Kirkstall Forge Locks - Kirkstall, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 49.383 W 001° 37.305
30U E 590723 N 5964715
Quick Description: This 3 rise staircase lock is numbered locks 8 to 10.
Location: Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 1/3/2015 2:34:33 PM
Waymark Code: WMN6BH
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 and finally completed in 1816. These days no commercial traffic operates on the canal, but it is popular with leisure boaters and the canal never closed.

Staircase locks are used when there is a need to raise canal boats quickly over a short distance. Unlike normal locks there is no pound or stretch of water between the sets of gates and boats enter the next lock chamber immediately after negotiating the previous one.

Whether heading up or down, the top lock needs to be full, and the bottom lock empty. The boat needs to enter its nearer lock, equalise the levels, forward into the other lock, and operate that like a single lock.

Each of the three chambers have a wooden footbridge to allow boaters to access the paddles at both sides of the lock.

The locks on this canal are numbered from the Leeds end of the canal and for numbering purposes Kirkstall Forge Locks is considered to be locks 8, 9 and 10.

The lock is an English Heritage Grade II listed building with the following details. "Flight of 3 locks. 1770-1777. Dressed millstone grit walls ramped up to lower 2 lock gates with steps on each side, steel foot bridges have replaced single wooden bridge on downstream side of each gate. Overflow and side channel on S side. The Leeds and Liverpool Canal was built 1770-1816; the stretch from Leeds to Gargrave was completed by 1777." link

On many locks there are warning signs about making sure the boat does not get caught on the cill. It's not always obvious what this means, but basically the wooden lock top gates do not go to the bottom of the lock but sit on a stone base. When the lock is full and a boat is going down, the cill is not visible. This means that when the water is released from the lock it is possible for the boat to get caught on the cill.

When the lock is empty it is much easier to understand how this works. When I took the pictures of this lock the top chamber was empty and the cill was visible.
Waterway Name: Leeds Liverpool Canal

Connected Points:
Connects the City of Leeds with the City of Liverpool. It also has a junction with the Aire and Calder Navigation at Leeds and the Bridgewater Canal at Leigh.

Type: Lock

Date Opened: 1/1/1777

Elevation Difference (meters): 7.00

Site Status: Operational

Web Site: [Web Link]

Date Closed (if applicable): Not listed

Visit Instructions:
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