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Five Rise lock keeper

Barry Whitelock the country's longest serving lock keeper

Barry Whitelock in hi-vis Barry Whitelock - Five Rise lock keeper

The locks are operated by a lock keeper to ensure safety and conserve water.

Barry Whitelock has been lock keeper at Five Rise Locks since 1978. He is the country’s longest serving lock keeper.

He used to watch the old lock keeper Eddie Murgatroyd every Saturday and Sunday from the age of 8 and finally took over from him when he was 19.

From his small office at the top of the Five Rise Locks, Barry controls the flow of water from Winterburn reservoir 18 miles away. He regulates 10 million gallons of water a day between Bingley and Leeds. This is an important job as staircase locks are very wasteful of water.

Barry has to prepare all the locks in the staircase before the boats go through. Going uphill the bottom lock should be low and all the others full, so that each can fill the next. Going downhill the top lock should be full and all the others empty.

The Five Rise lock keeper since 1978, explains how to operate the Five Rise Locks.

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Last date edited: 21 July 2015