Underwater gates installed at the start of World War II are getting special attention this week
A team of divers will brave the cold water of the Grand Union Canal in Little Venice for the Canal & River Trust to check the condition of the Air Raid Protection (ARP) gates, which have remained largely unaltered for over 75 years.
We're examining how the gates have fared and what future work might be needed to maintain an important part of London’s wartime history.
The gates were designed to close automatically if the canals were damaged during the Luffwaffe’s air raids. There were a number of bombs recorded to have fallen in the vicinity of the canals in London during the war period, but no large scale flooding due to canal damage is known to have occurred.
We're examining gates at 16 different sites over the next week.
Florence Salberter, Canal & River Trust heritage advisor, said: “London’s canals are filled with fascinating stories and the gates, which are still just visible above the waterline, are a great example of this. The Luffwaffe used the city’s rivers and canals as a way to navigate so it was a very real prospect that they could have been hit. We’re examining their condition to decide how best we can manage that piece of our canals’ rich history.”
Once the condition of the gates is fully understood we will seek to retain gates at key locations. We're also on the lookout for anyone who might have family who worked on the ARP gates during the war or has any other knowledge about them, so that they can add details to our archives.
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