Hear tales from the past in Leeds Dock lock

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People can unlock tales from the past at an arts event and open weekend in Leeds, organised as part of National Storytelling week.

The Canal and River Trust is hosting the evening down in the first lock on the Aire and Calder Navigation, as it is being drained while the old lock gates are replaced with new handmade gates.

EVENTS: The lock has been drained while the old gates are replaced with new ones.

EVENTS: The lock has been drained while the old gates are replaced with new ones.


Visitors can hear waterway stories from the past, thanks to a giant talking storybook created by Impossible Art, while an unknown navvy will unearth the dark truths of waterway life. The ‘Hidden Depths: Unlocking stories from below the waterline’ event will take place in the lock, next to the Royal Armouries at Leeds Dock, every half hour from 6pm to 9.30pm on February 2.

The stories will continue during the free open weekend from 10am to 4pm on February 3 and 4. Visitors will be able to walk down into the huge drained lock, see the old gates and talk with the experts about the charity’s work. Archive photographs and plans will be on display and there will be sword fights performed by the Royal Armouries team at 11am and 2pm on both days. There will also be family activities, a pop-up museum of artefacts from the National Waterways Museum and details about how to become a volunteer lock keeper.

Tom Wright, the trust’s development and engagement manager, said: “It’s not every day you get to walk down into a drained lock and this particular lock hasn’t been drained in 30 years so it’s a great space to explore.

FULL: The lock when it is operational.

FULL: The lock when it is operational.

“I’m really looking forward to finding out what the team from the Royal Armouries is fighting about and hear stories the unknown navvy will be regaling on Friday night deep in the lock. With free entry to the Royal Armouries Museum, which has a great view overlooking the lock, this is certainly an event not to miss.”

Tickets for Friday must be booked at: bit.ly/2DRxSb9