Lock Information                                                          Technical Page           T&S Canal Top

Diagram of a Thames & Severn Canal Lock and its evolution

The T&S Canal was built to take two very distinct types of boat. Those using the Stroudwater Canal and the River Severn were Trows which were about 68 feet long and 16 feet wide with a draught of about 5ft. The boats using the Thames above Oxford were a form of Thames Barge known as the Western Barge and these were 90ft long and 12ft wide with a draft of 4ft. Both types of craft had flat bottoms as the unpredictable nature of both the Thames and the Severn river navigations could cause the craft to become grounded.

The Company of Proprietors of the Thames and Severn Navigation saw an opportunity to make money through the transhipment of goods between the two gauges and chose Brimscombe, on their canal, to be the point where the gauges changed. Western Barges were too long to pass west of Brimscombe and Severn Trows were too wide to pass Beales Lock east of the port. Just one lock, Bourne Lock, was both wide enough and long enough to take either type of craft and this was to allow access to the Company's boat building facilities just upstream of Brimscombe.

However, it did not take long for people to realise that a narrower Trow or a shorter Western Barge would be able to achieve through navigation without transhipment charges. Furthermore, the midland style Narrow Boat (known in the Stroud area as Long Boats) could also use the whole route.

Back to T&S Canal Page