Lock to Lock
Ilkeston - Gallows Inn to Green's
w/e 19 April 2009
All this week's pictures were taken
with a Kodak DX6490
This series is following the Erewash Canal northwards
from Hallam Fields towards Cotmanhay in five sections as it passes
between the "Locks
on the Erewash Canal", this being the second section.
Immediately on leaving Gallows Inn Lock, the canal widens to
about twice its normal width. If this were a road instead of
a waterway I would describe this extra width as a lay by. I assume
that when canal traffic was at its height carrying substantially
more boats than the leisure craft that use it today, this extra
width would provide a similar "parking space" as the
narrow boats awaited their turn to pass through the lock. Gallows
Inn Lock was also used as a disembarkation point for workers
who arrived by canal from the Black Country on their way to the
nearby Stanton Ironworks and to use another analogy this time
from the railway world, this area could well have been their
As the canal narrows to continue its northward journey to Langley
Mill it first makes a loop to the east bringing it much closer
to the River Erewash and the railway line. In fact after crossing
Nottingham Road the railway line passes over the river and forms
a roughly triangular parcel of land with the canal.
In the section of the canal between Hallam Fields and Gallows
Inn we noted that much of the western side was filled with industrial
premises but now the industry has swapped to the eastern side
with buildings occupying the Furnace Road Industrial Estate that
has grown up on the triangular piece of land already mentioned.
Some time ago I had thought that Furnace Road had taken its name
from the view of the furnaces at Stanton but I was reliably informed
that a furnace had once stood adjacent to the canal on what has
now become the industrial estate. Further investigation revealed
this image (opens a new window) from the
1920s/30s at the Picture The Past website and "Erewash Furnace"
is marked on old maps. The canal had opened before 1800 and Stanton
Ironworks established about 1845. The furnace at Gallows Inn
followed later together with others at Bennerley and West Hallam.
The furnace stood at the furthest point east of the canal loop
which obviously played a part in its siting as a convenient means
of transportation and was approximately where the brick building
right of centre in the above picture now stands.
In total contrast to the industrial landscape the western side
of the canal now has residential properties and many householders
tend the canal bank at the rear of their homes.
Sandwiched between the industry and the housing the canal now
begins its sweep back to the west and despite the proximity of
the urbanisation, there is often a feel of the countryside with
waterfowl much in evidence both on the canal and also the towpath.
I wasn't being warned off here by the way - it was simply wash
and brush up time. They didn't
even move for the cyclist although they probably did when the
dog walker in the distance reached them. It is not unknown for
kingfishers to be seen along this stretch of the canal and if
you travel "Adagio" style, that is slowly and in a
leisurely manner you may be lucky enough to see one. If you rush
along though, you "Otter Know Better". Sorry but the
jokes don't get any better than that!
As the canal begins to straighten out in its northern journey,
the industry is shielded by trees and hedges and is not at all
intrusive. Much of the opposite bank was taken up by allotment
gardens. Some of this as we have already seen has been built
upon. There was an area of land though between the allotments
that was used for a post war prefab development, Erewash Square,
to help with the housing problem but these have all now been
replaced by houses of a more permanent nature. The grassy area
(centre) leads up from the canal to the Erewash Square Play Area.
A little further north, as well as more wild life, there are
still some allotment gardens stretching right down to the water.
With the gates of Green's Lock coming into view, there's another
of those posts that are periodically positioned at intervals
along the canal but I wonder if they really serve any purpose.
If I am reading the signs correctly no fishing is allowed between
the post and the lock but there is someone clearly contravening
this. Likewise cycling is prohibited in both directions and although
the notice about dogs is at a convenient height for canines,
I don't know many that can actually read. I told you the jokes
didn't get any better but I'll continue the series with the next
section to Potter's Lock in Part 3.