Glossary 


Accommodation Bridge : a necessary link between dwellings (or fields) that had become separated by a canal.

Barge : a canal or river cargo-carrying boat with a beam (12 ft or more) that is approximately twice that of a narrow boat. The term is often and erroneously applied to all vessels carrying goods on a waterway.

Basin : a length of wide canal or a side 'pond', for vessels to moor and un/load cargo.

Beam : the width of a vessel, determined by its widest cross-section.

BCN : Birmingham Canal Navigations - "more canal miles than Venice !" (32 miles in B'ham)

Brewin, Thomas : Engineer who designed a unique "accelerator" to reduce Lapal Tunnel transit time.

Bridge Hole : a narrows under a bridge that only spans towpath and a single-vessel width of water.

Brummagem : (affectionate) dialectic slang for Birmingham. (pronounced with a soft-g; Brummy-gem)

BW, BWB : British Waterways (Board) ; the public Body resposible for maintaining and developing UK waterways and associated heritage.

Butty : a (cargo) narrow-boat that has no engine, pulled by one that has (a Motor).

Cruiser : a lightweight, shallow-draught pleasure boat, of wooden or fibreglass construction and usually shorter (20-30 ft) than a narrow-boat; some being powered by an outboard engine.

Coffer Dam : a temporary but substantial measure to exclude water during a long-term stoppage; often wide enough for contractor's plant to cross the cut.

Contour Canal : a waterway that follows the natural land by 'meandering' along its required water-level contour. Typically, the adjacent land is level or rises above the canal at one side, and is level or falls away on the other side. By following the contour, the need for additional, artificial structures (cuts or embankments) is minimised.

Culvert : a man-made channel as the conduit for a (re-routed) natural stream or brook.

Cut : a canal (prior to watering) formed by cutting into natural land; now (affectionate) slang for Canal.

Dingle : a tree-lined hollow (a Dell) through which a pathway, track or canal proceeds.

EAPG : Eastern Approach Planning/Projects Group (a former sub-Committee ) - our "Eastenders" !

EPLG / WPLG : Eastern / Western Projects Liaison Group - the two sub-committees for the respective 'ends' of the entire Lapal Canal project

Flight : a series of locks up/down a natural incline, but with pounds between them. (also see Stairs)

Gabion : (a section of a Fascine, being) an embankment of loose earth, stones or rocks retained by heavy-duty mesh or netting that is ground-anchored at intervals. Often top-dressed (above water) with turf or indigenous vegetation for full naturalism, and (below water) layered with additional puddling.

Gas Street Basin : the hub of the BCN, which itself is the hub of the UK canal system.

Gates : substantial (wooden) 'doors' that prevent water flow between adjacent canal sections. (also see Lock)

Geotextile : a heavy-duty woven fabric (used as replacement or additional lining).

Gongoozler : a bystander who ponders a canal's goings-on, e.g. at locks .

Gosty (Gorsty) Hill : Lapal's "little sister" Tunnel (577 yds), west of Hawne Basin on the Dudley No. 2.

Guillotine (lock) : its gates open by rising in high vertical grooves for boats to pass beneath.

Hales Owen : former spelling of Halesowen. (also see Lappal)

Hard-Edge : adjoining land meets canal side in an abrupt step that is substantially straight and regular. (also see Soft-Edge.) Nearsides have this profile to facilitate mooring.

Kings Norton : Junction of W&B with the Stratford upon Avon Canal (with guillotine stop-lock).

Lappal : former spelling of Lapal. (also see Hales Owen)

LCT : Lapal Canal Trust. (Formed 1990, Registered Charity 1013845, Company 2721675)

Legging, "Leggin' it" : propulsion through a tunnel (without towpath) by lying on the vessel and "walking" along the walls or roof. PHOTO

Listing (1) : the UK method of enforcing preservation orders on a building or site of historical significance.
Listing (2) : the leaning (sideways) of a vessel, e.g. due to uneavenly distributed cargo.

Lock : an appliance for overcoming changes of level in the navigation of rivers and canals.
A pound lock consists of a chamber (built of brick or stone) with gates and paddles at each end.

Narrow Boat : originally a cargo-carrying boat built for "narrow" canals, having their length (between 70 and 72 ft) and beam (between 6ft 9in and 7ft 2in) determined by the clearance dimensions of the locks on the canal they would use. Many were of wooden construction, later of wrought iron or steel. The term is now also applied to shorter length (40-50 ft) pleasure boats of steel construction, modelled on the original designs. (It is incorrect to speak of any of these boats as "Barges" - see Barge.)

Narrows : a short length of single-vessel width canal. (also see Wide)

Navvies : Navigationalists; the work-force that built the canals.

Nearside : the flank of a canal along which the towpath proceeds.

Offside : the non-towpath flank of a canal.

Paddle : a 'trap-door' to allow or prevent water flow through or around a lock gate.

Penstock : a valve-controlled conduit pipe (for rapidly draining a canal section).

Piling: vertical sheets of steel or concrete that form a water-tight wall, as a canal side.

Puddle, Puddling : the saturated clay lining that seals a canal bed and sides.

Pound : a short length of (normal-width) canal between consecutive locks (on a gradual incline).

Roving Bridge : a necessary bridge providing continuity to the towpath where it changes canal sides.

Soft-Edge : land adjoining canal slopes gradually down to the bed and thereby forms a non-abrupt, often irregular margin at the water-level (also see Hard-Edge). Aesthetically pleasing, especially for offsides, and 'friendly' to wildlife.

Stairs, Staircase : a flight of locks (on a steep incline) so close that the upper gate of one lock is also the lower gate of the next. (Also a Riser or Rise.)

Stank : a dam across a canal to isolate a drained or decommisioned section (permanently).

Stop Gate : a gate (at a narrows) which normally remains open but can be closed to isolate a section of canal; sometimes constructed to close automatically in the event of rapid water flow resulting from a leak.

Stop Lock : a lock constructed at the junction of one canal with another, to prevent loss of water from one to the other if necessary, normally there being little or no change of water level.

Stop Planks : wooden boards for dropping into grooves at a narrows; to permit drainage for maintenance work on a canal section or to isolate a leaking section.

Stoppage : a temporary, often scheduled, loss of navigation while significant repair work occurs.

Towpath , Towing Path : a continuous bridleway along one side of a canal ; from the era when boats were horsedrawn.

Turnover (Bridge) : a roving bridge constructed in a special shape so that horses could proceed with the tow-rope remaining attached to the boat.

Underhill, William : the aptly-named Engineer who supervised the completion of the Dudley No.2 and particularly the Lapal Tunnel.

W&B : Worcester & Birmingham Canal ; its 30 Locks at Tardebigge are the UK's longest flight.

Wayleave : provisions for service providing companies to install cables, etc. (under the towpath) detail

Weir (1) : an artificial dam across a river to hold up the water to navigation level and then by-passed with a navigation cut and lock.
Weir (2) : on canals, a by-wash weir takes excess water around a lock while a storm weir is a length of side-walling (about 2in above normal water level) for the overflow of excess water (into a stream).

Waling : horizontal tie-bars that bind together vertical sided structures; e.g. Piling

Wharf : a short section of canal with moorings for the transshipment of goods (to/from road or rail)

(A) Wide : a medium length of canal that is exceptionally wide so that, when viewed from a distance, it resembles a 'natural' lake (e.g. across the grounds of a Stately Home). (also see Narrows)

Winding (Hole) : a short length of very wide canal ; for use as a vessel turn-around 'pond'. (Pronounced "whin-ding"; not "wine-ding".) So named because the prevailing Wind would assist the manoever.

WRG : Waterways Recovery Group ; a UK national organisation of volunteer restorers - "Navvies".

 

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