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Only guillotine lock for 2,000 miles of waterway gets a refurbishment

Guillotine lock Photo: Canal and River Trust

As part of its first annual waterway stop page programme, the Canal & River Trust is undertaking major maintenance and repair works on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal.

The canal, which was built between 1793 and 1816 and runs for 25½ miles, will have 15 different maintenance projects this winter to ensure the on-going smooth and safe passage for its many boating and towpath visitors.

Guillotine lock is being refurbished Credit: Canal and River Trust

Locks 9 and 16 near Lapworth are both receiving new top end single lock gates, as well as repairs to the bottom gates which will extend their life.

Lock gate making and fitting is an extremely skilled and traditional trade and one that remains essential to the waterways.

Lock gates are constructed with tremendous strength as they have to control huge water pressures, take the hard usage they get from the thousands of boats which use them each year and survive for a long time underwater at the mercy of the elements.

The lock refurbishment begins today Credit: Canal and River Trust

As part of the winter works, Guillotine Lock in Kings Norton will be completely refurbished.

Unfortunately, the lock, which is the only guillotine gated stop-lock on the 2,000 miles of Canal & River Trust waterways, has in recent years been subject to neglect and vandalism and, in 2011, was placed on the English Heritage ‘At Risk’ register.

To take this special structure off the list and preserve this important and rare waterway wonder, skilled heritage engineers will carry out repairs to the brickwork and sandstone in the chamber walls and the lock gate structure.

Repairs will also be made to the non-operational timber lock gates and cast iron lock gate fittings. Engineers will also remove silt and debris within the lock chamber.

The lock gate has been damaged by vandals over the years Credit: Canal and River Trust