Posted 1st Mar 2018
In the next of our History of the Waterways features, courtesy of Insure4Boats and the Canal and River Trust, we find out about the Kings Norton Stop Lock
The Kings Norton Stop Lock is the only guillotine-gated canal stop lock still in existence.
Built between 1793 and 1816 to divide the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal and the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. Back in those days, canal gates were a point of pride, with canal companies proving to be fiercely protective of their own water supplies, seeking to ring-fence them at all costs. It was this sense of rivalry that led to so many canal gates being created, with the guillotine gate - in particular, this was designed to stop water flowing from one canal company's territory to another, regardless of which side was higher.
With so many other canal gates being changed or falling apart over the years, the Grade II-listed Kings Norton Stop Lock was placed on English Heritage's 'At Risk' list in 2011, due to its precarious state. Once the funds were found by them and the People's postcode Lottery, a £200,000 restoration was undertaken, only briefly delayed by some disgraceful vandalism.
The Kings Norton Stop Lock has been working flawlessly ever since and provides a unique working example of canal history at the same time.
Did you know…
- It is thought the cast iron design of the lock is completely unique.
- Despite being intended to be level, historically the water on the Stratford-upon-Avon side sat six inches higher.
- To make the gate operational for the first time since 1948, engineers needed to drain a large section of the Canal, repairing the steel gates and replacing over 7,000 bricks.