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Navvies 239 - magazine for volunteers restoring the waterways.


  • navviesnavvies



    Issue No 239February-March


    Issue No 239February-March


    volunteers restoring waterwaysvolunteers restoring waterways

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    Visit our web site for

    NavviesProductionEditor: Martin Ludgate, 35 Silvester Road,East Dulwich London SE22 9PB020-8693 3266 [email protected]

    Subscriptions: Sue Watts, 15 Eleanor Rd.,Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9FZ

    Printing and assembly: John & TessHawkins, 4 Links Way, Croxley Green,Rickmansworth, Herts WD3 3RQ01923 448559 [email protected]

    Navvies is published by Waterway RecoveryGroup, Island House, Moor Rd., CheshamHP5 1WA and is available to all interested inpromoting the restoration and conservationof inland waterways by voluntary effort inGreat Britain. Articles may be reproduced inallied magazines provided that the source isacknowledged. WRG may not agree withopinions expressed in this magazine, butencourages publication as a matter of inter-est. Nothing printed may be construed aspolicy or an official announcement unless sostated - otherwise WRG and IWA accept noliability for any matter in this magazine.

    Waterway Recovery Group is part of TheInland Waterways Association, (registeredoffice: Island House, Moor Road, CheshamHP5 1WA). The Inland Waterways Associa-tion is a non-profit distributing companylimited by guarantee, registered in Englandno 612245, and registered as a charity no212342. VAT registration no 342 0715 89.

    Directors of WRG: Rick Barnes, JohnBaylis, Mick Beattie, Malcolm Bridge, JamesButler, Spencer Collins, Christopher Davey,George Eycott, John Hawkins, Judith Palmer,Michael Palmer, Jonathan Smith, Harry Watts.

    ISSN: 0953-6655

    2010 WRG


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    e Chase

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    all the latest news of WRG's activities

    Chairman some interesting new sites 4-5Coming soon Barn Dance, Easter camp,BCN Cleanup, Cavalcade, Training 6-9Camp reports Wilts & Berks, Wilts &Berks, Wilts & Berks and Wilts & Berks 8-17WRG at 40 First two of 40 interviews18-22Survey best and worst accommodation 23Diary canal camps and weekend digs 24-26Letters slipways and cider 27-28Progress restoration roundup 29-33Dig Deep update from the south 34-35WRG NW a year in the life 36-38London WRG on the Cotswolds 39-41Directory WRG and canal societies 42-44News and the latest from WRG Boat Club45Noticeboard dredger drivers needed 46Infill including Dear Deirdre 47


    ...are always welcome, whether handwritten,typed, on CD-ROM, DVD or by email.

    Photos also welcome: digital,slides, prints. Please state whether youwant your prints back. Digital pics arewelcome as email attachments, preferablyJPG format, but if you have a lot of largefiles it is best to send them on CD-ROM orDVD or to contact the editor first.

    Contributions by post to the editorMartin Ludgate, 35, Silvester Road,London SE22 9PB, or by email [email protected]

    Press date for issue 240: March 1st.


    A year's subscription (6 issues) is availablefor a minimum of 1.50 to Sue Watts, 15Eleanor Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy,Manchester M21 9FZ. Cheques to "Wa-terway Recovery Group" please.

    This is a minimum subscription, keptlow so that everyone can afford to subscribe.Please add a donation if you can.

    ContentsIn this issue...

    Above Whats happening at Lock 47 onthe Cheshire Locks? See Chairmans Com-ment, p4-5. Far left Tirforing on the NewYear Camp: see p12-13. Left theres lifenorth of Watford: see WRG NW report,p37-39. Below book now for the BCNCleanup, see p6-7. Front cover groupphoto on the London WRG / KESCRG /WRGSW Christmas dig at Calne on the Wilts& Berks: see p8-9 (pic: Martin Ludgate).Back cover Site for three camps this year,the Chelmer & Blackwater (Helen Dobbie)


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    ChairmanMKP on logistics and Burslem

    Some believe that BW are

    paid by the Government to do

    this, but there is no question

    of them opening this lock

    without our help...

    Chairmans Comment

    We had a WRG committee meeting recently. It was a little unusual, in that it was in a tentwith snow on the ground and most of us covered in red paint, but thats not important rightnow. The important bit is that everything seems to be going quite well. In particular theplanning for the camps is looking really good. I am aware that around this time of yearthere are some tricky decisions to be made - do you go for one of the regular safe sites ordo you go for one of the new wackier sites and risk the chance of the permissions notcoming through in time and the work changing at the last minute? Well the good news isthat for pretty much all the wackier camps we now have leaders appointed and the locals arereally getting their act together. So if you ever fancied trying somewhere new then this yearis the time to do it.

    One significant change this year will be that the logistics arrangements for our campswill be different. For years now the Camps trailers, and all the toys in them, have beenlooked after by Jen Leigh. This is one of the most disheartening jobs in the organisation -the kit gets terrible abuse over the summer and the shiny kit you sent out in June returns asorry state in September.

    What is amazing over all these years is that Jen never let this defeat her attention todetail and perfection - a tool painted by Jen was a work of art and her determination to helpthe camps by making sure they had the The Right Tool For The Right Job resulted in ourcatering kit having the weirdest (but useful) things in it. However, everyone deserves a breakand the truth is that, with the kit getting ever more complex, it is just not possible for oneperson to look after all the Camps kit and hold down any form of job, external life, etc. Solast year Jen asked us if she could step down and if we could find someone else to do it.Which brings us back to why we were standing in a tent covered in paint but before I goonto that I do need to properly thank Jen. There are very few jobs in wrg where your effortsgenuinely touch everyone else in the organisation. We passionately believe in The Right ToolFor The Right Job and anyone who has ever picked up a shovel, mattock or garlic press on awrg camp will have benefited from Jens efforts. Thank you Jen from all of us.

    So back to a tent covered in red paint; because the logistics operation is such a keypart of our work and it is just not fair to expect one person to undertake it we have decidedon a more distributed approach to it. Hence a team of about ten of us spent a weekemailing each other saying hmm do you think the snow will clear by Saturday? beforefinally saying what the heck, lets go for it and heading off to our secret tool base in theMidlands and tried to get all the kit to be the same colour (red in case you hadnt guessed).Whilst this plan will mean a bigger, more ad-hoc team looking after the kit I am very pleasedto say that Brian Bayston has offered to keep a watching brief over the overall quality andquantity of the kit.

    Our continued thanks to Tom and Rachel Jeffries who generously give us some spaceto store (and paint) all our gear out of season. The toolpainting weekend was very success-ful and my thanks to all who came and helped shape the contents of the trailers this year. Itwas a strange but enjoyable event and we seem to have a few more strange events on thehorizon and I just thought I like to run them past you.

    First up is the British Leisure Show - this is a new event in Windsor that may wellhave lots of our sort of people attending, so our new mobile publicity stand will be making itsthird trip out. Jenny Black is looking after this and I think she has enough people to staff thestand but beware if you live near there and she offers you a drink in the immediate future.

    We also have the usual suspects of the BCN Clean Up on 17-18 April and the Train-

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    ing Weekend (12-13 June). Another, nowtraditional, event is our Leaders TrainingDay (May 15th), where we hope to bring ourleaders (or potential leaders) up to speed withsome changes we are making to make lifeeasier for them. See our Coming Soon pagesoverleaf for more about all of these events.

    Finally, one double project we are alsorunning (which I foolishly said I would lead)is a joint expeditionary force to the NorthMidlands to attempt to explore bothBurslem Port and Cheshire locks.Burslem Port, an old arm of the Trent &Mersey Canal near Stoke, has been a longrunning project that finally looks like it hasenough influential people backing it to startmaking progress. As a result we have beenasked to do some excavations around the buildings by the junction to find out what valuethe remaining bits are and to try and show people that the waste ground they have lookedout at for years could actually be dug up and turned back into a canal. This may seem some-thing of a token effort - we will probably have to fill it back in again once the archeologistshave had a good poke around - but it is just this sort of token effort that started most of therestorations we all work on, so it is worth us putting some effort in.

    At the same time as this job we will also be working on one of the duplicate locksadded to the Cheshire Locks flights on the Trent and Mersey Canal in the 19th Century toincrease capacity, a number of which are now derelict/closed which is causing a realpinchpoint. Lock 47 was closed years ago for (possibly spurious) reasons and is now sosilted up that it needs a good clean out before any engineering decisions can be made. Itcould be that the lock is itself is Ok and just needs a wash