Monday, 21 January 2013

Why the racks on the paddle gear on the Curdworth flight are red-topped

Last year, in a post titled "An interesting thing about the Curdworth Locks", I asked about the red paint on some of the paddle gear on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal.

In May 2012 I posted:

The tops of the paddle gear racks are painted red. Usual practice elsewhere on the system is to paint them white.

So why are the Birmingham and Fazeley's Curdworth (and Minworth) locks' racks red-tipped?

Dave of nb Sir Edmund Hillary has come up with the answer. He wrote:

From the lockie responsible, now retired, this:- Hi Dave, the obvious answer ---- all over the canal system when we started boating very few locks and lock gearing WEREN'T [sic] even painted!! with the advent of BW some were painted after a fashion but not lock gearing, all that was done was to 'slap' grease all over the gearing......Hartshill, when I started had a full time 'Painter' but with the gearing he only painted (after a fashion) the 'paddle starts' white, so I got permission and started doing the painting. The racks on the gearing were all different lengths and more for my own benefit, so that I could tell at a glance, if the paddles were fully down, I painted the relevant amount of rack that should protrude above the gearing red, the white tips you are on about were just for decoration..................I could go on and on, but I don't want to bore you.......incidentally, I never got re-imbursed by BWB for the cost of the red undercoat and topcoat!!! you think it's too late to put the bill in to the new 'Trust'??.........Don.

Dave tells me that the lockkeeper was Don Clive, and he was responsible for the Curdworth Flight. The flower beds were his; and he was an award winner for a best-kept flight competition. He retired in (Dave thinks) 1995.

Thanks Dave (and Don).

Dave wondered if the flower beds were maintained. As of May last year, it doesn't look like it. This is Lock 2 of the Curdworth Flight.

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