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 www.elingexperience.co.uk.

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: www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk.