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4 Nov 2011 12:16PM   Views : 1201 Unique : 729

Bingley 5 Rise Lock, West Yorkshire:

Bingley 5 Rise Lock is a staircase lock on the Leeds/Liverpool Canal. As the name implies, a boat going up the lock is lifted in 5 stages. It consists of 5 locks connected together with (as always) a staircase, no intermediate "pounds"; the lower gate of each chamber forms the upper gate of the chamber below. There are therefore 5 chambers, and 6 gates (the top and bottom gates and four intermediate gates). As the Leeds Liverpool Canal is a wide canal, the chambers are 14 feet wide, and each "gate" consists of two half-gates, hinged from opposite sides of the canal. Each half gate is slightly more than 7 feet wide, so that the two halves close in a "V" shape, pointing upstream.
Water pressure on the "uphill" side of the gate thus keeps it tightly closed until the water levels on either side are equal, when the gate can be opened and the boat moved to the next chamber.

The 5 rise is the steepest flight of locks in the UK, with a gradient of about 1:5 ( a rise of 59ft 2 in) over a distance of 320 ft. The intermediate and bottom gates are the tallest in the country. Because of the complications of working a staircase lock, and because so many boaters (both first time hirers and new owners) are inexperienced, a full-time lock keeper is employed, and the locks are padlocked "out of hours".

Barry Whitelock, the lock keeper, after twenty years based here is now almost synonymous with the flight. Barry was awarded an MBE in 2006 for services to Inland Waterways in the North.

The lock first opened on 12 March 1774 and was a major feat of engineering at the time. When the locks and therefore the canal from Gargrave to Leeds was opened in 1774 a crowd of 30,000 people turned out to celebrate. The first boat to use the locks took just 28 minutes and the whole first trip is described in the newspaper of the time - Leeds Intelligencer.

The staircase underwent extensive restorative maintenance in 2004, and again in 2006 when the lock gates and paddles were replaced. As is expected with such a feat of engineering it requires a lot of maintenance and is often on British Waterway's list of winter stoppages for such.

The structure is Grade 1 listed.bingley-canal-walk-28101107.jpg

Tags: Yorkshire England Canals Locks Bingley


CaptivePhotons 16 1.7k 2 England
4 Nov 2011 6:30PM
Nice start to a 365. Smile

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