Bespoke wooden stop planks were craned into place, with the help of divers, to dam off the water to allow the works to take place. The 8m deep lock has now been drained of water, to allow a specialist team of engineers to work within the empty lock to replace the seals and carry out repairs to the lock chamber.
The lock gates are now over 24 years old, and in the last year the lock was used more than 1,250 times. The repair works will help lengthen the life of the lock gates further still.
Gateway from the Thames
Limehouse Tidal Lock is the gateway from the River Thames to the 2,000-mile network of historic canals and rivers across England and Wales. The lock leads into Limehouse Basin, previously known as the Regent's Canal Dock, and lies at the lower end of the Regent's Canal.
Historically the Dock was used by collier brigs, bringing coal from Northumberland and Durham and unloading it on to barges to supply gasworks and coal yards along the waterside. In 1969 the Regent's Canal Dock closed for shipping, apart from steel scrap. A new lock, known as Limehouse Tidal Lock, of smaller dimensions and with sector gates was constructed in the former ship lock in 1988-89. Marina pontoons were installed in the Basin in 1994.
The works at Limehouse this winter are part of our programme to repair and restore hundreds of historic waterway structures including iconic lock flights and bridges, as part of its five-month, £45 million programme of work to look after 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales.