Bingley’s Five Rise Locks
One of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways
Less than 3 miles from Saltaire along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal are the famous Five Rise Locks at Bingley, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Built in 1774, the five adjoining locks raise boats over 59 feet (18 metres) over a distance of 320 feet.
The Leeds and Liverpool Canal, connecting two major cities on either side of the Pennines, spans 127 miles and is the longest canal in the UK. Bingley’s Five Rise Locks are 16 miles from Leeds. Known as staircase locks because they open directly into each other, with the top gate of one lock forming the bottom gate of the next, Bingley’s Five Rise Locks are the steepest in the country. A few hundred yards along the canal is another shorter flight of locks: the Bingley Three Rise Locks.
Designed by John Longbotham of Halifax, the Five Rise Locks were built by four local stonemasons: John Sugden of Wilsden and Barnabus Morvil, Jonathan Farrar and William Wild of Bingley.
The locks are a remarkable feat of engineering and are still in use today, operated by lock keepers. The photographs show two narrow boats passing through the Five Rise Locks in August 2017.