Regent’s Canal is drained to replace lock gates and clear up a kitchen sink
- Credit: Canal & River Trust
Part of the Regent’s Canal has been drained in London’s East End to remove two ancient lock gates that have passed their ‘sell by ‘ dates. New gates—weighing about the same as a three-tonne family car—have been hand-crafted at the Canal & River Trust workshops in Yorkshire to replace them.
Volunteers taking advantage of draining Johnson’s Lock in Mile End have been busy removing junk nearby that has been dumped in the canal over the years—everything including the kitchen sink!
The £170,000 scheme involves each gate being carefully lifted by crane and replaced with new solid oak gates to last the next 25 years.
Engineers can only reach the old gates, which have become worn through years of use by boats navigating the canal, once the lock has been drained.
“It’s just every quarter-of-a-century that we get a chance to replace lock gates,” Canal & River Trust supervisor Graham Smith explained.
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“It takes quite a bit of work to get it right. Every lock is unique, so we have to hand craft the gates to very fine specifications.”
But it doesn’t come easy, with more and more canal traffic each year.
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Graham added: “The Regent’s Canal is probably more busy now than any time in living memory.”
That means the next time volunteers get such a chance for clearing up rubbish from the canal like old kitchen sinks probably won’t happen until 2040.