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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Tuesday, 31st July, 2012)

Top Lock

Top Lock
Here's an early morning photo of bridge 58 at Top Lock, the lady on the left behind the bridge has just opened the sluices to fill the lock to allow their boat to enter, if you look through the bridge you can see the water seeping from the lock gates.

Photo: Harry Cunliffe  (Nikon Coolpix 7900)
Views: 4,731

Comment by: Ken R on 31st July 2012 at 00:25

Nice nostalgic scene. Would the trees back centre be the Woodshaw Rook?

Comment by: Skeets on 31st July 2012 at 05:30

These photos are fantastic for all us living overseas. I took my wife for a walk up there on our last visit to Wigan. She loved it.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 31st July 2012 at 06:15

I`ve never seen this lock, Harry. If the boat is going towards Haigh then isn`t the water being emptied
to allow it to enter?

Comment by: peterp on 31st July 2012 at 06:49

A good invention locks

Comment by: Rev David Long on 31st July 2012 at 09:19

That lock looks full to me - there looks to be water overflowing the top of the gates, as well as through a crack in the gates themselves - and there are spurts of water coming through the masonry joints in the walls under the bridge, which is another sign that the chamber is full.
The water below the gates looks agitated - as if the boater has just opened the paddle to let the water out to empty the lock for her boat to enter and go up, as Ernest suggests. From my last visit to this lock, the works for the upper paddle on her side are permanently locked.
Clever folk, the Chinese, peterp. They invented the pound lock in the 10th century - the design was improved with the invention of mitred gates, presumed to be by Leonardo da Vinci.

Comment by: maggie on 31st July 2012 at 10:04

We spent a lovely Sunday afternoon ascending these locks, we met really nice people & the locks were not too difficult to work. There is a tip to know when the lock is ready, you lean on one of the lock gates which you are going to open & when it is ready, it gives a little bump, & you can then move it easily.

Comment by: Thomas(Tom)Walsh. on 31st July 2012 at 11:01

Harry,a very calming picture ,just what was needed,after the shananakins of yesterday ,

Comment by: Jimmy on 31st July 2012 at 11:33

I once fell in there....bike and all.

Comment by: dirty harry on 31st July 2012 at 12:30

im sure the lock is the next one up from the kirkless pub and its full of fish too.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 31st July 2012 at 17:52

Didn`t know that China invented canal locks, Rev David. Have had a good look at :-

Comment by: Rev David Long on 31st July 2012 at 19:51

Ernest, the ref. you give states that the Chinese invented, as I said, the pound lock. Other, more primitive and wasteful of water, locks already existed, but the Chinese invented the pound, or chamber lock, which saved water, and time. The most common lock before that (and still used on the Thames until the last one was replaced in 1937) was the flash lock. If you can imagine the water pent up behind a weir on a river behind a movable barrier, which would be taken away to allow a flood of water to descend to the lower level, you can see why it needed improving - downstream boats would cannon through - whilst upstream boats would be hauled painstakingly against the flow. Then, after closing the weir off again, they had to wait until the water had built up again before further boats could pass. In the meantime, the poor miller who used the weir to provide a head of water for his waterwheel had to stop milling until the level increased again. Then there were the problems of droughts....
The Exeter Canal saw the first pound lock in Britain, in 1564.

Comment by: Jean F (Wales) on 31st July 2012 at 20:00

Lovely,peaceful picture Harry.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 1st August 2012 at 07:26

Yes, I understand, Rev David. There`s another website, which I`ve had a brief look at `History of Canals`:-
I put `derivation of canal lock` on Google. The first item shows umpteen photo`s of locks & gives location when you click on them.
First photo shows the Bingley five rise and last is Panama canal. But then there`s click on more, which gives another 38 pages !!
Have you seen this website?
Harry hasn`t replied to our comments.

Comment by: Harry C. on 3rd August 2012 at 16:47

Ernest. I'm sorry with the late reply, I only just arrived home from a short holiday. The boat was heading towards Wigan and the lock was full, you can see the water seeping through the lock gate.
Ken R. Yes that is the Woochie that you can see.
Thanks all for your comments I like to keep it interesting. H.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 3rd August 2012 at 19:20

Harry, so the boat is going towards Wigan. Was this lock empty or full when the boat arrived at this lock?

Comment by: Harry C. on 3rd August 2012 at 19:32

Ernest it was empty, the lady was waiting for it to fill.

Comment by: Ernest Pyke on 3rd August 2012 at 20:53

Harry, the lock looked full to Rev David and I, but you said that the lady had just opened the sluices.
Did you know that the Chinese invented the pound lock?

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