Abandoned lock keeper’s cottage/restaurant

Written by  on June 27, 2024 

(I get to add a new category to the blog for this, yay!).

This wasn’t a huge building, but it was a significant one for me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s the only place I’ve ever explored that I’d previously been inside while it was still in use. And secondly, I’m a massive canal geek and this is the first canal-related explore I’ve done. (I have been in some interesting canal places before, such as inside the Falkirk Wheel, but only with permission).

This was originally a lock keeper’s cottage, but it was later converted into a restaurant. I’d stopped off there for a drink a couple of times while walking the canal. But it was severely damaged by fire in 2013 and has been derelict ever since. I was reminded of it when I walked past a few months ago and was tempted to go inside then, but I was with my auntie and I didn’t think she’d be up for hanging around outside while I went exploring (though in her younger days she’d probably have come in with me). Then I saw someone else’s photos of the place online and decided it was time I paid it a proper visit.

Although the stone front facade still stands, the rest of the building is absolutely wrecked, especially the eastern end where the ground floor is buried under a deep pile of rubble that was once the upper floor. As I gingerly stepped under the concrete beams holding up what was left of the top storey, I noticed some worrying cracks and bends in them. Oh well, I thought, They’ve held up in this state for eleven years, they’ll probably manage a few more minutes.

The western end and back of the building is slightly more intact. The kitchen was down a flight of stairs from the ground floor and was still identifiably a kitchen as cookers and other metal items in there had survived the fire, though the wall coverings weren’t so lucky.

There were also toilets, walls still tiled, and with broken and soot-blackened plumbing fixtures lying around. It was no longer possible to identify what the other rooms used to be, and I wasn’t in there often enough to remember the old layout.

A few years ago there were plans to demolish most of the building, retaining only the historic front wall, and replace it with a new restaurant, but nothing seemed to come of this. Whatever the future holds for the building, I hope the facade at least will survive, as there aren’t many lock keeper’s cottages left, and it’s an important part of the canal’s history.

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