The return of hidden canal heritage to East London’s Olympic Park                    

Carpenters Road Lock has been abandoned for over 40 years. The area was improved for the 2012 Olympic Games but the original dilapidated radial gates were simply replaced with stoplogs.

Now Britain’s Canal & River Trust,­ the charity which cares for 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales,­ is developing plans to realise a vision and restore the navigability of the lock in Queen Elizabeth ll Olympic Park and, thereby, open up a six kilometre network of revitalised waterways known as the ‘Bow Back Rivers’.

Carpenters Road lock

Working with lead engineer Hyder Consulting and the contractor Kier Construction, and following our earlier surveys, KGAL is designing two new radial gates and associated control gear (most canal gates are of a mitre gate design; the Carpenters Road Lock is thought to be the only lock in the UK with two radial gates).

One of the key design considerations is informed by the location; with limited headroom for lifting gear beneath the mirror-clad pedestrian bridge over the lock the new assets will be designed for fabrication and assembly in modules, none of which is to exceed 0.5 tonnes.

Our animated 3D model of one of the radial gates (complete with counterweight and gantry) shows the method of gate operation and how, in the open position, the gate provides clearance for canal boats.

The Canal & River Trust received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2014 to develop plans for the project. A decision on funding to implement the restoration works is expected in autumn 2015.

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