Wolverhampton canal renovation is almost complete
Painstaking work to revamp a historic city canal is nearing completion – with waterways chiefs saying this 'will protect it for future generations'.
This picture shows some of the work on the Birmingham Canal Old Main Line, which is part of a £120,000 revamp of the Wolverhampton canal.
The old main line runs through the city as well as other parts of the Black Country, and the redevelopment sees the canal's lock gates replaced and historic brickwork restored.
The work has been carried out by craftsmen and engineers from the Canal and River Trust, the charity that looks after 2,000 miles of waterways, as part of its annual winter maintenance programme.
The works on the Wolverhampton Flight has seen £120,000 invested in new lock gates, repairing brickwork and replacing lock ladders, which enable boaters to climb up and out of locks.
A spokesman for the trust said: "Lock 9 has received new top and bottom lock gates, but while we're there and the lock is drained we've also been fixing some minor leaks and repairing some of the historic stonework.
"At lock 12 we've refitted some of the bolts and mechanisms that operate the 'paddles' (the doors within the lock gates that allow water into and out of the lock) – these are the things that over time can get worn. We're also repairing some of the historic brickwork within the lock."
Prior to the charity starting on the revamp, the canal was drained of water and hundreds of fish were moved to other parts of the canal. The old lock gates were then lifted out by a crane and new ones fitted.
The new lock gates are hand-crafted using traditional methods in the Trust's specialist workshops at Bradley and Stanley Ferry in Yorkshire.
A single lock gate can take up to 20 days to make and has a working life of between 25 and 30 years. In order to be watertight they need to be built very precisely, fitting tightly to the masonry of the lock walls and to each other.
Ian Lane, waterway manager for the trust, said: "The Wolverhampton Flight is a real local landmark but people may not realise that there's quite a lot of work needed to look after it.
"We're investing quite a bit of money into new lock gates and repairing the 200-year-old brickwork.
"It's painstaking, specialised work but the canal is an important part of the region's heritage so it's right that we devote some time and craftsmanship to help continue its restoration and protect it for future generations.
"The new hand-crafted lock gates will help to conserve water and keep the canal running smoothly so everyone can enjoy it."