Vlog 131: Star gate

Every winter the Canal & River Trust shut parts of the network down for a time in order to do maintenance which often includes taking out broken or old lock gates and replacing them. New lock gates are not something you can just order in from Amazon, so the CRT have to make their own and in this video I visited their Birmingham workshop to see how the process works.

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  1. Matthew Wojciechowski

    On many of the narrow locks, the top gate appears to be a single gate the width of the lock, while the bottom gates appears to be two half gates. Is there a historical or engineering reason for this.

    • Honestly I do not know the answer but at a guess, if a single gate were across the bottom, it would have to be slightly wider than the lock chamber in order that when pushed back by the weight of water in a full lock, it would seal backwards against the bricks at the end of the lock – and in order to do that, there would have to be a slight notch cut into the side of the lock to enable to gate to have something to press against (the normal width of 7′ being required to be clear so that boats could enter and exit without issue). Perhaps this made the lock construction more awkward and expensive, where simply assembling two gates that press together in the middle requires no such notch? At the top gate this wouldn’t be an issue since it swings out into the wider canal.

  2. Great video, but a word of caution here. At the start you state that the CRT works are at Bliston, but underneath in the caption you say the workshop in Birmingham. Now some Black County folk get really upset when referred to as Birmingham!

    All the best, Peter (Brummie)

    • Hi. This is for the benefit of my many viewers overseas (half my audience is not in the UK) for whom a reference to Birmingham is much easier to place on a map and get the gist of the geography for than a specific local place name.

  3. Thanks for this David. Very interesting indeed. I like that each gate is an individual’s work and not from an assembly line. Your VLOG gets better all the time.

  4. Is all the steel used on the gate stainless steel?

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