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Dudbridge Locks Restoration Report No.2

Dudbridge Locks – Scaffolding, bricklaying and a discovery

Both lock chambers have been cleared of vegetation and filled with scaffolding. The first team of bricklayers are busy practising their ancient arts on Foundry Lock.

Ancient arts

Father & son team Pete and Arthur Levett are from Swindon. Their ancient arts are typified by their use of traditional lime mortar. Lime mortar possesses properties necessary to lay bricks that will be covered in water for much of the time.

Ancient & modern

Pete Levett confirmed that the work carried out by the 1700’s bricklayers was of a good standard. Pete explained that he and son Arthur would be matching that standard.
“It is just that bit easier for us I suppose because we have an electric cement mixer, otherwise the job is just the same. We are even using their original bricks where we can.”

Chris Spencer explained that the lock chamber walls will require a variety of remedial work… “It ranges from the simple repointing of the existing brickwork and replacing a few courses of bricks right through to the removal of whole sections to put right cavities that have developed behind the brickwork."

Hammering & hearing

Chris has identified the range and location of the remedial work using his hearing and hammering skills to drive a system of colour coded nails into the brickwork. White painted nails for repointing, yellow for brick replacement and red for complete rebuild.

Video record

Chris and his chiming hammer can be seen and heard by clicking on the YouTube icon on this site’s welcome page. 

Robert Paget is making a video record of this part of the restoration. Keep an eye out for the yellow wagtails hopping happily about the work in progress.


Clearing the vegetation and preparation for bricklaying has revealed that Dudbridge Lock, (the lower chamber) was originally constructed of Cotswold stone. A brick facing was added at a later date.

Cost & supply

Land & Water’s Project Manager Chris Spencer explains… “The consideration of cost & supply that apply today also applied in the 1700’s. The original builders clearly opted for local limestone probably because it came cheaper than bricks. Water and frost over the years had the obvious effect on the porous stone so a skin of brick facing was applied some time later.”

Click here to view the full set of Mike Gallagher's photos taken on 30th August.

Click here to view Robert Pagetts latest video.