The Junior children had an exclusive ‘behind-the-scenes’ visit to Lock 14 on the Peak Forest Canal in Marple, overseeing essential extensive maintenance works as part of the ‘Revealing Oldknow’s Legacy’ project.
Samuel Oldknow arrived in our area in 1787 and remained for over 40 years, until his death at the age of 72. During this time, he changed the face of Marple beyond all recognition, being the chief architect and driving force in the development and industrialisation of the area. Along with his mill at Mellor (the largest cotton spinning mill in the world at the time) he was responsible for the building of roads, bridges, coal mines and housing for his workers. He was also instrumental in the construction of the Peak Forest Canal.
The current works to Marple Lock Flight involve highly skilled craftsmanship and are essential to enable the local community to continue to enjoy and use the canal in Marple.
Children from Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 got the opportunity to go down into the lock and view the original 200-year-old brickwork at close range, see how the huge gates operate, discover the importance of limestone in the lock's construction, learn more about the history of the canal and see one of the finest examples of working heritage in the world – all just a stones throw from School.
They also got to ask a lot of questions - here are a few comments from the day:
‘We found it really interesting that all the water held in the lock was equivalent to 1 million cans of pop.’
‘We felt safe even though we were on a high viewing platform made out of scaffolding. The canal and river trust explained everything really clearly.’
‘We had a brilliant time at Lock 14 where we learned that they used paint to check if the lock gate sealed securely.’
‘I liked that they found trolleys, bikes when they drained the lock and loved talking about how long the locks have been there for.’
‘I liked learning that the workers (stone masons) had a special mark that they put on their stones to show that they had made it, and this was how they got paid!’
Lee Sanders, Headteacher, said: "The visit to Lock 14 was a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn more about local history and Marple’s industrial heritage. They were also fascinated to discover the extent of the upkeep required to run a modern canal system. A big thank you to the Canal and River Trust for sharing their experience with us."