SP0579 : Guillotine lock, Stratford-upon-Avon Canal

near to King's Norton, Birmingham, Great Britain

Guillotine lock, Stratford-upon-Avon Canal
Guillotine lock, Stratford-upon-Avon Canal
This unusual lock had been drained to allow repair work to be carried out on the brickwork and the gate mechanisms.
After all the scaffolding had been put in place, and prior to work starting, an open day was held for members of the public to view the inside of the lock.
This view is looking WSW along the lock, with bridge no. 1 arching over the top.
The bridge is wider than the lock because it was originally designed to have a wide canal run beneath it. This turned out to be too expensive, and the whole length of the canal down to Stratford-upon-Avon is narrow.
This lock was built wide originally. The wall to the right, with the large coping stones, and a slight curve to the bottom of the wall, is the original lock side. The wall on the left, with smaller coping stones, and a straight bottom to the wall, is a later replacement.
The repair work to the walls involved replacing missing brickwork and re-pointing. As the structure is listed, only period bricks and lime mortar were going to be used.
The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal
The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal links the Worcester and Birmingham Canal at King's Norton Junction with the River Avon at Stratford. The canal is 255 miles long, and has 56 locks*, the last onto the river being a broad lock. The canal was built in several stages (including changes of route) from 1793 on, finally opening fully to the River Avon in 1815.

By the 1950s the section north of Lapworth was rarely being used, and the southern section from Lapworth was badly silted with some unusable locks. It is believed that the last boat reached Stratford in the early 1930s, though a pleasure cruiser reached Wilmcote at Easter in 1947.

Threat of total closure of the southern section in the mid 1950s caused protests, leading to an enquiry in 1958, and a big public campaign to save the canal, so the abandonment plans were reversed in 1959.

The National Trust took on the task of restoring the southern section of the canal in 1960, leading to its re-opening by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on 11 July 1964. Control was passed to the British Waterways Board in 1988, then to the Canal and River Trust in 2012.

*One stop-lock at King's Norton is unused and open, another at Kingswood Junction is duplicated.

(Details reduced from Nicholson's Waterways Guide No 2)
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright David P Howard and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
year taken
2012
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SP0579, 69 images   (more nearby)
Photographer
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Geograph
Date Taken
Sunday, 9 December, 2012   (more nearby)
Submitted
Sunday, 9 December, 2012
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Rivers, Streams, Drainage  Construction, Development  Canals 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 0557 7947 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:24.7921N 1:55.1722W
Photographer Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 0558 7947
View Direction
West-southwest (about 247 degrees)
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