Blue plaque for IWA pi­o­neer

Canal Boat - - News -

WA­TER­WAYS SUP­PORTER AND ac­tor David Suchet is pic­tured un­veil­ing a plaque to com­mem­o­rate the In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion’s co-founder Robert Aick­man.

It was an ap­pro­pri­ate, ges­ture given that it was while per­form­ing at Stratford, the meet­ing point of two nav­i­ga­tions Aick­man was par­tic­u­larly in­volved in, that Mr Suchet’s at­ten­tion was first drawn to the wa­ter­ways.

Dur­ing the un­veil­ing cur­rent IWA Chair­man Les Etheridge re­called how Aick­man’s meet­ing with Tom Rolt in 1945 led to the de­ci­sion to found an or­gan­i­sa­tion, and to the inau­gu­ral meet­ing at Aick­man’s home in Lon­don’s Gower Street in 1946.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that he was “a com­plex man” whose un­doubted abil­i­ties as an or­a­tor and leader were com­bined with a “com­bat­ive stance” who wasn’t “one to worry very much about be­ing pop­u­lar with all men”, Mr Etheridge quoted for­mer IWA Gen­eral Sec­re­tary John Dod­well’s view that “with­out Robert’s ‘un­rea­son­able­ness’ we would have lost the Ox­ford Canal south of Ban­bury, the south­ern Staffs & Worcs Canal, and per­haps the Le­ices­ter Sum­mit as well.” David Suchet then rec­ol­lected hear­ing a “com­mo­tion” out­side the Shake­speare Me­mo­rial Theatre in 1974 which turned out to be the re-open­ing of the Up­per Avon Nav­i­ga­tion, fol­low­ing on from the 1964 Stratford Canal restora­tion. This kin­dled his in­ter­est in wa­ter­ways, be­com­ing a boat owner and led ul­ti­mately to him be­com­ing an IWA honorary vice-pres­i­dent and to car­ry­ing out the un­veil­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.