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The charity making life better by water

Carpenters Road Lock

Once a proud and busy hub of East London, Carpenters Road Lock was disused and rusting just a few years ago. We’ve breathed new life into this historic lock which now rightfully stands at the heart of London’s newest urban park, ready to lift its gates on a whole new chapter.

Carpenters Road Lock

Using the locks

You can book your passage online to travel through Carpenters Road, City Mill or Three Mills Lock.

  • You must request your lock booking a minimum of seven days in advance.
  • We'll confirm or amend your lock booking within two working days.
  • Passage is available 9.30am–4.30pm, Monday to Friday. It's possible to book a slot outside these normal passage times and we'll try to help you through, but we can't guarantee this.

We need advance notice because tide heights, water levels and fluvial flows can affect the lock and lock movements.

If you have any problems with your booking or you're a contractor, please email our Customer Service Team, stating 'Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park lock bookings' in the subject line of your email.

History of Carpenters Road Lock

In 2005 the International Olympic Committee voted to hold the 2012 Olympics in London, with the promise of a huge change to the lower Lea Valley. The centrepiece of the bid was a new venue along the old waterways in London's East End, the Bow Back Rivers. This new venue would contain world-class sporting venues, but would also become the largest new urban park seen in Britain for over a century.

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We saw this created a whole new purpose for our old industrial waterways. They could be a part of a new city landscape to be enjoyed and appreciated by all, and to become the location of new homes, schools and communities.
The Trust

The £1.8 million restoration of Carpenters Road Lock stands in the heart of the Olympic Park. It was one of the final pieces of a ten-year programme to regenerate the Bow Back Rivers and preserve an important part of London's industrial heritage.

Sam Thomas, our customer operations manager, talks about the restoration in the film below.

Today, Carpenters Road Lock is ready to lift again, to control floodwater and to allow boats to pass underneath its gates into the rivers around the London Stadium. We've ensured this historic lock has a new purpose that is very much part of London's 21st Century future.

Carpenters Road Lock is intergral to the Olympic Legacy Framework and with funding from us, Heritage Lottery Fund, London Legacy Development Corporation and Inland Waterways Association - this significant lock is set to be a showpiece waterside destination.

Quick facts

  • The lock cost under £25,000 to build in 1933, which is approximately £12m in today's money
  • The lock is probably just about big enough to fit in a blue whale
  • Carpenters Road Lock has the only set of vertical lift double radial gates in the country, perhaps in the world
Kingfisher in flight with small fish in its beak

Support our work

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Last Edited: 15 September 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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