Waterway Recovery Group — Report by Rick Barnes
Rick Barnes — Waterway Recovery Group Director,
Trustee and Deputy National Chair of the Inland Waterways Association
Background of the Inglesham Lock Project
In late 2009 Cotswold Canals Trust were given the opportunity to acquire Inglesham lock and in 2010, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) launched the Tom Rolt Appeal to raise the money required to buy and restore this important lock off the Thames. The appeal realised over £100,000 which facilitated the transfer of ownership of the lock and associated land to the Cotswold Canals Trust.
Waterway Recovery Group undertook early works including wildlife management and investigative work to expose the remains of the structures in order to commence early brickwork restoration and stabilisation, however the true condition of the lock would remain unknown until it was safe to empty.
Material costs rise
In 2014 the walls leading up to the bridge were repaired, stop plank grooves installed and repairs to the brickwork under the bridge commenced.
By the end of three weeks of hard work volunteers had substantially completed the work downstream of the bridge, installed stop planks and filled and installed some 2,000 sandbags – the lock was finally isolated from the Thames!
Cost estimating for the project was carried out in the aftermath of the financial turmoil of 2008 and by 2016, material costs had increased dramatically, most notably the price of the humble brick.
Having emptied the lock, the poor state of the structure caused a bit of a headache and with the increased materials costs, we realised that the scope of the project would need to be adjusted.
Fortunately, the lower sections of the lock chamber were found to have survived in reasonable condition due to being permanently under water and protected by the silt accumulated since closure. A design for re-building the walls was developed with the help of the IWA Hon Consulting Engineer, trialled in 2016 and re-construction continued apace in 2017.
By the end of 2017, the majority of the chamber wall on one side of the lock along with the lower gate recess and the walls between the lock and the bridge had been re-built and coping stones, some newly cast, were re-installed.
Photos 1, 2 & 3 by CCT’s Mike Gallagher
Folks from far & near
In June 2018 a group of around twenty-five people assembled from the Kent & East Sussex Canal Restoration Group (KESCRG) and London Waterway Recovery Group (LWRG) came to the site. Such groups always attract WRG people from other parts of the country which accounted for the Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire accents and expressions heard on site. With the arrival of Canal camps, the range of West Country intonations have recently been softened by some French inflexions.
French students Irene & Simon (from Paris) lay bricks in the shade
Photo courtesy of Alan Lines (from Newent)
Long hot summer
Over the course of the summer, there will be six weeks of canal camps comprised of people from all around this country and abroad.
The groups are all drawn by the charm of a unique mix of the work, the experience and the diverse backgrounds of the people on site each week.
Utilisation of available materials allows fluid levels to be maintained in shady conditions
Photo courtesy of Alan Lines
Rick Barnes sums up
Thanks are due to numerous people who have played a part in the restoration.
The list includes donors to the Tom Rolt appeal, the volunteers working on site, the Cotswold Canals Trust and the Eastern Depot team from Alex Farm, Stroud District Council and the Inland Waterways Association HQ team.
The restoration would be far more difficult to achieve without the co-operation and support of the owner of the Inglesham Lock Cottage & Roundhouse.
So thank you to you all.
Hopefully, this update on the works at Inglesham will help satisfy much of the curiosity, but I would remind everyone that there is no public access to the lock at present.