In the 1960s I was a member of the Beauchamp Lodge Youth Club.
The club was near Little Venice where the Grand Union and Regents Canal met the Paddington Basin.
The club was run by Bosun.
At that time the club owned a converted coal barge called William II.
We would regularly go on trips up the canal.
In 1963(?) I went for a holiday on the barge with 40 others.
We navigated the canals and locks as far as Banbury.
At night 25 slept on the barge and the rest slept in an old army bell tent.
Bosun would take William II down the Thames and up the Lee Valley.
He was stopped by the Board of Trade trying to take William II across the Channel.
Beauchamp Lodge Settlement (BLS) is a registered charity and has been operating in London since 1938. Set up by the Hon. Diana Marr-Johnson to relieve poverty in the Paddington area, they have been working with local communities ever since to provide services, support and opportunities through a range of community development projects.
Diana Marr-Johnson had wanted to become a writer from an early age and in 1926 she applied to become a student at King’s College London. Accepted without the usual qualifications, she embarked on a two-year course in journalism and philosophy. After leaving, she began writing articles for magazines in Britain and America.
A turning point in her life came in 1938 when she and her husband went to live in Bayswater. As a prominent local figure she was asked to join Paddington Housing Council, an organisation involved in improving local housing.
She was shocked, however, when she began…
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