Site of canal aqueduct and lock, North Road, Cardiff

button_lang_welshSite of canal aqueduct and lock, North Road, Cardiff

Near the North Road entrance to Bute Park is the site of a Glamorganshire Canal lock. South of the lock was an aqueduct – unusual in that it carried one canal over another!

cardiff_north_road_canal_lockThe upper photo – courtesy of Cardiff Libraries – was taken c.1910. You can see part of the northern lock gate on the left. The area now known as Bute Park is beyond the trees. The protruding stones in the bottom right corner gave the “gateman” a firm footing while pushing the horizontal bar which opened and closed the lock gate.

Boats from the Pontypridd direction were lowered in the lock (by draining the water from the space between the two lock gates). Leaving the lock, they immediately passed under a bridge connecting the north side of Cardiff Castle to North Road (see lower photo, courtesy of Cardiff Libraries). Then they crossed the aqueduct over the dock feeder canal, which still runs through Bute Park today.

Starting at the river Taff at Blackweir, the dock feeder replenishes water in Cardiff Docks. When it was created in the 1830s, the route had to pass under the Glamorganshire Canal (which was between the river and the docks). The original plan to dig a tunnel under St Mary Street and the canal was soon abandoned, as the canal was too low there.

In the upper photo you can see the canal’s weigh house, beside an iron framework and a special lock for spot checks on boat weights. The mechanism was bucardiff_north_road_lock_and_bridgeilt in 1834 by Brown, Lenox & Co of Pontypridd. It was first installed at Tongwynlais. It was moved to Crockherbtown lock in 1850 and to North Road lock in 1894. A cradle suspended from the framework held the boat as the water drained from the weigh lock, enabling a mechanism to record the boat’s weight.

The mechanism was saved when the canal closed in 1945 and is now at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

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To continue the Bute Park tour, leave the park, turn right, continue along the pavement and descend to the underpass. The QR code is to the right of the underpass entrance Navigation previous buttonNavigation next button