Long Eaton Lock, Erewash Canal
About this image
This is Long Eaton Lock, on the Erewash Canal, to the South of Derby Road, Long Eaton; looking NNE. The factories centre, right, lie on Milner Street; the house Left of Centre is the Westernmost of Lawrence Street. The Erewash Canal is one of five canals built towards the end of the 18th century to carry coal from the pits of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to the towns of the East Midlands. Rising north from the River Trent it follows a surprisingly rural course through Long Eaton and Sandiacre passing under the M1 and then on through Ilkeston to Langley Mill. Construction of the canal was supported by local merchants and landowners, who were keen to profit from the coal deposits of the Erewash valley, and also by local colliery owners who recognised the financial benefits of broadening their markets. Completed in 1779 at the cost of £21,000 by engineer John Varley, the canal involved the construction of 14 locks, which took the navigation up 109 feet from Trent Lock to Langley Mill. Abundant trade from local collieries, brickworks and ironworks made the canal one of the most prosperous in the country. High demand for coal meant that £100 shares rose to a phenomenal £1,300. By the late 1830s however, the canal was in trouble as high tolls and the fledgling competition from the railways caused a reduction in traffic. Surrounding canals were bought up by the rail companies, which compounded the problem. In 1932 the Erewash Canal company was bought up by the Grand Union Canal Company. Development plans largely failed, and nationalisation of the canal system in 1947 brought the canal under the administration of the British Transport Board. Popular with pleasure boaters venturing up from the River Trent, the Erewash Canal was restored to 'cruising waterway' standards in 1983 after a sustained campaign led by the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association (ECPDA) - a body consisting of boaters, anglers, residents and local authorities.