IWA Timeline: 1959 - 1961


A proposal to fill the Pocklington Canal with sludge triggered a campaign to restore the canal to full use and the proposal was excluded from the current British Transport Commission Bill.  The filling in of part of Well Creek on the Middle Level for a road widening was also opposed.  Nor were prospects any better on the Ashton, Peak Forest, Rochdale canals or the River Rother.

The abandonment of the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal was refused because it had been used for navigation (by canoes) within the previous three years.

Other long running concerns, such as the neglect and destruction of canalside properties and the sinking of many working narrowboats by British Waterways, continued as live issues.  IWA opposed British Waterways' policy of only granting temporary licences for residential boats.

The Cyril Styring Trophy was donated by the North East Midlands Branch in memory of their late chairman.  North Western Branch organised the August IWA Rally at Chester.

In December, IWA Bulletin number 60 was headlined as a "Diamond Jubilee Bumper Issue".

On the 4th December a debate on the Bowes Report took place in the House of Commons with the first eight speakers strongly supporting the report with only muted opposition.  The Government had formed The Inland Waterways Redevelopment Advisory Committee in April, but most of the schemes it was asked to consider were for the abandonment of navigation.

Also late in the year campaign cruises were made on the Stourbridge Canal, with Crick Grundy on his boat Heron, and by the boat Bumblebee.  The campaign was spread over several weeks as padlocked lock gates, masonry in the canal and other obstructions were discovered.


1960_stratfordThings were starting to move on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal with teams of volunteers already at work on the waterway under the leadership of David Hutchings, even before the National Trust had obtained a lease on the southern section of the canal.  The National Trust had the lease by the end of the year and were looking to find £20,000 towards the restoration from donations.

A three week cruise through the Middle Level in the boats Blue Peter and Maid Mary-Sonya was led by Captain Munk and Robert Aickman.  Following this cruise a meeting with the Middle Level Engineer was held at which various improvements to navigation were discussed.

IWA's National Rally was held at Stoke-on-Trent, and a protest cruise was held at Dudley Tunnel to counter proposals to close it.1960_dudley

In December, the Government announced that it intended that British Transport Waterways should be placed under a new independent statutory Board to be known as the Inland Waterways Authority.  While IWA broadly welcomed this as a step in the right direction, the prospect of two organisations with the initials I W A was considered as unfortunate.


1961_ashtonThe year started with local authorities calling for the closure of the Ashton Canal.  A protest cruise was organised for Whitsun, which British Waterways tried to avert by withdrawing the canal from the scope of their pleasure boat licences.  Despite this a reduced scale cruise of 15 boats went ahead but were stopped at Lock 12 by a burnt and dismantled lock gate.

Another protest cruise went to the padlocked entrance of the Derby Canal and was followed by a meeting in Derby. Local press coverage and correspondence from this attracted much support.1961_derby

The intention to abandon navigation on the Forth & Clyde Canal was announced.  Elsewhere, another three week inspection tour was made by Captain Munk and Robert Aickman aboard two Maid Line boats. This time the journey started from Maid Line's new base at Brinklow and included the River Trent, Calder & Hebble Navigation, Leeds & Liverpool Canal and a return journey on the Trent & Mersey Canal.

The National Rally held at Aylesbury was a great success and attracted more publicity than any other rally for many years.  Boats attending received a duckling plaque specially drawn by Peter Scott.