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Autherley stop lock

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Just come through there from the SU.  We locked up about six inches.

 

Now, unless I am sadly mistaken the SU was cut after the Staffs and Worcester.  I wpuld have thought that the owners of the S&W would have been very keen to ensure that they didn't lose water to the Shropshire Union,

 

Question:  Why is the rise of the lock from SU to S&W?  Doesn't that mean that any water is lost from the S&W very much against the interests of the earlier canal?

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Yes that is true. I explain this in my book Silent Highways p 121. The B & L Junction were charged for the water and other water that was supplied to maintain the navigation to the first lock. Now the reasons why Telford chose this level is worthy of further investigation. 

  • Greenie 1

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I was helping a tug and barge one time, at Autherley.  Getting the speed right, we managed to get them both through with top and bottom gates open at the same time.  No stopping.  No idea how it worked, but it did.

Don't you try this!  They knew what they were doing.

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The idea that the new canal is higher by default is a bit of a myth. Of the four stop locks that survive three have the newest canal higher but the newer canal also climbs from the junction. At Autherley neither canal climbs from the junction,  both are at the summit level. 

 

It should be added that Hawkesbury Stop Lock is often attributed to surveying error.

 

Off the top of my head, Kings Norton normally fell to the Stratford but could in theory work both ways, Neachells (Birmingham and Warwick Junction) climbed from the Birmingham and Fazeley but so does the B&WJ climb, Dundas climbed from the K&A and the Coal Canal climbs away.

 

Marston Jabbet at the junction with the Ashby worked both ways.

 

I have wondered whether stop locks at Junctions were a rather English phenomenon (with one or two in Wales). I can't off the top of my head think of anything similar in France or America, the other systems that I know to some extent (there are almost no examples of two canal companies meeting in Ireland, a network I am also familiar with)

 

 

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1 hour ago, Chris Williams said:

I was helping a tug and barge one time, at Autherley.  Getting the speed right, we managed to get them both through with top and bottom gates open at the same time.  No stopping.  No idea how it worked, but it did.

Don't you try this!  They knew what they were doing.

They did that for the IWA national when it was held there, top and bottom gates open and a row of boats passed through. The same at Preston Brook stoplock for the National there.

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2 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

They did that for the IWA national when it was held there, top and bottom gates open and a row of boats passed through. The same at Preston Brook stoplock for the National there.

We were there, we queued to get through to moor up then queued to get through (both ways) on the illuminated boat parade and queued to get through to leave. There was a lock keeper at the lock the entire time from memory so perhaps he was posted to stop that from happening? 

 

We took the opportunity to allow Janet S who no longer posts on this forum to bring Wet Betsy, their inflatable dinghy, through the lock by sharing it with us on Carrie~Lou. The Lock keeper wasn't keen at all! They were in the lock queue ahead of The President and it all caused much amusement to all. 

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6 minutes ago, cheshire~rose said:

We were there, we queued to get through to moor up then queued to get through (both ways) on the illuminated boat parade and queued to get through to leave. There was a lock keeper at the lock the entire time from memory so perhaps he was posted to stop that from happening? 

 

We took the opportunity to allow Janet S who no longer posts on this forum to bring Wet Betsy, their inflatable dinghy, through the lock by sharing it with us on Carrie~Lou. The Lock keeper wasn't keen at all! They were in the lock queue ahead of The President and it all caused much amusement to all. 

Was that about the same time you convinced me we would earn ourselves a steak dinner once we had completed the Autherley flight? Many hours of puzzling over Nicholson's followed searching for this exacting flight of locks 😊

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1 minute ago, Ange said:

Was that about the same time you convinced me we would earn ourselves a steak dinner once we had completed the Autherley flight? Many hours of puzzling over Nicholson's followed searching for this exacting flight of locks 😊

Everyone knows it is The Autherley Flight. It is @Keeping Up's fault. He always says he is only allowed to order a mixed grill in the pub on a day he has done a flight of locks. 

As this lock flight was the closest one to where we moored it was a fairly obvious regime to adopt really

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12 hours ago, Chris Williams said:

I was helping a tug and barge one time, at Autherley.  Getting the speed right, we managed to get them both through with top and bottom gates open at the same time.  No stopping.  No idea how it worked, but it did.

Don't you try this!  They knew what they were doing.

It's perfectly possible, particularly with the assistance of a boat, to open a gate against a three inch head of water, so to open both ends of this isn't too difficult! I'm told (although I've never seen evidence) that the steamers on the GU could open gates against a foot of water, and that Fenny Stratford lock was taken at a bit of a canter!

 

edited to add - Autherley has gate paddles which make it easier to open a gate against a head of water, especially of they are nice and large

 

Going back to the original question, the amount of water lost by the operation of a stop lock is minimal in the grand scheme of things, and even if there is no stop lock then lockage can be accounted for if records are kept and can be relied upon. The real risk is the other canal leaking, and with a small change in level both canals were relatively well protected from the other. However the lower canal was at some risk of the higher canal burst it's banks, as the small change in level would quickly be reversed. Given the embankments on the Shroppie at Brewood and Shutt Green the S&W may have been worried by this.  The Kennet and Avon certainly were at Dundas, where the Coal Canal dropped 7 inches into the K&A - there was (and still is) a third gate that opposes the regular two and will close in the event of a breach on the coal canal.

Edited by magpie patrick

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10 hours ago, cheshire~rose said:

Everyone knows it is The Autherley Flight. It is @Keeping Up's fault. He always says he is only allowed to order a mixed grill in the pub on a day he has done a flight of locks. 

As this lock flight was the closest one to where we moored it was a fairly obvious regime to adopt really

Absolutely right! By the same principle I am allowed a mixed grill in the Bleeding Wolf after completing the Hall Green flight, or in the Wharf Inn after the Welford flight.

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14 hours ago, magpie patrick said:

I have wondered whether stop locks at Junctions were a rather English phenomenon (with one or two in Wales). I can't off the top of my head think of anything similar in France or America, the other systems that I know to some extent (there are almost no examples of two canal companies meeting in Ireland, a network I am also familiar with)

It is almost certainly a result of English canals being built with private capital and no government involvement, while elsewhere governments either built or controlled the planning of canals so there was no restriction on passing from one canal to another.

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The water loss at Autherley was perhaps minimal, yet for Telford the building of the BLJ canal higher would have led to loss of water both ways.

 

As to Hawkesbury Junction was the stop lock built when the  Oxford went as far as Longford? The reasoning being if a stop lock was required in those early days should it have been built at Longford. Of course, when built there were stop locks on both the Coventry and Oxford..

220011.jpg

Edited by Heartland

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3 hours ago, Heartland said:

The water loss at Autherley was perhaps minimal, yet for Telford the building of the BLJ canal higher would have led to loss of water both ways.

 

And Telford would have had to build the level to Wheaton Aston perhaps a foot higher, A lot of that seven mile pound is on embankment to at the very least it could seriously have upset the cut-fill balance

 

3 hours ago, Heartland said:

 

As to Hawkesbury Junction was the stop lock built when the  Oxford went as far as Longford? The reasoning being if a stop lock was required in those early days should it have been built at Longford. Of course, when built there were stop locks on both the Coventry and Oxford..

 

I've often pondered this, and I don't know what the answer is. The rise and fall at Hawkesbury is attributed to a surveying error, but even if this were not the case the change in level is too great for there to have been no lock at all when the canal ran to Longford. Did they move the lock when they shortened the canal? Or did two not-quite-levels meet at Hawkesbury so that the error was first noticed? 

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The lock that puzzles me is Kent Green on the Macclesfield.

It seems to be odd that such a small change in level is needed so close to the Harecastle tunnel and the flight down to Red Bull.

The entrance cut is very narrow too.

It can't be a water stealing measure surely?

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27 minutes ago, Boater Sam said:

The lock that puzzles me is Kent Green on the Macclesfield.

It seems to be odd that such a small change in level is needed so close to the Harecastle tunnel and the flight down to Red Bull.

The entrance cut is very narrow too.

It can't be a water stealing measure surely?

Two stop locks back to back, two companies and two lock keepers

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1 hour ago, Boater Sam said:

The lock that puzzles me is Kent Green on the Macclesfield.

It seems to be odd that such a small change in level is needed so close to the Harecastle tunnel and the flight down to Red Bull.

The entrance cut is very narrow too.

It can't be a water stealing measure surely?

The change in level is bigger than it was half a century ago (or thereabouts - I need to be careful as I'm over half a century old now!)

 

I understand (which is code for "I may be wrong on this") the two canals were more or less level, but the summit of the T&M was lowered to increase headroom through Harecastle Tunnel, which like everything else had sunk with mining subsidence. 

 

There were nevertheless two stop locks back to back to control water and boats between the two canals. Last time I looked, it was obvious that the T&M one hadn't been used for a very long time

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7 minutes ago, magpie patrick said:

The change in level is bigger than it was half a century ago (or thereabouts - I need to be careful as I'm over half a century old now!)

 

I understand (which is code for "I may be wrong on this") the two canals were more or less level, but the summit of the T&M was lowered to increase headroom through Harecastle Tunnel, which like everything else had sunk with mining subsidence. 

 

There were nevertheless two stop locks back to back to control water and boats between the two canals. Last time I looked, it was obvious that the T&M one hadn't been used for a very long time

Was this for the second tunnel or for the original, now unused, bore?

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3 hours ago, Boater Sam said:

Was this for the second tunnel or for the original, now unused, bore?

I'd always assumed it was for the second tunnel, BW also took the towpath out so boats could pass under the centre of the arch. 

 

That said, I haven't an official source for this, just the word of BW employees and others, but the levels at the locks at both ends and at Hall Green seem to suggest the level has been lowered. 

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Thanks for all the interesting information.  There is much more to this than I originally thought.

 

Nick

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I've done a little bit of research and trawled my own memory banks - a cursory check finds 12 stop locks which had to be used as locks even though they had minimal change of level. Of these three went up to the older canal (or more precisely, the canal being joined), five went down to it, and four could work either way. 

 

I haven't included some notional ones as I'm not clear they ever had a change of level, included in these are Marple, Horsley Fields and Worcester Bar, all have gate recesses but I've no record of them ever being used, 

 

One issue is that Bradshaws 1904 isn't 100% reliable - Barnsley Junction and Langley Mill stop locks are both listed but Braunston is not for example, even though Braunston did act as a stop-valve so the GJCCo could pump their own water back, also some stop locks were redundant by 1904 (Marple for example)

 

My list is...

 

Autherley SU
Preston Brook T&M
Hawkesbury Oxford
Hall Green Macclesfield
Neachells B&WJ
Kings Norton Stratford
Marston Ashby
Warwick Bar Warwick and Birmingham
Dundas Coal
Barnsley Junction Dearne and Dove
Langley Mill Nottingham
Braunston Grand Junction

 

 

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I thought the arrangement at Braunston was that water from the bottom lock drained into the reservoirs (which when built were not connected to the navigable channel), and not into the pound below. So the stop lock woudl not have bee needed to prevent loss of water from the Grand Junction to the Oxford.

 

The stop lock was located outside the Stop House, i.e. just to the west of the marina arm junction. Since the marina arm is part of the Oxford Canal, the stop lock wasn't at the junction anyway!

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3 minutes ago, David Mack said:

The stop lock was located outside the Stop House, i.e. just to the west of the marina arm junction. Since the marina arm is part of the Oxford Canal, the stop lock wasn't at the junction anyway!

In that case, one wonders what the heck it was for!?!? 

 

Was it just a toll and gauge point?

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4 hours ago, David Mack said:

 

 

On the other hand, http://nurser.co.uk/the-boatyard/the-stop-house.html says "The canal still narrows in front of the Stop House where there used to be a stop lock to prevent water from the Grand Junction flowing in to the Oxford Canal."

 

gw-19_med_hr.jpeg

We need a definitive source as there is a further change to be considered - as originally built the Oxford Canal went through the bridge and towards Naption, but with the straigtening that became a dead end and both Napton and Hillmorton lie behind the photographer, so in theory from that date onwards the stop lock COULD have seperated the waters of the two canals

 

Now I've checked the Oxford Canal rather than the Grand Junction in Bradshaws, the stop lock is listed as being the end of the Braunston Branch, although it's only listed in the mileage tables not in the locks

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