This winter we're undertaking essential maintenance works at Old Ford Lock on the River Lee Navigation and investing £90,000 to refurbish the 20 year old lock gates.
These lock gates have served their purpose for 20 years and it’s amazing that we can still use the same techniques to allow them to be put back in action for generations to come.John Guest
Old Ford Lock is being drained to allow the removal of ageing lock gates to its eastern lock chamber, which will be taken to the our workshop in the West Midlands to be stripped down and refurbished. Each lock gate is made of steel and oak and weighs around six tonnes. Our expert craftsmen will replace the timber parts, allowing the gates to serve the river for another 20 years.
The work starts today (13 November) as the gates are craned out of the lock. The lock chamber will be drained for the refurbishment and repairs to the timber gate cills and quoins. The refurbished gates will be craned back in on 29 November and, after the remaining works have been completed, the lock will reopen to boaters on 7 December.
As Old Ford has two locks side by side, dating back to when the River Lee was a thriving transport route for industry, boaters will be able to use the river throughout the majority of the repairs (Old Ford Lock’s western chamber will be closed between 12 and 14 November and again between 28 and 30 November during the gate removal and installation operations). The towpath and bridge will also remain open to the public throughout these essential works.
Jon Guest, London waterway manager at Canal & River Trust, said: “The essential work the Canal & River Trust does every winter will help to preserve the wonderful working heritage that our canals offer to so many visitors. These lock gates have served their purpose for 20 years and it’s amazing that we can still use the same techniques to allow them to be put back in action for generations to come.
"Today thousands of people enjoy walking, boating and cycling along the canals and their towpaths. I’m very pleased to see the lock gates being refurbished and the maintenance work carried out to help keep the canal in good working order for many more generations to enjoy.”
This winter we're spending £50m on conservation and maintenance works across 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, replacing 173 lock gates and undertaking other essential repairs. A number of these sites of hidden history across the country are being opened to the public. In London, members of the public can visit Hanwell Flight on the Grand Union Canal on 25 November.
This year's winter stoppage open day programme has been sponsored by May Gurney