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Grantham Canal - bits of rusty metal and other interesting stuff.

Discussion in 'Everything else Heritage' started by baldbof, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Thank you for your kind words. The thieving scumbags have paid us a recent visit but they left empty-handed - a quad bike is no use for trying to tow a heavy duty pump up a muddy incline, plus ( you'll like this) they didn't spot the covert camera which captured their every action.

    The base colour at the moment is 'Vale of Belvoir mud', the finished article will be "Birtley Old Brick red'.
     
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  2. Baldopeter

    Baldopeter New Member

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    Like many others I have enjoyed all the information you have given us. I was a volunteer on the Welsh Highland rebuild. It is always a problem when a project draws to a conclusion on what to to with all the postings. I do hope you can keep them for others to see in years to come.

    Regards

    Peter
     
  3. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    There's no early conclusion on this project as there's plenty more to do. There's another three locks in this particular flight which need to be re-built - that should keep us busy for a couple of years. Then, when that's done, the small matter of clearing the next nineteen miles of overgrown water way plus replacing numerous flat bridges before we get to the next lock which happens to have a de-watered section in the way. Then a new route to the Trent has to be excavated to replace the section at West Bridgford............and breath. Oh! did I mention the hope to restore the canal under the A1 and back to the centre of Grantham? I don't know if I shall see completion of the project in my lifetime but I shall keep doing reports for as long as I can.
     
  4. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Now that the festive season is past, it's been back to work with the rebuild. Unfortunately, the weather has not been in our favour and the considerable amount of rain that has fallen has made the site almost unusable by the vehicles.

    It looks fairly benign but it's just waiting to trap the unwary.

    [​IMG]


    However, a trackway made of shuttering and bog-boards has allowed blocks to be moved upto the near-side wall so that the re-inforcing block wall behind the facing bricks could be built. The near-side block wall is now completed and is currently under wraps to allow the mortar to go off. The offside block wall will have to wait as the ground is just too wet and muddy even for tracked vehicles.

    [​IMG]

    As further block wall construction is held in abeyance, our attention has turned to other tasks which can be conducted despite the ground conditions. As a result , our demolition skills are being tested on taking down the weir that was installed, circa 1936,to maintain water in the canal following its closure. The intention was to provide a water source for the farmers who's land was adjacent to the canal.

    The weir can be seem in the background when we were just starting to rebuild the lock chamber walls.

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    Another shot of the weir from the upstream side. It doesn't look very big until you try to break it.

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    Before we started using the breakers, some cuts were made into the concrete to try and help with the breaking. However, the weir is made of strong stuff and those cuts didn't really help.

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    This was the result of the initial assault with the Hilti breaker.

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    ...followed by a lot of shovelling to clear the debris.

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    As we broke the concrete, reinforcing bars became visible. Not your normal re-bar, but part of the redundant paddle gear .

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    Another shot of the breaking so far. Note the twist in the "re-bar" ex-paddles.

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    This piece of re-bar is the bit where the cogs of the paddle gears engage when opening/closing the paddles.

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    In the rubble I spotted some unusual discolouring.

    [​IMG]

    It turned out to be the remains of a newspaper. Our guess is that the paper was used either as packing to fill gaps in the formwork/around the sluice opening to prevent concrete from leaking out when the concrete was poured, or to provide a break point between the shuttering and the concrete. We couldn't see a date on the newspaper but we suspect it is dated from around 1936 when the building of the weirs was stipulated in the Closure Act. Anyway, whatever the purpose, it's amazing that it survived in such a wet environment.

    Another point of interest, if you look closely, you can see one of the adverts is for guns!! I don't think that sort of advert would feature in today's newspapers

    What we will discover next on this project remains to be seen. In the meantime, there's more concrete to be broken.
     
  5. Thompson1706

    Thompson1706 Active Member

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    Grease guns if you read closely !

    Bob.
     
  6. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    I'll have a closer look when I'm next on site on Monday.
     
  7. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    We've been busy of late.

    When the weather has been suitable (i.e. not raining or forecast), our volunteers have been building up the block wall on the off-side. There's only a couple of courses to be laid toward the centre of the wall.

    [​IMG]

    Off-site, the preliminary work to procure the lock chamber edge capping stones is underway.

    Meanwhile, when the weather has not been conducive to block laying, our efforts have been focused on demolishing the weir that was installed many years ago when the canal was officially closed.

    Bit by bit, we have broken the concrete with the trusty Hilti breaker. Sometimes the concrete proved to be tougher than the breaker's bits but we weren't going to let a broken bit stop us.

    [​IMG]


    Finally, after the steps had been removed, we were left with the base of the weir and a concerted effort was made by yesterday's team to remove the remaining concrete.

    [​IMG]

    We had to take care that we didn't damage the forebay floor, which proved to be a mix of brick and timber (oak?), when we were breaking the concrete. Removal of the last level of concrete was assisted by the fact that when the weir was built, a layer of gravel was laid over the forebay floor before the concrete was poured. This layer of gravel ensured that the concrete did not stick to the brickwork or the timber floor - perhaps someone had the foresight to realise the canal would be restored at some future date.

    Over the years, the gravel acted as a trap for mud/sludge that was carried by the water with the result that it became like a black clinker with the benefit that it broke quite easily. This layer of gravel/sludge helped provide a clue for when the breaker bit was getting close to the forebay floor by producing a change in the sound of the breaker's bit doing its work.

    At last, the final layer of concrete was gone to reveal the forebay floor in excellent condition and the likelihood that no time-consuming remedial work is required. The inside of the sluices also looked to be in reasonable condition. Beside the lower, horizontal scaffolding pole are the remains of the original paddles which were left in place when the concrete was poured.

    [​IMG]

    If you're wondering, the broken concrete was shovelled into buckets which were then emptied into wheelbarrows for conveyance to the on-site spoil tip. The ground conditions at that end of the lock had deteriorated to the extent that it precluded further use of our excavator. Who needs to pay gym fees to keep fit???

    When the last remnants of the concrete were broken, one of the lock gate pivots still in its mount was revealed. Judicious use of some WD40, a chisel and club hammer soon had the pivot out of its mount.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The lock gate pivot. It's a heavy little lump of metal despite its size.

    [​IMG]

    With the concrete weir removed, it's starting to look like a proper lock once more. Part of the team view the scene with the quiet, satisfied feeling of a job well done. In the background, more volunteers can be seen undergoing training to operate our excavator and dump truck.

    [​IMG]

    The scaffolding in the foreground will be removed soon to allow remedial work to take place on the brickwork of the forebay wing walls.

    There's still lots more to do but the removal of the weir is one of those landmark events which spurs you on to the next challenge of the project.
     
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  8. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Apologies if the photos haven't come out, Photobucket is playing up like a spoilt child at the moment.

    Since I reported last month, we've had to lay a 'few' more facing bricks and blocks on the lock chamber's walls.

    C&RT's engineer decided that the lock chamber's walls needed an extra couple of layers of bricks and blocks to accommodate a higher water level - the half mile long pound above the lock is to be dredged and the banks built up. Our volunteers cracked on with getting the job done and the job of re-building the lock chamber walls has now been accomplished. The scaffolders have been in again and raised the work platform to its final level that will allow us to lay the edge capping stones along the top of the finished chamber walls.

    This is the latest view of the lock chamber with the walls on both sides now up to (the amended) final height and awaiting the edge capping stones.

    [​IMG]

    The scaffolders also removed the scaffolding in the upper fore bay after we had demolished the weir. The area has been washed, swept, hoovered, dusted and polished ready for the archaeologists to do some drawings before we start on the remedial work required in that area including cutting new channels for the stop boards.

    [​IMG]

    The focus of our attention at the moment has turned to the area at the lower end of the lock where tidying up of the original brickwork is taking place. There's a fair bit of work needed in that area and the lower dam will have to be moved in order to complete the work - that should be "interesting". What isn't visible is some work that was undertaken to pin sections of the walls together where there were some cracks in the masonery. The work involved drilling into the brickwork, inserting some re-bar and grouting with a cement /water mix.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Finally a view of the network of scaffolding poles under the work platform. The scale of the re-build is starting to be visible and all will be revealed when the scaffolding is finally removed. This time last year we were still taking the walls down - have a look at Page 5 of this thread to make a comparison with today's state of play.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
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  9. Chris B

    Chris B New Member

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    I take it if the upper pound level is being increased, the the wier for the bywash will be lifted as well otherwise the dredging will only result in higher banks?
     
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  10. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    The intention is to eventually close off the by-wash. When it was constructed , slots were built in to it to allow the installation of stop boards. I'll try to remember to take a photo of the slots the next time I'm on site.
     
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  11. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    As promised, here's a photo of the by-wash with the slots for the stop boards. If I heard correctly, the water level has to come up about six inches (two courses of brick). The lock chamber sluice letter boxes, through which the water will normally flow, will be slightly lower than the top of the stop boards, therefore the risk of the water overflowing the stop boards or the (soon to-be-raised) bank should be minimal ......(he said with fingers/toes crossed). The by-wash will remain in-situ so any overspill will just flow around the lock chamber and back into the canal at the lower end of the lock as it does now.

    IMG_1270.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
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  12. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    As reported in an earlier post, our focus has been at the lower end of the lock where we have started adding some additional blocks and bricks to build up the corner posts.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    On the front wall, old(recovered) bricks are being blended into the new brickwork on the extended part of the wall. Heritage requirements mean that we have to use lime mortar for this part of the rebuild and it's a time-consuming process. Because of the mesh of scaffolding , it was a bit difficult to get a decent shot of the work, but all will be revealed in due course.

    The intention is extend the lock wall, at its full height, by a further couple of metres then build a new end wall. Behind this wall, the void will be filled with compacted earth and clay and the top 1 metre will be compacted, crushed roadstone. On top of this , we will construct new quadrants - those raised blocks in a semi-circular pattern which provide some purchase for the person opening/closing the lock gates. Another change to the scaffolding is required as we are almost up to the maximum height working from ground level.

    Talking of lock gates, we have been informed that a man with a tape measure will be visiting very soon to measure up for the new gates which will then be constructed off-site. Manufacture should take approximately three weeks and then they will be ready for installation. Before the gates are installed, the capping stones at the upper and lower quadrants will be installed so that the gate furniture can be fitted. The capping stones along the main chamber walls will be laid in slower time. It's all happening folks.

    Over Easter week, we are being joined by volunteers from the Waterways Recovery Group who are having one of their periodic camps at the site. No doubt, having been bolstered by their numbers, there should be a few more changes in time for my next report.
     
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  13. Stefan Mlynek

    Stefan Mlynek New Member

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    @baldbof

    You are no doubt aware, but for the benefit of the many who have been following your interesting thread.

    This months edition of 'Waterways World' is carrying a very good 3-page report on the restoration of the Grantham Canal.

    The magazine is an excellent read and is available from all good newsagents, price £4.25.

    Stef.
     
  14. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Thanks Stef. We had been made aware that 'something' would be appearing.

    The WRG spent a week on-site during the Easter break and did their usual thing of helping to move things on.

    Included in the work undertaken was the cutting of new slots for stop-boards at the upper gates. A galvanised channel will be fixed into the slots and the surrounding brickwork will be made good. The original stop-board slots are only wide enough to accommodate nothing much bigger than an scaffolding plank. As can be seen, there's quite a bit of work to be done on the brickwork in that area, not to mention the surrounds of the paddles/letterbox areas.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Also at the upper end of the lock, the brickwork on the cill received some attention where recovered bricks were used to replace those that were damaged/missing when restoration work first started. It was a bit difficult to get a decent shot of this area due to the constraints of the surrounding scaffolding. Lime mortar was used in this area - some pointing which was carried out earlier in the restoration is visible in the lower courses of bricks.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, at t'other end of the lock, work continued on building up the lower corners to accommodate the quadrants. Recovered bricks and lime mortar are the order of the day on the outside whilst we are using new bricks to do the filling in the centre of the mass.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Seen here are the new end walls which will eventually be brought up to the same height as the lock chamber walls. A couple of weeks should see this particular job completed. After that, some work is required on the lower wing walls which are currently partially covered by the dam - so a little bit of excavation and re-positioning of the dam will be required; should be fun!!
    [​IMG]

    Whilst the brick/block laying has been going on, our excavator drivers have been reducing the size of the spoil tip to back-fill and grade behind the lock chamber walls. As can be seen, the tip in the background has got smaller whilst the area behind the lock chamber walls is almost back to its original height.

    [​IMG]

    I must make a special mention of Sam, one of the WRG volunteers. Somehow, he sussed me out without even speaking to me - left me thinking "How the... did he work that out". Anyway, it was his birthday whilst he was there and he very generously left a piece of his birthday cake for sampling... and very nice it was too! Thanks Sam.

    During a recent visit by a C&RT board member and the C&RT area manager, the message was passed that C&RT have decided to hold an opening ceremony in August... so, no pressure there to get the job done. Keep watching this space folks!!
     
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  15. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Active Member

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    No news on this project for a while, anyone know whats happenng there!
     
  16. ghost

    ghost Well-Known Member

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    It's only been 2 weeks!! Most updates are roughly every month.


    Keith
     
  17. nine elms fan

    nine elms fan Active Member

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    So it is, I visited there last October and got so exited about it I just cant wait for updates.
     
  18. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Whoa there, Trigger!! I'm back on-site on Monday, so I may have some more photos for you. :Morewaitingisrequired:

    If you wish to plan another visit (and you will be more than welcome) , we are doing guided tours of the site to visitors this coming Spring Bank Holiday (Sunday & Monday), same again for the August Bank Holiday (Sunday & Monday) and also on our annual open day (Discovery Day) which is on Sunday, 8th October. More info is available on http://www.granthamcanal.org
     
  19. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Right then!! Another up-date for those of you for whom the tension is too much.;)

    First of all a correction to a previous report.

    When we were demolishing the weir, I reported that we had discovered evidence of newspaper being used and I stated that we believed it may have originated in about 1936. One of our volunteers has informed me that he remembers the weirs being poured when he were nowt but a lad in the 1950s, so I may have got things wrong on that. Hangs head in shame.

    Since the WRG volunteers left after their Easter camp, GCS volunteers have carried on maintaining responsibilty for the restoration work. The WRG's will be back in August for their series of summer camps.

    Meanwhile, work has carried on at the lower end corners where we have to bring the brick/blockwork upto the same height as the lock chamber walls. This is a change from the original build where the lower forebay walls sloped downwards from the quadrants.

    The original profile can be seen on the right hand side of this photo of the walls during demolition.

    [​IMG]

    The blockwork which helps support the facing bricks has finally reached the height of the lock chamber walls on both sides whilst the laying of the facing bricks has followed on.

    The off-side lower corner. This also shows the changed profile of the end corner.

    [​IMG]

    The near(tow-path) side lower corner.

    [​IMG]

    ..and finally, in today's blazing sunshine in the Vale of Belvoir, another milestone moment was reached when the nearside facing bricks reached the desired height. The other side is coming along and this particular area of work should be completed within the next couple of days.

    [​IMG]

    Whilst this work has been going on, one of our volunteers has been effecting some re-work repairs to the recovered bricks and lime mortar on an area of the off-side corner post.

    [​IMG]

    After this lower area is completed, we will turn our attention to the upper wing walls where channels for the stop boards need to be installed. The brickwork has already been cut where the galvanised steel channels will be installed, but some attention to the surrounding brickwork is required. You may remember this photo from a previous post, of the off-side wall.

    [​IMG]

    Further work showed that the brickwork in that area wasn't in good shape and a minor demolition job was needed to expose sound bricks which we can use as a starting point for the re-build of this area. To the right of this brickwork is the letter box and paddle sluice. Restoration of this area is also imminent and the plan is to use some of the old edge capping stones. Stones which are no longer fit for the lock chamber edge will be cut to shape to effect the repair of this area.

    [​IMG]

    As it's Spring Bank Holiday next weekend, instead of laying bricks we will be doing guided tours of the site for visitors to our depot where we are also doing short trips on on the canal at Lock 18. Watch this space for further developments.
     
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  20. baldbof

    baldbof Member

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    Oh dear! On page 2 - can't have that!!

    Once the Spring Bank Holiday was out the way, work carried on as normal and our volunteers finished the brickwork at the lower end of the lock where the profile of the end corners had been changed. This is how it looks like now and compare it with the photo in the previous post.

    [​IMG]

    Work remaining to be done in that area includes moving the temporary dam so that the lower wing walls (out of sight in this photo) can receive some attention.

    With that part of the restoration done, our focus is now on the upper end of the lock where we have been busy with the rebuild of the off-side forebay walls which were partially demolished because of the poor state of the brickwork. In this area we are using recovered bricks and lime mortar in order to meet our Heritage Lottery Fund obligations.

    [​IMG]

    Whist this rebuilding has been going on, we have also been busy doing trial fits of the stop-board steel channels (aka 'Stank' boards - don't ask!!). We were fortunate enough to have a new volunteer assisting with this job - being young and strong, he proved useful as those channels ain't light.

    The off-side channel.

    [​IMG]

    The near-side channel.

    [​IMG]

    Yours truly checking that it's plumb.

    IMG_20170605_133712.jpg

    Now that we have got the channels where we want them, fixing materials have been ordered and a methodology for permanent installation is being worked out.

    Meanwhile, work on the upper off-side has continued with the rebuild coming along nicely with the added touch of some newly cut corner blocks being installed. These blocks were cut from one of the original edge capping stones which had deteriorated beyond re-use as a capping stone. The stones were profiled by Iona, one of the C&RT Heritage trainees currently working on-site, and what a fine job she has made of them. If you look closely, you will see her mark in the top left hand corner of the upper stone.

    IMG_1360.JPG

    In addition to this part of the wall, we have also started work on the letterboxes - this is the area where water flows into the lock chamber by-passing the paddles and gates when they are closed. Bear in mind there is a constant flow of water through the canal and the letterbox allows that flow to continue. This is a general view of the area where we are working.

    IMG_1292.JPG

    The off-side letterbox has stone blocks missing and inspection of the brickwork inside the letterbox showed the brickwork needs considerable work in respect of replacing missing bricks and repointing where bricks remained. There are some large gaps behind the front stones where the water has eroded the mortar.

    IMG_1359.JPG

    So, it was a case of carefully removing some of the front stones - and stack them for re-use. That's the mortar that has cracked, not the stones themselves. Before we moved them, we took a level from the top of the stone and marked it on a restored part of the wall, as that is the level where the water flows into the letterbox. When the repair is done the top of that stone must align with the mark.

    IMG_1366.JPG

    The view behind the stones. Only the front of the stones were dressed; the backs are a bit rough and didn't make for a neat and tidy job with the brickwork behind them.

    IMG_1367.JPG

    Ready for slings to lift them out of the way.

    IMG_1369.JPG

    Then exposing the area where we had a bit of work to do. That dark loop is the camera's strap flapping in the wind.

    IMG_1370.JPG

    After a day of removing tree roots, debris and broken bricks followed by repacking and pointing with lime mortar this is what this small area looked like. What isn't clear in this shot is the corbelling of the brickwork within the internal area of the letterbox.

    IMG_1371.JPG

    My colleague had been making good the brickwork in the area beside the new stop-board channel. Immediately behind him is another stone block, which Iona had just finished carving, being test fitted. If it's as good as her previous effort, it won't need much, if any, fettling.

    IMG_1372.JPG


    No doubt, the GCS volunteer's will be making progress over the next few weeks and it does feel now that we are approaching the point where we will be in the hands of others in respect of the capping stones and gates.
    The lock gates will not be installed immediately to reduce potential degradation caused by them drying out if water levels are restricted by work at Lock 14, which is where we will be heading in the, hopefully, not too distant future. However, there's still more to do at this lock, but we are getting there!
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
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