May Day means Cavalcade! Find out what's going on by following the link in this month's bulletin. We're also featuring what we've been up to at Brick Lock, changes to the Enquiries London team and how to find out what happened at the Spring Forum.
Make sure you come down to the Little Venice pool for this year’s fabulous Cavalcade! The London Waterway team’s widebeam, Jena, will be there and moored on the north-side of the pool. You’ll be very welcome to come aboard and meet some of our staff and volunteers.
We’re happy to let you know that the lock should be re-opening on 2 May.
We’re grateful to everyone for bearing with us through these works, which started on 4 January for a reconstruction of the chamber wall. You’ll be aware that this project didn’t go as smoothly as we’d planned, so here’s a little explanation for those with a technical bent.
What we expected to find: Our plan was to rebuild the south-side lock chamber wall. This was leaning out of plumb and had several vertical cracks. We installed two levels of propping frames in the chamber and then steel sheet-piles behind the wall. We expected to find a 1m-wide brickwork wall which we would demolish to just below the low-water level and then rebuild in concrete with a brick facing.
What we found: We uncovered only a 70cm-wide wall and a horizontal crack for the full length of the chamber wall at the base. After more digging, an arrangement of longitudinal planks on transverse 12 inch by 6 inch timbers was exposed. The lock wall was founded on this timber construction and had no capacity to resist sliding or overturning.
We returned to the paperwork from works that were done to the lock in 1914. It now seems that the lock had been built with a timber invert which was lowered in the 1910s. These works should have included underpinning of the walls but we found no evidence of this.
What we did next: We had to design a new solution. We also needed to consider the installed temporary works which would need enhancing for the actual conditions on site. These off-site activities took time, during which there was limited site activity.
How we changed our plans: Once we had a new design, we worked seven days a week to deliver it. Since the wall had no foundation, we installed a third propping frame to the temporary works. To support the rebuilt wall, we cast eight large steel beams and a reinforced concrete beam. We anticipate that our work will last for many decades.
We interrupted these works over the Easter weekend and used the lock for over 50 boats, some of which were making their way down to Cavalcade. We think that this went well and we’re grateful to everyone who worked with us on this. Did you book to travel through? How did you find the process? Was it managed well on the day? If you’d like to share your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.
We had a great Forum at the London Canal Museum on 19 April. We’re so grateful to everyone for coming. The slides and a note is available. Future editions of this bulletin will include how we’re going to press forward with changes to how we run these sessions, watch this space!
Sam is leaving our Enquiries London team after a year’s service. We’re grateful to her for everything she’s done and we think she’s done a great job talking to customers on the phone and replying to emails.
Victoria is joining the team and we’ve started showing her the ropes for a seamless handover. Enquires London is based at the Trust’s Docklands office, where it is possible to buy or renew licences, buy Canal & River Trust keys for our facilities, and pump-out cards. We're open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
If you’re a driver, you may have seen the Road Safety campaign encouraging drivers to think about motorcyclists.
On the waterways, and the Lee Navigation in Hackney in particular, we need skippers to Think! Rowing Boat.
A recent incident saw two rowing boats slow down as a barge was travelling upstream on the wrong side of the Lee. Calls were made to the skipper of the barge to turn to avoid a collision, but there was no response until it was too late. Striking two of the oars, the rowing boat capsized and two people were in the water. The barge continued under power, without seeming to begin to slow down, until more shouting and instructions to stop.
Incidents like this should not be happening. Think! Rowing Boat and make sure you always keep a look out. Remember:
In areas that are popular for rowing, be observant, slow down, and sound your horn on bends.
Over the last twelve months we’ve been doing detailed research and talking to lots of people who use and love the canals. We’ve now put together some headline proposals which set out how we aim to improve the experience of boaters and boating in London. In April and May we’re holding a small number of focus groups across the London Waterway to get feedback on the headlines, before we develop them in more detail. We aim to publish more detailed plans for discussion in the late summer before adopting the strategy at the end of the year. Watch this space for more opportunities to get involved!
We’re very sad to report the death of Mike Harvey, a leading light in our team of volunteers. Mike did so much for the Trust, in Brentford and beyond. He moved our boats, helped with an archive project, was a volunteer lock keeper and a towpath ranger … and so much more. A fellow volunteer said: "Shocked and saddened to hear this. Mike was one of the most pleasant and amiable people I ever met - a gentle gentleman! He was a joy to talk to and I always enjoyed his company. He will be sadly missed."
The Trust is celebrating the people whose green fingers and gardening achievements help make our waterways such pleasant places to visit. This summer the Trust will be presenting certificates to those whose plants, flowers and vegetable displays make a positive contribution to our canals and rivers. And we’ll be giving out some special awards for boaters and other groups who are making an extra-special effort to help make our waterways blooming lovely. If you’re getting involved, share pictures and tweet #boatsinbloom.
Come along to this year's Crick Boat Show. This annual event showcases the inland waterways industry with over 250 exhibitors from across the canal world and offers a fantastic day out for all the family. With dozens of boats to look around, activities and attractions on the day also include:
The Rickmansworth Festival takes place on the third weekend of May every year and celebrates canals, the community and the environment. The festival, the highlight of the town’s annual calendar and the finale of Rickmansworth Week, will be held on the 20 and 21 May 2017.
Carpenters Road Lock restoration enters an exciting phase in May with delivery and assembly of the North and South lock gates taking place. From 15 to 18 May keep an eye on our time lapse cameras to see the gates assembled and lifted into place using a 350-tonne crane.
Places are filling up fast by keen boaters wanting to cruise through Carpenters Road Lock as part of the East London Waterways Festival August 25 to 28. Get in touch asap if you want to take part.
Saturday 29 April will see a Gluten Free Street Food Festival at Limehouse. It's been a fabulous year of weekend markets and events from the team at Limehouse Social and we're sure they'll be celebrating in style.
Sorwar Ahmed is Waterway Boating Manager for the Canal & River Trust in London. He’s engaging communities and developing social enterprises to improve the waterways for everyone! Every month he gives a round-up of news and views, essential reading for boaters and anyone with an interest in London’s canalsSee more blogs from London Boating Bulletin