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Issue 437 - June 2009

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Chairman's Column

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Welcome to our Social Evening

Welcome to those present at our first Society Quiz Evening and Silent Auction and I hope the evening will be enjoyed by all. Gill and I are sorry that we are unable to join with members on this occasion, due to a family bereavement.

The Purton Hulks

Did regular followers of TV's "Countryfile" catch the excerpt on the Purton Hulks a few weeks ago?

River Thames Trip

Thirty members/guests took part in the Society's River Thames outing on Sunday 7 June. As this column is being written on the eve of that trip full details with pictures will be have to be carried over to the next Newsletter.

Rogan and Lynn Olding

I am afraid we have to say goodbye to our members Rogan and Lynn Olding who will shortly be moving to the Isle of Wight and will not, therefore, be able to attend our meetings in the future. Best wishes to you both and many thanks for your close involvement with the Society including, of course, the organisation of those enjoyable and very successful Skittles Evenings in Hursley.

Has anyone got access to a Digital Projector?

Every year, for the supporting programme for the Annual General Meeting we have been fortunate to being able to use Peter Oates's digital projector. Whilst Peter is still happy for us to use his equipment, now that he and Laura have moved to the Midlands it is no longer a practical solution. I am therefore wondering if any member either owns or has access to such equipment that could be borrowed just for that evening. If that is not possible, we will have to try and hire a projector. If anyone can help, can they please contact me as soon as possible. Many thanks.

"Cargoes" and Southampton Canal Society

"Cargoes" is the newsletter of the Guildford & Reading, Kent & East Sussex, Oxfordshire and Solent & Arun Branches of the Inland Waterways Association. The summer edition, recently published, carries a full page article about Southampton Canal Society. That article covers the original formation of the Society and its main objectives, details of our activities, including our monthly meetings and outings etc, the Newsletter, and details of our future programme to the end of 2009. We are grateful to the "Cargoes" Editorial Team for allowing us so much coverage in their newsletter.

Write-up on our last meeting

The write-up on last month's talk by Dr Roger Squires about the Panama Canal has had to be held over to the next Newsletter.

Next Month's Meeting

Our next meeting, on Thursday 2 July, we will look forward to - "Tales, Slides and Cine Film" - An Evening with our President, Brian Evans. I am told this will include "Ely, Denver, Prickwillow, Diesels, Passau (Danube), maybe a few trains and members trips." An event not to be missed.

Paul Herbert

Double Celebration on the Wey & Arun Canal

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On Saturday 9th May 2009, the Wey & Arun Canal Trust reached another milestone in its ambitious programme to restore "London's Lost Route to the Sea", with the re-opening of the waterway under Loxwood High Street and the naming of a new, all-electric visitor boat, Wiggonholt.

With the official opening of Loxwood canal bridge by the Rt.Hon the Lord Sterling of Plaistow GCVO CBE, canal traffic can again pass under the road for the first time in 140 years, the £1.8 million project being one of the largest and most expensive anywhere in the country undertaken by a volunteer canal trust.

Chairman of the Trust, Peter Foulger, says: "This is a great occasion for the Trust as we celebrate the end of five years work to reinstate the canal under Loxwood High Street. Without help from so many people, we could never have reached today's celebration." Nearly 800 members, supporters and visitors enjoyed the day in Loxwood.

In recognition of an £80,000 donation from the Wiggonholt Association towards the cost of the new all-electric boat, the naming of Wiggonholt was undertaken by Mrs Doreen Mann, a member of that organisation. This will mean that the Trust will now have three boats in which to offer public trips or for private hire. Leading the 'fleet' Wiggonholt will be able to carry 50 passengers, Zachariah Keppel 30 and John Smallpeice 12 guests.

Speaking about the new boat, Derek Miller, Chairman of W&A Enterprises Ltd, the trading arm of the Trust, comments: "WAEL has enjoyed the expert assistance of its members to design, order and see Wiggonholt through to completion. Thank you to them and to the boat-builders for bringing us the red-letter day for WAEL."

Following the naming of the new boat at 11.20, Mr Peter Flatter and Mrs Doreen Mann of the Wiggonholt Association, Lord Sterling and other invited guests boarded Wiggonholt and passed through the re-built tunnel. Lord Sterling officially declared the bridge open followed by the opening of the new lock. In his speech he spoke about the historical significance and congratulated the Trust on achieving this milestone.

The celebrations continued in the afternoon with a Small Boat Rally on the canal.

Wey & Arun Canal Trust Press Release 11 May 2009

It has been announced that on 14 May 2009, Peter Foulger retired as Chairman of the Trust after 12 outstandingly successful years. Peter's successor is Sally Schupke, formerly the Trust's Public Relations Officer. Peter will continue to serve as a director of the Canal Trust.

2009 Society Boat Gathering

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Another informal Society Boat Gathering was held at Flecknoe (near Napton) and at Braunston over the bank holiday weekend 2-4 May.

The crews gather

The crews gather at Flecknoe before Saturday's barbecue.
Picture Ken Froud

Five boats attended - Eric and Sue Lewis's 'Remus'; Ken and Margaret Froud's 'Duorf II'; Alan and Angela Rose's 'Liberty' (Angela's Mum was also on board); Aelred and Sue Derbyshire's 'Basingstoke'; and Gill and myself on 'The Evelyn Broadbent'.

The programme for the weekend following the previously successful format. We joined together at Flecknoe on Saturday where we had afternoon tea followed by an evening barbecue. Sunday morning we cruised to Braunston and that evening enjoyed a meal at 'The Old Plough', when we were joined by well known Society members Laura Sturrock and Peter Oates. On Monday lunchtime we met up onboard 'Basingstoke', at the kind invitation of Aelred and Sue, for a delicious American Lunch.

Bank Holiday lunch

Bank Holiday lunch onboard 'Basingstoke' in Braunston.
Picture Aelred Derbyshire

After the lunch we dispersed, returning to our various moorings in the area. Some of us returned to Napton via the Braunston Puddle Banks where we witnessed a working party lead by a well known associate of the Society, Peter Boyce, and others including Peter Oates and Laura Sturrock, in the process of raising the sunken working boat 'Lucy' prior to taking her back to Peter Boyce's yard at Braunston for possible restoration. (See article below.)

Again, we were blessed with excellent weather and no problem with moorings, despite it being a bank holiday weekend. Everybody agreed that it had been another successful and enjoyable weekend and it is hoped to repeat the same format next year.

Paul Herbert

Help please

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Recently your editor received an email from John Fisher looking for information about an ancestor. If anyone can help in any way please send your comments to me and I will forward them to John.

I am helping to produce a family history and discover (from the recently published 1911 census) that my great grandfather, JOSEPH lived at Itchen and gave his occupation as a boat builder.

Mystery boatyard

This may explain [this] mysterious (pre-1914) commercially taken photograph which came into my possession many years ago and which shows him (and others) standing in the middle of a busy boatyard which somebody has suggested may well be WHITE'S BOATYARD at Itchen. (He lived with his family at 15, Elm Road, Itchen - alas no longer there - but was then, according to an old map, a few hundred yards away).

Although I appreciate that your Society is concerned specifically with inland waterways, I wonder if you or any of your members might be able to point me in the right direction to find out something about WHITE'S BOATYARD - specifically what it was building in those days and what became of it?

In the picture they appear to be busy building barges (of different sizes and types).

Before coming south he had worked in Tipton, in Staffordshire, where the family built canal barges.

If any of your members could throw any light on what is being built here, when and where, I would be most grateful. I have shown this image to the Tipton Historical Society who are as intrigued as I am. They tell me that these boats are too wide for their canals. I presume therefore that they are river barges but I really don't know.

Any help or suggestions or guidance you might offer would be very much appreciated.

Yours truly

John Fisher


Rescuing 'Lucy' from her watery grave!

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LUCY is a wooden butty built for the carrying fleet of John Knill. She was built by Frank Nurser at the Samuel Barlow Coal Co.'s boat dock at Braunston in 1951, and first registered at Daventry as number 548 in February 1953.

Lucy pictured in 2008

Lucy pictured on Braunston Puddle Bank in 2008.

She was sold to Barlows Ltd. in 1955, and worked by them until 1962. Finally she was re-registered by Blue Line Cruisers Ltd on 12th April 1962. Steered by the Whitlocks, and paired with motors IAN and then RENFREW, she finished carrying on the long distance Jam 'Ole Run in October 1970. She was retired to Braunston with Bill and Rose Whitlock living on her outside the Marina until 1977.

Patching Lucy's stern

Patching Lucy's stern.

Since 1977, she had been a private residential boat, and latterly sank at Braunston Puddle Banks. In 2008, she was acquired by Pete Boyce as the start of a reconstruction project of this most important wooden Braunston-built butty.

Lucy just after pumping had started

Lucy, lying inside the tug James Loader, seen just after pumping had started.

After Pete had set up a workshop and yard at Braunston to carry out wooden boat restoration and carpentry, the facilities and space for such a restoration were coincidentally in place, in the very town where she was built. Fellow wooden boat owners, HNBOC members, her previous owner and BW themselves regard this boat as most important in the history of canal carrying, being one of the last wooden butties built for carrying at a historic boatyard in Braunston.

Lucy afloat within the tarpaulin

Lucy afloat with the tarpaulin keeping out the water.

After months of preparation which included welding a steel frame to her iron knees to give strength, she was refloated on Monday May 4th 2009 with the help of a volunteer working party. Two men in wetsuits patched her stern outside and in, while others baled out the mud or kept the 3" and 2" pumps going. When she floated for the second time, a boat length tarpaulin was dragged under her. With this in place, she floated easily, was towed to Braunston Turn and moored at Tess Wharf until Thursday.

Lucy approaching Tess Wharf

Lucy approaching Tess Wharf at Braunston Turn.

Lucy on her cradle

Lucy, on her cradle, being lifted from the water at Braunston Marina.

On Thursday May 7th the steel lifting cradle was moved to the marina, followed by LUCY under tow from JAMES LOADER. The cradle was lowered into the marina arm and LUCY eased between the straps. A check on her position on the cradle was made before she was lifted onto the lorry. Then a short road trip brought her back to the yard, and she now rests on her cradle ashore, ready for phase 2, measurement and recording. More information can be found at

Pictures in this article 2009 Peter Boyce, Irene Belcher, Laura Sturrock, Paul Herbert and Alan Rose.

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

© Southampton Canal Society 1999 - 2009. 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 15 June 2009 - archived 04 July 2009.

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