We’re currently carrying out works at Blue Bank Lock, near Glen Parva in Leicester, as part of our £45 million programme of repairs on waterways across England and Wales this winter.
Explore our interactive picture to find out more about the works and how they complement other improvements on this popular stretch of the Grand Union Canal. The videos are best viewed in landscape on a mobile phone.
Repairs to the lock include replacing the bottom set of lock gates, repairing historic brickwork using traditional lime mortar, filling voids that have formed in places behind the lock walls and replacing damaged coping stones. The gates, which are made of oak and steel, have been leaking so new ones are needed to reduce water loss. We typically replace lock gates every 25 years and the new gates have been built by hand using traditional techniques at our lock gate workshop in Stanley Ferry.
The lock is in a conservation zone and the works have recently received funding via the Heritage Stimulus Fund, part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.
Due to the quirks of the site the team have faced the extra challenge of having to lift the new gates in while the lock has water in it. Ordinarily the lock would be drained and a crane on the lockside would lift the gates into position. This isn’t possible at Blue Bank Lock, as a crane couldn’t get close enough to lift the gates safely, but the team are overcoming the problem by using a floating crane to get nice and close.
The lock works aren’t the only improvements being made to this stretch of the canal. A series of separate projects to improve sections of towpath and make it easier for people to find and access the canal are about to get underway. These improvements will connect the towpath to other local routes and link with local businesses making it easier and more appealing for people to spend time by their local canal. These projects are being carried out by the Trust in partnership with the Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, Leicester City Council and Blaby District Council.
If you're having any difficulties watching the project videos you can see them all here:
Our enterprise manager, Alan Leather, gives an introduction to the repair works we're carrying out at Blue Bank Locks.
Jeff Hey, our site supervisor, talks about replacing the gates of the historic Blue Bank Lock.
Take a closer look at the restoration work being done by our teams at the historic Blue Bank Lock.
Heritage advisor Kerry Walmsley explains the sympathetic repair methods we use when restoring heritage assets like Blue Bank Lock.
This pleasant stretch of the Grand Union Canal provides visitors with a green space to explore by bike, by foot or by boat.
Last date edited: 22 December 2020