Wednesday, 16 May 2012

New Guillotine Lock

When the English canals were built about 200 years ago the projects were all private enterprises. They generally required an Act of Parliament in order to facilitate the purchase of land and protection of water resources.  We have seen this year how important water resources are to the operation of the canals and often canal companies would prevent the water from their canal flowing into an adjoining canal belonging to another company. This was usually accomplished by what is termed a stop lock: This may have a small change in level but was primarily designed to ensure that when a boat passed from one canal to the next it took no more water with it than absolutely necessary.

Kings Norton Stop Lock

Yesterday when we came up from Lyon's Boatyard  on the North Stratford Canal into the centre of Birmingham we passed through two stop locks.  The first, at Kings Norton, formed the border between the Stratford and the Worcester & Birmingham canals: the second, at Gas Street Basin and generally called the Worcester Bar,  formed the border of the W&B and the Birmingham Main Line.

Neither of these actually function today, the water levels being identical. Whilst the Worcester Bar was traditional hinged lock gates, at Kings Norton Jct the gates are in the form of a guillotine.

British Waterways have now introduced a new variation on the guillotine lock - this is designed to decapitate any boater taller than 5ft 2ins.

For pictures and more details follow this link to the Narrowboat World report.

Regular readers will also remember my recent post regarding this plan by BW to fit hand rails to the lock tail bridges on the Staffs & Worcs canal because a lad died whilst trying to cycle across a lock in Stourport.
It seems the safety of fools is more important than that of legitimate users.

1 comment:

  1. Originally the Worcester Bar was just that. A solid bar of land that goods had to be carried over from one boat to another. The gate was added later


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