Montgomery Canal Restoration Archive - Newhouse Lock
2002 to 2006
This lock is situated on the southern length of the canal and overlooks the River Severn and the A483 from the side of the hill on which it is situated. Initial work in Spring 2002 included moving the Society's storage containers on to the site and the clearance of the vegetation.
Before work on the lock proper could start there were two problems to resolve. The first was that the Heritage Lottery Fund were still considering an application for a grant and would not permit work to start until they had made a decision. The second was that the water flow down the canal was passing through the lock and was below the level of the bywash weir.
In order for us to work in the lock the stop planks needed to be raised above the level of the weir so that the lock could be pumped dry. British Waterways would not permit this because there was a leak in the bank upstream which had the potential to breach if the water level was raised. However, BW then had a change of thinking and decided to make a temporary repair of the leak by piling it. They also instructed us to remove the facing wall of the weir thus enabling water to bypass the lock at a lower pound level than before. This now meant that the top and bottom of the lock could be dammed and the water pumped out.
H.L.F Grant secured, the Society finally started work in earnest in September 2002 when the lock was pumped out and work started to remove the debris from the chamber so that British Waterways engineers could inspect it to decide on the work which would be needed to restore the lock to working order.
During the October 2002 work party it became apparent that there was an unforeseen problem as the pumps were having difficulty in keeping the water level in the lock at a sufficiently low level for us to work in. When work started again in November 2002 it was found that there was an ingress of water through the west wall of the lock below the silt layer and removal of the silt was allowing bricks to wash out of the base of the wall. The wall was quickly supported and work abandoned pending further investigation. The source of the water was a broken culvert which carries a stream under the lock from west to east towards the River Severn.
The H.L.F grant for the restoration was time-limited and because of the complexity of the work involved to solve the problems encountered with the leaking culvert the Society had to contract control of the rebuilding work back to British Waterways. Virtually no work was done during 2003 but by 2004 a schedule of works had been agreed and a series of very successful volunteer work parties took place between March and November. British Waterways also undertook extensive work on the lock chamber. Altogether a productive year. Another schedule of work was agreed with British Waterways for 2005, to complete the project in the time agreed with the H.L.F.
The official opening took place on 26th June 2006. Click to read the Newhouse Lock re-opening report.
On 10th May 2007, the RICS presented the Welsh Project of the Year award to S.U.C.S. for the restoration of Newhouse Lock. Click to read the Newhouse Lock RICS Award report.
A DVD of some of the highlights of this project is available from:
John Enser, Idle Rocks, Llwyn Onn, Abersoch, Gwynedd LL53 7EP
Please make cheques payable to S.U.C.S.
Price £5.50 including P&P. Proceeds go to the Plant Maintenance Fund.
Work Party Reports