HOOKS AND PULLEYS
Getting a loaded boat started from a lock was hard work for a horse. Pulleys could make it easier – and devices provided for this purpose can still be found. This picture from the Worcester & Birmingham shows a ‘blocking hook’: a loop on the end of the towrope would be hooked over this, the rope would run back to a pulley attached to the boat’s towing mast, and then to the horse – giving a two-to-one advantage. After the first few yards, a toggle on the rope would lodge against the pulley, the rope would slip off the hook as the boat passed it, and the horse would carry on towing the boat as normal.