Five Rise lock keeper

Barry Whitelock - the country's longest serving lock keeper

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

One of our wonders of the waterways, Bingley Five Rise locks are operated by our lock keepers to make sure boaters safely travel through the locaks and we conserve water.

Barry Whitelock became a lock keeper at Five Rise Locks in 1978 and retired in 2017, making him 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 eight and finally took over from him when he was 19.

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

Barry would 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: 15 May 2017