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No 1 Dragonfly Nov 1977


Some of text contained in the First edition of Dragonfly

Editorial "Our journal is named after the steam inspection launches of HR deSalis, deputy chairman of F.M.C at the time. The second launch had many connections with W & B, being photographed in the locks at Ardington and Latton Basin. It was built at Abingdon in 1895 and its engine boiler built at Wantage"

"..to protect the lines of the Wilts & Berks and North Wilts Canals, and to prevent further in-filling or any other destruction of them or their associated structional features"

"Three committee members, Martin Fryer, Jack Painter and Alan Roberts are planning the production of a half-hour T.V documentary on the on the W & B, with the equipment and advice of Swindon viewpoint community television. They need to find people to interview and photgraphs of the canals as they were; if you can help please contact them."

"What will happen no-one knows. of the fact that we shall be able to increase amenity use of what is left, we are fairly hopeful; some would like to see the canals fully restored, but time alone will tell whether this is feasible."

Secretary's Report"It is hoped that we shall be able to organise a sponsored walk or walks during the Inland Waterways Association's National Sponsored Walk weekend in June 1978. The aim of this event, in which walks will be held throughout the country, is to provide publicity and to raise funds for the inland waterways movement as a whole"

"We are a new group and we have an enthusiastic Steering Committee who are already getting to grips with the tasks facing them. However, if you have any ideas or suggestions which you feel might be of value, please write to me about them. Any comments will be considered by the committee and will be much appreciated."

"ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION RATES due on the 1st December each year

Ordinary membership £2

Family Membership £3

OAP and Junior Membership £1 (Juniors under 18)

Associate membership £3"

No 2 Dragonfly Jan 1978


Secretary's report. this outlines the problems and priorities of the very early days: contacting organisations and landowners and establishing improvement and conservation areas, footpaths and areas to be cleared, and a full survey of the route.

Monthly Meetings. A questionaire about meetings and summer activities, and eventually setting up of branches.

Working Parties. A number of neighbouring canal working parties, are operating "so there is no need to stop digging because there is no W&B to work on"!

Lengthsmen Page 9 contains an article by Neil Rumbol on the Recruitment of, and the instructions to, lengthsmen. Neil's letter to the volunteer lengthsmen is shown at the bottom of this article.


No 3 Dragonfly April 1978



Editorial asks for support for a full walk of our canals in IWALK, supplying much needed funds, and for the first work party at Kingshill. Both these projects are given coverage in full articles.

Secretary's Report includes discussions with NFU about the best way to contact Landowners, and the steady growth in membership. A full list of members is shown at the bottom of this article.

Shopping List "a short list of things we could use in our work" This includes, shovels, crane, cement mixer, wheelbarrows, lorry, tea urn and barrel of beer!

Monthly Meetings. Details are given of monthly meetings already held & to come on Waterways and related topics. Also details of 2 summer outings to Crofton and the River Severn are outlined.

No 4 Dragonfly Aug 1978



Editorial includes comments on the Government's rejection of a report urging improvement to the Waterways

The Secretary's Report describes the favourable results of the IWALK, both financially and contact with farmers. Also further work at Kingshill and contact with Shrivenham Parish Council were reported. The group outing to Crofton Beam engine was mentioned. Separate article on page 6.

IWALK - an article by a 14 year old Carol Gray on their walk from Abingdon to Grove. £300 was raised by 35 walkers.

News from Wootton Bassett included an exhibition in the Youth Centre and a successful IWALK resulting in favourable contact with the Parish Council.

News Items: Work on the Calne branch : Near completion of the Cambria Bridge (shown on the front cover): A colourful "canal race" by Thamesdown school children.

Diary of Events from August to October 1978

Weekender: An article on the canal in the Swindon Evening Advertiser is referred to on page 8. (You can view the article in the Newspaper Archives 1970 - 1979 here.)

No 5 Dragonfly Nov 1978

DF_5_Nov_78_1The Editorial draws attention to bridges relevant to the canal, those built, or rebuilt, or those in various states of repair. It also mentions weed clearing on the canal at Kingshill.

The Secretary's Report contains information on interest and support from various Councils, both local and county, and from landowners. Permission for canal restoration at Wootton Bassett is being sought. Work will be starting shortly at Shrivenham.

Bourton to East Challow. Clearance and survey work on this stretch of the canal are discussed in an article by Neil Rumbol. He also reports on the AGM.

News from Wootton Bassett. The branch was represented at an Antique Fire Engine Rally . In September a project report on developing the Templars Firs section of the canal was submitted to the Town Council and is now with Wiltshire County Council.

Cambria Bridge Swindon. An historical article by Cecil Mason who also praises the new restoration work.

No 6 Dragonfly Feb 1979

DF006_Feb79_1Secretary's Report Work continues at the B4000 bridge at Shrivenham; more work has been done at Kingshill. The survey walk from Bourton to East Challow has been carried out and much information gained and contacts made.

A Dragline Excavator is now owned by the group. It is to be used in work at Kingshill and later at Wootton Bassett. Volunteers are asked to do some work on the machine before it is brought into use.

News Dauntsey Lock Negotiations are taking place for a licence to carry out work on this lock over the next year.

Historial Records on W&BC from the Public Records Office have been collected by Neil Rumbol; Notes on William J Ainsworth, General Manager of the canal during it's last 25 years of operation have also been obtained and appear on Page 9.

An insert into this edition was a copy of the Constitution and rules of the Wilts & Berks Canal Amenity and is shown below.

No 7 Dragonfly May 1979

DF007_May79_1Editorial: The Group has objected to 2 planning applications for infilling affecting the North Wilts Canal

Secretary's report: Work at Kingshill and Shrivenham continues. A sponsored canal walk in the Wantage area is planned for October 1979.

Historical Notes: Another set of documents held by the Public Records Office is described by Neil Rumpol

Southern Canal Association: "informal gathering of representatives of the canal societies of Southern England & South Wales" Report by Neil Rumpol

Wootton Bassett reports rejection by the Wilts CC of the Templars Firs proposal, but the Wootton Bassett Town Council has rejected the County's comments and the project plan is to be presented to the Amenity Committee of County Council. "Sabres are being sharpened !"

No 8 Dragonfly Aug 1979

DF008_Aug79_1Editorial outlines the problems of recruiting navvies for the Group's on-going project.

The Secretary's Report: Plans for the bridge at Cornhill Lane are described and the County Council will place a temporary bridge in position, while plans for a replicate Drawbridge are drawn up. (See also Cornhill Lane Bridge page 4)

Book reviews: "Swindon in Camera" provides some interesting canal pictures.

WB Roadshow: A description of future activities.

The Politics of restoration by M A Handford: The 3 interrelated processes involved in waterway restoration are described - the initial education of local authorities etc, together with general public, the raising of funds, and the actual restoration. Without the first two no restoration can be possible.

Wootton Bassett: Still has trouble with the Templars Firs proposal. but the Town Council has reaffirmed its support.

No 9 Dragonfly Jan 1980

DF009_Jan80_1Editorial Favourably compares the Oxfordshire County Council's attitude to canal proposals with that of the Wiltshire CC

Wootton Bassett Report Ron Churchill writes of a conversation with the Grandson of the last Chaddington Lock keeper. Plans for resurrecting part of this hertiage are still pending.

The Secretary's Report speaks of the Council of the Group being under strength, of sponsored walks and Roadshows. The local MPand the District Council have shown support and interest for the Templars Firs project. Work continues on various sites and Grants towards the work have been made by the Shell Inland Waterways Restoration Scheme.

Sponsored Dig; This will take place on 1st and 2nd March 1980. Most of the navvies will be from schools etc. If successful, other such events will follow.

Progress 77-79: Brief details of the works in progress

Southern Canals Assocation Meeting; Wilts & Berks was represented by Neil Rumbol and Pete & Helen Boyce. Details of the meeting and activities are given.

Book Review Historic Waterways Scenes - Britain's Lost Waterways Vol 2; Some paintings and photographs of the Wilts and Berks are shown. An enclosed leaflet reviews a new Book by R W Squires on the Waterway restoration Movement called The New Navvies (shown below)

No 10 Dragonfly April 1980

DF010_Apr80_1Editorial concentrates on the  successful sponsored digs on March 1st & 2nd and  on March 30th. The canal is back in water with hopes for a canoeing event in July.

Wootton Bassett; The Town Council are to appeal against the County's rejection of the Templars Firs Project. Work has been started, however, on clearing the old towpath.

Secretary's Report: Unfortunately fly-tipping of soil has postponed progress on the lift bridge project at East Callow. Gratitude is expressed for the co-operation of the Oxfordshire CC at Shrivenham and it is hoped that detailed surveys on W&B Oxfordshire locks and canal can be carried out in 1980. Survey work at Dauntsey Lock continues and investigations are being carried out on the canal line in the Calne area.

A Haven of Wildlife is an article on  the old derelict W&B canal in February 1977

Worksites: An up to date list is given