The All Party Parliamentary Waterways Group met on 11th May at the House of Commons.
Former Cabinet Member and ex-Waterways Minister The Rt Hon Alun Michael MP, chaired the meeting which was in the form of a formal inquiry into what sort of vehicle should manage the British Waterways network and the appropriate governance for that model.
The following witnesses were called and gave evidence
Dame Fiona Reynolds – Director General of the National Trust, accompanied by Paul Boniface - Secretary of the National Trust.
Ben Metz – The Waterways Project at the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action.
Michael Stephenson – General Secretary to the Co-operative Society.
Cliff Mills – Consultant on charities, co-ops, mutuals, etc.
Robin Evans and Nigel Johnson of British Waterways were also present and were allowed to comment on the evidence.
A further meeting is planned to inquire into the funding of the New Waterways Charity, after which a report may be submitted by the committee to the Waterways Minister.
IWA is assisting the committee by providing secretarial support.
A record number of historic narrow boats will be on show at The Waterways Festival, being hosted by Burton-on-Trent from 29th to 31st July 2011.
At least 28 historic boats, the largest number ever to have attended the festival, will offer waterways enthusiasts and history lovers a chance to see how people lived and worked on the waterways in years gone by.
The boats and their crews will travel from all over the canal system, just as they did in their previous 'lives' as working boats, carrying goods all over the United Kingdom - from London to Birmingham, from Bristol to Manchester and from Liverpool to Leeds and the East Coast.
Making a special guest appearance will be the only restored ex-Fellows Morton and Clayton steam powered narrow boat, President (pictured). Owned by The Black Country Living Museum, the boat was built over a century ago as a steamer, converted to diesel power in 1925, and, following restoration in 1974, returned to steam power.
David Pullen, Waterspace Director for IWA Festivals said: “All of the boats have been beautifully restored to their former glory and their owners will explain how the boats were worked, in a very tough industrial environment. We hope the festival goers enjoy looking at the boats and learning about the importance of them to our social and industrial history.”
The boats are of varying ages and have interesting working histories, for example:
SWALLOW, was built in 1934 for W H Cowburn & Cowpar Ltd in Manchester, and built by Yarwoods of Northwich, one of eight boats named after birds. It was designed to carry cargo, such as acid, acetone, oil drums, lime and salt. Its main routes were Manchester to Coventry and Wolverhampton via the Bridgewater, Trent & Mersey and Shropshire Union canals. During the Second World War it carried market produce around these areas, a very important role for the waterways at this time.
To find out more about The Waterways Festival, or to book advance tickets please visit www.thewaterwaysfestival.co.uk or call 01474 783 453 (ext 602 or 603). Order your tickets online: http://www.waterways.org.uk/shop/list_products?category=212
Keep up to date with the latest festival news and sign up to the Festival Times newsletter: http://www.waterways.org.uk/em-signup
The Wolverton Train Mural looks splendid following the refurbishment completed in early April, but as Joseph Cresswell (Project Manager) points out below, the Mural is on borrowed time owing to the poor condition of parts of the wall.
The Wolverton Train Mural was originally created under the supervision of Community Artist Bill Billings in 1986 as part of the Milton Keynes Urban Aid Scheme (itself a spin-off from the IWA's National Rally the previous year). To Bill the Mural represented Wolverton’s past, present and its future. It also covered up some extremely objectionable graffiti, and for a while remained remarkably free from vandalism. Over the years the Mural has been the site of a number of work parties by Branch volunteers, who re-painted weathered and vandalised sections and regularly cut back encroaching vegetation.
By 2010 the Mural was in urgent need of refurbishment following a number of acts of vandalism ranging from criminal damage to the theft of the gates that closed a gap in the wall; it
was also very weather-worn. Concerned with its condition, members of IWA Milton Keynes
Branch convened a meeting in May 2010 at Wolverton Town Hall with representatives of the voluntary sector and members of the local community interested in the Mural. There was strong support for the repainting project.
To fund a limited amount of work on the Mural, IWA's Milton Keynes Branch obtained a grant from the Milton Keynes Community Foundation. In early January, Electrolux plc funded the Milton Keynes Christian Foundation, which trains unemployed youngsters in building skills, to create a short section of wall to replace the missing gates. In January, Wolverton and Greenleys Town Council agreed to fund the majority of the costs of re-painting the Mural using Section 106 funds, so-called 'planning gain money'. The S106 money was specifically allocated for the refurbishment of the canal towpath environment. British Waterways loaned equipment to ensure that the work site was a safe environment to meet the necessary health and safety requirements of working along the towpath.
Three Community Artists, David Fenton (leader), Neil Keen and Ryan Billings (son of Bill Billings who created the Mural in 1986), have re-painted it with the support of the Thames Valley Probation Service, which provided Community Payback offenders, and volunteers from the local community and from IWA MK Branch. The artists had worked closely for a number of years with Bill prior to his death in 2007, and have now used more modern paints and techniques than Bill had available in 1986.
For the time being the Mural’s appearance has been stabilised, but the condition of the wall varies from very sound to very poor. The spalling of the bricks and the 'blowing' of the mortar will continue over a large area of the wall, with consequent damage to the Mural. In addition there is a significant crack in the northern end of the wall which could lead to its collapse. It will become more difficult to maintain the Mural as the wall deteriorates.
Photo: Ryan Billings (foreground) applies his brush, with a Community Payback worker and Project Manager Joseph Cresswell. Photo by Les Franklin.
After watching the Royal Wedding, thousands from the the Westminster crowd turned up to enjoy the colourful spectacle of the annual Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice during the May Bank Holiday weekend. The Festival was opened by Councillor Jan Prendergast (Locum Tenens Lord Mayor of Westminster), Jon Guest (Manager BW London) and Clive Henderson (IWA National Chairman).
145 boats travelled the waterways system – some from as far away as Ellesmere Port in Cheshire – to join in the fun. Children had a wonderful time floating inside giant bubbles on a pool in ‘Bubble of Fun’, squealed with delight at the antics of John Styles’ Punch and Judy and the teddy bears having their picnic. All of whom had been relocated to the beautiful Rembrandt Gardens this year, courtesy of Westminster City Council. The caterers and real ale bar on the Stone Wharf reported brisk trade throughout the weekend and all seats were taken on the patio area with people basking in the warm May sunshine.
Traders were very positive about their sales in Warwick Crescent and some exhibitors went so far as to state they had had a brilliant weekend. Local Lebanese restaurant Massis reported a huge increase in turnover and was delighted at the response to their voucher offer in the event brochure. Reverend Gary Bradley, Vicar of Little Venice and Chaplain to the Lord Mayor of Westminster, was accompanied by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Judith Warner, during his blessing of the boats attending the festival.
The Awards were distributed as follows:
Murad Qureshi MA announced the eleven winners of the Grand Prize Draw, which raised £2,000 towards IWA campaigns and projects.
The event chairman, Jerry Sanders, said the event had been a fantastic success and wished to thank all the volunteers of IWA, WRG, The Church Army, The Volunteer Police Cadets, Tideway Adventurers and the Pirate Castle, and all the other people who made such a massive contribution in time and effort towards its success.
See photos of Cavalcade on Flickr
Tim Lewis also took some brilliant photos of the event
IWA National Campaign Rally Success on Northampton's River Nene Waterfront
Brilliant sunshine throughout, albeit tempered by a lively easterly wind, ensured the success of the Inland Waterways Association’s National Waterways Campaign Festival on Northampton’s waterfront over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend which was opened by Tim Coghlan, owner of Braunston Marina. Over 70 canal and river craft congregated on the River Nene at the town’s Becket’s Park, with public entertainment and other attractions in the adjacent park – all only a quarter of a mile from the town centre.
Attendance was good with most people receiving a colourful promotional leaflet telling what the Festival was all about, in particular tracing the history of the Nene which, in August, celebrates its 250th anniversary of full navigation over its 91 miles length from the Wash to Northampton – a notable milestone being marked with a series of special riverside events throughout the summer under the banner Nene 250.
Organised by the Northampton Branch of the Inland Waterways Association, the Festival highlighted the river’s potential for much greater recreational use, supported by better facilities, as well as encouraging the continuing process of reconnecting Northampton with its waterfront. This is presently being emphasised by the Environment Agency’s nearly completed 80-berth marina at Becket’s Park, part of which was brought into early use to accommodate the overflow of visiting craft.
The Festival also incorporated the annual IWA Northampton Boat Gathering which attracted a bigger attendance than usual of river craft, including several from the Middle Nene Cruising Club and Northampton Boat Club.
Festival Chairman John Pomfret said: “I believe we got our message over loud and clear, aided by good local media support. The Mayor Cllr. Marianne Taylor, local MPs Michael Ellis (Northampton North) and Christopher Heaton-Harris (Daventry) as well as IWA National Chairman Clive Henderson were among our guests on a boat trip and there is no doubt that awareness of the importance of the Nene and all that it offers is at a high level as a result of constant prompting over the years by our IWA Northampton Branch.
“To my mind the real challenge now, as we come out of recession, is to continue to raise the profile of the River Nene for recreational use and to build on the new marina as a first step towards revitalising Northampton’s riverside and raising awareness of the potential of the river among its inhabitants. We also need to work with British Waterways and its successor body to ensure the continued maintenance in navigable order of the five-mile canal and its 17 locks from the main line of the Grand Union Canal at Gayton Junction to Northampton. Currently, volunteers from Barclaycard are assisting British Waterways with maintenance tasks on this canal arm.”
The principal recipient of surplus funds from the Festival, will be the IWA’s Inglesham Lock appeal.
IWA members can now receive a 15% discount card to use at Blacks and Millets outdoor leisure clothing and equipment stores. Please note that the details will be sent directly to Blacks/Millets.
For more information please go to http://www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/member_services/member_discounts_special_offers_public
10% Discount at Willowbridge Marina for IWA Members
Willowbridge Marina is now offering a 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard to IWA members on production of a valid IWA membership card. Willowbridge Marina is a working boatyard specialising in lifting boats in and out of the water, as well as on and off transport, in Milton Keynes.
For details of other offers and discounts for IWA members please go to: http://www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/member_services/member_discounts_special_offers_public
£42,365 has been pledged so far.
Proposed works for this year include damming of the canal from the Thames and the construction of a piled landing stage for the lock.
To donate please go to http://www.waterways.org.uk/shop/product_details?id=1294
IWA now participates in the easyfundraising scheme. It's absolutely free to you and IWA can gain donations from the participating retailers of up to 2.5% or more of the value of your shopping when you use it.
For more information please see http://www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/online_fundraising_
If you or your branch would like to organise an event to raise funds for the Inglesham Lock Restoration Appeal, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again IWA has a stand at the Crick Boat Show, so we are seeking help in manning the IWA stand at this event, which takes place at Crick Marina near Junction 18 of the M1.
The days will be divided into two sessions 10.00 – 2.00 and 2.00 – 6.00. Help to set up on Friday 28 would also be appreciated.
For more information please go to http://www.waterways.org.uk/pdf/crick_helpers_request or contact Liz Payne email@example.com 01367 253121 or 07970 773210
It takes over 300 volunteers to stage this event , so please if you can spare any time we need your support. On completion of the online volunteer form Ann Myall Personnel Manager will contact you nearer to the event and organise with you personally how you would like to help and in what are area.
We are looking for an additional volunteer to help out at our Head Office in Chesham. Work hours are flexible and full training will be provided. For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a full list of volunteer opportunities go to: http://www.waterways.org.uk/about/vacancies/vacancies
A documentary about those who campaigned to keep the canals open after the war http://ow.ly/4VilZ
Originally shown on BBC Four on Monday 16th May and repeated on Tuesday 17th, if you missed it there are further showings on Thursday 19th May at 8.00pm and at 1.55am in the early hours of Friday 20th May, both on BBC Four.
Australian Canal Society Gathering, Sunday10th July 2011
The Australian Canal Society is a society based in Australia for people with an enthusiasm for canals and other inland waterways, particularly those of Britain and France. Members of the society and guest speakers share their experiences and expertise on widely varying aspects of canals. It is a friendly informal discussion group with both educational and social functions.
The ACS is an IWA corporate member and affiliate to Inland Waterways International.
Friends of the Australian Canal Society are holding a gathering on Sunday 10th July 2011 at the Blue Lias at Stockton (Warwickshire) on the Grand Union Canal. This event has taken place on alternate years since 1996 when the first meeting was held at the Malt House, Birmingham. Those enjoying this gathering are British and Australian members of the ACS and it is hosted by ACS President, Jan Roden.
The UK organiser of this event is Chard Wadley, chairman of IWA's Ipswich Branch email@example.com
The opening of Droitwich Canal takes place on the first weekend in July and a water festival will be held to celebrate this event. The festival will feature a display of boats, canal boat trips, water demonstrations, canoeing, music, beer tent and a host of other activities.
The waterway festival is being organised by Droitwich Canals Trust, Wychavon District Council and Droitwich Spa Area Partnership. It will be held in Vines Park, which is adjacent to the town centre of Droitwich Spa.
The Droitwich Barge and Junction canals were officially closed in 1939, with the last working barge plying the canal over ten years earlier.
Droitwich Canals Trust was formed in 1973 and made substantial early progress on the restoration of the Barge Canal with the assistance of job creation schemes and the canal through Vines Park in the town, the long pound and three locks were largely restored. Restoration of the eastern three locks of the much later Junction Canal, near the junction with the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at Hanbury Wharf, was completed in 2001, largely funded by an IWA grant from a legacy.
Work to complete the restoration of both canals in Worcestershire started in late 2005 and is now complete. The Waterways Trust launched a successful public appeal for £100,000 for work on the Barge Lock, which connects the two canals in Droitwich. This work was undertaken, largely by IWA's Waterway Recovery Group, and the lock formally reopened in September 2008. The Barge Canal formally opened in 2010, but the Junction Canal was delayed due to a developer pulling out of a housing scheme that would have included a replacement section of canal connecting to the Barge Canal being built.
The total cost of work has been about £11 million, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Advantage West Midlands, Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council and other contributors, including IWA.
The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:
Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.
To see details of how to take advantage of these offers please go to http://www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/member_services/member_discounts_special_offers_public
For IWA members that receive a hard copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.
21st - 22nd May: Rickmansworth Canal Festival
28th - 30th May: Welsh Waterways Festival & IWA National Trailboat Festival
28th - 30th May: Wendover Arm Trust Canal Festival
28th - 30th May: Crick Boat Show
10th - 12th June: Stoke Bruerne Gala Weekend
Please see below for a list of canal restoration and clean-up events.
21 - 22 May - Thames & Severn Canal (London WRG)
Contact: Tim Lewis 07802 518094 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
4- 5 June - Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation (London WRG)
Contact: Tim Lewis 07802 518094 or email email@example.com
25 June - 2 July - Basingstoke Canal (WRG)
Details: This camp will involve building a lock landing stage or two which involves sheet piling. As ever with the Basingstoke Canal, there will be lots of digger and dumper work.
Contact: Jenny Black 01494 783453 ext.604 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or book online
20 May - Derby Canal (IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch)
Details: Guided by Chris Madge, chairman of Derby and Sandiacre Canal Society. Meet in Spondon on Megaloughton Lane, off the A6005/A52 roundabout (DE21 7BR gets you close). There is parking on the lane, or in B&Q. Meet at 7pm at the interpretation panel by the side of the lane. The walk will follow the canal path eastwards to Borrowash lock and on to finish at the Navigation public house in Breaston. The distance is approximately 5 miles and is expected to take about 2 hours.
Contact: See http://bit.ly/mjrfcb for more details
22nd May - Stourbridge Canal (Jewels on the Cut)
Details: 11.00am start. Jewels on the Cut is a leisurely stroll along the Town Arm of the Stourbridge Canal examining the industrial heritage of the area with particular reference to the Stourbridge Glass Industry.
Contact: Broadfield House 01384 812745
29 May – Bow Back Rivers & Olympic London (London Walks)
Details: meet 2.30pm, Bromley-by-Bow Station. Costs £8 or £6 senior citizens/full-time students, children under 15 free. Proceeds shared between IWA and London Walks.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941 or email email@example.com or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
4th June - Trent & Mersey Canal/Macclesfield Canal (IWPS)
Details: Trent & Mersey Canal/Macclesfield Canal in the Kidsgrove/Red Bull area. Start at around 10.00 am and aim to finish at 4.00 pm, the length of the walk being about 5-6 miles.
Contact: Ian Edgar, Top Lock House, 7 Lime Kiln Lane, Marple, SK6 6BX, 0161 427 7402 or e-mail email@example.com.
5th June - Regent’s Canal – Little Venice to Camden (London Walks)
Details: Meet 2.30pm Warwick Avenue Station. Costs £8 or £6 senior citizens/full-time students, children under 15 free. Proceeds shared between IWA and London Walks.
Contact: Peter Finch 020 8969 9941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Roger Wilkinson 020 8458 9476 or email email@example.com
To advertise your towpath walks in the bulletin please email details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453