The Canal & River Trust is dedicated to the conservation and maintenance of over 2,000 miles of waterways across England and Wales, including canals, rivers, docks and reservoirs. The Trust recently received £100,000 funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery to restore the iconic Guillotine Lock and clean up areas surrounding the canal for the enjoyment of local inhabitants. The refurbished Guillotine Lock was unveiled by life-long canal enthusiast and famous actor, Timothy West.
On Tuesday 30th April, Timothy, well-known for his roles on both stage and screen, led local residents through the Guillotine Lock on a West Midlands' heritage working boat, Scorpio. A regular on the canals of England, Timothy was overjoyed with the outcome of the project: “It has been such a pleasure to join those who have been involved in this project to celebrate the restoration of this fantastic example of industrial archaeology. My family and I have taken so much enjoyment from our canals and rivers for so many years that it's comforting to know that another important part of our waterway heritage will be preserved for future generations.”
Timothy continued to talk about the importance the canal has as a space for leisure and relaxation: “Just walking along the path, looking at the wildlife, just sitting and letting the world go by, is terrific.”
Kate Pearson, Trusts Manager for People's Postcode Lottery, also attended the event: “I was delighted to meet members of the local community at the unveiling, including many people out walking their dogs or simply enjoying the canal on a lovely spring day. On behalf of People's Postcode Lottery and all of our players, we are delighted to be involved in helping to conserve, enhance and restore the heritage of our national waterways to ensure that local communities can continue to enjoy our canals and rivers for many years to come.”
The hard work of the River & Canal Trust means that this ancient monument has now been taken off the heritage 'At Risk' register and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Peter Mathews, Chair of the West Midlands Watership Partnership, thanked the Trust by saying: “It's wonderful to have an opportunity to shout about the hard work that has gone into the project as we want to make sure this valuable addition to our West Midlands waterway heritage is around for the next generation to enjoy.”
The refurbishment project saw repairs to the brickwork, both in the Lock and around the Lock gate structure. The restorers used traditional methods to ensure that the work carried out was in keeping with the heritage of the canal network. Dean Davies, Waterway Manager, drew attention to the role that players of People's Postcode Lottery have had in the restoration of the Lock: “Because it's got heritage status, we have got to do something with it to protect it for its long-term future and through the support of People's Postcode Lottery we've been able to repaint it, redo the brickwork, and bring it back up to how it would look, basically, if it was working.”
To date, players of People's Postcode Lottery have raised over £25.6 Million for charities and good causes across Britain.