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Graham and Jo

Bricks in the old narrow lock at Calcutt

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Calcutt has a pleasant bit of decking next to the old top lock enabling ice cream eating and general boat watching. 

 

Today I noticed something a bit interesting about the old lock. There are 3 sections where the top bricks are pushed back from the edge by about 3 inches. Has this any historical significance? 

 

I also noticed the bricks were made in Oldbury by Sadler Brothers.

 

Cheers Graham

 

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An old ladder point?

Two areas hmmm dunno 

Edited by Lingy

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There are 3 sections on both sides. Each about 3.5 feet long. It is just the top row pushed back, it doesn't continue down into the lock. The other two old narrow locks at Calcutt don't have this feature. 

 

It crosses my mind to wonder if it has something to do with gauging 

 boats? There are the remains of a chamber used for this purpose just behind the water point above the lock.

 

I also discovered that the bricks on the east side are made by a different company. Wood and Iver from West Bromwich Albion Brick works.

 

Cheers Graham

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Edited by Graham and Jo
Typo

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Different bricks on each side is interesting - rebuild of one wall?

 

I honestly don't know - my first thoughts were that these had supported a beam or timber after the lock was closed but there is no recess opposite so this isn't the case. Some of the locks clearly have been modified after closure (in some cases half the lock is missing!)

 

There is a row of bricks behind the coping bricks, that is also pushed back - but then it would be. There doesn't appear to be a similar row on the other side. 

 

ISTR that guaging took place at four points down the boat, but three equidistant points would work I guess so long as the toll clerk had reliable tables, and guaging at the first lock (going north) would make sense - but that really is just a guess.

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It might not show well on the pics but there are 3 identical features on both sides directly opposite each other so the idea of supporting some form of cover makes sense. Some of the other locks nearer Birmingham do have covers over them. Next time I am going that way I will have a look.

 

Thinking about that idea a bit more covering the old lock between the lock keepers cottage and the new lock makes sense. So it may be that the covers have been removed at some point. Time for a search of images of Calcutt top lock I think.

 

Cheers Graham

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Mystery solved!! I decided to go and speak to the oracle, Roger Preen, founder of Calcutt boats. The lock used to be fitted with gauging equipment! He also mentioned the old chamber behind the water point used to have the weighing equipment that is now on show at Stoke Bruerne.

 

Cheers Graham

  • Greenie 1

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The weighing equipment at Stoke Bruerne has long gone.  Back to Wales IIRC.

 

N

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1 minute ago, BEngo said:

The weighing equipment at Stoke Bruerne has long gone.  Back to Wales IIRC.

 

N

Yes, I just read that which seems to contradict Roger's story! 

 

Cheers Graham

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To the best of my knowledge the Weighing Machine that has now gone back to Wales came straight to Stoke Bruerne from under a bridge in Cardiff, where it had been stored ever since it went out of use, (in Wales!)  I would suggest that if there are matching recesses on both side of the locks, they were added to provide supports for bridges across the out of use locks.

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It looks like some form of improvement to ease access to the new lock for maintenance. I assume that there was a lock cottage to the left of the first picture, with access down the road still in use by Calcutt Boats. To get to the new lock would mean crossing the old; not so easy if the gates had been made into weirs.

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There is also a public footpath crossing the lock. This now goes over a modern bridge but perhaps this adds weight to the idea of something across the old lock. Cheers Graham

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19 minutes ago, BuckbyLocks said:

To the best of my knowledge the Weighing Machine that has now gone back to Wales came straight to Stoke Bruerne from under a bridge in Cardiff, where it had been stored ever since it went out of use, (in Wales!)  I would suggest that if there are matching recesses on both side of the locks, they were added to provide supports for bridges across the out of use locks.

The weighing machine came from Cardiff, it was immediately above Crockherbtown lock, just north of Queen Street Tunnel. Queen Street was the main London-Swansea road and is now the main pedestrian shopping street.

 

It is now in Swansea - this may be in Wales but this is rather like giving the Elgin Marbles to Turkey. 

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The  chamber behind the water point was a dry dock. I used it just before it went out of use.

The duck pond was fed from the outlet from the dock!

This photo shows a boat in the dry dock and another moored in the old narrow lock.

 

File1595a.jpg.f7371e8f678e4c5006af5c42d29fe30b.jpg

Edited by Dorlan

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Could it possibly be an example of what happens when a bored bricklayer decides to get creative? 🤔😁

  • Greenie 1

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3 hours ago, Dorlan said:

The  chamber behind the water point was a dry dock. I used it just before it went out of use.

The duck pond was fed from the outlet from the dock!

This photo shows a boat in the dry dock and another moored in the old narrow lock.

 

File1595a.jpg.f7371e8f678e4c5006af5c42d29fe30b.jpg

So that is why the duck pond is dry nowdays! 

 

Cheers Graham

 

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The dock illustrated with a red arrow on the map was an old Oxford Canal Company boat weighing dock, their other dock being at Hillmorton. Calcutt weighing dock closed in 1904 when they abandoned their wet inch gauging system in favour of the dry inch system used by the BCN and Grand Junction canals. All weighing was then done at their dock at Hillmorton. This side dock is still in water although filled with weeds and rushes.

 

As to why the Oxford had a weighing dock on the Warwick & Napton still has to be ascertained. The land ownership around this area appears to be complicated.

 

The Warwick & Napton never had a gauging system of their own as the revenue from tolls could never justify the cost and administration. The Warwick canals appear to have just accepted the weight of cargoes entering their system from toll permits issued by the BCN, Stratford or Oxford canals, or on the declared weights from merchants and carriers.

 

 

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