Endeavour - August 2014

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Newsletter of the Inland Waterways Association, Northampton Branch

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  • Endeavour Northampton Branch

    Newsletter - August 2014

    1 to attempt (eg the fulfilment of an obligation) by exertion of effort; 2 archaic to strive to achieve or reach ~ vi to make an effort to do something n

    a serious determined effort

    The IWA was founded in 1946 to campaign for the retention, restoration and development of Britains navigable waterways and for their fullest commercial and recreational use.

    The IWA is a registered Charity (no. 212342) , whose work is supported by members subscriptions.

    Local waterway enthusiast, life-long campaigner and IWA Northampton Branch member David Blagrove was appointed an MBE in The Queens Birthday Honours List in June. The brief citation reads: For services to Restoration of the UK Water-ways

    Lynda Payton writes: For over 60 years Davids life has been dedicated to the resto-ration and promotion of the waterways, starting in the 50s when, still at school, as a member of the Kennet & Avon Canal Association, he helped set up the Reading Branch and began campaigning for its restoration and eventual re-opening which took place in 1990. In 1961 he became joint owner of the Enterprise, an old working boat converted to run as a passenger boat operating on the remaining navigable section of the River Kennet at Reading and commercial carry-ing at the same time. The fol-lowing year he assisted with the setting up of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, formed out of the previous Association, and was an early Council Mem-ber of that Trust.

    Continued on page 8

    David Blagrove, MBE

    David Blagrove (left) is congratulated by Richard Parry (CEO CRT) at the Stoke Bruerne Family Festival

    Photo: Katherine Dodington

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  • EDITORIAL

    MUSINGS

    3

    IWA Northampton Branch now has a Facebook page. Its at https://www.facebook.com/IWANorthamptonBranch Members will find posts there

    about our talks, work party dates and much more, as well as being able to use it for discussion purposes. Wed like to hear your views. We also have a Twitter

    account @northamptoniwa where you can leave us a message or engage in

    First, apologies for the late appearance of this Endeavour, dated August but actually dis-tributed in early September. I am afraid holidays got in the way, as they do at this time of the year.

    A lot has been going on this summer on our patch. Notable has been our success with CRT regarding maintenance issues on the Northampton Arm, particularly in view of the mini national rally being held at Beckets Park next August (thats only 12 months away, folks!).

    Our Boat Gathering at Braunston Marina in early May, now only a distant memory, saw the summer off to a flying start and was followed by several successful high profile events, among them Crick Boat Show, the Historic Narrowboat Rally at Braunston and then the Family Festival at Stoke Bruerne organised by The Friends of The Canal Muse-um when numerous Branch members were seen beavering away for the general water-ways cause. Now imminent at Stoke Bruerne is the Village at War Weekend, again with a considerable representation from the Branch membership (see page 23) and to top it all, Branch stalwart and waterways polymath David Blagrove was awarded the MBE in The Queens Birthday Honours in June.

    My plea for Letters to the Editor has, I hope, only temporarily fallen on stony ground,

    but I like to think it did prompt the submission of articles by members (pages 16 and 24).

    This is a healthy indication of people becoming actively involved please keep up the

    good work.

    Remember my tongueincheek comments in Februarys Endeavour about roofing over

    various sections of the network. Well, it seems it will all come to nought. The starting

    point for my fantasy was the plan to erect a glazed canopy over the canal at Banbury as

    part of a canalside development scheme. Objections (almost inevitably, I would say) were

    lodged by a number of waterway interests, including the IWA Oxfordshire Branch. Now I

    understand a revised planning application for the development will be submitted in due

    course, sans the canopy. It did seem at the time to be a rather weird and wonderful vision

    even my follow-up idea to roof over The Tunnel at Fenny Compton!

    Finally, I have recently been from Stoke Bruerne to Oxford and back. Slow work at

    times, especially south of Banbury. The reason? Yes, youve guessed it: the interminable

    line of moored boats. What is to be done about it?

  • DIARY DATES 4

    IWA Northampton Branch web site www.waterways.org.uk/northampton

    Please visit it regularly to see any updates

    September 9th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker John Pomfret Freight on the Waterways 13th 14th Stoke Bruerne Village at War (see page 23 or contact

    www.friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk) October 14th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker Tony Conder Canals in the 20s and 30s 25th 7.30 IWA Northampton Branch Annual Dinner at The Heart of

    England, Weedon. See page 22 sandie.morton@waterways.org.uk 01604 858294

    November 11th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker Kathyrn Dodington Diamond Jubilee Regatta The Taking Part December 6th 5pm Christmas Carols and Illuminated Boats at Stoke Bruerne by the

    Museum (contact www.friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk) 9th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Christmas Quiz with Mick and Catriona Butler January 13th 8pm IWA Northampton Branch Meeting at The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth. Speaker Richard Thomas The River Lee - Luton to

    Leyton

    Branch Task Party dates on the Northampton Arm September 7th, 23rd. October 12th 28th. November 9th, 25th. December 7th 16th.

    For details see web site or contact geoff.wood@waterways.org.uk

    Buckingham Canal Society and Braunston Canal Society work party dates are on page 11

  • 5

  • 6

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  • Branch Chairmans Jottings

    by Bernard Morton

    7

    ENJOYABLE CRUISING. Well, until August what a glorious summer its been. Early on I reckon you would have to have been very unlucky to have hit a wet and cool spell actually the only complaints around seemed to be its too dared hot! Ive taken the opportunity this summer to go serious canal boating again as opposed to river cruising. For several years now I have been based on the Nene at Titchmarsh Mill, downstream from Thrapston. Naturally, I wanted to attend our Branch Boat Gathering at Braunston by boat incidentally, what a success this was and congratulations and thanks again to the organising team and recently I returned from an extended cruise as far as Llangollen. All round, a really enjoyable and rewarding trip.

    WELL DESERVED MBE. Meanwhile things have been very busy on our patch. First,I must heartily congratulate David Blagrove on his well deserved MBE. Read all about it elsewhere in Endeavour. David has certainly played a key role in the promotion of wa-terways generally as well as locally, with his name indelibly linked with Stoke Bruerne. Then there has been the well-publicised achievement by the Branch in persuading CRT to take a more positive and practical approach over maintenance issues on the Northampton Arm, our particular baby. Clearly, this is a sensible attitude by CRT, bearing in mind the major rally at Beckets Park next August (now officially known as Northampton Fes-tival of Water) when it would help no-one if boaters had to indulge in a spot of advanced ditch-crawling to get there and back. My personal thanks to Nick Wolfe, with his work-ing boat Aldgate, for his ready assistance over this exercise.

    FESTIVAL PREPERATIONS. The Branch now needs to strengthen its organising committee for the 2015 Festival of Water from 29th 31st August, the Bank Holiday weekend. There are two aspects to this : the main committee with overall responsibility for the event which, as well as IWA, will include representation from Northampton Bor-ough Council, the Environment Agency and CRT. Then there is a sub-committee to or-ganise boaters activities based on the Lock Island as an integral part of the Festival. At the moment, this latter committee is down on numbers as two long-standing members, Sam Samuells and Roger Hasdell, have decided to retire as both reach birthdays with an 8 prefix! Sincere thanks to them both for their loyal and hard work over many years. I am sure they will still be around in some shape and form next August but their retiral does open up the way for fresh blood on the committee. There are several new faces around that I would love to see get more involved please come forward.

    TIME TO SOCIALISE AGAIN. With darker evenings already here, it is time for our social meetings to start again (details on page 42). Attendances at these were up last sea-son; please come along whenever possible and swell the numbers. They are friendly, so-ciable get-togethers with first class illustrated talks on a variety of waterway topics. Then, of course, there is the Branchs Annual Dinner at The Heart of England at Weedon on Saturday 25th October. This is always a well-supported and enjoyable evening. Please see page 22 for details and book early.

  • 8

    DAVID BLAGROVE from front page On leaving a job in London, David went to work for the Willow Wren Canal Carry-ing Company, initially as a sub-contractor and later with a pair of boats. During the big freeze of 1962-63 he fetched up in Stoke Bruerne, where he lives now. In the spring of 1963 he joined the Thames Conservancy as a Relief Lock Keeper, finally leaving full time employment on the waterways after marrying Jean in 1964 in order to train as a history teacher. He moved to Stoke Bruerne in 1966 and took up a post at the local secondary school. He continued to carry freight part-time until retirement. Having joined the Inland Waterways Association in 1960, he helped set up the North-ampton Branch in 1971-2, serving as its Chairman from 1972-78 during which time the Branch campaigned for the retention of grain traffic to Whitworths Mill at Wel-lingborough, organised a series of boat rallies (including the 1971 National in Northampton which saw over 600 boats attending) and gave evidence at a public in-quiry into the diversion of the A5 which bisected the line of the Old Stratford Canal making the restoration of the Buckingham Arm more difficult. In 1983 he both gave evidence on behalf of IWA and represented the Association at a public inquiry at Blisworth over the routing of the Blisworth Bypass and its effect on the Northampton Arm.

    David has held a number of posts, serving as an IWA Council member between 1981-90 and being appointed as a Vice-President in 1991. In 1990 he was a founding com-mittee member of what is now the Commercial Boat Owners Association, serving as Vice-Chairman until 2006 and frequently represented CBOA at meetings of the Par-liamentary Waterways Group at the House of Commons. He is a Vice-President of this Association. He is also an Honorary Life Member of the Narrowboat Trust (set up in 1970) and contributes to a website chat forum for the SMJ Society (Stratford upon Avon Midland Junction Railway) another interest he champions alongside waterways!

    More recently, in 2005/6, David co-founded a new volunteer group, The Friends of The Canal Museum, set up to help support the then ailing Canal Museum in Stoke Bruerne, and still serves as its Chairman. At the same time he joined a re-invigorated Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership working on a number of projects including the pro-duction of an award winning Conservation Plan in 2008, and currently a Develop-ment Plan. He is also responsible for the setting up and operation of the Stoke Bruerne Canal Adoption Group under the auspices of the Partnership.

    You might well think that all this is enough to be going on with but any spare time David has left over has enabled him to support a secondary career as an accomplished historian, author of many books about the railways and canals, and as a musician and songwriter keeping the traditions and oral history of the waterways alive. He is also a regular contributor of numerous articles and columns for magazines and newsletters directed at the waterway and railway communities, as well as delivering interesting talks in his own inimitable witty style.

    Im sure many of you will agree with me that Davids honour is overdue and a well deserved recognition of 60 years of a life dedicated to our waterways. Well done David!

  • 9

    Happy 1st Anniversary

    Northampton Arm Adoption

    It is a year since the Branch adopted the Arm and the work is getting on at a pace with the following highlights achieved:-

    We have run 19 Task Parties with 50 different volunteers totaling approximately 780 volunteer hours. The Sanitary Station at Gayton Junction has been painted along with the hand rails and bollards, the vegetation around it cleared and generally tidied up. Locks 2,3,4,5,14 and 17 have been painted and the Hut at lock 1 started to be painted. With CRT having painted locks 1,7 and 8, over half the locks have now been done. The Arm has been litter picked from top to bottom with the area from lock 17 up to bridge 13 being done several times. Needless to say that the amount of litter and rub-bish collected was considerable. A lot of effort was put into vegetation clearance around lock 17 and the area has now been vastly improved. We hosted a corporate volunteer day for Santander with 11 volunteers attending and they also made a donation to the Branch of 250. We have been well supported by CRT with materials and training (strimmer, petrol mower and first aid) with special thanks to John H...