Foxton Locks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Foxton Locks and Inclined Plane
FoxtonLocks.jpg
Upper staircase of Foxton Locks
Location Leicestershire, UK
Coordinates 52°29′59″N 0°58′59″W / 52.4998°N 0.9830°W / 52.4998; -0.9830Coordinates: 52°29′59″N 0°58′59″W / 52.4998°N 0.9830°W / 52.4998; -0.9830
Built 1814 and 1900
Architect Benjamin Bevan (Canal & Locks), Gordon Cale Thomas (Inclined Plane)
Governing body Canal & River Trust [1]
Listed Building – Grade II*
Official name: Foxton Locks, Grand Union Canal Leicester line
Designated 7 December 1966[2]
Reference no. 1360753
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name: Lock-Keeper's Cottage adjacent to Foxton Top Lock
Designated 9 March 1989[3]
Reference no. 1360774
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name: Lock-Keeper's Cottage with adjoining stable block and Foxton Canal Craft Shop, adjacent to Foxton Bottom Lock, Grand Union Canal
Designated 9 March 1989[4]
Reference no. 1061459
Official name: Inclined Plane immediately east of Foxton Locks
Designated 24 January 1973[5]
Reference no. 1018832
Foxton Locks is located in Leicestershire
Foxton Locks
Location of Foxton Locks and Inclined Plane in Leicestershire

Foxton Locks (grid reference SP691895) are ten canal locks consisting of two "staircases" each of five locks, located on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal about 5 km west of the Leicestershire town of Market Harborough and are named after the nearby village of Foxton.

They form the northern terminus of a 20-mile summit level that passes Husbands Bosworth, Crick and ends with the Watford flight

Staircase locks are used where a canal needs to climb a steep hill, and consist of a group of locks where each lock opens directly into the next, that is, where the bottom gates of one lock form the top gates of the next. Foxton Locks are the largest flight of such staircase locks on the English canal system.

The Grade II* listed locks are a popular tourist attraction and the county council has created a country park at the top. At the bottom, where the junction with the arm to Market Harborough is located, there are two public houses, a shop, trip boat and other facilities. The area is popular with gongoozlers.

Alongside the locks is the site of the Foxton Inclined Plane, an inclined plane built in 1900 as a solution to various operational restrictions imposed by the lock flight. It was not a commercial success and remained in full-time operation for only ten years. It was dismantled in 1926, but a project to re-create the Plane commenced in the 2000s, since the locks remain a bottleneck for boat traffic.

The locks[edit]

Bottom of Foxton Locks

Building work on the locks started in 1810 and took four years.[6] Little changed until the building of the inclined plane resulted in the reduction in size of some of the side pounds.[6] While the inclined plane was in operation the locks were allowed to fall into decline to an extent and in 1908 the committee released £1,000 to bring the locks back into full (nightly) operation.[7][8]

In 2008, the locks became part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage, a network which seeks to recognize the most important industrial heritage sites in Europe.[9]

The locks are usually manned during the cruising season from Easter to October and padlocked outside operating hours. This is done to prevent water shortages due to misuse and to ensure a balance between those wishing to ascend and descend. There can be lengthy delays at busy times but the actual transit should take approximately 45 minutes to one hour to complete; it is made quicker by the fact that the locks are narrow beam and the gates are light.

Panorama of the Upper Staircase

Preservation[edit]

The Foxton Canal Museum is located in the former boiler house for the plane's steam engine. The museum covers the history of the locks and the plane, the lives of the canal workers, and other aspects of the local canal. There is also a collection of Measham pottery. The museum opened in 1989 and is accredited by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Uhlemann, H-J., (2002), Canal Lifts and Inclines of the World, Internat Limited, ISBN 0-9543181-1-0
  1. ^ "British Waterways Press release". 4 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Historic England. "Foxton Locks (1360753)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Historic England. "Top Lock cottage (1360774)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Historic England. "Bottom Lock cottage (1061459)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Historic England. "Inclined Plane (1018832)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 19 April 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Foxton Locks and Inclined Plane A Detailed History. Department of Planning and Transportation, Leicestershire County Council. p. 3. ISBN 0-85022-191-9. 
  7. ^ Foxton Locks and Inclined Plane A Detailed History. Department of Planning and Transportation, Leicestershire County Council. p. 35. ISBN 0-85022-191-9. 
  8. ^ Hugh McKnight (1987). The Shell Book of Inland Waterways. David & Charles. pp. 46–49. ISBN 0-7153-8239-X. 
  9. ^ "Foxton Locks achieves European recognition". Waterscape. 2008-11-25. Retrieved 2009-08-09. 
  10. ^ http://www.fipt.org.uk/Museum.html

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]