Inside the Camden Lock Canal


Hello again. I’m back after a few stressful and hectic weeks. Inside the Camden Lock Canal

Have you ever been inside the Camden Lock canal? I don’t mean that time when you accidentally fell inside during a booze session or when trying to feed the ducks, which we are not allowed to feed anyway. The canal had previously been drained before I went in, and I found it amazing that the structure is still holding after 200 years.

For those who have not been here before or haven’t heard of it, the areas England and Wales are connected by over 3,000 Km of canals and waterways, many of them built during the Industrial Revolution. Alongside them, we can see 2,700 listed structures, 50 scheduled monuments and five UNESCO world heritage sites. That’s impressive, isn’t it?

The various canals, such as the Regent’s Canal, communicate areas in London that are really far away from each other. A bit like the tube, but nicer. If you’re curious, take a look at the London Canal Museum in King’s Cross.

Now, why were visitors allowed in? The event marked the start of the £45m restoration programme across England and Wales, which the Canal & River Trust are managing, and lasted for one weekend only. The site was specifically chosen, as it is the 200th anniversary of the start of the construction of Regent’s Canal in the heart of London.

This event proved to be really popular. The helpful staff at the Trust were overwhelmed by the public’s massive response. By the afternoon, all visit slots were fully booked.

Inside the Camden Lock Canal - fully booked!

Small groups of people were taken inside the canal and divided up into two smaller groups.

Inside the Camden Lock Canal - down, down

Each little group would go to one side of the very slippery area to hear about the structure itself while the other would listen to more specific facts about the locks and other elements there.

Inside the Camden Lock Canal - Structural Explanations Inside the Camden Lock Canal - Specifics

Once inside the canal, I learnt that the Lock’s official name is Hampstead Road Lock. The original structure on the floor is still there, while the bricks on the sides of that specific area were added around 1950. Engineers review and replace the gates and bricks every 25 years in urban areas, whereas they can last up to 35 years in the countryside.

These are the ‘gates’ they were referring to, each costing £15,000 and made out of oak.

Inside the Camden Lock Canal - Gate

Yeah, really deep! The floor where the lady is standing is 200 years old.

The wall forms a shape to allow the gates to go further back when they open.

Inside the Camden Lock Canal - Shape

The water can reach this height.

Inside the Camden Lock Canal - That'd be a lot of water!

It is an enormous amount of work which is currently undertaken by a team of four in this spot. Guess how many workers were necessary to build this structure? We were told roughly 400 men. This is the reason behind the opening of the construction site to the public, make the public aware of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. The Trust allowed a further week to make sure that this event could take place.

The animals that live there are not being disturbed by the engineering works, which are set to last for a few weeks in this lock, and people can still sit next to it in the Canal Market area.

Inside the Camden Lock Canal - Ducks!

It was a good activity to do, and there were people of all ages. If you are interested, there are guided walks along the canals in London. It is an amazing way to know London.

I need to do the abandoned tube stations walk next.

What do you think? Would you do this type of activities in the city where you live or are visiting?

Thanks a lot for reading this post.

A Londoner from Afar

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About A Londoner from Afar

Cheese & choc lover, marketer and linguist who would like to explore and share those aspects that still have the power to make her stay in the amazingly vibrant city of London after nearly 10 years.
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6 Responses to Inside the Camden Lock Canal

  1. Mandy says:

    What a fascinating post! I had no idea there is a Canal Museum and everything you said about the waterways an UNESCO sites etc was really interesting. I recently walked from Paddington to Camden along the canal, that was fun. But I’d love to do a canal tour or an abandoned tube station tour.

    Like this

    • Thanks for stopping by! I loved the idea of knowing how work things work behind the scenes – or below the water line. There are some tunnels too, but didn’t get a chance to take a pic of the entrance.

      Like this

  2. bookmole says:

    If I find myself anywhere on the Regent’s Park canal, I end up at Camden. Just because. Locks are amazing !

    Like this

  3. Great post! Definitely do the abandoned tube station tour, too. I did the Aldwych one a few years ago and loved it!

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