The outer lock gates, which mark the entrance to London's Docklands, have now been manoeuvred back into position after being removed for repairs.


The four month project to repair the outer lock gates in West India Docks has cost £920,000.

Engineers had to fight the out-going tide to sink the gates back into position on 6 May. They were floated out of the lock for repairs in early March.

Lock gates at West India Docks being prepared for towing

The lock gates at West India Docks are drained of water so they can be removed for repair. Credit Canal & River Trust/Twitter


Lock gates at West India Docks

The lock gates being made ready for towing. Credit: Canal & River Trust/Twitter


The completion of the project means the lock will reopen this week.

The two lock gates, which both date back to 1929, mark the entrance to London’s Docklands. Each gate, which is 11.6m high by 15.1m wide, weighs 160 tonnes – the equivalent of two Boeing 737s.

An average of 150 vessels come through the lock each year. This includes luxury yachts, cruise liners, navy vessels, cruisers, tall ships and historic boats.

In addition, up to 100 commercial boats travel through the locks annually; many are involved in the ongoing construction work at Wood Wharf.

The engineering work was carried out by Kier Group and GPSM DiveCo, on behalf of the Canal & River Trust, the charity that looks after the docks.

The project was the single largest part of the trust’s six month programme to repair and restore waterways across the country.

The project is essential to ensure the lock gates operate efficiently for the hundreds of boats that pass through them each year. They are also vital for controlling the water levels within Docklands.

The trust’s project manager, Colin Perkins said: “We’re delighted that the gates have both been repaired and are now back in place. It’s been a really unique project, there are very few gates this size on the waterways.”

He continued: “To get the gates floated off their normal position, taken away, repaired, then sunk back into place takes real precision and attention to detail. Take into account their size and how much they weigh and it becomes a huge task. There are a few minor improvements still to be made, but the bulk of the work is done now.”

West India Docks were first opened in 1802.