Former Rochdale Canal Lock 53 – Castleton, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 35.271 W 002° 10.696
30U E 554394 N 5937981
Quick Description: The Rochdale canal is 32 miles long and connects Manchester on the west side of the Pennine Hills and Sowerby Bridge on the east side.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/10/2014 2:21:05 PM
Waymark Code: WMK490
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 1

Long Description:

The Canal History
The Rochdale Canal was completed in 1804 and is one of three canals that cross the Pennine hills. This is the only one that doesn’t use tunnels. In addition it was a broad canal with bridges and locks that allowed boats of 14 feet width to pass through.

The one downside of not using tunnels is that it originally had 92 locks. These days two of them have been combined into one deep lock.

Competition from railways and roads subsequently led to a decline in goods being carried and by 1937 the only section left in operation was at the Manchester end of the canal.

In 1965 there was talk of abandoning the canal but by this time leisure boating had become very popular in the UK and there was a campaign to keep it open. Work was started and the canal slowly re-opened in a number of different stages. The whole length finally reopened in September 2007.

Details of this lock
This lock is also known as Blue Pits Lowest Lock. It is one of three original locks named after a nearby quarry that used to produce a type of blue clay.

This lock was originally 9 feet deep but then in the late 1960s after this section of canal had closed the M62 motorway was built near here across the canal cutting it in two. When restoration work on the canal started a way had to be found to get the canal under the motorway.

Near to this point there was a farm road that passed through a tunnel under the motorway. The solution to the problem was to leave this lock permanently open and to divert the canal to use the road tunnel. A new lock 53 was then built at the far side of the the motorway where the diversion met with the original route of the canal. This website shows the various stages of doing this work.

This lock was made a Grade II listed building by English Heritage in 1985 before the canal was restored. link

The web site tells us that the lock engineer was William Jessop. It also tells us that the winding gear for the lock gates has been removed and that only one set of gates remain. This is still true today, recesses in the lock walls can be seen where the gates used to be.
Waterway Name: The Rochdale Canal

Connected Points:
The city of Manchester on the western side of the Pennine hills and the town of Sowerby Bridge on the east.

Type: Lock

Date Opened: 1/1/1804

Elevation Difference (meters): 3.00

Site Status: Remnants

Web Site: [Web Link]

Date Closed (if applicable): Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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