless jewel in the crown of Hampshire's celebrated waterways - a chalk river of global repute and officially recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The Itchen Navigation - a 10.5-mile strand of the river which formed a vital transport and cargo link between Winchester and Southampton during the Industrial Revolution - provides one of its more intriguing facets.

Years of neglect have left certain parts of the waterway in desperate need of a bit of tender loving care. Now a £1.7m bid to return the Navigation to its former glory is in the hands of the National Lottery

The Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust, responsible for drawing up the proposals following a year-long consultation and planning project, must wait until March 2006 to find out if the first phase of their Conservation Management Plan will be given the green light.

Project manager Leah Mathias explains: "It needs a big effort to repair the whole Navigation. We've identified what we need to do to preserve this historical waterway in the Hampshire countryside and now we will be looking exactly at how we go about it.

"It's quite good timing for this bid because with London getting the 2012 Olympics there's the possibility more lottery money will be used up by the Olympics."

Public consultations, with representations from more than 20 vested interest parties including disabled, wildlife, cycling, canoeing, horse riding, fishing and rambling groups, have been staged in Southampton, Winchester and Eastleigh in the past 12 months.

Ongoing discussions and an activity day have also been held with landowners along the Itchen as to what people actually want from the Navigation and which specific areas require the most urgent attention.

Among the identified priorities are various riverbank restorations, lock preservations and repairs to the adjacent Itchen Way tow-path. There is an emphasis on community involvement and volunteers for many of the projects especially at Mansbridge Lock, where there is a scheme to clear polluted water, and for conservation work for example building otter holts and artificial kingfisher banks.

A community arts project and exhibitions also form integral parts of the bid.

If the Trust's lottery bid is successful in March they will receive a sum of development money to employ a team of consultants to produce detailed engineering designs while at the same time conducting wildlife surveys to document names and numbers of species along the river.

Once this development phase work has been completed the Trust will have to resubmit their revised bid to the lottery next September before they hear the final decision on funding for their plans in March 2007.

Priority Projects

Tun Bridge - St Catherine's Lock: Towpaths and banks eroded. Look at putting new banks in using hazel faggots, woven branches and sticks that form a barrier and allow the bank to regenerate naturally behind it.

Shawford: backfilling and reprofiling the bank.

Railway Bridge - Mansbridge: Long stretch of pathwork.

St Catherine's Lock: Old-fashioned traditional method lock preservation.

Mansbridge Lock: Old-fashioned traditional method lock preservation.

Brambridge: Repair and restore original towpath hatch discovered during recent surveys.

The above article is reproduced from the September 20, 2005 issue of the Southern Daily Echo with acknowledgements.


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Page created 15 October 2005 - archived 7 November 2005.

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