Buxton Lock revisited

In an earlier blog from the beginning of November, now archived (see archives link at the right hand top of the page) I wrote about Buxton Lock. It was once such an imposing structure and its demise from the landscape now so complete. Generations would only know of its previous existence by word of mouth and the few remaining photographs such as the one below. Today so little remains that the unknowing would never appreciate the fact that large sailing vessels carrying cargo would ever have visited here.

In my earlier blog I wrote the following about this, one of my favourite navigation images -:

This photograph is thought to date from around 1910. The mill is clearly identifiable as Buxton and the race is still there today and is often used by the village youths for swimming in the hot balmy summer days. The lock cut is largely filled in and levelled now following the construction of the road in the 1930’s although it has left its mark on the landscape. In this photograph the lock itself at the head of the right hand channel looks resplendant and well maintained. It was quite an imposing structure although the rise cannot have been much more than 12 to 15 feet.

The other thing I like about this photograph is the story it tells of the day it was taken. It was clearly windy, the water shows that and I would guess that it had recently rained quite heavily as the water level is high. I would guess it was taken around this time of year as it has an autumnal feel to it. There’s no sign of any people – they are probably staying sensibly in the warm.

The wooden box like structure in the left foreground of the photo above is a bit of a mystery but our friends at the Museum of the Broads suggest that it is likely to belong to the local Eel catcher. I wonder how many Eels are in the river today?

A sad but essential comparison is with the following photograph taken in 1928, well after the flood but before the lock was wiped from the face of the earth. To me this is a sad photograph; a once proud place laid low and left derelict. It must have been quite an eyesore as well as a worry to local parents as it could hardly be described as safe. I suspect (but don’t know) that there was some relief when the lock was filled in.


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