Craig Shanks

Mar 022017


The Spring 2017 Edition of the Basingstoke Canal News is now online.

No 253: Spring 2017: Editorial, Chairman’s report, Basingstoke Canal Future Management Options, Moves at Ash Lock, Society Work Party activities, Volunteers – We need you!!, Winter works on the canal, Reminiscences of dredging the canal and how the Society became the proud owners of a Ruston Bucyrus Dragline, Chobham talks, Canal Society AGM, Letters, Membership, BCS information and Busy morning at Ash Lock.

Dec 082016


The Winter 2016 Edition of the Basingstoke Canal News is now online.

No 252: Winter 2016: Editorial, Chairman’s report, Society Work Party activities, Notes from the JMC, There is no such thing as an accident!, C&RT – The Future, Canal winter works, Canal works Winter 2016/17, William Carter, canal owner 1905-21, Chobham talks, Letters, Canal still in trouble in the 1890s, “Chain Gang” to King John’s Castle, Christmas on the Canal at Odiham, BCS Membership, BCS information and Dry Dock in use.

Oct 102016


The Illustrated talks for the 2016/17 season have been announced and are listed below. Please come along to hear presentations about a variety of subjects from interesting and entertaining speakers in the company of fellow enthusiasts. For details of the venue and more about the Canal Society social meetings, please click here.

Wednesday, 19th October 2016 – 8pm

Dr Roger Squires: ‘The Regents Canal – History and an Overview of the Canal Today’

The Regents Canal links Little Venice [Paddington] to the Thames at Limehouse. When it opened in 1820 it completed a back route around London to the Docks. As with so many canal schemes, costs were far in excess of budgets. The first section was opened in 1816 [200 years ago this year, on 12th August]. It was also hit by fraud. Only after more money was gained through a Government loan was the Company able to complete the project. Once open, the canal was a success. Traffic remained on the canal until the 1970’s, after which the decision was made to ‘single’ the double locks and substitute spill weirs in the second lock chambers. This enabled the removal of the Lock Keepers. Today the canal is even busier than in its commercial era, with large numbers of ‘continuous cruisers’ lining its towpath.

Wednesday 16th November 2016 – 8pm

Nick Pollard: ‘The Thames Bridges, Staines to Kingston’

Following Nick’s visit to us last season, this talk will explore the history of each bridge, including all the different structures which have been built at each site over the centuries. These range from the original Roman bridge at Staines to the new Walton Bridge opened in 2013. The story features disputes, collapses and world famous artists. Nick Pollard is the Chairman of Sunbury and Shepperton Local History Society and author of ‘The History of Walton Bridge.’

Wednesday 21st December 2016 – 8pm

Ron & Myra Glover: ‘A Watery Canadian Adventure – Cruising Around the Islands of Vancouver’

In 2013 Ron & Myra, who have given several previous talks, had a change from cruising around Europe in their own boat. They flew across the Atlantic to Canada and hired a 40 foot cruiser in order to explore the waterways and islands around Vancouver. They navigated rivers and creeks and visited the islands to sample the local way of life.

Wednesday 18th January 2017 – 8pm

Dr Paul Hope: ‘Studying the Bats of the Basingstoke Canal and Greywell Tunnel’

This talk provides an initial general introduction to UK bats. This is followed by an account of the techniques used and findings from over 15 years study of the bats on the Basingstoke Canal. Paul will also discuss findings from his 6 year PhD study which focused on the hibernating bat population within Greywell Tunnel..

Wednesday 15th February 2017 – 8pm

David Plunkett: ‘Eling Tide Mill, the Past and the Future’

eling-tide-mill-009Traditional, tidal powered water mills were invented over 2,000 years ago. They have been part of the hidden industrial coastal scene of Britain all that time without many of us knowing of them. Most have been lost over time but just a few have been saved and restored to working order. Out of over 200 built in the UK, just a handful of examples survive for us to visit in 2016. The restored survivors will be shown and their earlier distribution and concentrations around our coastline explained.

In this presentation, the emphasis is on Eling Tide Mill, at Totton on the edge of the New Forest. This ancient site is over 900 years old and successive mills and causeway dams have been a feature of the old toll bridge across Eling Creek, to this day. The long history will be explained and how the tides govern the working of the mill and its miller.

Eling is managed by The Eling Experience and is currently closed for major repairs, due to be completed in the spring of 2017.  For more information visit

Wednesday 15th March 2017 – 8pm

Carolyn Haynes: ‘History of Bursledon Brickworks’

The only Victorian steam driven brickworks left in the country, the Brickworks at Bursledon, is an amazing survivor. All the original buildings and machinery are still there and for some reason, although the owners operated them from the age of the horse right through to the age of cheap flights they didn’t update their works. The talk gives a history of the brickworks, why they are so important and what we hope their future will be.

Wednesday 19th April 2017 – 8pm

Graham MacKenzie: ‘SS Shieldhall – 61 years and counting’

Taking the history of the Steamship Shieldhall, the largest working steamship in Britain, and considering its daily toil in a working life from 1955 to 1985 and then into preservation bringing the story up to date with information regarding our grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2013.

For more information, visit:

Sep 032016


The Autumn 2016 Edition of the Basingstoke Canal News is now online.

No 251: Autumn 2016: Chairman’s report, Woking Canal Festival 2016, Spanton’s wharf in use again, Early days of the Canal Society, HNBC’s Warbler & Clover above Lock 15, More recollections of early days, Kitty’s progress, Egremont, Letters, Chobham talks, Society Work Party report, Canal trouble in the 19th century and ‘TENCH’ at Bedser Bridge.

Jun 012016


The Summer 2016 Edition of the Basingstoke Canal News is now online.

No 250: Summer 2016: Chairman’s AGM report, Society Accounts for 2015, Out and about on the canal, Events, Canal to close for the Farnborough Airshow, Woking Canal Festival 6/7th August 2016, Pinkerton’s progress, Lengthsmen, Eagle Radio grant, Ramblers walks, Letters, Canal in trouble one hundred years ago and Kitty’s cabin.

Mar 082016


The Spring 2016 Edition of the Basingstoke Canal News is now online.

No 249: Spring 2016: Chairman’s report, News Round-Up from the BCA, More News from the BCA, KESCRG visit, More canal news, John Pinkerton report, Events, Woking Canal Festival 6/7th August 2016, Woking Canal Festival 1962, Lookback, How the BCA manages water on the Basingstoke Canal, Wellesley Woodlands, Notice of the Canal Society AGM (14 May 2016) and Claycart work party.

Dec 072015


The Winter 2015 Edition of the Basingstoke Canal News is now online.

No 248: Winter 2015: Chairman’s report, Joint Management Committee report, Rangers at work, Crookham Wharf Dragon Teeth Rescue, BCA Patrol Boat back in service, John Pinkerton, A busy day on the canal, Events, Woking Canal Festival 6/7th August 2016, Odiham Castle or King John’s Castle?, Lookback, Home rule for Hampshire?, Xmas trips from Odiham, New signs, Story Trails, River Wey Festival, Canal Guide revised and reissued and Blown sill repairs at Ash Lock.

Aug 302015

This year’s illustrated talks for the 2015/16 winter season are listed below. Please come along to hear presentations about a variety of subjects from interesting and entertaining speakers in the company of fellow enthusiasts. For details of the venue and more about the Canal Society social meetings, please click here.

Wednesday 21st October 2015 – 8pm

Graham Lewington – ‘History and Restoration of the Wey and Arun Canal’

Graham, from the Wey and Arun Canal Trust, will describe the history and bring us up to date with all the latest restoration work that has taken place over the last few years. The amount of fundraising has been incredible and has enabled major projects to be undertaken to one of the most historic of southern waterways.

Wednesday 18th November 2015 – 8pm

Roger Squires – ‘Leonardo’s Canals – Waterways of Milan and the Papia Region’

Roger will be returning to give us a talk about the city of Milan which was one of the leaders of early canal building in Europe. Canals covered include the Naviglio Grande, Pavia Canal, Bereguardo Canal, Martesena Canal and the Padermo Canal which was the final link in the network constructed to overcome the rapids on the River Adda, and to offer a through route from Lake Como to Milan.Most of us have probably never heard of these canals in Italy which date from 1177 through to 1485.

1020Wednesday 16th December 2015 – 8pm

Ron & Myra Glover – ‘Trail Boat Festivals on Isolated Waterways around Britain’

As a change from Ron and Myra’s talks from around Europe, this presentation details the trailing of craft around Britain since the mid-1970s and attending festivals that are held on land-locked waterways which narrow boats are unable to reach, Starting at the first IWA trail boat rally in 1985 held at Pewsey on the Kennet and Avon Canal to the most recent festival at Tiverton on the Grand Western Canal in Devon.

Wednesday 20th January 2016 – 8pm

Nick Pollard – ‘The History of Heathrow Airport’

Nick will take us back to the beginnings of Heathrow after the  Second World War and bring us up to date with all the developments over the years.

Wednesday  17th February 2016 – 8pm

Nick Grundy –  ‘Barging on North East Waterways’

Nick will be making a return visit to us this time to tell us about the waterways of North East England from his time at university here in the mid-1970s when he spent much time exploring and photographing the waterways of the area. In the late 1970s Nick did a number of trips as crew on a 300 ton commercial barge carrying cargoes on the Humber, Trent, Yorkshire Ouse, and the Aire and Calder Navigation.

Wednesday 16th March 2016 – 8pm

Ian McKechnie – ‘Coals to Croxley (and beyond)’

When Ian was a student at Birmingham in the 1960s,he and a group of colleagues bought a redundant wooden coal boat from a coal yard compulsorily purchased to take one of the supports for the ‘Spagetti Junction’ motorway interchange.Later they bought a derelict ex-GUCC and Willow Wren Large Northwich motor,and,after fitting it out,decided to bring it south to the London area.After loading with coal in conjunction with the Ashby Canal Society they delivered the coal to John Dickinson’s famous paper mill at Croxley



Aug 302015


The Autumn 2015 Edition of the Basingstoke Canal News is now online.

No 247: Autumn 2015: Chairman’s report, Magna Carta Plaque, Canal Society AGM, Bedser Bridge, Boys’ Brigade boat donation, Canal Centre boating, Canal Centre, Events, Canal Society 50th Anniversary 2016 planning, An open letter to the Canal JMC, Repairs, Work Boats, Another fallen tree, Lookback, Share the Space, Drop your Pace, Water levels and A good year for birds.

Jun 102015


The Summer 2015 Edition of the Basingstoke Canal News is now online.

No 246: Summer 2015: Chairman’s AGM report, Canal Society AGM, Society Accounts for 2014, Events, 50th Anniversary 2016 call to action, Odiham Magna Carta rally, Towpaths re-opened, Ash Wharf – Eyesore or asset?, Share your Space – Drop your Pace, Barbara Durley, Mystery solved, BCS Membership map, Letters and Dogmersfield towpath reopened.