Willows Lock showing barrel sides After building the first lock straight sided, James Grundy realised that because of the composition of the soil and the pressure on the walls of the lock, he would have to think about other designs. He came up with the idea of the barrel sided lock with eight sections. This design was able to withhold much greater pressure from surrounding movement in the soil. The design is unique to The Navigation and Willows Lock is the best remaining example.
Grid Reference: TF 353 895
Status: Listed Grade II
State of Lock: Reasonable
Renovation to Date: Nil
Future Plans: Complete Restoration
The image on the left, taken in March 2006, shows the north-west bank of Willows lock from downstream, with details of the barrel effect and the cill in the background. There are no obvious obstructions to this lock being fully restored to its original condition, as there are no roads nearby. This lock will also be a favourite candidate for our Heritage Lottery Funding bid.
This image on the right, also taken, in March 2006, shows a detail of the workings of the lock gates, the hinge mechanism. Note that in 1770 the nut & bolt was 'state of the art' technology having only been invented a few years before. The work would have been carried out in local smithies. No two nuts & bolts are exactly the same size. There was no mass production at this stage. The mortise and tenon iron work is held in place in the stonework by solidified lead. We are constantly invited to consider the merits of Georgian domestic architecture, but the remains of Willow's Lock, along with other interesting structures along the canal, shows off Georgian industrial architecture as being some of the finest industrial architecture in the country. The Trust are committed to preserving our industrial heritage.