Pennine Waterways News

Thursday 11 February 2010

Newlay Lock Gates Renewed

Newlay Locks on the outskirts of Leeds have just had a new set of gates fitted, as part of British Waterways' annual winter maintenance programme, at a cost of £300,000

As the Grade II Listed Newlay Locks are a three-rise lock staircase, one of several along the eastern part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, this means that there were four pairs of new gates to be craned into place!

Two of the new gates in position. (Photo: BW)
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The new gates were made at BW’s Stanley Ferry workshop near Wakefield. As well as the new gates, work at the locks includes repairs to the floor of the entrance to the lock and replacement of the cills and quoins. The timber planking to the floor of the middle chamber will also be renewed as well as grouting to the walls of the bottom chamber to prevent leakage.

The old lock gates, which have been in operation at Newlay for over 25 years, will be recycled and reused for other projects. BW had to rescue and relocate fish and crayfish from the lock chambers before they could be completely drained.

The crane lifts one of the lower gates into position. (Photo: BW)
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Mike Clarke of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society said: "Newlay Locks were some of the first on the canal, and opened in 1777. They use an older type of construction, with stone walls built on wooden foundations, and have wooden flooring to the bottom of the lock chambers. As such, they are an important historical engineering structure and require high standards of conservation.

"Members of the canal society have worked with British Waterways' heritage staff to ensure that such historic structures are recorded and conserved to ensure their continued survival, and that they remain for future generations to enjoy."

BW's regional manager Debbie Lumb said: "The Leeds & Liverpool Canal is one of our principal leisure waterways in the north. The waterways have experienced an amazing renaissance in recent years and are now used by more people than ever so it’s vitally important that we preserve them for the future so local communities can continue to enjoy and embrace them for years to come.

"The towpath, which is currently used by thousands of local residents and visitors for walking, angling, running, cycling and dog walking, will remain open during the project."


  1. In the early sixties one of the last coal boatmen told me the middle chamber at Newlay is the shortest chamber on the Leeds and Liverpool. I am curious to know if this potentially useful observation is correct, and whether it matches with measurements made during the recent floor repairs.

  2. Hello Peter. It is generally thought that the chambers of the Bingley Five Rise are the shortest on the canal but it would be interesting to know whether the middle chamber at Newlay is shorter. I have never heard any mention of it. I have not noticed it being particularly short when passing through.

    Anyone got a tape measure?


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