General Meeting April 2016

11 May 2016 by david
Report by Hon. Sec. Henry Hodges

Meeting Report – Chepstow Society – April-2016


The April meeting of the Society was well attended. The Speaker for the evening was Chris Witts. His subject was “Life on the Severn” .  We were told something of the way that the river was used to transport by barge heavy and bulky materials in the days before the building of the Motorway system. We were given a run down on the geography of the Severn and its tributaries and the ports and facilities from which these small boats and barges worked before everything changed in the 60’s and 70’s. Chris started work soon after leaving school in 1960 as a deckhand on an oil-barge carrying cargo from Avonmouth to Gloucester via the Sharpness Canal and on to Worcester etc . Also later from the Swales Ports as well , Swansea , Cardiff and others. We saw some film of a Grain barge in the upper reaches going to Tewkesbury demonstrating the skills needed to navigate the Severn without grounding and that the weight of the Cargo carried had to be calculated against the depth of the river in flood or drought. The pictures we saw of the riverboats at work and a description of a way of life long gone brought back a time when the pressures of life and commerce were slower and  “ealth &safety” had yet to impinge on the everyday judgement of Skipper and crew 

After the usual break members went on to discuss local matters. There was still concern about the County Council’s plans for a new Car parking regime and the effects that this could have on the Railway station Parking and on events at the Drill Hall. We longer have a Tourist Information Service and this cannot help if Chepstow is still to try to persuade visitors to come to our attractive Town. The next meeting of the Society is at the Drill Hall on the 18th May 2016 at 7.15pm and will be the AGM. We will also hear a short talk on the arrangements for the National Eisteddfod which this year is at Abergavenny . All are welcome .


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