Springers museum


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 Basingstoke canal Society

Byfleet boat club.  on the River Wey

Handmade Model of a narrow boat

  An authentic model of a narrowboat used as a butty (towed by a powered boat) made of a number of years by a boatman, probably early to mid 20th century. Possibly working on the Grand Junction (later Grand Union) North Oxford and Leicester canal

 About 3 feet long and full of details and miniature items with amazing detail. All correctly detailed from traditional construction,  painting, rope-work. The cabin is fully equipped, stove, fold down table etc. Every detail carefully finished. The cargo is mixed, the barrels and parcel are even labelled to Coventry and Rugby and Leicester.

 The boat has identification. Tudor Rose on the stern. and Registered at Shoreham .No. 2AWA.  LANGRISH, Canal carriers on the cabin. 

   In the last 40 years there has been a great increase of interest in canals especially with the never ending enthusiasm of those volunteers who have done much of the work in restoration and still do.  For myself as a child in Reading I saw the gradual restoration of the Kennet and Avon, encouraged by my mother who was an enthusiast and enjoyed her friend Vi's narrow boat at Burghfield. We also often went for boat rides hiring skiffs at Odiham in the early 1960s on the Basingstoke canal and spent holidays exploring remains of lost canals.  As a child my mother had started her interest when she lived at Ripley Mill house on the River Wey. There is still lots more to discover in the South East.


  Disused navigations of the South East UK.

This section under construction

  After some years exploring English canals by narrowboat and as enjoyable as it was I though it would be great to explore the navigations of the south east UK where I live, especially the disused stretches. To do this a canoe was to be the answer and after telling all my friends my idea I was offered a Canadian sailing canoe ( no mast or sail)  from the Great Lakes, Canada circa 1910 from the Lakefield canoe company. It could not have been better. Carvel built  with  lots of ribs and copper rivets. After minor restorations we set about exploring. This was circa 1985 to 2000. Sadly a bad back stopped this and I no longer have the canoe. A really good guide to these waterways is: by P.A.L Vine. Kent and East Sussex Waterways ( and others)

 Upper Medway

Navigations to Penshurst. Being near Tonbridge one of the first to explore was the Medway. I was aware of proposed navigation to Penshurst and beyond and three stretches of canal cut. One had already been opened to a lock (Still there) The second known as the straight mile never filled and a third beyond. At the time we paddled upstream through the shallows to the weir, then back around through the lock chamber with fast flowing current. This can no longer be done due to a  flood barrier being built and the channel being diverted. A further trip was made above the flood barrier from Leigh bridge a lovely stretch of water to Penshurst and also the river Eden.


Up stream from the town about a mile we came across a small branch off to the right, after a 100 yards it was blocked by under growth and small fallen trees.  A later trip armed with saws and clippers aided us to explore a very interesting canal complex with I then discovered was the transport system for the Leigh powder mills. I took various parties of school children to survey this. At the time no one seemed to know much about it. I found the remains of a single flash lock and a derelict pump house to start and then further on small arms of water with mounds of earth each side, protection from blasts presumably. The area is now well documented. Exciting at the time.

The Beult and Teise

 The rivers Beult (pronounced belt) and the Teise run into the Medway at Yalding. The Beult was once part of the proposed Weald of Kent canal and apart from the weirs is for some distance deep and navigable. It is possible to canoe from Yalding to the mill at Hunton but no way past. The bridge a Chainshurst has access and a real treat is found going downstream to Hunton. About Chainshurst is Rabbits Cross and a real picturesque spot at the bridge, near and ancient pub called the Lord Raglan. The Teise has a branch to the Beult which is also worth a trip.


Sussex Ouse

  The river Ouse in Sussex flows into the sea at Newhaven, was once a well used  river to the town of Lewes. The end of the tidal section is just above Lewes at Barcombe. The river was canalised with 17 locks and as with many canals declined with coming of the railway. Heavily canalised much still remains of the navigation. Many of the lock chambers still exist although now with trout ladders. A wonderful river to explore, we did it three times. The first from the Anchor pub a Barcombe ( you can hire boats here) paddling upstream to find locks not accessible from the road. Another trip was from Isfield Church. Portering the canoe around weirs upstream. The third from Barcombe Mills with a complex worth exploring itself. From Barcombe we went to the Anchor in to a vintage car rally (well, we wanted to be different!) coming back after a few drinks and lots of car parts in the canoe was interesting!

Navigations from Rye. Royal Military Canal  
River Brede
River Tillingham
River Rother
 The Cuckmere