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Canal Buildings on the Audlem Lock Flight
At Audlem the old canal-
The lockside keeper’s hut is still present at Lock 15 and the lock keeper’s cottage at lock 13 is unusual for the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction canal because it is a two-
Audlem Mill, now a thriving craft shop business, was originally Kingbur Mill, built in 1916 and powered by an oil engine. There was once a covered gangway leading from the mill to the canal wharfside, some traces of which remain if you look very carefully.
The brick built, barrel roofed building by Lock 10 on the Audlem flight was known as ‘the Shops’ by the old boatmen. Built in 1914, this building housed a carpenter’s shop, a stone mason and a blacksmith. There was also a lockside crane and a set of rails to transport stone along the lockside.
At Lock 8 there was once a lock keeper’s cottage but this was demolished in the early 1960s because it had no road access. Another small lock keeper’s or lengthman’s hut is situated a bit further up the flight at Lock 4.
At Lock 3, the building immediately above the canal on Bagley Lane was once the local bakery. The final lock cottage for the Audlem lock flight is at the top by Lock 1. The lock cottages at Audlem were built to the same pattern as others on the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal, with a single storey and a bow window overlooking the canal. This enabled the same design to be re-
In 1913, an agreement was reached with the landowner adjacent to the canal by lock 5. The ground was very sandy at this point and the agreement allowed sand to be extracted from here for canal maintenance.
Originally all locks on the Shropshire Union Main Line were fitted with mitre gates top and bottom. However these proved unsatisfactory for top gates and were replaced with single gates starting in 1843. As this was just eight years after the canal opened and lock gates were expected to have a normal working life of around fifty years, the double top gate arrangement must have been very defective. Close inspection of the stonework for the top gates on some of the Audlem locks reveals some evidence for the double gate arrangement.
Taken from an article that first appeared in the Nantwich Link magazines (including Village Link) in April 2015. Reproduced by kind permission of the Nantwich Link and Chris Owen-
The Shops, by lock 10
Lock hut (“hovel”)
by lock 4