See for yourself the work going on to restore Banbury lock

Banbury Lock next to Castle Quay Shopping Centre and The Mill Arts Centre. NNL-150112-170000001
Banbury Lock next to Castle Quay Shopping Centre and The Mill Arts Centre. NNL-150112-170000001

A highly skilled team will be racing against the clock to repair the gates of Banbury Lock in just seven days tomorrow (Friday).

It needs emergency repairs to the bottom gates to make them watertight which will help the Canal & River Trust conserve water on the Oxford Canal.

The lock, located next to the Mill Arts Centre, was drained on Monday to allow works to take place and on Saturday and Sunday, visitors will have the rare opportunity to venture to the bottom of the lock and see the original 237-year-old brickwork up close.

Vicky Martin, waterway manager for the Canal & River Trust in the region said: “Our open days are a fascinating showcase which give local people the chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at some amazing craftsmanship.

“To walk along the bed of a 237-year-old lock, see the waterways’ original 18th century design and understand the scale of the work we do to care for it, is a real privilege.”

Canal & River Trust experts will also be talking about the £16,000 of work taking place at the lock, volunteer lock keepers from the trust will be talking about their roles and there will be activities for children inside The Mill Arts Centre.

Canal historians will also be on hand to tell people about the history of the lock which was hit during a bombing raid in September 1940.

Tooley’s Boat Yard, which has been in continuous use since 1790 and is the oldest working dry dock on the inland waterways, will be throwing open its doors for the weekend to give visitors a chance to see inside.

Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal & River Trust, said: “We care for a remarkable network of historic waterways which are still working just as they were designed to over 200 years ago. Keeping them open and safe requires a huge amount of planning, investment and craftsmanship and involves a wide range of experts, from civil engineers and hydrologists to heritage experts and ecologists.”

The open weekend is from 10am to 4pm on both days.

For more information on the Canal & River Trust click here.