Saturday 28 January 2012: The Opening of the Locks
I mentioned on Thursday that the famous 5 Rise Locks in Bingley would be open to the public this weekend. They have replaced four of the lock gates and were allowing us to walk through the 'dry' locks before they are flooded again next week. What an amazing experience, it was like the whole world had descended on the towpath. Tony and I were lucky in that we walked straight in to the one way system which began at the top of the hill. Afterwards we spotted lawrie and H in the cafe but I'm afraid they may still be in the very long queue which had formed by the time we came out. The event has certainly caught the imagination of local and not so local folk. There were waterways experts on each level ready to answer questions about the workings and the task of replacing the gates. The new gates are quite something, and it's all so simple - those Georgians/Victorians were clever people!
I decided to go black and white with my blip (I'm going to be interested to see lawrie's later) because they had a series of old photographs displayed, one of which showed a much older replacement event - flat caps/trilbies and all in 1912, so this is my tribute! You can see three of the new gates on the right hand side of the shot. You can also just about see the photographers on the top bridge. It's probably best viewed in large.
For the history buffs amongst you, here are some stats: The Leeds & Liverpool Canal is the longest man made canal in Britain - 127 miles. It took 40 years to complete and was finally completed in 1816. It cost around one and a quarter million pounds to build. The 5 Rise staircase was opened in 1774. It can take 1.5 hours to go through the locks. During WW2 volunteers from the Women's Land Army were draughted in to work on the canal. They were nicknamed 'Idle Women' because of their Inland Waterway IW cap badges.
Here's lawrie's taken from the opposite end and also in b & w!