Wolverhampton's Listed Buildings

Locks 2 - 21, Wolverhampton Flight

Birmingham Canal Navigations

Lock 9.

Listing: The listing for each of these locks reads: c.1770. By Brindley, Whitworth and Simcock, engineers.

Comment: This flight of 21 locks carries the BCN off the high ridge on which Wolverhampton and most of the Black Country stands. The upper part of the flight was once lined by factories with many canal arms. The lower part was always semi-rural. Now the whole flight is a surprisingly green and quiet walkway, down a very early flight of locks, built by one of the great, pioneering engineers and exhibiting wonderful brickwork in the locks and bridges. These works provide excellent evidence for those who espouse the "form follows function" view of design.

Lock 19.


Listing: Lock 20: 1772, altered c.1785. Lock 21: 1785, added to the main flight approximately 15 years after the main flight. Original lock No.20 was found to be too deep. Lock No.20 was therefore altered and Lock 21 added.

Comment: Alan Codling writes: "Like the Walsall flight, the Wolverhampton 21 have one odd lock, No.20, which has a single bottom gate. Originally there were only 20 locks in the flight, with the bottom lock having a depth of 10 feet. This was so wasteful of water that the Company proposed to build a reservoir to supply it, although there is no sign of this. In 1784 the lock was rebuilt with half the depth and another lock built above it. This was at the time John Smeaton was engineer for the Broadwater Extension and the Birmingham and Fazeley, on both of which he used single bottom gates. He was presumably also involved in the work here and adopted the same design for the new lock - the present No.20". Note that the listing gives Lock 20 as the original and Lock 21 as the additional lock. Codling has it the other way round - and with the evidence of the single gate to support him.

Lock 21.