Monday, 5 May 2008

You take the high load....
The Regents Canal has many attractive features - the Zoo, Camden market etc. In its heyday the traffic from the London docks which came up through Limehouse, Islington and Camden included lime juice for Rose's plant at Apsley (now B&Q) and paper from the John Dickinson mills. (now Sainsbury's) The canal was so busy that it was equipped with broad locks (14') to accept a narrowboat and the butty it towed. The locks were also paired to maximise the flow of freight and to conserve water. Today there is only one pair of locks in operation, the others having been reduced to the role of bywash back in the 1930's.

If you are using this pair at Camden it is wise to take the southern lock , furthest from the towpath, if possible. Because the locks are so close to each other the swing of the balance beams overlap and to avoid them colliding they are set at different heights. Those of the lock closest to the towpath favour dwarfs as they are only inches from the ground. Moving a lock gate at that level is far from easy.

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