I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Parvis Wharf (River Wey) – Friday 11th July

Dot has been making me feel guilty today by baking and producing all sorts of lovely things.  We had pasties for lunch – all cooked from scratch and then she was producing loaves and rolls finally getting her smoker going with cheese and salmon in it!  I did very little though Richard and I did walk to Tesco, again, as I had forgotten something.
Dot's pasties and her photo!
Dot and Gordon came for supper, thank goodness or I wouldn’t have had anything productive to show for the day!  Dot did a lovely plum crumble for pudding – yet another wonderful creation to appear out of Ewn ha Cul.

Mary H and Ewn ha Cul
As is it was such a quiet day I thought I would do some research on our location.

Parvis Wharf dates back to at least 1775 and is the last remaining rural wharf on the River Wey. It comprises all the land and buildings between Parvis Bridge and the new bridge constructed for the M25. At the wharf the navigation widens so barges could turn after loading. The area 250 years ago was full of activity, with wharves servicing six mills. In the mid 1800s, James Yeowell, grocer, mealman and coal merchant, worked here for many years. Now only the grist mill survives which is used by TLC.  It is believed to have been built around 1800 as a wharf store/warehouse. It got its name in the 1930s when occupied by Surrey Grist Mills Ltd and it is thought that the upstairs was added at this time. Origins and purpose of the Barn as less clear, but it is understood to date to about 1880, and has some wonderful oak timbers inside.  This historic site is now owned by the National Trust on the beautiful River Wey and Godalming Navigations. 
Parvis Wharf
We are moored on the Byfleet Boat Club moorings.  The original Club had been built by local philanthropist in 1904 and leading socialite, Frederick Cornelius Stoop, a Dutchman by birth, who was a leading figure in the newly merged Shell and Royal Dutch petroleum companies.  The boat club and a tennis club as well were two social centres built by Stoop for the professional and middle class buyers of the new housing being built on his wife’s estate, his wife being heiress of the Dartnell Park estate. 

After the First World War, Frederick Stoop, as a mark of his own gratitude to the many who had made such appalling sacrifices for their own and also his native land, decided to start a boat club (called the Boat Club) for the less well-off villagers within the Parish of Byfleet.  It was supported financially by Frederick Stoop and was given craft no longer required by Byfleet Boat Club members. This worked out quite well, socially, as the working class boat club could be accommodated in the Boat House where their, occasionally, uncouth behaviour would not upset the Byfleet Boat Club members on the other side of the river. 
Byfleet Boat Club
After the Second World War, neither of the pre-war boat clubs re-emerged until 1949 when the Council opened up a club renting out rowing boats on the site of the Boat Club, the Byfleet Boat Cub site having become a private house.  At about the same time, a group of boaters who moored their boats at Walsham Gates, approached the Boat Club with the suggestion that as they were using the Boat House for repairing their boats, they might as well start a boat club.  This was agreed and so two new clubs, with no formal constitutions started using the Boat House. After a while it dawned on them that by combining forces they could take over the lease from the Council.  The new club was launched as the Byfleet & District Boat Club and soon earned a name for riotous assembly when the two incompatible elements came to blows at committee meetings. These sessions eventually led to the amicable departure of the youth club element and their canoes to the Old Byfleet fire station in the High Road where they remained under the name of Woking Adventure Group.  The boaters, now in sole occupation of the Boat House, concluded a fresh lease with the council under the name of Byfleet Boat Club, reviving the name of the club that had once used both the Boat House and the Club House so many years before, so becoming the sixth body to use the Boat House.
And the still hire out rowing boats
This is just a potted history of the Byfleet Boat Club which certainly seems to have had a chequered history!!

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