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Foxton Locks
Grand Junction Canal, Foxton, Leicestershire
associated engineer
Benjamin Bevan
date  1814
era  Georgian  |  category  Locks  |  reference  SP690896
ICE reference number  HEW 46
The Foxton Lock Staircase is probably the greatest example of staircase locks in Britain. Climbing 23m, this remarkable system of 10 locks is a major feature of the Grand Union Canal, the principal canal linking London and Birmingham.
Opened in 1814, the locks were in use until 1900 when the adjacent Foxton Inclined Plane opened. The inclined plane lifted canal boats up the hill by means of special trolleys on a series of railway tracks — a steam-driven system. The locks were restored after the inclined plane was abandoned in 1910, and they are still in regular use today.
The staircase consists of two flights of five locks, each 2.2m wide and with an average rise of 2.3m. A water pound, short in length, located in between the flights allows boats to pass each other. Side ponds to the east of the staircase help regulate the loss of water from the lock system.
In staircase lock systems, the upper gates of one chamber form the lower gates of the next chamber. At Foxton, the gates are double mitred throughout except for the topmost gates of each staircase which are single leaf gates.
Although the Act of Parliament to create the locks was granted in 1793, construction ground to halt in 1797 due largely to a lack of funds. James Barnes investigated a possible route for the staircase in 1799. A second survey was later carried out by Thomas Telford, however it was not until 1810 that Benajmin Bevan engineered the route, adopting the line originally surveyed by Barnes.
Research: RD
reference sources   CEH E&C
Location

Foxton Locks