What a difference 90 odd years makes and not a hint of health and safety in sight! The twelve men and one boy pictured in around the 1920s probably took months to renovate White Mills Lock on the River Nene in Earls Barton. In those days flat caps were worn instead of hard hats, cranes were precariously perched on large wooden beams, and smoking on the job clearly wasn’t a hazard either!
Today it could not be more different. Last month, over a three week period, a much smaller team of three or four from Drake Towage gave White Mills Lock a complete overhaul. The lock was completely drained down and emptied (the only treasures found this time around were an old bike and a shopping trolley), the guillotine gate repainted and bottom seal adjusted, and the V gates had new pintles and breast timbers installed as well as a steel sill to replace the old timber one.
The refurbishment of the lock could not be more timely, as work is due to get underway on constructing White Mills Marina in June, with a predicted opening date of the end of October.
Picture courtesy of Earls Barton Museum