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News 2011
Site Visits and Surveys

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Winter Work: Recording Locks on Horncastle Canal
Rare poling holes in a lock chamber are the highlight of a day's survey

On Sunday 27 November a group from the SLHA Industrial Archaeology team measured and photographed two locks on the Horncastle-Tattershall Canal. Horncastle Lock, 3/4 mile south of the town, has not been as extensively rebuilt as most of the others and the west face of the chamber mostly comprises original stonework, complete with unusual regular depressions thought to assist with "poling" through the lock - or are they Lewis Holes used in lifting the masonry blocks into place during construction?

Near to both the minor road which crosses the canal and the former Horncastle-Woodhall Junction Railway line at Thornton is a brick-capped farm reservoir (probably early 20th century). Fragments of the base of a steel-framed wind-pump which was employed to bring water to the reservoir were noted a few metres to the east.

The remains of a second lock were examined at Kirkby on Bain. All the flow of water in this section of the canal is now channelled into what was originally a by-pass to serve Kirkby Watermill.

The short section of "main" canal has been removed and the area landscaped, but a small part of the lock which includes the recesses for the upstream gates has survived in a grassy field.

Of particular interest in the stone structure is the gated opening and short curved channel of the sluice which enabled the lock chamber to be filled via a ground paddle when boats were raised in the lock as they travelled upstream towards Horncastle.

November 2011Horncastle Canal, lock, wind-pump, poling holes

Walking A Lost Railway
SLHA members walk the length of the former Little Bytham to Edenham railway

A small group of SLHA members walked the length of the former Little Bytham to Edenham railway on a warm day in late March.

The line was laid down at his own personal expense by Lord Willoughby to bring passengers and goods - especially coal - to the centre of his estate at Grimsthorpe and to nearby Bourne.

It opened in 1856 and ran for a relatively short time. Three stone buildings of the terminus survive at Edenham: the station building, engine shed and tiny weighhouse, all now subsumed within an extensive farmstead.

The 4-mile route of the line itself can be readily identified and quite easily followed to its junction with the main line at Little Bytham. It passes through significant cuttings and along high embankments; gradients are unusually severe (up to 1:35.

There is one surviving road bridge (minor road from Little Bytham to Witham on the Hill) over the line, but all features at the Little Bytham junction have been long swept away by improvements to the East Coast main line.

March 2011railway, Bytham, Edenham, Willoughby, Grimsthorpe, Bourne,