Five-Rise Locks On Leeds Liverpool Canal – Bingley, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 51.376 W 001° 50.287
30U E 576421 N 5968155
Quick Description: This staircase lock is on The Leeds Liverpool Canal which at 127 miles long is the longest canal in Northern England.
Location: Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/15/2013 1:38:04 PM
Waymark Code: WMJ359
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 0

Long Description:
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 although not all were staircase locks like this with no gap between each lock.

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.

This staircase has 5 locks and raises or lowers boats a total of 18 metres.

Next to the lock a Transport Trust plaque that informs us that this is the steepest staircase lock has the following text.


Opened in 1774 to raise the
Leeds & Liverpool Canal 18 metres
Up the Aire Valley, this is the steepest
Lock staircase in Britain

For further information visit:

There is also another nearby sign with further information
The Five-Rise Locks

Designed by
John Longbotham of Halifax
And built in 1774
By local stonemasons
Barnabus Morvil, Jonathan Farrar,
William Wild all of Bingley
And John Sugden from Wilsden

The Locks Raise boats 59 feet 2 inches
Over A Distance of 320 feet

Distance By Canal
To Leeds          16 miles 2 furlongs
To Liverpool 111 miles

National Heritage Award Winner 1975
The staircase locks are slow to operate since all five must be 'set' before beginning passage. For a journey upwards, the bottom lock must be empty, with all the others full: the reverse is the case for a boat descending. It can take up to ninety minutes for a boat to work through the flight. The five-rise is the steepest flight of locks in the UK, with a gradient of about 1:5. The intermediate and bottom gates are the tallest in the country. Because of the complications of working a staircase lock, a full-time lock keeper is employed.

The size of the lock also means that it is often on the list of lock maintenance during the winter months. Evidence of this can be seen by the fact that most of the gates have date plaques on them showing when they were last replaced. Some of the dates that can be seen include 1999, 2006 and 2011.

The lock is an English Heritage Grade I listed building.
Waterway Name: The Leeds Liverpool Canal

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

Type: Lock

Date Opened: 3/21/1774

Elevation Difference (meters): 18.00

Site Status: Operational

Web Site: [Web Link]

Date Closed (if applicable): Not listed

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