The swing bridge is built over the lock and you can see the track it swings round on here. This bridge was built in 1999, and judging by old photos, is quite similar to the one it replaced. The weight limit sign nearby can’t be the one for this bridge, which probably has about a two ton limit.
In May 1800 the Grand Junction canal opened between Brentford in London and Fenny Stratford. It was a success.
But the next stretch was built on more porous ground and would be trouble; it leaked. To aid repairs, in 1802 the canal company built a temporary lock at Fenny Stratford. That lock is still there; it's Fenny lock.
The temporary lock was installed to drop the water level by about a foot to make repairs easier; most of the leaks were occurring at the top edges of the canal.
The far end of this stretch (or pound) was the first of the eight temporary locks where the canal crossed the Great Ouse valley. They were eventually replaced by the Iron Trunk aqueduct.
The idea was to fix the leaks, then remove the lock. By 1805 the canal company had made an estimate for the repair costs, but the amount of money it would take together with the disruption to traffic meant that no action was taken.
I referred to this book while researching this post.
In 1838 the company considered raising the height of the water in the pound by six inches by removing Fenny Lock. That also meant dropping the water level in the canal between Fenny Stratford and Stoke Hammond lock; splitting the twelve inch difference across Fenny lock in half.
Again, nothing came of the plans. In that same year the London to Birmingham railway fully opened, a serious competitor for freight traffic with the Grand Junction canal.
The railway expanded, and the line to Bedford crossed the canal next to Fenny Lock in 1846.
To get to Fenny lock, look out for the sign for the Red Lion pub, on the East side of Simpson road in Fenny Stratford. It’s less than 250 yards from Watling Street. The sign directs you down Lock View lane, but unless you park at the pub, it’s best to park on Simpson road.
Fenny lock is a nice spot to visit even on a cold grey day, as I found when I took these photos.
This seems to be the standard diamond shaped weight limit sign from the first part of the 20th Century, and this one is unusual because the bolt on sections saying “THREE” or “FIVE” are still in place. Most signs have had them removed; probably stolen as souvenirs.
Not all of these signs have “Motor Car Acts 1896 and 1903” at the top, but they all seem to have the name of the canal or railway company who built the bridge, in the bottom corner. In this case that section (here behind the foliage) is a separate casting too.
I use Pentax cameras for many of the photos on the North Bucks Wanderer.
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