IWA Timeline: 1968 - 1970


Volunteer labour continued to make its mark with work being carried out on Marple Locks on the Peak Forest Canal, Bath Locks on the Kennet & Avon Canal, Grand Union - Welford Branch and perhaps most spectacularly on the Ashton Canal, where volunteers led by Graham Palmer undertook Operation Ashton, a massive clean-up and restoration.  IWA, and others, also issued British Waterways with a writ over the neglect of the Ashton and Peak Forest canals.

The Offley Slack Challenge Trophy was presented to IWA by Council Members Stan Offley and Ray Slack.

Following a competition to provide a new IWA logo, a design by Derek Hodson of London was adopted.  This used a version of the Excalibur sword designed by Frank Luzmore in 1947 and first appeared in Bulletin 83 in May. 

1968_munk_middle_levelCaptain Munk led an IWA inspection cruise of the Middle Level and had to be towed through Well Creek.

To counter the exclusion of the Aintree to Liverpool section of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal from the designated "Cruiseways" and to improve the image of the canal in Liverpool, IWA held its National Rally in the city.  Around 170 boats attended.

On the Kennet & Avon Canal, the obstruction of Bridge Street Bridge at Reading was resolved by the building of a new bridge.  Burghfield and Sulhamsptead locks were restored and reopened.

At the end of the year, a Transport Act was passed that imposed on British Waterways a duty to maintain waterways which was enforceable by the Courts and paid for by a grant from Government.  These and other provisions in the Act made the future of most waterways more secure than they had been for many years although the public right of navigation on the nationalised waterways was lost.  The Act identified commercial and cruising waterways, which would receive proper maintenance, but a number of waterways were missing from the list (these would become known as the "remainder" waterways) including most of the BCN, part of the Kennet & Avon, the Caldon, the Ashton, the Erewash and part of the Leeds & Liverpool. 


1969_erewashIWA started the new year with large number of waterway campaigns including the Grand Union - Slough Branch, Basingstoke Canal, Kennet & Avon Canal, Bridgwater and Taunton Canal, Exeter Ship Canal, Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, Birmingham Canal Navigations, Erewash Canal, Ashby Canal, Upper Avon, Droitwich Canal, Ashton Canal, Peak Forest Canal, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Lancaster Canal, Montgomery Canal, Caldon Canal, Pocklington Canal, River Derwent (Yorkshire), Calder & Hebble Navigation, Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation, Middle Level, River Great Ouse and Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.  With so many campaigns running, many of them major restoration schemes, the process could not be run by the small IWA Head Office team even with help from the branches.  Instead the established practice of working with local restoration societies and other organisations was expanded as each new restoration came along.


The future of the Basingstoke Canal was an issue again as the New Basingstoke Canal Co Ltd, who had bought the canal in 1949, had difficulties in maintaining the waterway and were looking to close it to navigation.  Surrey & Hampshire Canal Society and IWA pressed for the Canal to be taken into public ownership.

1970_parkheadIWA offered £10,000 and unlimited voluntary labour towards the restoration of the Ashton Canal.  Lack of dredging on many canals was a cause of complaint for many IWA members.  Many working parties were now in action, including one to clear rubbish from Parkhead locks on the Dudley Canal. This was also the year that these volunteers became the Waterway Recovery Group.

Captain Munk resigned as IWA Chairman and was replaced by John Humphries.

IWA's National Rally was held at Guildford on the River Wey, partly to give a boost to the campaign to restore the nearby Basingstoke Canal.  380 boats attended and 50,000 people visited the site producing good TV and press coverage.

The official reopening of the Monmouthshire, Brecon & Abergavenny Canal from Pontypool to Brecon took place on 16 October.