Restoration benefits companies & community

A report from Mike Gallagher 

Two Stroud Valley companies will be making the new canal lock gear and by-product timber will be used for towpath seating – all due to the ingenuity of Cotswold Canals Trust member Jim White of Woodchester.

Jim retired after a career in engineering when he worked on aircraft and Challenger tanks. He became a Cotswold Canals Trust volunteer and took up another challenge – to design lock paddle gear for the restoration. 

Jim’s designs met ‘historic similarity’ standards and modern health & safety requirements.

Stroud companies DM Foundries Ltd. at Thrupp and Truturn Precision Engineering of Lightpill, will take care of casting and machining operations respectively, while Davall Gears of Hatfield will make the mechanisms.

From steel to timber

Next, Jim sourced timber to make supports, known as ‘jack-posts’, for the paddle gear.

He traced a supplier of reclaimed Greenheart, a heavy & durable timber largely originating from sustainable sources in Guyana.

The timber is reclaimed from piers and harbour installations around the UK. Cotswold Canals Trust volunteers with wood machining skills and equipment at CCT’s Eastern and Western depots will produce the jack-posts, at a considerable saving by doing them in-house.

Lateral thinking leads to solution

Jim’s lateral thinking is boundless! Recognising that making the jack-posts would produce shorter lengths of Greenheart, he pondered upon how these could be used to generate funds.

A canal-side walk in Worcester revealed the answer – memorial benches – public seating to enhance the route of the canal for many years.

 

Clive Field, CCT Trading Company Director and Manager of the Visitor Centre at Wallbridge Lock commented, “This by-product of lock gear manufacture creates an opportunity to benefit the local community whilst raising funds for the restoration. 

"The benches can be fitted with engraved plaques and installed at personally significant points along the canal for families who wish to create a memorial to a loved one. 

"The indications are that this could be achieved for around £700-£800 per bench. We would like to hear from anyone to whom this appeals”.

To register your interest for a bench email Clive at mail@cotswoldcanals.com 

Call at the Visitor Centre at Wallbridge Lock or phone 01453 752 568. 
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