LEVAS History

Long Eaton Victoria Angling Society was formed in March 1880 by a group of regulars at the Victoria Inn, Main Street, Long Eaton. Each agreed to contribute one old penny per week on top of an annual subscription (pro rata much more than we pay today!). The Victoria Inn’s landlord, Joe Barrow, became the Society’s first Chairman.

Although the principal activity of the Society was members competing to catch the biggest fish of each nominated species, the social side was very strong. The Victoria Inn remained the Society’s headquarters until 1970, when it was moved to the Bell Inn on the High Street. Society results were published in ‘The Angler’ in 1893.

An example of this, an extract from page 11 of THE ANGLER, July 22, 1893, reads:

"LONG EATON VICTORIA ANGLING SOCIETY.- On Saturday last a fishing match in connection with the above society took place in Monkey Park Pond, when twenty-four entered.  The following was the result of the match:  -1st, Messrs. Ed. Jervis, 1 lb 13 1/4 oz, seven shots; 2nd, F. R. Bembridge, 1 1/2 lb, eight shots; 3rd, G. H. Smith, 14 1/2 oz; 4th, Samuel Allen, 12 1/2 oz, four shots; 5th, John Roe, 5 1/4 oz, 11 shots; 6th, Henry Walker, 4 oz, six shots; 7th, Thomas Fernley, 2 1/4 oz.  The pond was kindly lent for the match by our worthy President, Mr. J. Bembridge.  After the match and weighing in was done one of our members, Mr. F. Clifford, brought in a very extraordinarily large basket of barbel caught in our waters.  Also, one of our members caught in our waters seven barbel weighing together 46 lb.  The largest barbel weighed 9 lb 8 1/2 oz, three shots. - H. Grundy, Secretary. "

By turn of century membership numbers had swollen to almost 100 and LEVAS began to look for its own fisheries.

  • Waters on the Trent from Long Eaton downstream to Barton were rented from the old Nottingham Co-operative Society and the Long Eaton Council.
  • Almost 100 years ago (early 1900s) LEVAS acquired the fishing rights on what is still the Society's stretch of the Erewash Canal.
  • The popular Kegworth waters on the Soar were taken on in 1921.
  • Over the next few years the whole Cranfleet Canal and the Ratcliffe section on the Soar were added to the portfolio.
  • Fletchers Pond was taken on in 1949.
  • Grange Pond came on line in 1985.
  • LEVAS took over the Colwick section of the Trent in 1989, which was, of course, purchased by the Society in 1997.

The Society has had the benefit of great loyalty from many of its Officers and Committee:

  • The first Secretary was Bill Matthews, who opened Long Eaton's first Fishing Tackle Shop – in his front room!
  • The first real President was Godfrey Skyrme, who held office from around 1920 to 1935.
  • The late Tom Hopewell served for 48 years as Chairman.
  • John Adams joined the Committee in 1973, was elected President a year later, an office
     he still holds today.
  • David Kent joined the Committee in 1966, became Secretary/Treasurer in 1979, has
    remained as 
  • Secretary throughout, also took on Match Secretary duties, and in 2004, took back the Treasurer's task. David is long standing Secretary of the East Midlands Region of the National Federation of Anglers. He was Vice President of the NFA for many years until 2004. He became a Board Member of the Angling Trust in 2010. He also serves on committees of the CRT.
  • Paul Richardson joined the Committee in 1982.
    He is currently Membership Secretary and chairs the Fisheries Sub-Committee.

Some interesting historical facts

  • The current Fletcher Cup was first presented in 1927
  • LEVAS member Herbert Sallis became National Champion in 1932
  • In the early 1930s no Sunday fishing was allowed except on the River Soar
  • Another rule around that time related to the weighing of fish, stating that three members must be present or the fish must be taken to the Landlord of the Society's HQ.
  • The first recorded Annual Outing was to Market Deeping in 1932 (when the President paid for all the meals)
  • in the 1950s the society was offered ownership of the fishing rights of the then Attenborough Gravels and the River Trent but rejected both.
  • 200 chub to 5 lb and 30 grayling to 1 lb 8 oz were stocked into the River Trent in 1960.
  • By December 1962 over 40 applications for matches totalling 1600 pegs on the River Trent at Long Eaton for the 1963-64 season had been returned due to the water being fully booked.
  • In 1967 British Waterways Board were planning to close the Erewash Canal. LEVAS Joined with other interested organisations and saved it.
  • In 1968 the Erewash Canal downstream of Stanton was virtually wiped out by devastating cyanide pollution which destroyed the whole ecology. It was not until the late 70s that the canal was once again declared fit.
  • In 1969 LEVAS joined the National Federation of Anglers in its own right.  It had previously been affifiated, since 1933, vie the Loughborough Soar AC.
  • In 1970 the R S Kirkland Trophy (for the Annual Outing) was presented to LEVAS by John and Jean Adams in memory of Jean's father, Stan Kirkland, who was a stalwart of the society from 1938 for some 30 years.
  • 1971 saw LEVAS enter a team in the National Championships for the first time.  It was the last of the 'single nationals' before it was split into divisions.  Fished on the River Severn 116 teams took part.
  • In 1975 the society won the Division Two National Championship.
  • In 1977 a special Jubilee Year Match was organised.  The top five individuals were paid £3.00, £2.50, £2.00, £1.50 and £1.00.
  • 41 members attended the Centenary AGM on 19 March 1980 when the fulkl adult subscription fee was raised to £4.00.
  • 1981-82 season saw Mary Cartwright as Club Champion, and she went on to captain LEVAS in the 1982 Division 1 National Championships (probably the only lady to achieve that feat)
  • 1981 saw Michael Church become the Junior National Champion.  In the team that year were current members Paul Mayo and Richard Clarke.
  • 1988, the Society threatens to relinquish fishing rights on the Erewash Canal due to BW's continuous neglect. Eventually BW offered a much lower rental and the lease was continued.
  • 1994 saw the draw for swims on the opening day of the season at Fletchers Pond.
  • 1999 saw the first stocking of carp (1,100 fish) into Grange Pond
  • In November 2000, raging floods washed through Fletchers Pond. Members rescued 17 large carp from surrounding fields as the waters subsided.
  • 2003, Alan Wright became the first engler to win the National Championship twice, as he topped a fine team performance on the River Soar which saw LEVAS achieve promotion to Division 1.
  • 2005: the society set up its website with the intention to build it into a comprehensive information and messaging system for the use of all (members, prospective members and other interested parties).
  • 2006: the post of Publicity and Press Officer was created at the AGM
  • 2006: LEVAS failed to enter a team into the National Championships Division 2 (Grand Union Canal) due to members' lack of interest.
  • 2006: LVAS's stretch of the Erewas Canal was used for the Division 1 National Championships and for the Erewash Canal Championships (which was fished before the 'national').
  • 2006-2007 season: LEVAS had 677 paid up members, consisting of 455 adults, 96 OAPs, 23 disabled and 103 juniors, a substantial increase on the previous year.  In addition 40 membeers took out permits for Fletchers Pond and 130 keys for Grange Pond were sold.
  • 2010: LEVAS restricted fishing on all their river fisheries to members only (no day tickets).  River fisheries may still be fished by visiting clubs for 'block booked' approved matches. 
  • 2011: The existing website ceased (without warning) in July.  The committee plan to have a new website operational by early 2012.
  • 2011: LEVAS controlled Erewash Canal was covered in areas by a form of 'duck-weed' (AZOLLA) throughout the summer and autumn.  By November the whole canal was covered.  BW deployed a weed removal boat at the end of November as a temporary remedy and the LEVAS Christmas Fare match was fished in December.  BW plan to introduce a duc-weed eating weevil to the canal in 2012 for a long term solution.
  • 2012: on Monday 10 January the new LEVAS website opened.  We have been able to retain our previous website address.  The format has been modernised and improved.
  • 2012: The new website sees the introduction of our first LEVAS logo - the red fish developed by member Anthony Hanstock - shown on the homepage of this site.
  • 2012: LEVAS extended their river holdings on the River Soar at Kegworth at the upstream end to include the weir and the "Lock Island", giving members access to some superb barbel fishing.
  • 2012: Throughout the summer the Azolla again flourished.  The Canals and River Trust (CRT) introduced the weevil to the canal.
  • 2012: Our President's wife, Jean Adams, passed away peacefully. Mrs Adams' father (Stan Kirkland) was a leading light with LEVAS and a trophy (R S Kirkland Trophy) was donated to the club in his memory in 1970.
  • 2012 (October): Following a fire to a wood store at Stanton, a polution entered the Erewash Canal.  This sucked oxygen from the water and eradicated fish life.  In an emergency operation the authorities attempted to remove fish from in front of the polution (for release above Gallows Inn, Ilkeston).  Several thousand fish were removed, but many more perished as the polution spread quicker than anicipated. The canal from Stanton to Trent Lock was left devastated.
  • 2012 (December): Initial restocking of small fish (roach and bream) to Erewash Canal.
  • 2012 (December): Local Tackle Dealer Aubrey Wainwright (Bridge Tackle) passed away aged 84 after a short illness.  Aubrey was a lifelong member of LEVAS and gave great support to us.  His son Paul continues the business.
  • 2013 (January): LEVAS opened a Facebook page.
  • 2013 (January): LEVAS website was hacked and brought down.
  • 2013 (February): LEVAS website back on line.  12 months of information has been lost!
  • 2013 (February): Erewash Canal stocked with 8,000 roach, bream and perch (including individual fish to 3-00 9in weight).  Fish provided by CRT from Kennet & Avon Canal (Bath).
  • 2013 (March): LEVAS website back up to date and fully oiperational.
  • 2013 (April): John Adams (Club President) is made a Life Member.
  • 2013 (April): LEVAS Headquarters is moved from Curzon Club to the Soldiers & Sailors Club (Tamworth Road, Long Eaton) where the Committee will meet every two months to conduct official business.  One Bailiff from each LEVAS fishery is co-opted onto the committee and the Water Management Sub-Committee.
  • 2014 (February): Erewash Canal stocked with 400 lb of bream and 10 lb of tench. All fish in 6-12 oz size range.
  • 2014 Any membership or permit requests from Membership Secretary must be by post only. Memberships may be obtained from 4 tackle shop outlets in person.
  • 2014: Decision made to support Treetops Hospice as LEVAS's official charity by making an annual donation.