During works to refurbish Bulls Lock in Newbury, an engraving from 1975 has been found under nearly 40 years of moss. The engraving thanks the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust volunteers who originally restored the structure.
Today (Tuesday 16 December), after seven weeks of repair work, Bulls lock will be rededicated to those same volunteers for their hard work after it fell into disrepair in the 1960s. The lock will then be formally adopted by West Berkshire Mencap.
Rob Dean, chairman of the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust, says: “Our volunteers spent more than 5,000 hours over a year working to bring the lock back to life and opening it to boats once again. It cost us just over £4,000 to restore the lock, rather different than the £120,000 which has just been spent!
"The Kennet & Avon Canal Trust is as passionate about Bulls Lock now as we were 40 years ago and we’re delighted that Canal & River Trust is not only maintaining and improving the canal but also encouraging the local community to step forward and care for our industrial heritage.”
The top and bottom lock gates have been replaced and repairs have been made to the ground paddles which release water into the lock. The stone walls which lead from the canal into the lock also had repairs to them due to the bumps from boats through the years and the brickwork in the lock chamber will be repointed.
West Berkshire Mencap, a charity which provides high quality services for people with learning disabilities, their families and carers, will be keeping a watchful eye on the lock and canal. The group will be litter picking, cutting back vegetation and working with Canal & River Trust to make sure the area is safe and welcoming for all visitors.
There will be a chance for members of the public to take a unique view of the Kennet & Avon in January when Aldermaston Lock outside Newbury will be drained for a gate replacement. Visitors to the Open Day on Saturday 31 January will be able to walk down into the drained lock chamber, ask the construction team questions and hear about the history of the lock from canal experts.