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New gates fitted for first time in 60 years on Grantham Canal lock

A formerly derelict lock on Grantham Canal has had new gates fitted for the first time in 60 years.

The Canal & River Trust, Grantham Canal Society (GCS) and the Waterway Recovery Group joined forces to restore lock 15 near Stenwith after hard-working volunteers spent three years painstakingly bringing it back to life.

They used a crane to move the four new oak lock gates into position, which have been made by hand at the trust’s workshop at Stanley Ferry near Wakefield.

Each of the bottom gates weighs 1.5 tonnes with the top gates weighing 3.4 tonnes each.

The lock, which was designed and built by renowned canal engineer William Jessop over two centuries ago, is being restored after falling into near dereliction.

It’s all part of a project, which has been awarded an £830,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), to bring locks 14 and 15 back into use.

Volunteers have been taking the lock apart since 2015, after its walls moved and crumbled making the whole structure lean inwards.

The volunteers have laid new foundations, completely rebuilt the lock walls and created new lock moorings.

Karen Rice, project manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: “This is a huge milestone in the canal’s long history, bringing it back into working use for the first time in over 80 years.

“It’s been fantastic to see the transformation that has been made to the lock and it really couldn’t have happened without the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and hard work of the volunteers over the past three years.

“They’ve been out in all weathers, getting stuck in and their efforts have helped us to move another step along the path to full restoration of the Grantham Canal.

“Our attention will now shift to lock 14 where we’ll be faced with a similar challenge and we’re really keen for more people to come along and help. It’s been incredibly satisfying for the existing volunteers and we’d love to see more people getting involved.”

David Lyneham Brown, chief executive officer of the Grantham Canal Society, added: “ The installation of the gates signals the completion of the biggest single restoration project yet undertaken on the 33 miles of the Grantham Canal. It will be followed by Lock 14, as part of the HLF funded project and later by Locks 12 and 13.”

The project has also involved training volunteers in valuable conservation skills and laying the groundwork for the restoration of a further two locks - 12 and 13.

In addition to the HLF, funding the project has also received support from WREN, Donald Forrester Trust, the family of Alan Applewhite, and Michael Worth on behalf of the Waynflete Charitable Trust.

For information on the canal. visit: www.granthamcanal.org or for details on how to get involved in the restoration, contact volunteer@granthamcanal.org.

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