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Bingley Five Rise Locks recognised as site of transport heritage

[Wednesday 05 January 2011]

Bingley Five Rise Locks has been recognised as one of the most significant sites of transport heritage by the Transport Trust – the first of its kind in Yorkshire.

A ‘Red Wheel’ plaque was erected at the locks in December on the old lock keepers hut in recognition of it being the ‘steepest lock staircase in Britain’.

The Red Wheel programme commemorates Britain's rich and globally important legacy in the development of transport and supplies explanatory markers for sites of significance - locations ranging from Roman roads and early tramways to seaplane and hovercraft bases.

Bingley’s 18th century engineering masterpiece is unique in being the only Grade 1 Listed structure on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and was designed by John Longbotham of Halifax, its first engineer.

The locks operate as a 'staircase' flight - in which the lower gate of one lock forms the upper gate of the next. Now, over 200 years later, the flight is still in daily use providing access to 16 miles of lock-free cruising on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in the glorious scenery of the Yorkshire Dales.

Judy Jones, heritage advisor for British Waterways, North said: “Bingley Five Rise Locks are a major achievement of civil engineering and an iconic site even after all these years, so we’re really pleased that it’s being recognised by the Transport Trust.

We’ve worked closely with the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society so special thanks goes to them also. The first boats went through the locks during the opening ceremony in 1774 when thousands gathered to watch the first boats make the 60 foot descent and it’s great that so many people still use these locks each year.”

Rob Shorland-Ball, vice chairman of the Transport Trust, commented: “Britain has an outstanding transport heritage but it is too little known and appreciated. Bingley Five-Rise is a great example and we're delighted to be presenting the first Yorkshire 'Red Wheel' to these Locks.”

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