The Wharfinger Magazine

The Wharfinger Magazine

Members of the Trust receive our quarterly magazine The Wharfinger, which contains restoration news and updates of the many activities of the Trust.

When the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Society was formed in April 1983 little time was lost in producing the first newsletter which appeared only two months later. The letter welcomed everyone to the Society, informed us that Robin Andrews was to be chairman and Frank Frecknall vice-chairman. It then announced that work was about to begin on the clearance of Major Barnes’ stretch of the canal at Monkhide and invited volunteers to come and help.

The first actual Wharfinger followed this newsletter, probably in January 1984 when it was called the Hereford Wharfinger – because most of the members were at the Hereford end of the canal! This contained another plea for volunteers under the heading “MORE HELP REQUIRED”.

It read “If the excellent progress made to date is to continue, more help will be required. This clearance work really is fun. Sawing down trees, lighting fires, falling into smelly water is part of the days enjoyment and there is always the Society’s mascot, Badger, to supply with treats.” Badger, of course, was Major Barnes’ dog, who was always part of the action.


The first editor was Janet White, Mike Potts becoming editor for the Winter 1984 edition which was the first to include a picture of Skew Bridge on the cover. Mike continued as editor until 1991 when Cliff Penny became Editor. Cliff continued in this role, from 2001 assisted by Maggie Jones, until Edition 134 in 2017 when Maggie became Editor but Cliff, in failing health, retained his keen interest as Consultant Editor.

Over this long period the quality of the publication improved enormously thanks to Cliff’s insistence that the text had to be ‘just right’ and Maggie’s superb professional skills as a graphic artist and designer. Becca Moult made sure that no typos had crept in.

Maggie Jones continued as both editor and designer until 2019 when Ralph Barber took over as both content and design editor. Cliff and Maggie were very hard acts to follow and Ralph would be the first to admit that Edition 140 didn’t have quite the polish of previous editions but very soon the teething troubles were sorted out. Another step forward was taken in 2020 for Edition 144 when Nick Dymott took over as Layout Editor. Ralph relegated himself to the thankless task of collecting articles and chasing up the tardy contributors.

An enormous debt of gratitude is owed to our editors and all those who support them, but not least to those who contribute articles quarter by quarter, keeping us all up to date with what is going on and what bits of kit have successfully been got going again.  Without all of these good people there would be no Wharfinger at all.  Contributors to the magazine come from all parts of the Trust, the words and pictures reflect their enthusiasm and commitment to the promotion and restoration of the Hereford and Gloucester Canal.

Although Trust Members receive The Wharfinger for free, it is available for £1.00 + pp to non-members.

For more details, please get in touch.

Recent editions of The Wharfinger