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Barge Trip
Mirfield Barge Trip

Newgate flood lock around 1910.
During the early part of the 1900's, long before the thought ever occurred that the canal system would one day be entirely given over to leisure activities, it was still a common event for a local church, employer or club to charter a barge for a day trip. No commercial pleasure craft existed in those days so a working barge would receive a lick of paint, be swept out and  a wooden stage with benches would be temporarily fitted. Cottages like the one in the background are a common site along the canal. The cottage would be occupied by the lock keeper and his family; his responsibilities being to operate and maintain the lock as well as to police and record the passing barge traffic. At flood locks such as this one he would also have the added responsibility of monitoring river levels and if necessary closing the flood gates preventing the canal from overflowing and flooding the mills and premises alongside it.  

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