About this image
Hollingwood Lock (Lock No 5) on the Chesterfield Canal looking west. The bridge abutments to either side formerly supported a girder span carrying the ex-Great Central Railway Chesterfield Loop, which diverged from the GCR main line at Staveley and then ran via Brimington, Chesterfield Central and Grassmoor to rejoin the main line at Heath. This was also the location of Staveley Works station, an elevated structure that straddled the Canal. Evidence of this can be seen by the upwards extensions of the blue-brick walling, this being where removal of the bridge span has truncated the platforms to either side. The railway was brought into use in 1891-2 and closed to passengers in 1963, although freight traffic lasted a little longer.
The Chesterfield 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. This section was purchased by Derbyshire County Council in 1989.
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 this particular section finished in 2002. However restoration of Hollingwood Lock had been undertaken earlier (in 1993), one of the first tasks having been removal of a concrete cap that had been inserted within the lock chamber to alter the level of the water - the remains of this can be seen here at the end of the chamber along with a stop plank holding back the water.
It should be noted that this portion of the Canal was not part of the original 1777 route. Between Killamarsh and Chesterfield railway construction in the 1890s caused a number of substantial realignments in order to avoid bridge building and to straighten the course of the waterway, and this was one such. Previously, the Canal adopted a more sinuous and northerly course at Hollingwood, passing through the heart of Staveley Iron Works and including a lock named Cinderhill (which Hollingwood Lock replaced).