Netham Lock

Netham Lock was built between 1805 and 1807 when the construction of the New Cut and diversion of the River Avon along the Feeder Canal was carried out. The canal diverts water from the Avon into Bristol’s Floating Harbour, thus maintaining a constant water level in the harbour. The tidal River Avon was diverted through the New Cut to the west side of the city where it rejoined its original course through the Avon Gorge. At the opposite end of the harbour, Cumberland Basin links the Floating Harbour back with the Avon by two sets of locks. The engineer William Jessop devised this arrangement and it relieved the port of Bristol from the difficulties of a harbour affected by a very high tidal range. Netham Lock is the upstream link between the Floating Harbour, via the Feeder Canal, and the River Avon so a vital component of this arrangement.

heavy lifting machinery at netham lock bristol

Heavy lifting machinery in position, looking east

Much of the principal structure of the lock, such as the chamber, copings, quoins and recesses are probably original. Other elements including the gates and sluice mechanisms are likely to have been replaced several times during the lifetime of the lock. The current lower gates were replaced in 1988 and the upper gates are believed to be less than fifty years old.

lock keepers cottage at netham lock bristol

Looking north-east at the Lock Keeper’s cottage, Netham Playing Fields in the background (left).

The works are taking place due to concerns regarding the structural integrity of the existing gates, with replacements being constructed and fitted. The lower gates were removed in early February of this year. These were photographically recorded, as were the fixings for the gates on the lock side. The second set of gates will be lifted at the end of March.

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