LOCK DIS­TANCE POSTS

Canal Boat - - Feature -

For work­ing boat crews, time was money: when two boats met at a lock, this led to dis­putes over who was there first – and fight­ing be­tween crews was com­mon. So canal com­pa­nies in­stalled marker posts equal dis­tances each side of a lock: the first boat past the post had the right to the lock. Boaters were ex­pected to sound their horn or whis­tle ( or crack their horse­whip) when they passed the post. What was to stop them sound­ing it early? Noth­ing re­ally, so per­haps this was more of a case of ‘be­ing seen to be do­ing some­thing’ than an ac­tual so­lu­tion – but the posts are still to be seen on the Ox­ford ( pic­tured) and south­ern Grand Union.

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