HISTORY

LOCKS

When Benjamin Bevan was given the job of designing locks at Foxton he faced two major problems. The first was water, which was in short supply on the 20 mile summit pound of the canal. The second was the steep escarpment which he needed to use to get the canal from one level to the next. He combined solutions to both problems.

Work on Foxton Locks started in 1810 and was officially opened 4 years later in 1814. A trip through the ten locks takes about 45 minutes to ascend/descend the 75 ft rise. The ten locks consist of two "staircases" of five, located on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal, about 5 km west of the Leicestershire town of Market Harborough.

CONTINUED on Foxton Inclined Plane Trust web site

GRAND UNION

The Grand Junction Canal was built to improve the communications between Birmingham and the Midlands and London.  It received its Act in 1793 and was fully opened in 1805.  Its major engineering works were the two long tunnels at Blisworth and Braunston, and the long and deep cutting at Tring summit. READ MORE

INCLINED PLANE

Opened in 1900. With the coming of the railways, competition was starting to bite. Fellows Morton and Clayton (FMC) wanted to use bigger boats to take coal from the north to the London factories. The lift was built by J & H Gwynne of Hammersmith, London. They got the job as they proposed using hydraulic power for the gates and ancillary equipment.  It consisted of two tanks or caissons linked by wire rope. A steam driven winch at the top wound the rope on to one side of its drum and simultaneously let it off the other, raising and lowering the tanks. Each tank was full of water and weighed 230 tons with or without a boat. Two boats or one barge would fit in to each tank. The gradient was 1 in 4. CONTINUED on Foxton Inclined Plane Trust web site

GRAND UNION LEICESTER SECTION

What is now called the ‘Leicester Line’ comprised two canals which were bought by the Grand Junction Canal in 1894: the Leicestershire & Northamptonshire Union Canal and the ‘old’ Grand Union Canal.

The river Soar had been made navigable up to Loughborough by 1780, and the route was extended to Leicester in 1794.  The Leicestershire & Northamptonshire Union Canal was promoted to continue the waterway to Market Harborough and Northampton, where it would meet the River Nene and the planned branch from the Grand Junction Canal at Gayton.

By 1797, when construction had only reached Gumley Debdale, the money had been used up.  More was raised in 1805, and the canal got to Market Harborough four years later. READ MORE

© 2019 Foxton Lock Keepers.

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