When James Brindley was planning the canal from Great Haywood to Stourport, he came across a bit of a problem here. The 30 foot high slope was too steep for a conventional flight of 3 locks with in-line pounds in between. For some reason he shunned building a staircase where each chamber drops into the next, although he did use this solution further south at Botterham.
An unfortunate outcome of this construction is that boats cannot pass in the flight, although 3 can be moving either up or down at one time. It must have caused some bottlenecks in commercial carrying days, and a resident lock-keeper is still on duty here during the busy summer months to sort out right-of-way disputes.
The gap in the parapet was for the tow-rope, as the towpath changes sides.
Steps lead down to the water under the bottom bridge for the boatman to re-board.
In 1895 a water works was constructed near the canal to lift domestic water over 300 feet to a reservoir on Goldthorn Hill 3½ miles to the east near Wolverhampton. Two steam pumps were housed in a typically flamboyant late Victorian building, with ornate brickwork and fairy-tale castle pinnacles.
The works became redundant in 1960, but the building and one of the pumping engines have been restored.
It’s been a beautiful sunny day here today. We’ll be moving on tomorrow, though how far remains to be seen…
Locks 0, miles 0.