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Stanley Ferry Workshops

The first Aire & Calder Navigation Workshops were not as many believe built at Stanley Ferry, but half a mile down river at Lake Lock, (Lake Lock Yard) which opened in 1802. As demand increased It was later decided that rather than pay individual contractors to repair vessels, they would have a central workshop. The decision was made to purchase land alongside the river at Stanley Ferry to build the new workshop and erect houses to accommodate their workmen, Calder Row.

In 1833 more land was purchased to accommodate the increased trade that would be brought by the building of the canal and Aqueduct over the coming years. In 1854 the land alongside the Aqueduct was leased to a firm of boat builders who built a dry dock. The Navigation Company built its offices alongside and in 1873 they took over the dry dock and built new, larger workshops.

By 1875 this repair facility was established as the principal repair yard for the Aire and Calder Navigation Company. The workshops made 58ft long cargo boats until the Second World War when the workshops went on to store Tom Puddings and repair vessels and lock gates.

By the 1960s the boom in bulk handling vessels was well and truly over. Motorways became the transport of choice forcing the workshops to move into sole manufacture of lock gates. The workshops today thrive as one of only two places in the country where lock gates are refurbished and new ones constructed. 

The following photos are courtesy of the Stanley Ferry Workshops and document working life, the waterways festivals and the history surrounding this unique area. They date between the 1960s and 1990s. A big thank you to the staff for allowing the use of these photos and to Paul Dainton and Pete Mcawan for their help in bringing these photos to our attention.

More to follow

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