Guillotine lock

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Lifford Lane guillotine stop lock on the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal, 200 metres from Kings Norton Junction, Birmingham. These gates are made of wooden boards and date from 1814.
The other gate at Lifford Lane

A guillotine lock is a type of canal lock. The lock itself operates on the same principle as any normal pound lock, but is unusual in that each gate is a single piece, usually of steel, that slides vertically upwards when opened to allow a boat to traverse underneath. The resemblance to the French guillotine is obvious.

Guillotine locks are relatively uncommon, but many are found on the waterways of East Anglia. The advantages over the more traditional design are that the lock occupies less space, does not require room to swing open, and is quicker to fabricate and install. It also acts as a tidal lock, able to hold back water whichever side is higher, and can function as a stop lock (for example, Lifford Lane stop lock near Kings Norton Junction). It is mechanically more complex, however, requiring the use of a gantry and overhead lifting gear.

Lock 17 in Little Falls on the Erie Canal

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