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Tewitfield Locks
Tewitfield, near Carnforth, Lancashire
Tewitfield Locks
associated engineer
John Rennie snr
William Crosley Jnr
date  1817 - 1819
era  Georgian  |  category  Locks  |  reference  SD519738
ICE reference number  HEW 395
photo  Paul Dunkerley / ICE R&D Fund
The Lancaster Canal is a ‘contour’ canal that rises only 23m over its entire length of 92km. The rise is concentrated in a single flight of eight locks at Tewitfield, near the boundaries of Lancashire and Cumbria.
The canal was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1792. It was to run from Kendal in Cumbria to Westhoughton near Wigan outside Manchester, providing a transport route for Lancashire coal to the north and for agricultural produce south to the major city centres in the centre of the country.
It was constructed in two sections. Preston to Tewitfield was completed in 1797, including the aqueduct over the River Lune and the tramway over the River Ribble. The second section, from Tewitfield to Kendal, includes the Tewitfield Locks, Sedgewick Aqueduct and Hinchester Tunnel. This section opened in 1819.
The lock flight consists of eight locks, each about 26m long and 4.9m wide. The flight is spread over about three quarters of a kilometer, raising the canal 23m, as mentioned. Bridge 140, a small stone farm access bridge, spans the southern end of Lock 5.
The engineer for the Lancaster Canal, and therefore Tewitfield Locks, was John Rennie senior. William Crosley acted as his assistant, taking over as resident engineer for the northern section from 1817 to 1819, and supervising the rest of the canal works after 1920.
Various alterations have been made to the lock flight. The sides of the canal between Locks 7 and 8 were filled in and concrete laid to make sloping sides. In 1942, use of the locks ceased. The sets of timber gates were removed and weirs made at the northern end of each lock. A set of original gates is preserved near Lock 8. Culverts and channels to the east of each lock act as overflows.
Although the major structures on the Tewitfield to Kendal section still exist, the building of an overbridge and embankments as part of the M6 motorway resulted in its closure in 1968. This northern part of Lancaster Canal now acts as a feeder from Killington Lake to the southern section.
Contractor: John Pinkerton & John Murray
Research: PD and PJD
reference sources   CEH NorthBDCE 1

Tewitfield Locks