... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Monday 29 July 2013

Rallying round

The IWA National Festival was, as many have noted, a relatively quiet and poorly attended affair, disappointing for many of the traders who took stalls there. Notwithstanding that, we found ourselves having a most enjoyable time, and helping some of the stands towards breaking even. Notable were the Cotswold Canals boat jumble, where we must have spent over Forty quid in total, but with a big box of tools, fittings, undercoat and a historically interesting but contemporarily useless windlass to show for it, and the brass and knick-knacks stall where we returned time and time again, finding something new every time. There was also of course the hippy clothes, frozen yogurt, Indian food, and beer.

And the Chesterfield Canal Trust, where yet again the 50p box yielded treasures. Amongst all the old Waterways World guides and Nicholsons - interesting enough in themselves - there were a few - I think only three - programmes from previous IWA Nationals. And two of these were events which Chertsey attended.

The 1970 rally at Guildford, for which I have the plaque,

plus a photo of Chertsey en route, and the 1964 'Festival of Boats and Arts' at Stratford upon Avon.

I don't have a plaque for this one, but there are photos of Chertsey there, both posted by Max Sinclair on Canalworld, and featured in an issue of Waterways World. This is from the period of Chertsey's life (1962-69) about which we know least, when it was registered as a houseboat, although there is certainly no conversion in the 1964 photos, just some rather tatty cloths. It was at this time that there was apparently an organ in the hold, which was played at the Stratford gathering.

Despite enjoying Cassiobury in the end, I was still pretty certain I wouldn't need to be attending another National any time soon. Until the announced the venue for 2014: Stratford upon Avon, fifty years after Chertsey's first appearance there. How can we not go? We just need to get hold of an organ....


  1. As its Stratford we will be there - maybe with that little butty in tow!

  2. You need to have a word with David Lowe then...