Un-Locking History: Unearthing the Lost Falkirk Lock Flight

Scotland’s canals were once the arteries that stoked the fires of the Industrial Revolution and their role in that incredible period of history is one told by the history books and in the stone and wood of the waterways themselves. But they still hold some secrets – and we’re helping to reveal one of them…

Students from canal college have unearthed a two hundred year old lock flight which has been buried from view for more than 70 years. The historic Falkirk flight connected the Union and Forth & Clyde canals until it was filled in between the 1930s, when the canals fell into disuse, and the 1960s, when they were officially closed to navigation.

During the excavation, which is assisted by Scottish Canals’ heritage specialists and Archaeology Scotland and supported by Historic Scotland, the students and their volunteer mentors will learn how to archive, research and survey buried locks and listed structures and discover the engineering behind the Scheduled Monuments of the Forth & Clyde and Union canals.

The precursor to The Falkirk Wheel, the lost 11-lock flight will be brought back to life as a heritage attraction, with the students and volunteers helping to tell the story of the flight and its modern day counterpart.

It’s an incredibly exciting project that’s helping to bring to life one of the lost stories of Scotland’s canals, safeguard a vital part of the waterways’ 200-year-old built heritage for future generations to enjoy and providing some fantastic practical experience to the students and volunteers of canal college. But without the help and support of people like you, projects like this would never happen. Get in touch today to see how you can get involved.