THE BASINGSTOKE CANAL SOCIETY 50TH ANNIVERSARY
To the many of us involved in canal restoration in the south, who cut our teeth as volunteers on the Basingstoke Canal in the 1970s and 1980s, it may come as a shock that the group that led the restoration is 50 years old. But sure enough, it was August 1966 when a letter from EJ Woolgar appeared in local papers drawing attention to its plight and proposed a restoration society. The result was the Surrey & Hants Canal Society (the BCS’s original name), and this booklet charts its progress from initial campaigning, through setbacks such as breaches, the start of volunteer lock rebuilding, the 600 volunteers at the Deepcut Dig, to the eventual 1991 reopening. That wasn’t the end: there have been issues with water supply, disagreements with nature conservationists, and maintenance funding – and the writer concludes that there will still be a role for the Society, whatever happens.
The Basingstoke Canal Society 50 th Anniversary, Basingstoke Canal Society, basingstoke-canal.org.uk, £2