Sheffield canal gets £500,000 makeover

By Dan Sutherland

@DanielJS46

Sheffield and Tinsley Canal is currently undergoing a £500,000 overhaul to replace some of the waterway’s lock gates.

In order to access all parts of each lock, sections of the canal had to be drained of water.

Using a process known as electrofishing, specialists were able to successfully remove the fish from these bodies of water prior to this, preventing any unnecessary harm.

When the canal was drained a large amount of debris was uncovered, including two open safes, motorcycles, parts of a shotgun and 34 shopping trolleys.

The gates, currently being replaced by the Canal & River Trust, are on locks 5, 6, 10 and 11.

They are replaced roughly every 25 years by the charity’s own specialist Stanley Ferry, based in Wakefield, as they become rundown over time.

Waterway Manager for the trust Jon Horsfall said: “This is skilled work today so it’s simply incredible how the original canal builders created the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal.

“Their legacy lives on and now repairing the lock gates at Tinsley is part of our essential maintenance to enable the local canal and river network to be enjoyed by thousands of people every day.”

With locks being divided into top and bottom gates, the prices of the replacements vary, with top gates costing roughly £28,000 and then £34,000 for the bottom.

John Cottam, 58, who is the Site Supervisor for lock 11 and Construction Supervisor for the North East, claimed: “You’re looking at well over half a million with five locks.

“The boys that built our gates for us, they’ve been building lock gates there since the eighteen hundreds.

“They’ll have built these and they’ll have built those from before.”

Keen to show the public exactly what sort of work is taking place, the charity held an open day at lock 11 on Sunday February 14, allowing the public to ask questions and enter the 15 foot deep lock itself.

David Walker, the paid lock keeper on lock 11, spoke of his delight at the event’s success, saying: “The response has been fantastic.

“Wherever we can we try and not restrict access for the public, even during works.”

This was echoed by Operations Manager, Mike Marshall, who said: “As you can see we are very successful, so we are keen to continue.”

All work on the canal is expected to be completed by the end of March, when the winter ‘stoppage’ period ends and the summer ‘cruising’ period begins.

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