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Issue 491 - December 2013

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Chairman’s Column

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December 5th Meeting

Tonight we welcome you all to the Annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz.

As last year winners Guildford & Reading’s team have organised the questions with Martin Ludgate as question master. David Doulton has kindly offered again the use of his digital projector.

Tonight’s teams: IWA Guildford & Reading, IWA Salisbury and Southampton Canal Society.

Our American Supper has become a tradition, thank you all for bringing along a variety of food to share, this finishes off the evening very well.

Thursday January 2nd 2014 Meeting

At our next meeting, we will be holding our Members’ Photographic Evening and Competition.

This gives everyone the opportunity to show some pictures that you feel will entertain / amuse / educate your fellow members.

Just before the tea interval, entries for the Photographic Competition will be shown. You don’t have to be showing other pictures during the evening to enter. One picture only to do with the waterways from any member.

As before we hope to accommodate any format. David Doulton has offered again the use of his digital projector.

Please contact Peter Oates if you have any questions about an unusual or different format.

SCS Christmas / New Year Lunch

This will be on Saturday 11th January 2014, meeting at 12.30 for 1pm lunch at the Blue Hayes Restaurant, Salisbury Road, Shootash, nr Romsey, SO51 6GA.

This evening please see the Booking List and Menu Choice. Angela Rose has the lists. For those of you unable to be at the meeting, a copy of the menu is available on the canal society website at

And there’s also a slight bonus on this occasion: the cost is £19.95 (last time it was £20.50).

2014 Programme

Please look at the Society Meetings and Events page for details of talks and speakers for next year’s programme up to March 2014.

November Meeting

We all enjoyed the Day Star Theatre’s yearly visit and their very interesting production “The Making of Geoffrey Phelps.” Thank you to Pete, Jane and George for visiting us again.

The evening was well supported by 47 members and friends. Thank you all for your help and the wonderful American Supper.

Seasonal Greeting to all our Members

With this evening’s meeting, we have reached the end of our 2013 programme and, as is usual at this time of year, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

Alan Rose

Notices and stoppages

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Every year the Canal and River Trust carry out upwards of £45 million pounds worth of maintenance and repairs. Often, to safely carry out these jobs, they have to restrict water or towpath traffic. For the major bits of work they have to restrict both. When they do either of these they try to give as much as notice as possible. In the past they’ve done this via a notification system run on the old Waterscape website. Not any more.

CRT’s developers, Webteam and waterway administrators have been working hard to build a new, upgraded system into CRT’s website. This article explains what’s new and how you can sign up to receive notices and stoppages. If you already receive stoppages from the old system please keep an eye out for an email containing instructions on how you can switch to the new system.

What’s new?

There are three main parts to the notification system: the email alerts, the graphical display of notices and stoppages on our interactive map and, finally, the search facility. Email alerts and the ability to search have previously been available but both have evolved. The mapping of notices and stoppages is a brand new development. All three are explained in more detail below:

Although it’s not active yet, there will be a Twitter feed (@CRTnotices) of all notices in the very near future.

To sign up for the new system, go to:
29 November 2013

Centenary Of Last Attempt To Reach Basingstoke By Boat

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Alec Harmsworth 1913

The last boat to reach Basingstoke by canal was in 1910. Under the provisions of the Railway and Canal Traffic Act of 1888, an abandonment order could be applied for if a line had been unused for three years, so in 1913, William Carter, the owner of the Basingstoke Canal began to get worried. He asked Alec Harmsworth (right), who operated a carrying business on the canal, to try to take a boat to Basingstoke.

Harmsworth agreed and the narrow boat Basingstoke, laden with a token load of 5 tons of moulding sand for the agricultural engineers Wallis & Steevens, set off from Ash Vale at 6am on 16th November 1913. The voyage started well and they had no trouble passing through Greywell Tunnel by about midday. However, things then rapidly became more difficult due to shortage of water. They were forced to stop at Penney Bridge in Up Nately and install stop planks to allow the level to rise before proceeding. This process continued, with the boat being laboriously towed by teams of men and horses, until the outskirts of Old Basing were reached on 10th December. There the attempt finally ground to a halt with the Basingstoke high and dry (below).

Aground at Old Basing

However, a subsequent court case deemed the canal to be private land and not subject to the Act of 1888, so the threat of enforced closure disappeared. After Christmas, enough rain had fallen to allow the boat to turn round and return to Ash Vale in early January. The Basingstoke was scrapped in 1932, but its metal frames were used to build another boat Brookwood, whose remains are still sunk in Great Bottom Flash at Ash Vale. Alec Harmsworth bought the Basingstoke Canal in 1923 and ran it until he died in 1947.

This epic voyage forms part of a new display about the canal that the Basingstoke Canal Society is hoping to install soon at the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke.

See a short, contemporary film of the ill-fated 1913 journey on

Basingstoke Canal Society Press Release
14 November 2013

Wilts and Berks Canal News

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Things have been happening recently on the Wilts & Berks Canal.

In the August issue of this Newsletter, an appeal for funds to purchase land containing Seven Locks near Lyneham to the west of Wootton Bassett. That appeal led to the successful purchase of this part of the canal by the Canal Trust.

Also in August, the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust launched another appeal: this time to save the Peterborough Arms - a pub next to the canal at Dauntsey Lock about 5 miles west of Wootton Bassett. The following letter was sent to Trust members:

The Peterborough Arms

The Peterborough Arms. The canal lies just beyond the pub.

Dear Member,

I realise that you have only just put away your cheque books from the Seven Locks Appeal and the Land Fund Draw but I want to use this opportunity to tell you that we have today opened a fund for the Dauntsey Lock Canal Centre project.

As many of you will know the Peterborough Arms at Dauntsey Lock closed in April and is for sale. The Trust has listed the pub as an Asset of Community Value and has until the 28th December to put in a bid to purchase it. The asking price is £325,000.

The pub will form the heart of the proposed Canal Centre and with the purchase or lease of the adjoining stretch of canal, we can run a trip boat, offer canoe/bike hire, have a shop and a café. We also plan to use some of the rooms for meetings and an office.

It is a one-off chance to purchase a canal-side pub on the Wilts & Berks and set up a centre such as this with facilities that can be used by the local community. If we do not manage to buy the pub for any reason, any money collected will be used towards obtaining canal access and a trip boat at Dauntsey.

All contributions and/or pledges to this fund will be very gratefully received.

Chris Coyle
Acting Chairman

In addition, the Trust has asked recently for pledges for a loan scheme to buy the pub. Further details of the appeal and the loan scheme can be found at the web page given at the bottom of this article.

So that its possible keep in touch with what’s happening on the canal by going to a blog that was started at the end of October at

Its also possible to follow Wilts & Berks news on Twitter at and on Facebook at

More general information about the Trust can be found at their website

Further information on the appeal and loan scheme can be found at:

Send your comments to the Web Site manager.

© Southampton Canal Society 1999 - 2013. 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 13 December 2013 - last updated 30 December 2013.

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