Earls Barton marina plans taking shape

Richard Goult, (left) Kevin Stevens,(Centre) and Daniel Loasby (Right) of Drake Towage working on White Mills Lock in Earls Barton
Richard Goult, (left) Kevin Stevens,(Centre) and Daniel Loasby (Right) of Drake Towage working on White Mills Lock in Earls Barton

Workers have swapped flat caps for hard hats as they overhaul a lock which records show underwent similar work back in the 1920s.

These pictures both show White Mills lock on the River Nene in Earls Barton, but health and safety requirements have clearly changed in the 90 years between now and then.

Cleaning out of the White Mills lock in Earls Barton in the 1920s

Cleaning out of the White Mills lock in Earls Barton in the 1920s

The black and white picture has come to light as work gets under way on a new 141-berth marina for narrow boats and cruisers at the site.

A team from Drake Towage has spent the past three weeks giving the lock a complete overhaul, which has seen the lock drained down and emptied, guillotine gate repainted and its bottom seal adjusted.

The V gates have had new pintles and breast timbers installed, as well as a steel sill to replace the old timber one.

Their way of working varies significantly to the 1920s when a team of 12 men and one boy, seen in the picture from Earls Barton Museum, probably took months to clear out the lock.

They wore flat caps instead of hard hats, equipment appears to be precariously perched on large wooden beams and smoking on the job was not considered a hazard.

Recent work on the lock comes just before work gets under way on constructing the new White Mills Marina.

Once completed, the marina situated along Station Road in Earls Barton will be open all year round and will have modern facilities. The project was the idea of John and Debbie Skinner of Grendon.

Speaking last year, Mr Skinner said: “We have had excellent support from our local councillors both from Wellingborough and Earls Barton who recognised that developing a medium-sized marina such as White Mills could only be of great benefit to the local community.

“So, exciting times are ahead and we are now looking forward to seeing the plans become a reality.”

New marina will be well-equipped

Plans for the new marina were approved last year.

Once completed, it will provide moorers with facilities including a modern purpose-built facilities building with toilets, showers and communal lounge and cafe for exclusive use by boaters.

State-of-the-art security systems will ensure berths are secure and wi-fi internet will be available throughout the marina.

For more details about the marina email enquiries@pasturesfarm.co.uk.