Canal maintenance team

Caring for the locks and canal for more than 200 years

Black and white photo of foreman D.W.Turner in bowler hat and his maintenance team pose for the camera at the top of Bingley Five Rise Locks in 1912 Maintenance team in lock in 1912

The locks and canal have to be regularly maintained to prevent loss of water and lock gates are usually replaced every 25 years.

Although the equipment and health and safety rules have changed they still use the traditional skills to fit the heavy wooden gates.

Listen to memories of the historic maintenance team.

100 years ago the gates were made a few miles down the canal at Apperley Bridge. The maintenance team used just an A-frame, block and tackle to carefully lift the five ton lock gates into position.

Today the gates are made at Stanley Ferry near Wakefield and they use hydraulic cranes to lift them.

Hear how the same skills are needed over 100 years later.

They still have to be hand-fitted on site by skilled carpenters to create a watertight seal, just as they would have done in 1912.

Team of carpenters in hi-vis in the bottom of Five Rise lock in 2012

Project Manager Peter Carter in the middle wearing yellow jacket and his team of carpenters at Bingley Five Rise Locks 2012.

Black and white photo of workmen in bottom of lock in 1912

Workmen repairing the wooden floor of the Five Rise Lock in 1912.

Black and white photo of workmen in a drained canal bed near Five Rise Lock

Waiting for a delivery of cement to repair the retaining wall of the Five Rise Locks and the canal bank.

Black and white photo of workmen inserting stop planks at FIve Rise Locks

Inserting stop planks using a pile driver at the top of Five Rise Locks, to drain the canal for the new swing bridge, around 1900.

Black and white photo of canal company carpenters with maintenance boat

Canal Company carpenters with the maintenance boat ‘Five Rise’ in the summer of 1890.

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Last date edited: 11 February 2019