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Bosmere Lock, Needham Market 22/3/97
Bosmere Lock, Needham Market

Looking at a map of the UK canal system, it is apparent that we are rather isolated from the network out here in East Anglia. We manage, however, to keep ourselves busy with events to raise public awareness of the aims and achievements of the IWA.

Currently, we are nearing the end of the restoration of Bosmere Lock at Needham Market, on the River Gipping, which in May 1996 was the scene of a very successful "topping-out" ceremony. Recently we have had working parties at Creeting lock, which is situated about a mile downstream of Bosmere.

Other work done locally includes the active support of the River Stour Trust, who are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of this lovely river, flowing through the heart of "Constable Country".

Members' Social Evenings are held monthly during the winter months, usually the second Friday of the month, at Needham Market Community Centre, starting at 8pm.


A Brief History of the River Gipping

860 Danes sail up the Gipping to establish a village "Ratles-dane".

1065 - 1095 Stone from Caen, Normandy was brought by boat up the rivers Gipping and Rattlesden to build the Abbey at Bury St Edmunds.

Creeting Lock 22/3/97
Creeting Lock

1789 Jessop and Lenny survey the river.

1790 First bill passed.

1791 Rennie appointed, surveys the river.

1793 Navigation opened. 17 miles, 15 locks, barge dimensions 52'6" x13'6" x3'4 1/2" draught x7' air draught. Total cost 26,263 pounds and 10 shillings.

1846 Eastern Union Railway opens - leases navigation.

1869 Great Eastern Railway (ex-EUR) blamed for decay of the navigation.

1888 - 1900 Trade to Stowmarket ceased, now only to Fison's & Packard's at Bramford.

1900 Steam barges (3) introduced. These towed 2 dumb barges at a time, and took 4-5 hours to negotiate the four locks between Ipswich and Bramford.

1929 Main trade ended - only an occasional barge to Fison's.

1932 Navigation closing order.

1934 Navigation ceased.

1991 Ipswich NRA rebuild Pipp's Ford lock chamber in close to original form.

1993 Ipswich IWA commence restoration of Bosmere lock at Needham Market. May 25th

1996 Bosmere lock "topping-out" ceremony.

1997 Restoration of Creeting lock commences.

For more information about us, please contact the Secretary, Brian Cornell, on 01449 721632.
As an alternative, since Brian isn't on the net, contact Martin Purbrook -iwa@purbrook.demon.co.uk

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