Broadwater Lock - Princess Alice Way, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 29.931 E 000° 04.943
31U E 297494 N 5709337
Quick Description: This lock used to join the Royal Arsenal Canal, now known as Broadwater, with the River Thames. The lock is no longer used.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 11/9/2012 11:45:35 AM
Waymark Code: WMFNHW
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 0

Long Description:

The gates at the north west end are sealed shut and concreted over for a footpath and cycle lane. The gates at the south east end are in the open position and the swing bridge, that used to carry a rail track over the south east end of the lock, is also open and landed on the south west side of the lock.

Google Earth gives a good view of the lock and the swing bridge can be clearly seen. Also in Google Earth the waters of the River Thames seem to be a long way from the lock. At spring tides, usually in the early part of the year, the waters of the Thames frequently flood the lower footpath!

The canal is only a few feet deep so was probably only used by barges to take raw material into the Arsenal and munitions out.

The London Canals website [visit link] show some excellent pictures of the lock and area.

The lock and swing bridge are Grade II listed and the entry at the English Heritage website (visit link] tells us:

"Lock of 1812-14 and swing bridge of C1876. Entrance lock built of brick with dressings and coping of Dundee stone; C20 riveted steel lock gates. Iron swing bridge to south west corner of lock. History: the Royal Arsenal Canal was built to allow supplies (especially timber) to be brought into arsenal and to protect the eastern boundary of the site. The swing bridge was built to serve a standard gauge line added in 1876 to connect the LCDR at Plumstead."

Tragically, in 2007 a local man drowned in the lock saving a small boy and hence the reason for all the fencing around it. The brave man, Leigh Pitt, is one of the few to have a tile placed in Postman's Park in central London in recognition of his self sacrifice.

The Urban75 website [visit link] tells us:

"In June, 2009, the first new plaque for over seventy years was unveiled in the park.

The plaque pays tribute to Leigh Pitt who bravely jumped into a Thamesmead canal to rescue a nine-year-old boy who had fallen in and was struggling to stay afloat.

Pitt selflessly dived in and held the child, Harley Bagnall-Taylor, above water line before passers-by were able to rescue the boy, pulling him out with a hosepipe.

Sadly, Pitt was unable to haul himself over the high canal walls and subsequently drowned.

Leigh Pitt's plaque reads:

LEIGH PITT, REPROGRAPHIC OPERATOR, AGED 30, SAVED A DROWNING BOY FROM THE CANAL AT THAMESMEAD, BUT SADLY WAS UNABLE TO SAVE HIMSELF, JUNE 7 2007."

Waterway Name: Broadwater Lock

Connected Points:
Royal Arsenal Canal (Broadwater) and the River Thames.


Type: Lock

Date Opened: 1/1/1814

Elevation Difference (meters): 6.00

Site Status: Inactive

Web Site: [Web Link]

Date Closed (if applicable): Not listed

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