LOCKS

A unique lock on the canal is the first one after the junction with the Worcester and Birmingham Canal (pictured above). It was not intended to raise or lower boats because of changes in the topography but simply to prevent one canal or the other donating water to its neighbour which it had spent considerable monies on collecting. Typically, the Stratford Canal was as much as six inches higher. It is a brick lock chamber with stone dressings with timber guillotine gates moving vertically in iron frames. It was last used around 1956. The gates are no longer operational but the lock is regarded as beyond the ordinary and worthy of national Listing as Grade II*.

Many of the other locks have familiar brick lock chambers, mostly with stone dressings and with timber gates; some of the locks in the Wilmcote flight were reconstructed at the restoration by pouring concrete into formers. The lock paddle gear is in a variety of styles, especially in the southern section, where equipment was begged and borrowed from many other canals including Wyrley and Essington in the Birmingham Canal Navigations, the Montgomery Canal, the Thames and Severn and the Welshpool Arm. Most of the gates used at the time of restoration in the early 1960s were made by Wyckham Blackwell at Hampton-in-Arden. Sadly, the timber was not fully seasoned because there was no time to season components of this size in the ideal manner after they were cut. The first new gate was the top gate of Lock 23, fitted in October 1960, actually a few months before the official formal restoration began. Some users regret the presence of some hydraulic paddle gear on the canal. Lapworth locks (Nos 2 to 27) have double bottom gates whereas those at Wilmcote (Nos 40 to 50) have single bottom gates. Built in groups 3/5/3. The deepest narrow lock is Bishopton which has a fall of 7ft 9in. Lock 53 in Stratford has a cranked balance beam for the bottom gate because it is very close to the road bridge which had been widened.

The original Lock 20 from the basin to the Link to the Grand Union at Lapworth was reinstated in 1996. A lock in this situation was in use from 1802 to 1818.

Locks 44 and 50 are slightly narrower and Nos 16 and 17 are slightly shorter than standard size.

The pounds between the locks on the Lapworth flight were widened to reduce occasions of low water levels.

Odd Lock at Bearley is a couple of hundred yards before Edstone aqueduct.

Clive Henderson, Membership Secretary, Stratford upon Avon Canal Society,
The Bridge House, Church Lane, Lapworth, Solihull, B94 5NU
Tel: (01564) 783672 or email

Updated  25th August 2020