Point of Interest

Camden Lock

England / Europe

In the 19th century, Camden Lock was just one of the many locks on the Regent’s Canal. The lock itself was (and still is) called Hampstead Road Lock, and was the ill-fated one that William Congreve designed, involving a hydro-pneumatic technique. This failed and a more conventional lock replaced it in 1819. The new lock is still used today, and those that steer the barges open and close the gates themselves. Near to the lock stood warehouses and other buildings, and from 1854 there were stables for the horses that pulled the barges along the canal, and a horse hospital. Horses undertook this work from 1820 until about 1953, when narrow tractors began to pull the barges, and the last horse-drawn cargo moved along the canal in 1956. Canal trade had effectively ceased by 1970 and in 1974 Camden Council followed the example of Westminster and opened its towpaths to the public. Since then it has been possible to walk along the side of the canal, usually on the Northern side.

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