Lock 61 On The Leeds Liverpool Canal - Whittle-Le-Woods, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 41.011 W 002° 37.224
30U E 525071 N 5948377
Quick Description: Lock 61 is also known as Johnson's Hillock Lock 4.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/7/2013 6:11:42 AM
Waymark Code: WMJ0ZJ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 1

Long Description:
The lock is on the Leeds Liverpool Canal. The locks on this canal were designed to carry the ‘short boats’ that had twice the capacity of the narrow boats used on other canals.

The locks therefore had to be wide enough to allow the 62 feet long, 14 feet wide boats through them. Most of the locks were also grouped together to give long runs between the locks and this is the fourth in a group of seven known as Johnson's Hillock locks. This whole group of seven locks is an English Heritage Grade II listed building

The boats were mainly used to carry bulk cargoes such as coal, stone and limestone. Commercial traffic ceased in 1964, but the locks are still used to carry leisure boats which have become very popular. Ironically the leisure craft are normally narrow boats, because there are links to other canals, and wider boats would not be able to pass through the locks on the other canals.

The construction of the canal was started in 1770 and the first section opened in 1774. The last section of the canal including this lock was completed in 1816.

The lock is very close to bridge 81. Bridges on the canal are very often at locks where the canal is at its narrowest, but are usually immediately next to the lock. They also usually straddle both the canal and the tow path.

In this case the bridge is a short distance from the lock and does not straddle the towpath. At the time of the opening of the canal the canal boats were towed by horses and at this bridge the horse had to leave the tow path and cross the road over the bridge before rejoining the canal.

When travelling in a northerly direction the fact that the bridge was so close to the bridge caused problems for the horse as there was only a short distance to pull the boat before it had to be disconnected and led over the road.

An information board next to the lock tells us the solution to this problem.
The bridge here has no towpath and this made towing boats out of the lock difficult. A hook was fitted to the side of the bridge, and the tow line was passed over the hook. Then the horse walked in the opposite direction to pull the boat out of the lock. Once the boat was moving, the line was disconnected and passed under the bridge to be re-attached to the horse which now towed the boat in the usual way.
Waterway Name: The Leeds Liverpool Canal

Connected Points:
Connects the City of Leeds with the City of Liverpool

Type: Lock

Date Opened: 1/1/1816

Elevation Difference (meters): 3.00

Site Status: Operational

Web Site: [Web Link]

Date Closed (if applicable): Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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