The Explorer and Dasher - a pair of Naval training vessels
which may revisit Bude when the Canal has been dredged
application to 'Awards for All' for a grant to further develop our
Archive has been refused. However, the Trustees have agreed that with
careful planning and use of our own funds much of the planned project
to be funded by the 'Awards for All' grant can be achieved over the
next couple of years. In the coming months visits will be made to local
Record Offices in Cornwall and Devon with a view to select the best
items to be digitally copied for Bude Canal & Harbour Society's
(BCHS) archive. Additionally, acid-free storage materials will be purchased
to protect the 1820 letters purchased last year. Local sources will
also be visited with a view to securing additional images, etc
As part of the Archive Project the Society wrote a letter to the
Bude & Stratton
Post asking its readers if any of them had relevant material about
the Bude Canal to consider allowing BCHS to borrow it and scan
the items. Unfortunately, the response was not as encouraging
as had been
hoped. However, Mr D M Hines of Holsworthy had two items of interest,
which we have borrowed and scanned. One was a postcard with a view
from Falcon Bridge of the canal c. 1950 which shows the water level
in the canal as being exceptionally low, and the other a photograph
of a small vessel outside the sea lock showing a group of local
men who had been fishing. This was taken in August 1933 and
were sharks, large dogfish, and a large sunfish the group had caught.
The occupants were all named except one man. This is where the photograph
aroused a personal interest. The occupants of the boat were named
left to right: A W Petherick, Alfred Hedley Hines, 18 yrs, Hedley
Hines, Robert Victor Hines, the unnamed man now identified as
Les Hussey, and Orlando Jewell with his arm on the tiller, my
likely that the boat was his.
The plot thickens as it became obvious that Hedley Francis Hines,
father of D M Hines, was the son of Capt H Hines of the 'Ant'.
The 'Ant' was involved in
the Great Blizzard of March 1891, when the cabin boy, John Stapleton aged
12 years died of exposure and was buried at sea. The mate of
the 'Ant', John Jewell,
was father of Orlando, my great grandfather, and father of Archie Jewell
of the Titanic. Small world, isn't it? Chris Jewell
in the Rain
Under an overclouded sky (no change) our almost full coach set out from
Bude at 10.00am on Saturday 30th June on to the Atlantic Highway through
mist and drizzle for Falmouth.
We passed through Camelford and St. Kew on to the A30 to Truro not stopping
except for the traffic jam. As we arrived in Falmouth we passed a sign
which was appropriate on that day - "Park and Float" (or ride).
We had been told to meet at the Prince of Wales pier at 4.30pm for the
4.45 boat to Truro .
As we alighted in the busy High Street 'coffee' was the word on many
lips. The Post Office is attached to a cafe - shared doorway - worth
Leaflets had been handed out on the coach containing information on
the National Maritime Museum and Enterprise Boats and many people had
interesting visit to the museum which has had many additional exhibits
since the Society's last visit there. Others wandered in the drizzle,
heavy showers, and mere cloud around the hilly town of Falmouth which
is well-served with almost any type of shop, or charity shop, you could
wish for. The Art Gallery had a 'Stuff Art' exhibition worth visiting:
a cat climbing a wall, and crows made from a metal frame covered with
straw and black bags and almost walking on the floor!
Bearing in mind our boarding instructions, another brief walk around
the town after lunch and on to the Prince of Wales' pier where our
boat 'Enterprise' was waiting. Falmouth is the third deepest natural
in the world and it was maybe the wettest trip to Truro that many of
us have experienced. Jill White
(The saloon was crowded but Audrey and I, having our full wet gear
with us, shared the upper open deck with four other intrepid souls
interesting trip, which now has three other intermediate stops. In
the coach I asked ladies to avert their eyes while I removed my (outer)
I was surprised when two of them offered to help! Ed.)
The Castle, Bude
The Castle, which is now a refurbished building and houses the Heritage
Centre, Local Archive, and educational facilities, is open to the public.
BCHS has always supported the Town Council in this project and the
Centre is well worth a visit. Enclosed is a flyer giving details of
admissions. The Centre will be open from November to Easter, from 10
am to 4 pm., last admission 1 hour before closing. Chris
out the Town Council site for further information
The good late summer
weather has given us time to catch up on jobs that were supposed to
be done during May and June. The variable weather has
had some effect on the flora. The blackberries have been small and lots
of fruit did not form. The sloes also have been poor. Have you noticed
how the British people are hell bent on raping the countryside. What
hedgerow fruit has formed has been systematically taken by pickers. Not
content with a few blackberries to make a pie but plundering the hedgerows
to the extent of four/five pounds a time –as one visitor remarked.
I did ask if they had left any for the birds! One woman was pulling down
hazel branches and taking the nuts. Squirrels don’t make as much
damage. I’m told foxes and badgers like blackberries. This may
account for some animal droppings I noticed recently, which was almost
totally blackberries. This year the squirrels and mice should be all
right for acorns. It looks like an unusually heavy crop. Nature does
have its compensations.
Our turtle has survived the influx of visitors but he keeps his head
down - wisely. We have seen an increase in visitors this year but the
wildlife seems to be in decline. I’m not suggesting these are related!
Not so many varieties of birds at the bird table this year. This was
confirmed by the many bird watchers (twitchers) we have met. During one
of my walks I did observe a beautiful example of a large Red Admiral
butterfly. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me. The footpath
along the whole length from Virworthy Mill to Burmsdon Bridge has been
almost impassable during the summer, because of the overgrown vegetation,
but has now been rough cut.
Clearing the vegetation from the canal basin, about a hundred yards from
the Wharf, revealed an original workboat. These boats were used by workmen
to keep the canal free of grass and weeds when the canal was used to
convey water to the treatment works at Venn. Geoff Lowe
The best ever this year, again a collaboration with BSTC's
Gurney Day but also incorporating the official opening of the newly refurbished
castle and museum. A very big amount resulted from sales on our stall.
There were several other stalls, the weather was fair and good crowds
watched the steam and vintage vehicles, canoe polo, and enjoyed the music
of Metric Brass, Bude Town Band, Bideford Youth Pipe Band and the 'Boscastle
The Castle and museum were officially opened by Lord Tyler of
Linkinholme and many people wandered around inspecting the
exhibits and models. The
gigboat 'Bedehaven' and another locked out later in the afternoon.
Our chairman, Audrey Wheatley, presented the BCHS shield to the
winning canoe polo team, Penzance, with RNAS Culdrose a close
second and Tim
Browning presented the Falcon cup to Simon Allen, the winning angler,
with Nick West, runner-up. Thanks are due to the few willing helpers
and above all to Chris Jewell for his excellent organisation of the
Unfortunately, Carnival Day dawned wet and overcast and eventually
it was decided not to erect our gazebo or to open the stall. Typically,
the weather improved in the afternoon, too late for us. Ed.
Bude Canal Tub Boat
tub boat owned by BSTC and kept at Barge Workshop, Helebridge has had
some basic conservation work carried out recently.
On Thursday, 13 September 2007 Mr Richard Barnett, a marine conservator,
attended the Barge Workshop.
The tub boat was brushed and hoovered to remove excessive dust, etc.
It was then treated
with a solution of boron, a natural mineral which is sudden death to
bugs and infestations and
will give continued protection to the wood.
Mr Barnett also secured some loose components on the boat and installed
supports under the boat bottom boards to prevent sagging of some of them.
There is some slight darkening of the wood. A job well done. Chris Jewell
We opened our stall in the Castle grounds on Saturday and,
although business was slow we still made about the same amount of money
as in previous years.
On the Sunday high tide, a Tamar Class lifeboat, one of the latest
type 177, locked in and moored at the wharf where more than
were shown over the boat which is full of high tech equipment. On Monday
she locked out on the high tide, about 5pm.
The gigs racing from Padstow were supposed to lock in on the
same lock of water but, because of a strong head wind, none
appeared until after
the lifeboat had left. The lock, Breakwater Road, and the wharfside
were all packed with visitors, more than I have seen in previous
the evening your committee enjoyed pasties and cyder or wine while
we watched the firework display courtesy of Anne and David at No.
There must be others besides me for whom the sight of the Tamar Class
lifeboat tied up alongside Lower Wharf dressed overall on 27 August
evoked happy memories of a long time ago.
As a small girl in the 1930s, not a resident of Bude but holidaying
in my grandfather's Victoria Square house in Holsworthy and visiting
daily for "the seaside", I had the thrill of seeing the
Padstow lifeboat dressed overall moor in Bude on Lifeboat Day. She
on the high tide and tied up at the wharf. When we saw her approaching
the haven, we all galloped at top speed from Crooklets beach round
Nanny Moore's bridge to the lock-side in the hope of being in time
to see her
I have always supposed that the Padstow boat visited Bude on Lifeboat
Day each year until the war, but childhood memories can be deceptive.
Does anyone reading this know? Audrey Wheatley
to Rolle Canal, September 2007
slight error twelve people arrived at Annery where Hilary Wills gave us
a brief history of the lime kiln explaining how ships unloaded limestone
into the river which was then manhandled to the kilns.
Her husband, Adrian, then joined us and led the walk along the route of
the old Rolle Canal and later railway, now part of the Tarka Trail. The
first major point was the inclined plane raising the canal some 40 feet
(compare this to Hobbacott where the rise was 225 feet). Nearby is the
site of the original wheel pit where some minor excavations had taken place.
It was found that some damage to the vault had occurred when the railway
lowered the level of the original canal route by some 5 feet. Along the
walk several examples of the former canal bed were clearly visible. From
the former railway bridge we could see the Beam Aqueduct over the river
Torridge which orignally carried the canal. A considerable part of the
film 'Tarka the Otter' was made at this location. The Clinton estate undertook
the restoration and clearance in 2000 of an original bridge over the canal
together with a small portion of the canal and towpath.
We then went through the woods to Weare Gifford. A local landowner, Richard
Oke, discovered the original 15th century bridge which he restored with
help. The current new bridge is known as Chopes Bridge - the original was
known as Jopes Bridge.
After a pleasant walk we arrived at the Cyder Presse pub where we lunched.
After this we continued the walk through the village to Annery, on the
way noting the original route of the canal clearly visible by the tree
line. Crossing over Halfpenny Bridge (circa 1860), we arrived at our original
We were led along the former towpath, now adjacent to a row of cottages
past two clearly defined basins. Before reaching the tidal lock we came
across the former gravel barge Advance in the basin. I was very impressed
and amazed by the work undertaken to restore the tidal lock. We were shown
photographs of the area before restoration work began and of work in progress.
The level of silt was at the top of the stonework when restoration began
and some fifteen feet have since been dredged out. The Waterway Recovery
Group have had work camps here helping Adrian to rebuild and repoint the
lock walls. Due to prohibitive costs of replacing original granite, Adrian
had moulds made and cast replacements in concrete himself. It is worth
noting that the lock was constructed only two years after Bude sea lock
and the design was by the same engineer, James Green.
Adrian admits that the work he and Hilary have done has gone from a hobby
to an obsession!
We were given more refreshments and the opportunity to acquire locally
produced books and pamphlets on the Rolle Canal including Barry Hughes
'The Rolle Canal & the North Devon Lime Trade'. This was an excellent
day which we should love to repeat. Don't forget the open day on 21st October.
Canal Regeneration Project Update
Since the last Tub Boat (No.40) the overspill car park
has been completed. Work has commenced on providing the towpath underpass
at Helebridge, Nr. Marhamchurch which will allow pedestrians to access
the Helebridge Basin area without crossing the A 39.
Information panels have been erected at Helebridge and Lower Wharf to
give information about the aims and intended work to be done on the canal.
(It is a pity that the river is named as the Neet rather than its correct
name, Strat. This is because the Ordnance Survey changed their maps in
accordance with Mrs Ethel Jewell's claim and now will not change it again
although they have since admitted her claim was wrong. Ed)
The following works are to start as dated: Work on Lower Wharf resurfacing
with setts, 1 Oct; Construction of workshops on Barkhouse Green 22
Oct; Extension to Tourist Information Centre early in 2008;
Dredging upper reaches to upper basin subject to contract early 2008;
Refurbishment of locks Feb/Mar 08; The work on towpaths etc will
take place during 2008, subject to contract. The towpath at Helebridge
in due course be diverted on to the underpass being constructed.
At the Steering Group meeting on 19 September the chairman, Councillor
Neil Burden, was pleased to announce that NCDC had agreed to provide £490,000
additional support fund to ensure the agreed project would be completed.
This is to ensure dredging and repairs in the basins, technical
support for project, repair of Burmsdon Aqueduct and the completion
of the workshops.
Additionally, the Council has acquired 20 acres of land adjacent
to the river Neet at Whalesborough in the flood plain. They would
be used for
flood alleviation and developing a nature reserve with appropriate
habitats. The District Council has acquired land at the base of
inclined plane and are looking how to develop ideas for implementation
in that area. To that end our Society has been asked to consider
and develop a concept plan for this important site. The current
this area is almost derelict and extensive work in clearance will
be needed to implement the agreed scheme. Despite the effort that
needed to develop a concept. It will be a pleasure to do so.
The key words are 'Keep it Simple' Hopefully, BCHS's ideas will be
taken on board and accepted.
A report of our concept will be included in the next issue of The
Tub Boat in January 2008. Chris Jewell
We welcome the following new members who have joined since
Mr & Mrs W A Shingler, The Grosvenor, Summerleaze Crescent, Bude.
Mr A M Barnard, Poughill, Bude (life member)
As many of you realise this is the time of the year when I have to remind
you that subscriptions were due on 1 September for all members except
those who joined after 1 May.
Renewal forms (where appropriate) are included with this newsletter.
Members are encouraged to return the standing order form to me as it
is a more efficient method of payment for the Society and avoids your
renewal being overlooked.
Membership cards will automatically be sent to members who have already
completed standing order mandates.
Can I also remind those members who are taxpayers and who have not completed
a Gift Aid declaration that they can obtain a copy from the Treasurer.
Thank you for your continued support. Mike Moore
Canal Map 1904
eight maps and accompanying notes are now on our website - the maps
PDF form and are very good to look at. Click for the 1904
map minisite to
download maps, cover notes and replicated surveyors notes for each of
All of the eight maps are available in mounted format with the relevant
notes for £8 in A4 size and £11 in A3 size. Contact me on
01288 352 298 or at 4a The Crescent, Bude, EX23 8LE with your order.
(You will note that the map shows the river as "Strat"! Ed.)
Wreck of the Bencoolen 1862
midday on the above date, 145 years ago, the Bencoolen was observed driving
ashore with all her masts gone except the small jury mast and one sail.
Aiming for the mouth of the harbour she struck upon the sands and lay
a helpless hulk before a large concourse of people powerless to help.
In five minutes the rocket apparatus was put to work; the first rocket
fell short, the next failed. and after twenty minutes, due to a Board
of Trade regulation that only two lines should be supplied to each station,
the third fell over the ship where the despairing crew huddled on the
poop. A man who rushed forward and clutched the line was washed overboard
with it in his hand. A huge roller then broke over the apparatus rendering
An hour afterwards a raft with 25 men was washed clear of the wreck.
Six men only were saved alive, two by means of the raft and four by swimming.
The danger attending the entrance of ships into the harbour, their only
means of unshipping being to run in upon the sands and discharge the
cargo as they lay, led to the building of the canal with its two basins.
From a "Picturesque Guide to North Cornwall" published by W
S Cater & Co, Launceston in 1881.
Dec - St Andrew's Church Bazaar, Parkhouse
16th Dec - Sherry & Mincepie Walk
This year our annual pre-Christmas walk will be similar
to last year's but we will be reverting to our traditional arrangements
when sherry will also be available at the Barge workshop.
We will meet at 11 am at Hobbacott lay-by just above Brook's Garden Centre
on the right-hand side and then walk along the Planekeeper's Path, down
Hobbacott inclined plane and continue via Cann Orchard and Marhamchurch
to Helebridge and the Barge Workshop for the sherry and mincepies.
The total distance is about 3 miles. You can leave your car at Hobacott
lay-by and we can arrange transport from Helebridge if required.
The cost is £3.60 per person including the walk, sherry and mincepies.
Sun 24th Feb - Society AGM at Falcon Hotel,
Boat issue 42 will be available mid January 2008
for the next edition to be sent to The Editor, Tregea, Lower
Bude Cornwall EX23 0LS 29th December 2007