14th March 2017
Canal & River Trust Press Release.
This weekend, the charity Canal & River Trust illuminated the past, present and people of the Chesterfield Canal in a spectacle of fire, dance, music and poetry. On Saturday 11th March, for one night only, 700 people saw the Turnerwood flight of locks transformed by hundreds of giant candles, ingenious engineered fiery sculptures, and watched it come alive with music, dance and spoken word performances, inspired by the space unveiled when the lock was drained, in a unique event to celebrate the new gates on the 240-year-old Chesterfield Canal.
Over 1,500 people visited the drained Feeder Lock 38 during Saturday and Sunday, walking down into the drained 200-year-old Grade II listed lock to see up close the brand new lock gates which have just been fitted. Trust construction experts were on hand to explain why and how they are carrying out these essential maintenance works and to talk about the history of the canal, and more than 200 children took part in activities. The Chesterfield Canal Trust provided refreshments on their boat Hugh Henshall, and their two other boats Python and Dawn Rose were also on site for people to look at and learn about.
The works at Locks 37 and 38 involve highly skilled craftsmanship from the charity’s construction team, their biggest task to replace the lock gates and cill at Turnerwood Feeder Lock 38. The top gates at Feeder Lock 38 and bottom gates at the next lock up, Lock 37, are being replanked to stop them leaking. The frames of the lock gates are fine, so by replanking them the charity can extend the life of the gates by at least five years. The works, which started on the 27th February, are expected to take four weeks.
Seán McGinley, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust, says: “What a fantastic weekend! Thank you to everyone who came along to see the stunning Chesterfield Canal, both during the day and the evening. By showcasing these essential maintenance works to the public, and giving them a different perspective at the evening of arts, we gave people a glimpse into the craftsmanship of the waterways’ original 18th Century design but also showed how the charity is giving them a new lease of life by using the space for arts and cultural events which bring communities together. We hope this brilliant weekend will inspire more people to support us in unlocking the potential of every stretch of our canals and rivers.”
The maintenance work at Locks 38 and Lock 37 are part of a £43million nationwide programme to repair and restore waterways across England and Wales between November 2016 and March 2017. The five-month programme will see nearly 200 different works take place across 2,000 miles of canals and rivers. Many of the biggest projects are carried out during the winter months to minimise the impact on waterway users.
To find out more about the Restoration & Repairs programme and the open days happening across the country, click here.
All the photos below are supplied by C&RT and are © Sarah Hickson.
The pound between Feeder and Turnerwood Bottom Locks.
The towpath from Shireoaks to Turnerwood Bottom Lock was lit by 382 fire pots.
David ‘Stickman’ Higgins, alias Mr Q Estion read a poem. Click here to see a video.
Turnerwood Bottom Lock gates.
Dancers from dirtmarket in Feeder Lock.
The fire sculptures at Turnerwood Bottom Lock were installed by paBOOM.
The saxophonist was Tim Hill.
To see how the new lock gates got to the site aboard Dawn Rose, click here.