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magpie patrick

Aylesbury locks

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When I walked the Aylesbury branch just over a week ago I noticed that most, but not quite all, of the locks had the top gate hinged on the non-towpath side. An unusual feature shared with the Coal Canal. However most, but again not all, seemed to have a recess on the towpath side big enough for a gate.

 

Question - have the gates been moved from one side to the other? 

20190803_074932.jpg

20190803_110953.jpg

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And while we're at it...

 

Has Little Tring Stop Lock ever been used as a lock? ISTR for a long time it was the head of navigation, and it rather like Fenny Stratford was built to combat leakage. I walked past this lock too which is now level and only has one pair of gates, but the picture below suggests actually using it as a lock may have been difficult...

 

 

Little_Tring_stop_lock.png

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3 hours ago, magpie patrick said:

When I walked the Aylesbury branch just over a week ago I noticed that most, but not quite all, of the locks had the top gate hinged on the non-towpath side. An unusual feature shared with the Coal Canal. However most, but again not all, seemed to have a recess on the towpath side big enough for a gate.

 

Question - have the gates been moved from one side to the other? 

 

 

Yes, I had not even noticed that at the time, but thinking about it, you are correct. The one thing I do remember is the locks being wider than normal single locks  (about 8ft 6ins from memory) and not being able to cross the lock over the boat to open the second bottom lock when descending, and having to walk all the eay round the lock to open it.

 

 

Edited by David Schweizer

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Maybe they originally had 2 gates.

 

Copied from http://narrowboatinfo.co.uk/canal-history-the-aylesbury-arm/

 

Despite being a narrow canal, the upper gates are single whilst the lower gates are still mitred, a bit frustrating when trying to negotiate the locks on your own, as you have to cross to both sides of the lock

Edited by buccaneer66

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4 hours ago, magpie patrick said:

When I walked the Aylesbury branch just over a week ago I noticed that most, but not quite all, of the locks had the top gate hinged on the non-towpath side. An unusual feature shared with the Coal Canal. However most, but again not all, seemed to have a recess on the towpath side big enough for a gate.

 

Question - have the gates been moved from one side to the other? 

20190803_074932.jpg

 

Swapped over so the cyclists can whiz past....

 

(Ducks for cover quickly)

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12 hours ago, buccaneer66 said:

Maybe they originally had 2 gates.

 

Copied from http://narrowboatinfo.co.uk/canal-history-the-aylesbury-arm/

 

Despite being a narrow canal, the upper gates are single whilst the lower gates are still mitred, a bit frustrating when trying to negotiate the locks on your own, as you have to cross to both sides of the lock

 Two gates? I'd normally dismiss that as the recesses are large enough for a single gate and way too big for the smaller mitre gates - but the only lock I found with the gate on the towpath side also had two large recesses.

 

Also, hinging them on the non-towpath side means you have to cross the lock anyway!

 

10 hours ago, 1st ade said:

Swapped over so the cyclists can whiz past....

 

(Ducks for cover quickly)

Don't mock - the Monmouth Canal has folding balance beams for that reason!!! I'll try and find a photo

 

I suspect it dates to days when four legged bicycles pulled boats, the locks up to Diggle on the Huddersfield Canal have all their furniture on the off side for that reason (top and bottom gates and all the paddles) although the effect is less apparent now they also have footbridges. 

12 hours ago, David Schweizer said:

Yes, I had not even noticed that at the time, but thinking about it, you are correct. The one thing I do remember is the locks being wider than normal single locks  (about 8ft 6ins from memory) and not being able to cross the lock over the boat to open the second bottom lock when descending, and having to walk all the eay round the lock to open it.

 

 

 

They look generous but I hadn't realised they were quite that wide

 

I wonder if this all adds up to sixteen locks in six miles, so make them fast by keeping stuff off the towpath and making the locks generous? Although as the latter would need to be factored in at original construction that is quite far sighted

 

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Never heard any of the Aylesbury arm locks having names before, and 'Black Jack's' is on the main line below Ricky. I was a member of ACS for a few years (mid eighties come to think of it) and the locks were known by their numbers. I wonder if this is a more recent naming exercise. I know the chap renovating the cottage (unpainted) had problems with vandals, but that's going back a bit. What a 'desert' the basin looks now.

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Been up and down the Aylesbury arm a few times but never noticed the locks being that wide, not as tight as some but 8 1/2' seems unlikely. Certain parts of the canal are probably narrower than that!

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Seven foot six, or maybe seven foot nine, but not over eight feet.

 

488048037_1017aTeresa0010.JPG.e70d538bf1598ce677e033e35e8384de.JPG

 

Also mid eighties. Prior to this, it was a struggle to even find the stop lock amongst the mature shrubbery that had grown up around the stop lock, and the bridge had been filled in completely, just an earth bank both sides. Certainly that way in the mid seventies, and the Wendover arm was crystal clear around New Mill, barely two feet deep or less.

 

765177636_1018Pict0031(Small).JPG.4342bcc8cd6d014c69f773710335f900.JPG

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A 1923 photo of the bottom gates on a lock on the Aylesbury Arm from the Waterways Archive collection.

992.1152.jpg

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2 hours ago, Pluto said:

A 1923 photo of the bottom gates on a lock on the Aylesbury Arm from the Waterways Archive collection.

992.1152.jpg

I think that's lock 15, which is now surrounded by development, but I could be mistaken. 

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Just been looking through some of my canal books, and Faulkner's 'Grand Junction Canal' only gives the beam for the Aylesbury arm as 7ft. Whereas 'Inland Waterways of Great Britain and Ireland' compiled by Lewis Edwards gives the maximum beam of 7ft 3ins. Nowhere have I found the reason why they are wider than other 'narrow' canals in either book. From the outset there were issues over water supply from the summit, and that may well have been reason for choosing narrow locks.

 

All the bottom gates are mitred, and the top gate single.

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9 minutes ago, Derek R. said:

All the bottom gates are mitred, and the top gate single.

Not true at lock 2! 😂

 

The stop lock at Tringford on the Wendover arm in the early 1970s

 

Gnat_004.jpg

Edited by alan_fincher

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19 hours ago, David Schweizer said:

The one thing I do remember is the locks being wider than normal single locks  (about 8ft 6ins from memory) 

 

 

This one wasn't...

_70850507_lock2.jpg

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1 minute ago, Derek R. said:

Trust you! So is it the bottom of Lock 1, or the top of Lock 2?

Yes!

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19 hours ago, buccaneer66 said:

 

Despite being a narrow canal, the upper gates are single whilst the lower gates are still mitred, a bit frustrating when trying to negotiate the locks on your own, as you have to cross to both sides of the lock

Not quite sure why it’s “despite” being a narrow canal since the arrangement of gates described is the most prevalent arrangement for narrow canals.

 

JP

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2 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Not quite sure why it’s “despite” being a narrow canal since the arrangement of gates described is the most prevalent arrangement for narrow canals.

 

JP

It's a quote from the webpage, which seems to have been written by someone who has never seen any other narrow canal except perhaps the Canal du Berry....

 

(Or the Birmingham and Fazeley, but that's nothing like as exotic!)

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1 minute ago, magpie patrick said:

It's a quote from the webpage, which seems to have been written by someone who has never seen any other narrow canal except perhaps the Canal du Berry....

 

(Or the Birmingham and Fazeley, but that's nothing like as exotic!)

Aha.

 

I wonder the author would have made of Bosley then.

 

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg
  • Greenie 1

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2 minutes ago, buccaneer66 said:

...it does say that Elesmere Port has double gates top and bottom, having never been through there i wouldn't know.

It does...

094e912ea9b464b14dc6e501077fda5ce7c0c9a4

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According to "A Brief History of the Wendover Arm 1793-1968" the stop lock at Little Tring was built in 1896 to protect the summit from the leaks in the Wendover Arm, the idea being that if a lightly loaded boat with a shallow draught wanted to pass it could do. Apparently this was "virtually never used", although there are records of traffic in 1897 with the canal in low water: 620 tons of manure up the arm & 500 tons of hay back.  In 1904 the arm was abandoned and the stop lock was used as a convenient point to dam the arm.

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58 minutes ago, Mike55 said:

According to "A Brief History of the Wendover Arm 1793-1968" the stop lock at Little Tring was built in 1896 to protect the summit from the leaks in the Wendover Arm, the idea being that if a lightly loaded boat with a shallow draught wanted to pass it could do. Apparently this was "virtually never used", although there are records of traffic in 1897 with the canal in low water: 620 tons of manure up the arm & 500 tons of hay back.  In 1904 the arm was abandoned and the stop lock was used as a convenient point to dam the arm.

I don't know how well researched the following is http://wendoverarmtrust.co.uk/history-of-the-arm.html

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