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Tapton Lock on the Chesterfield Canal, Tapton, Chesterfield, 1991
8 June 1991
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The recently restored Tapton Lock on the Chesterfield Canal looking north with the 1930s-built concrete bridge carrying Lockoford Lane (officially Bridge No 2) in the background. The lock house to the right was a 1960s replacement for an earlier building.
The Canal opened in 1777 and connected Chesterfield with the River Trent at West Stockwith via Worksop and Retford, a distance of 46 miles. The section from Chesterfield towards Worksop saw little or no use after the closure of the narrow and lengthy Norwood Tunnel on the Canal's summit level in 1908 (as a result of damage from mining subsidence) but Tapton Mill to Staveley remained reasonably intact to provide a water supply for the iron-making and chemical plants at Staveley Works.
The Chesterfield Canal Trust has long term plans to reopen the canal all the way from its terminus at Chesterfield to the present head of navigation at the eastern end of Norwood Tunnel at Kiveton Park. Between 1989 and 2012 reinstatement of the length from Tapton to Staveley was completed in stages with navigation restored first to the stretch from Tapton Lock to Tapton Mill Bridge in 1994, some three years after this photo was taken. The resurrection of Tapton Lock was one of the first jobs tackled, having been completed in 1990.
This location is of particular importance in the history of the Canal as it was here on 4 June 1777 that the waterway's official opening was celebrated by a large crowd (including 300 navvies) and the Mayor of Chesterfield. They witnessed the arrival of the first loaded boat and saw it raised in the lock and then dispatched southwards to Chesterfield where bands played and a feast was enjoyed.