A rare opportunity to travel back in time and venture down into the bottom of a drained lock near Stoke on Trent is taking place this weekend.
Lock 42 on the Trent & Mersey Canal, at Church Lawton, will be fully drained of water to enable the public to climb down onto the canal-bed and see up close the inner workings of this 200-year-old chamber. The event, on Sunday 26th July between 10am and 5pm, is part of a series of summer public open days we are holding to showcase our work.
The £150,000 works will involve highly skilled craftsmanship removing the lock’s top gates and fitting brand new ones. Other brickwork repairs to the lock chamber and to the bottom gates will also be carried out to reduce water leakage.
In addition to the drained lock chamber, visitors will also have the opportunity to go on local nature walks with the Trust’s ecologists, and learn about the heritage of the area.
David Baldacchino, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust, says: “Repairing the lock gates at Lock 42 is part of the essential maintenance needed to enable the local canal network to be used and enjoyed by boaters, cyclists, anglers and walkers.
“We are opening up the site to visitors on Sunday 26th July, providing a unique opportunity for visitors to come and walk along the bottom of the drained lock chamber and learn about the works we are doing here from the Trust’s experts.”
Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, says: “We care for a remarkable network of historic waterways which are still working just as they were designed to 200 years ago. Keeping them open and safe requires a huge amount of planning, investment and craftsmanship and involves a wide range of experts, from civil engineers and hydrologists to heritage experts and ecologists."
We carry out a year round programme of works to maintain and repair the 2,000 miles of canals and rivers in its care so they can be enjoyed by the 33,000 boats and 10 million towpath visitors each year. Many of the biggest projects are carried out during the winter months to minimise the impact on waterway users. This year, essential maintenance will include the replacement of worn-out lock gates and repairs to aqueducts, reservoirs and tunnels.
The open weekend event is being held Lock 42, Trent & Mersey Canal. One minute walk from Red Bull Yard, Congleton Road South, Church Lawton, Stoke-on-Trent ST7 3AP. Limited parking is available at this address.