Before we set off there seemed to be a lot of movements, up and down, going past us but once we started to move we didn't actually meet anybody coming down. The first point of interest was the Sheet Stores Basin where the old buildings were used to make and repair tarpaulins for the Midland Railway's wagons. It is now a marina with all the canal trades available too. The towpath is well made and has been very busy with walkers and cyclists all the way up. It is also quite clean as is the actual water and the water is clear and full of plants.
On the approach to Long Eaton Lock we passed Harrington Lace Mill that was opened in 1887 and used over a million bricks and 224 cast iron windows. In 1907 there were 1400 lace looms in the town employing a quarter of the population. The chimney is embellished and the semicircular parts on the sides house the staircases and seem to be a feature of the the mills around here.
Long Eaton Lock, Erewash Canal.
We were surprised to see a gang of labourers at the next lock, Dock Hulme, but they were a work party in association with the local natural history society who had adopted this stretch of the tow path next to their reserve. They were king enough to work the lock for us. It was the first time I saw the flap on the gate paddle that stops the water jetting out and maybe filling an unwary boat.
Sandiacre lock is a scenic as any I have seen. The Lock house was built at the same time as the canal 1779 and housed the lock keeper. This was also the junction of the Derby Canal so was an important spot. The building is now used as the HQ of the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association.
This shows the gate paddle baffle plate in action. It is just hinged at the top so the more pressure from the water the further it lifts but the weight stops the water jetting straight out.
The Derby Canal was a loop from Sandiacre on the Erewash Canal to Derby and then south to the Trent and Mersey at Swarkstone. It was last used in 1946 when the canal company locked the gates to prevent access. There are plans to reopen the route
Springfield Lace Mill opened in 1888. Beautifully converted to flats it seems.