Lock opens to connect Olympic Park with the network
By: Janet Richardson
BRITISH Waterways has reopened a derelict lock on Waterworks River in East London for the first time in over 40 years following a restoration project costing £400,000.
A flotilla of boats from the St Pancras Cruising Club and the Three Mills Mooring Association will be the first public boats through the lock on Saturday 31 July.
City Mill Lock now links Waterworks River, which is one of a network of waterways that connect the Olympic Park with the River Lee Navigation, and from there the rest of the UK’s inland waterway network of canals and rivers.
The reopening of this lock is the next phase in the regeneration of the canals and rivers of East London.
British Waterways’ head of regeneration, Richard Rutter, said: “The first phase of the restoration involved the fitting of new metal gates, and then, when more funding was secured we were able to finish off the project. Installing mechanised electric rams, sluices, lock landings, controls and lock ladders.
“This second stage took approximately six months, and now we will be focussing our attention on Carpenters Road Lock within the Olympic Park.”
The 5½ km loop of waterways in and around the Park have been upgraded, benefiting from works including the restoration of City Mill Lock; the construction of Three Mills Lock and Water Control Structure; extensive waterway wall repairs and dredging. These waterways are set to become a popular destination for the UK’s leisure and holiday boaters, as well as for general visitors using the traffic-free towpaths to explore the area by foot and by bike.
Mr Rutter added: “At the moment boaters are restricted in how far they can go as there’s no public access to the Park. After the Games we anticipate the waterways will be opened up as quickly as practicable.”
Roger Squires, Inland Waterways Association and St Pancras Cruising Club said: “It’s a real honour to be able to bring the flotilla through City Mill Lock. It’s a great sign for the future of East London’s waterways, and I’m sure that the investment to improve the waterways will mean that post-Games many more people will follow our lead and enjoy these restored industrial canals and rivers.”