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Issue 337 - December 1999

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Annual Inter-Society Quiz

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Eleven members of Southampton Canal Society travelled to the Byfleet Boat Club for the Inter-Society Quiz on Monday 22nd November; our team of four and seven supporters. A large room full of people made it obvious that the other three teams taking part were also well supported.

Members of our team were Paul Herbert, Eric Lewis, Tony Coles and Peter Oates. The strong competition they were up against came from Surrey & Hants Canal Society, IWA Solent & Arun Branch and IWA Guildford & Reading Branch.

The Competition was divided into two parts, first an oral quiz followed by identification of waterways pictures which were mounted on four large panels and kept covered until after a tea break. The audience were also issued with answer sheets and those who wanted to could take part for a separate prize.

The whole competition was great fun and our quizmaster, Andy Simmonds, dealt with one or two disputes in good humoured fashion.

Results - well, three cheers for our own team for bringing the valuable trophy back to Southampton by scoring 178 points. They were closely followed by last year's winners IWA Guildford & Reading Branch with 176 points. Third were IWA Solent & Arun Branch with 159 and fourth Surrey & Hants CS, 117 points.

A bottle of wine from a local vineyard was the prize won by Brian Percy, Chairman of IWA SE Region, best in the audience. Brian generously put the wine up for auction for IWA funds.

After the quiz, those present enjoyed a generous buffet before heading off in various directions.

Our thanks to our hosts, the Guildford & Reading Branch of IWA for a super evening and we look forward to hosting the next Inter-Society Quiz.

Brian Evans


Open and closed

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Following the Environment Agency's decision to abandon the close fishing season, all BW canals will remain open for fishing throughout the year.

Never busier

BW has embarked on its busiest period ever. Over 100 planned stoppages started in November, adding to a workload which already includes restoration of the Forth & Clyde, Union, Huddersfield Narrow, Chesterfield and Kennet & Avon canals.

The scale of engineering work far surpasses the BTC's modernisation of the 1950's. In partnership with other bodies BW are restoring canals faster than they were being built at the height of canal mania 200 years ago.

Throughout the network, around 220 engineering contracts are in progress. They have boosted BW spending to an average of over £4m each week.

And there is more. Work on two schemes involving the Waterways Trust should start next year. The restoration of the Rochdale Canal will add £25m to BW turnover while the Anderton Boat Lift project will cost £7m.

BW Monthly - Nov 1999


November Meeting

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The Chesterfield Canal by Peter Oates and Laura Sturrock was presently mostly by Peter; he did most of the talking but many of the slides were taken by Laura. They must have been for Peter was often in the picture. This was the first presentation that SCS has had on the Chesterfield and what a treat it was.

Built from the Trent to Chesterfield, principally to serve local mines and related industries, this waterway was similar to many in Britain, some success, followed by decline, a tunnel collapse and many years of dereliction.

In the 1960's the campaign for restoration was taken up by the Retford and Worksop Boat Club and since then much progress has been made by volunteer groups and British Waterways, owners of the canal from the Trent to the west end of Norwood Tunnel.

The collapsed tunnel presents a major obstacle to further progress west at the moment but negotiations are in progress, also with the various owners along the course towards Chesterfield.

The slide show began with a look at the entrance to the navigable part of the River Idle. The navigable part of the Canal was mainly photographed as Peter and Laura cruised with a hire boat, and the rest of its route by visits on foot. Along the way there were glimpses of adjoining towns and villages. Peter had done a lot of research into the history and present day state of the waterway and his precise delivery was both educating and amusing.

Brian Evans


Bones

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It has been said that the membership of any organisation is made up of four sets of bones.

There are the wishbones who spend all their time wishing someone else would do the work.

Along with them are the jawbones who do all the talking about the work and very little else.

Another group is the knucklebones who knock everything that anyone else tries to do.

But most valuable are the backbones who get under the load and actually do the work.

To which do you belong?

With thanks to an unknown author and IWPS' One Seven Four Newsletter.


Co-op Bank switches on to canal electricity

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The Co-operative Bank has plugged-in to water power at its city centre headquarters. The hi-tech offices, which use enough electricity to run 600 homes, will now be powered by water from the Manchester Ship Canal. It is believed to be the first building powered from a canal, and makes the Co-op the biggest purchaser of green energy in the UK.

"The principle reason for this is that we were concerned about the issue of global warming and we wanted to do our bit to reduce the contribution of greenhouse gases," said bank spokesman Paul Monaghan.

"It's not much more expensive and in the long term, costs will go down because of greater energy efficiency. We are looking to use renewable energy wherever possible and we are delighted to be able to power our head office with energy derived from one of the cleanest sources possible, hydropower."

Almost 40% of the bank's energy, at buildings and branches across the country, now comes from renewable sources. The Manchester HQ is being supplied with electricity by the Renewable Energy Company, from a turbine in the old pump house at Barton Dock.

Green campaigners hope other companies will follow the bank's lead.

Steve Conner, of Sustainability North West, said, "This is a tangible example of a business that has to make profits; a commercial concern that has to have a healthy bottom line."

Dale Vince, of the Renewable Energy Company, said, "The bank's commitment to renewable energy is substantially above the national average and worthy of praise."

IWPS' One Seven Four newsletter


Boat Trips 1999/2000

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Father Christmas Boat Trips

Every day from 27 November to 24 December

12 places are available on Egremont which leaves Chichester Canal Basin at 0910, 1020, 1130, 1240, 1350, 1500

Ticket Price: £5.00 Adult or Child

Come and see Father Christmas in his grotto. Presents for the children, seasonal refreshments for everyone.

Advanced bookings absolutely essential. Please call Sue Fowler on 01243 771724 to arrange your booking

Millennium Boat Trips

Special trips on 30/31 December 1999 and 1/2 January 2000. Two trips a day at about 10.30 am and 1.00 pm (it has to be during daylight hours). The trip duration is about 2 hours and represents a different way to celebrate the turn of the century. Bring your own buffet-style food or at extra cost a buffet can be arranged. Each booking is for the complete boat at a cost of £100, exclusive of food. Two bottles of champagne is being donated to each booking.

Contact Jenny Pine on 01243 670786 to make your reservation. Full refund should severe weather prevent operation.


Eileen Massy - An Obituary

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It was a shock to learn recently that an enthusiastic member of the Canal Society is no longer with us.

Although recently her deteriorating health had prevented her from attending our meetings, she and her husband John have been involved with the Society since the days when we held regular working parties on the Basingstoke Canal. I can vividly remember an occasion in 1977 when the Massy family, including children and the dog, were involved in preparations for the Deepcut Big Dig; Eileen busy with the concrete mixer.

She was always cheerful even after her operation for a brain tumour which I was surprised to find out was as long as eighteen years ago. She maintained an interest in the waterways and enjoyed coming to Society meetings.

I shall miss her smile and count myself fortunate to have known her. I am sure all in the Society will join me in giving heartfelt condolences to John and the families of their four children.

Peter Oates


Basingstoke Canal

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The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced a grant of £295,000 for the Basingstoke Canal. The money will help fund a pump-house and piping system which will pump water back up the locks around Woking. This will allow year round navigation of the Canal from the River Wey to beyond Woking.

The successful Heritage Lottery Fund application was put together by the Basingstoke Canal Authority and Surrey County Council, who own the Surrey section of the Canal. Volunteer support for the bid is being co-ordinated by Surrey & Hants Canal Society.

Each time a lock is used, some 50,000 gallons of water pass down the system. The Canal has had water supply problems ever since it was built over 200 years ago. However, increased demand for water from housing and industrial uses has reduced the flow of some of the original supplies of water from the springs and streams which formerly fed the Canal at its Hampshire end. Consequently, the main lock flights have had to remain closed to preserve water levels for much of each summer and autumn since the canal was re-opened in 1991.

IWA Head Office Bulletin Nov 99


Bugsworth Basin

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Following a small breach in the entrance canal to Bugsworth Basin the canal has had to be closed to navigation, whilst stop planks are inserted so that the breach can be repaired. The breach does not appear to be linked in any way to any defective restoration work, but rather a long standing hidden weakness has been exposed by substantial use of the basin since re-opening last Easter. Since the Basin had become derelict by time of the widespread introduction of motorised boats, the entrance canal has been subjected to stresses not previously experienced.

It will not be possible to predict when the canal will be reopened, until the full extent of the problem and costs to remedy it have been established.

IWA Head Office Bulletin Nov 99


IWA Solent & Arun Branch Cruises

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The following cruises in the branch area are currently being organised. More details will be given nearer the time.

May: River Arun moorings cruise, Littlehampton to Pulborough, and Upper Arun Campaign Cruise, Pulborough to Pallingham.

July: River Itchen tidal and freshwaters cruise, Woolston to Mansbridge.

September: Beaulieu River cruise and picnic, Buckler's Hard to Beaulieu.

Also in May: Wey and Arun Small Boat cruise at Loxwood.

June 25: Botley Millennium Festival, boat gathering, Botley Quay, River Hamble.


The Waterways Trust

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Although BW's consultation on a potential membership scheme and an allied trust has yet to be completed, the Waterways Trust, which currently runs the three main waterway museums, appears to be adopting the role set out in BW's consultation paper for the proposed charitable trust. At the time of BW's Annual Meeting, it had been acknowledged by BW that the Trust was involved in the Anderton Lift restoration project, in helping to find the funding shortfall on the Millennium Link project and also in facilitating the Rochdale Canal restoration funding package.

The Waterways Trust has also recently provided two grants to wildlife interests who have raised concerns in connection with the restoration of the Montgomery Canal. It is understood that the Trust is now open to receiving funding applications from waterway restoration groups throughout the country, whether they be situated in BW waterway areas or otherwise. However, the Trust only has a very limited amount of funds at its disposal at present and these will only be used to provide 10% Landfill Tax balances for projects which have been approved by Entrust. Further information is available from Graham Clark, c/o British Waterways at Watford (01923 226422).

IWA Head Office Bulletin Nov 99


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