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Issue 442 - November 2009

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Chairman's Column

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November Meeting

On behalf of the Society I am delighted to welcome Tim Dodwell to our November meeting when he will be telling us about 'Life Before WRG'

2008/2009 Annual Accounts

Many apologies to those members who were unable to attend this year's Annual General Meeting for the long delay in providing details of the Society's 2008/2009 accounts. I am now pleased to advise that they have been re-produced in this Newsletter.

Membership Subscriptions

A reminder if you haven't yet paid your membership subscription for the current year

(£15 for individuals and £22 for couples/family membership), can you please see our Treasurer & Membership Secretary, Anne Coleman, as soon as possible.

2009 Inter-Society Waterways Quiz

A further reminder that we will again be hosting the Annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz at our next meeting on 3 December, when the Quizmaster will be Eric Lewis. At the time of writing this column no volunteers for the Southampton Team have been forthcoming. Therefore, unless members come forward at our November meeting, there is a possibility that we will not be able to field a team. That would be fairly catastrophic as we are the reigning champions.

A further reminder that the Quiz will be followed by the usual American Supper. We will be providing wine, soft drinks, tea and coffee, but the provision of food for all to share is up to members.

Society New Year Lunch

I understand from Maureen Greenham that all places for the Society's New Year Lunch at the Blue Hayes Restaurant on Saturday 16 January 2010 have now been taken. Maureen has opened up a reserve list in the event of people who have already booked having to cancel. If you haven't yet booked and wish to go on the reserve list, please contact Maureen on: Tel: 023 8040 6951 or email: As there has been such heavy demand to attend this lunch, I am sure that it will be appreciated that priority must be given to Society members. If, at the end of the day, there are places available then guests can be invited, on a first come basis. Further details below.

Monthly Raffle

The proceeds from our monthly raffle are our main source of regular income and we are grateful to those members who provide prizes. However, donations have been a little light in recent months and if it is possible for members to bring in the occasional prize it would help to reduce our costs and increase our net income. Many thanks.

Paul Herbert

British Waterways fined £87k over diver's death

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British Waterways has been fined almost £100,000 for the safety failures that led to the death of a young diver.

David Moore, 29, died while he was examining an underwater section of wall at a lock on the River Severn five years ago and it burst.

Mr Moore, of Southsea, Hants, had dived into the temporary dam at Upper Lode Lock, Tewkesbury, Glos, on Oct 15th 2004 to deal with small leaks.

But it broke and a torrent of water burst through and crushed him against the dam wall. The pressure was so heavy that he could not breathe and fellow workers could not pull him free.

British Waterways, Sea Technical Services Ltd of Botley, Hants, and its director Christopher Drake, 50, all admitted breaches of health and safety and diving regulations leading to the tragedy.

Judge Mark Horton said the main reason for the tragedy was that British Waterways had failed to appreciate the floor of the Victorian lock was convex rather than flat. To be effective the dam wall and hessian seal needed a flat floor.

British Waterways would have appreciated this if they had carried out a full structural survey, as recommended, before damming the lock for maintenance work, the judge said.

He fined British Waterways £87,000 with £75,000 costs, STS Ltd £15,000 with £6,000 costs and Mr Drake £6,000 with £2,000 costs.

Judge Horton said "Tragedy is too small a word to describe the untimely death of a promising young man who from all the papers I have seen was clearly on the threshold of both a promising career and marriage.

"It is particularly grave when the events leading to his death were in my judgement so obviously avoidable, as this prosecution has demonstrated."

The penalties were welcomed by Mr Moore's parents, Alick and Penny, brother Simon and fiancée Shelley Blane who were present throughout the two-day hearing at Gloucester Crown Court. - 26 September 2009

Society Newsletter

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As a result of an appeal by Angela Rose at the last AGM, now over 40 members of the Society receive the Newsletter via email. Would any members who think they have asked to join the list but are not getting the Newsletter by this method please contact me (my email address is on the back page).

From the accounts published in this edition, I see that the Newsletter cost the Society £307 last year. This is all expenditure on printing and postage as editing and email distribution cost the Society nothing. I would like to ask all members with access to email but aren't on the list to consider adding their names to it.

Peter Oates

Crossrail plans to move 5m tonnes of spoil via Thames

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Crossrail has today confirmed that more than 5 million tonnes of excavated material will be transported by boat along the Thames for use in landscaping projects including the creation of a new nature reserve at Wallasea Island in Essex.

Crossrail has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of London Authority to confirm its commitment to use barges and ships along the Thames to move its excavated materials. If the equivalent 5 million tonnes were to be transported by road they would require up to 500,000 lorry journeys.

"Moving five million tonnes of earth excavated from the centre of London requires a solution of Herculean proportions. Using the barges rather than the roads is a supremely brilliant plan and it brings joy to my heart to see them make their way up and down the Thames," said London mayor Boris Johnson.

"Using barges avoids the need for a huge number of lorries to grind their way through the city. It also brings together two of our key priorities - making better use of the river and keeping digging for Crossrail."

"Crossrail will add at least £20bn to the economy and employ some 14,000 people. It is crucial to London's economic prosperity and I'm absolutely delighted to see work steaming ahead."

During the delivery of Crossrail, Europe's largest construction project, a total of 7.3 million m³ of material will be excavated, which is the equivalent of covering the whole of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens with a 3m layer of soil. Close to 100% of the 7.3 million m³ of excavated material is expected to be clean and uncontaminated and can be reused elsewhere. The project will maximise the use of water and rail for the transport of excavated material, and project managers estimate that on a tonne per kilometre basis, 85% of transport of the material will be by rail and water only.

Transport minister Sadiq Khan said: "This is a welcome announcement, which underlines the green credentials the Government is keen to see applied to this huge project, while reducing disruption to London's busy streets.

"We are building a new railway line that will benefit millions of people, both directly and indirectly. By using excavated material to redevelop Wallasea Island and aid regeneration in Kent we are also creating a legacy which will benefit areas far beyond the route for generations to come."

Crossrail has also confirmed its commitment to work with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to create a nature reserve at Wallasea Island in Essex. Over 4 million m³ of the excavated material generated from construction of the new tunnels will be used for the island. The proposals, which have been approved by Central Government and Essex County Council, will create one of the largest new wetland nature reserves in Europe for some 50 years.

The mud flat and salt marsh habitats created at Wallasea Island will act as a carbon sink and will soak up 2.2 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year. In the region of 400 hectares of this habitat will be created. The transport arrangements have been planned with consideration of the environment and hence carbon cost as a major factor. Transport by water is the order of a quarter of the carbon cost of transport by road.

Port of London Authority chief executive Richard Everitt said: "The Thames is London's greenest highway. It's already the busiest waterway in the country.  We've been working alongside the Crossrail team to help them make the most of the river to help keep the impact of the construction of the rail links to a minimum. Our role is to help turn their vision into reality, linking their construction operations with sites on the river for handling materials. Today we're talking about moving materials out of the capital. Just as important is using the river to get the vital building materials to site and that's something we're already working on."

Transportation of excavated material

Excavated materials from eastern tunnelling sites will go direct by river to Wallasea Island in Essex and to two regeneration sites in Kent. Material from the western tunnelling site at Royal Oak near Paddington will go by rail to the sites in Kent while some material will go by river to Wallasea Island. The Grand Union Canal is located in close proximity to the Royal Oak tunnelling site and Crossrail is considering what potential role it can play with the transfer of excavated material and the delivery of construction materials.

Wallasea Island

At least two-thirds of all Crossrail excavated material, or 4Mm³, will be used to create a huge wildlife reserve in Essex. Clay, chalk, sand and gravel taken from the construction of Crossrail will be transferred by ship to Wallasea Island, eight miles north of Southend-on-Sea, which the RSPB will transform into 600ha of tidal wildlife habitat.

Last year the RSPB submitted a planning application to Essex County Council and consent was issued on 9 July. Development of Wallasea Island is expected to start in 2010.

New Civil Engineer - 30 September 2009

Society New Year Lunch

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Maureen Greenham writes:

We have now received the menu for our late Christmas/New Year lunch at The Blue Hayes Restaurant, Shootash, on Saturday 16 January. The cost will be £18.15 for 3 course menu, tea or coffee plus tip. The menu is reproduced below and I will need to have your choices by the December meeting. Please pay a deposit of £10 (or the total amount) at the November meeting or to me by post at 13 Bridge Close, Bursledon, Southampton SO31 8AN, cheques made payable to Southampton Canal Society. Balance to be paid by the December meeting please. If you are diabetic please let me know as there will be cheese and biscuits or fruit salad as an alternative. I may be contacted by telephone 023 8040 6951 or email:





Accounts presented to AGM on 30 July 2009

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Profit & Loss Comparison
01/04/07 Through 31/03/09 (in UK Pounds Sterling)
 Category Description 01/04/07-31/03/08 01/04/08-31/03/09    Category Description 01/04/07-31/03/08 01/04/08-31/03/09
  Clothing Sales 897.41 432.00     Uncategorised 0.00 0.00
  Daystar Tickets 0.00 504.00     Boat trips 535.00 514.30
  Donations 24.82 7.57     Chairman's expenses 123.31 85.00
  Event Income         COGS 661.63 594.72
     Boat trip 807.50 548.60     Daystar 220.00 220.00
     Daystar theatre 300.00 0.00     Depreciation 8.00 8.00
     Dinner 0.00 181.50     Dinner 0.00 181.50
  TOTAL Event Income 1,107.50 730.10     Donations made 165.00 140.00
  Interest Inc         Honorarium 50.00 0.00
     Net 10.41 6.15     Insurance-IWA 186.94 200.25
  TOTAL Interest Inc 10.41 6.15     IWA subscription 43.00 45.00
  Misc Sales 13.50 0.00     Newsletters 307.00 255.75
  Raffle Income 413.83 511.39     Raffle Prizes 0.00 42.47
  Subscriptions 677.00 738.00     Rent Premises 407.00 486.00
  Tea Income 69.77 135.61     Speakers Fees 392.00 145.00
TOTAL INCOME 3,214.24 3,064.82        Speakers expenses 10.00 6.60
            TOTAL Speakers Fees 402.00 151.60
            Tea Expenses 0.00 8.00
          TOTAL EXPENSES 3,108.88 2,932.59
          OVERALL TOTAL 105.36 132.23


Balance Sheet
As of 31/03/08 (in UK Pounds Sterling)
 Account 31/03/08
  Cash and Bank Accounts  
     Cashbook 377.44
     Current 801.62
     Savings 337.53
  TOTAL Cash and Bank Accounts 1,516.59
  Other Assets  
     Debtors 158.25
     Episcope 30.00
     Sales Stock 42.47
  TOTAL Other Assets 230.72
     Other Liabilities  
        Creditors 73.31
     TOTAL Other Liabilities 73.31
  EQUITY 1,674.00


Balance Sheet
As of 31/03/09 (in UK Pounds Sterling)
 Account 31/03/09
  Cash and Bank Accounts  
     Cashbook 40.01
     Current 1,307.92
     Savings 343.68
  TOTAL Cash and Bank Accounts 1,691.61
  Other Assets  
     Debtors 126.00
     Episcope 22.00
     Sales Stock 57.50
  TOTAL Other Assets 205.50
     Other Liabilities  
        Creditors 90.88
     TOTAL Other Liabilities 90.88
  EQUITY 1,806.23

Support voiced for River Wey scheme

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AN AMBITIOUS £93m project to restore 'London's lost route to the sea' has been boosted by a public show of local support.

The results of a public consultation just mounted in Shalford by the Wey & Arun Canal Trust revealed that more than 90% of those responding, many of whom were Bramley residents, were in favour of restoring the canal with only 6.7% opposed to the plan.

More than 320 people attended the first exhibition by the trust to get feedback on detailed proposals drawn up by UK engineers WS Atkins to provide a 26km 'green corridor' that would link the River Wey Navigation to the River Arun and the English Channel.

One of the major challenges facing the trust in realising its aim is finding a new route through Bramley, near Guildford. The original line of the canal has been partly erased by the building of Linersh Wood Close, and several possible detours have been identified but none yet been chosen.

The most economically viable and environmentally acceptable route would be to use Cranleigh waterway, also known as Bramley Stream, to provide the missing link.

In fact, while the main aim of the trust over the coming year is to extend the operational stretch of the canal northwards from Loxwood, the secondary aim is to progress the Bramley Link Project.

Bramley residents strongly opposed the proposed link in the 1970s when the trust was first formed, so it has been heartened by the latest show of support.

"This is quite a dramatic turnaround," said spokesman Bill Thomson. "We had a public consultation in Bramley four years ago and there was still quite a high level of opposition.

"Atkins came out in favour of the scheme because of the economic benefits due to the increased number of people who would be using the canal for leisure pursuits.

"When we first had the scheme costed it was £20m. The price goes up all the time, but it still compares very favourably with the cost of a mile of motorway. There is money available from grant-giving bodies and quite a lot comes in from legacies and private donations.

"The trust has celebrated a bit of a milestone at the end of September by increasing its members to 2,743. The numbers are growing all the time and we hope to have 3,000 by early next year.

"The cruises we offer on the restored Loxwood section caused quite a rapid jump in membership. We now have a bigger boat that can take an entire coach party and there has been a lot more enthusiasm from the general public. Many people have been quite surprised to find they can go down a canal with bridges and locks.

"We know there are obstacles ahead. There's still a lot of land in private ownership and we will have to negotiate leases, but we successfully overcame a lot of obstacles in Loxwood and we are confident nothing is going to stop us.

"It's just frustrating that we can't put a timescale on the project."

Beatrice Phillpotts, - 19 October 2009

Thieves use canal for getaway

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Metal thieves set up a makeshift jetty and used a canal barge to make off with five tons of aluminium from a Black Country firm.

Workers at Impalloy Ltd in Bloxwich were stunned to discover the metal had been carried from outside the foundry down a slippy, steep embankment, through a fence and loaded on to a boat on the Wyrley and Essington Canal.

Despite the weight of the metal, which would have taken hours to load, the thieves managed to get away undetected.

The unusual nature of the theft was revealed because a trail of metal had been dropped by the thieves and was found leading to a hole cut in the fence continuing down to the canal, where a makeshift jetty was discovered.

Managing director at Impalloy, Marie Patterson, said: "I don't know how they have managed to carry all that metal down such a steep embankment and then got it onto a boat.

"If I could meet these people I would employ them, it is probably the way they used to transport things in times gone by.

"I was gob smacked when I was shown the jetty they have obviously made and used to get the metal on the boat or raft or whatever they used. I wouldn't be surprised to discover they used a work horse or something.

"The metal they took was damaged and worthless and has been just sitting outside the foundry."

The following day the thieves returned to sneak in to the foundry and steal the small amount of metal they had left behind, this time making off on a worker's bicycle.

It is not the first time the Willenhall Lane foundry has been targeted and it has now installed CCTV and has 24 hour security on site.

In March this year 61 tons of aluminium was stolen worth around £70,000.

Since then the company has been hit by smaller thefts over the last few months. But the latest raid, which happened around a fortnight ago, has been the most unusual.

Express and Star, Wolverhampton - 21 October 2009

September Meeting

Peter Jordan - "The History of the Kennet & Avon Canal"

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Whilst many of our members are fairly knowledgeable about the Kennet & Avon Canal, it is always interesting to welcome a speaker with so much knowledge - about its history, its restoration into a living waterway again - and its current situation. So we were delighted that Peter Jordan had come to fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge.

We were reminded that what we know today as the Kennet & Avon Canal is actually three different waterways. The River Kennet was made navigable between the River Thames and Newbury in 1723, and the River Avon from Bristol to Bath in 1727. The 57 mile canal between Newbury and Bath opened in 1810. The two river navigations and the canal total 87 miles in length. Peter described the history of the two original river navigations and the later canal. The opening of the Great Western Railway in 1841 removed much of the canal's traffic and in 1852 that railway company took over its running, levying such high tolls that the canal was hardly used. The Somerset Coal Canal and the Wilts & Berks Canal, which provided trade to the Kennet and Avon, both closed in the early 1900s.

Peter described how the canal became part of the GHQ Line to defend England against an expected German invasion during World War II, with a large number of fortifications (pillboxes) being constructed along its route.

By the 1950s much of the canal was unusable due to poor maintenance, particularly of the locks, and an attempt was made to legally close the canal. In 1956 the Kennet & Avon Canal Society successfully petitioned against its closure. Later, the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust was formed in the 1960s to work towards the restoration of the canal from Reading to Bristol, later working in partnership with British Waterways and the various riparian local authorities along the route. In 1990 the canal was officially reopened by HM Queen Elizabeth II. However, both then and later, much work was required to improve the waterway, with major financial assistance from the National Lottery. It was not until 2003 that the restoration's completion was celebrated by a visit from HRH Prince Charles.

Peter continued his talk describing how this strategic waterway is used today, as a major leisure facility and tourism destination, and outlined its plans for the future, including an eventual reconnection with a restored Wilts & Berks Canal with its alternative route to the River Thames.

Many thanks Peter for such an entertaining and informative evening. In addition to Peter's travel expenses a donation of £50 was made to the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust.

Paul Herbert

October Meeting

'Day-Star Theatre' - "An Unpleasant Business"

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Whilst we didn't manage to achieve a full house for Day-Star Theatre's visit this time, there was nevertheless a good sized crowd to witness their Unpleasant Business - a regular whodunit!

The synopsis of this play has been published in previous Newsletters so I won't repeat the details of the plot again but, as promised, there were one or two unexpected twists - especially at the end when the identity of the murderer was revealed. There were a couple of clues as to that identity as the play progressed and, in the end, whilst it appeared that the majority of the audience were surprised when it was revealed that one of the investigating police officers, Detective Constable Saunders, was the culprit, a few of us had managed to work it out.

As usual, Pete and Jane Marshall excelled in their portrayal of the various characters involved, with their costume changes and set changes, and of course, as always, the production was completely their own. On this occasion they were ably supported by son, George, who was in charge of the technical side viz. lighting and music.

Many thanks to Pete, Jane and George for a thoroughly entertaining evening. They are already discussing with us their next visit - so watch this space for details.

As has now become a traditional end to any Day-Star visit, the performance was followed by an American Supper, which was enjoyed by all.

Paul Herbert

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