SP5968 : Lock No 3 at the Watford staircase in Northamptonshire

taken 8 years ago, near to Watford, Northamptonshire, Great Britain

Lock No 3 at the Watford staircase in Northamptonshire
Lock No 3 at the Watford staircase in Northamptonshire
Grand Union Canal (Leicester Section).
The Watford flight of locks in Northamptonshire contains seven locks, including one staircase of four. The total rise in water level provided is 52ft 6in (16 metres).

This image shows the bottom lock (No 3) of the staircase.

Jo Turner writes:
Staircase locks

In a staircase the upper gate of one lock is also the lower gate of the one above it. Operating a staircase is very different from operating a flight. It can be more useful to think of a staircase as a single lock with intermediate levels. As there is no intermediate pound, a chamber can only be filled by emptying the one above, or emptied by filling the one below; thus the whole staircase has to be full of water (except for the bottom chamber) before a boat starts to ascend, or empty (except for the top chamber) before a boat starts to descend. In an apparent staircase the chambers still have common gates, but the water does not pass directly from one chamber to the next, going instead via side ponds. This means it is not necessary to ensure that the flight is full or empty before starting. Examples of real staircases are Bingley and Grindley Brook. Examples of apparent staircase locks are Foxton Locks and Watford Locks on the Leicester Branch of the Grand Union.

The Grand Union Canal

The Grand Union Canal was formed from an amalgamation of several formerly separate canals. Until the 1920s these had been independently owned and operated. The original part of the system was the Grand Junction Canal between Braunston and Brentford, constructed to reduce the route from the Midlands to London by sixty miles. This had locks fourteen feet wide, many branches to major towns and broad beam boats carrying up to seventy tons. Earlier linking canals were built with seven foot wide locks.

The Regent's Canal acquired the Grand Junction and other canals in 1929 and created the new Grand Union Canal Carrying Company (GUCCC). In 1932, with government aid, extensive modernisation was carried out, including the widening of 52 locks between Braunston and Birmingham (Camp Hill), and the demolition and replacement of many 18th and early 19th century bridges; then the money ran out - and the World War II started, so the task was never completed.

Waterways absorbed into the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company include:

London area:

Regent's Canal original company
Hertford Union Canal bought by the Regent's Canal in 1857

Main Line*:

Warwick and Napton Canal bought by the Regent's Canal in 1927
Warwick and Birmingham Canal bought by the Regent's Canal in 1927
Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal bought by the Regent's Canal in 1927
Grand Junction Canal bought by the Regent's Canal in 1927

Leicester Line:

Old Grand Union Canal bought by the Grand Junction in 1894
Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Union Canal bought by the Grand Junction in 1894
Leicester Navigation bought by the Grand Union in 1932
Loughborough Navigation bought by the Grand Union in 1932
Erewash Canal bought by the Grand Union in 1932

*The current main line starts in London and ends in Birmingham (Digbeth), stretching for 137 miles (220 km) with 166 locks.

For more details, a good start is: LinkExternal link

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SP5968, 201 images   (more nearby search)
Photographer
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Date Taken
Thursday, 22 August, 2013   (more nearby)
Submitted
Sunday, 5 August, 2018
Geographical Context
Canals 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 5927 6873 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:18.8093N 1:7.9197W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 5928 6877
View Direction
South-southwest (about 202 degrees)
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Staircase Locks  Lock 

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