Dobbs Weir Lock

 

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DOBBS WEIR LOCK

 

Lock State Date Length Length - Working Distance Width Fall Removed or bypassed
Mr Plummer's Weir Extant 1741 ~ ~   1' 9''  
Dobbs Turnpike Rebuilt 1758 ~ ~ 18' 0'' 1' 9'' 1767
Dobbs Weir Lock (in present position) Built  1767     13' 3'' 5' 1'' 1922
Dobbs Weir Lock (Brick and timber) Report 1917     13' 3''    
Dobbs Weir Lock Rebuilt 1922 90' 0'' 87' 0'' 16' 0'' 5' 1''  

 

 

 

Who was Mr Dobbs?  History doesn’t tell us. It was Graygoose Weir in 1699 and in 1746, Mr Plomer agreed to sell “Dobbs otherwise Graygoose” weir.  There are records of Dobbs fishing weir being converted to a turnpike in 1746.

 

The following month the weir was purchased by the Trustees for £600, but no other initiative was taken except that Widow Page was hired to take care of the weir, with instructions not to shut the weir for any barge unless the normal toll was paid. It was only after complaints in December 1747 that the weir was repaired, along traditional lines.

Then in November 1748 several bargemen petitioned the Trustees, asking them to reduce the toll collected at the weir. At this date the bargemen were still paying the traditional toll of 1/6 a barge downwards and 1/- a barge upwards, only on those occasions that a flash of water was needed. They now argued that the toll should be reduced to 'Sixpence a Barge a Journey Ebb and Flood', maintaining that such a level would be sufficient to meet all costs of maintenance and that the cost of widow Page's wages could be met from the income from the fishery. The Trustees agreed, but insisted that the 6d should be paid 'every Time they pass through the said Weir Ebb and Flood whether such Barges shall want the said Weir or not'.

On 30.1.1758, the Trustees decided to rebuild the weir as a turnpike.The job was put out to tender, and the contract was awarded to William Hanscomb of Hertford, carpenter, at a cost of £500.  The Trustees instructed him that 'instead of making the Passage Pier a Weir it shall be made into a Turnpike'. They thus wanted to do away with the traditional removable planks and introduce the guillotine gates that had already been built in the turnpikes at Ware, Stanstead and Broxbourne. This was the last turnpike the Trustees were to build. (NA Rail 845/2)

On 29.5.1758, John Clark, the Surveyor, was instructed to "take down the dwelling house at Dobbs Weir....and build another... and finish the same before the twenty fourth day of August at an expence not exceeding £110...and shall have the old materials towards doing the same" (NA Rail 845/2)

On 12.1.1780, it was “Resolved that the following Locks be repaired with all convenient speed Viz. … Nazeing Mead Lock (probably Dobbs Weir), Carthagena Lock, The Aqueduct Lock at Cheshunt Millstream, Waltham Lock, Rammey Mead Lock, Enfield Lock, Enfield Half Lock, Piggotts Lock, Cooks Lock, Boltons Lock, Stonebridge Lock, Tottenham Lock, Lee Bridge Half Lock, Hackney Marsh Brick Cistern Lock And It Is Ordered that the Surveyor do repair the same as he shall find them absolutely necessary” (NA Rail 845/5)

The name reverted to Dobbs Weir when the pound lock was authorised on 15.5.1817 (NA Rail 845/9) to be built in its new location 200 yards south of the weir.  The surveys recorded the name as Dobs Weir as the name until 1826, when it changed to Dobbs Weir.   Dobbs Weir was also the site of Charlton Mill, which burnt down on 12th August 1868.

 

The Page family looked after the lock for more than 30 years and it took on their name for a while.

 

 

 

 

                 LMA ACC 2423/P758 

 

The proposed Dobbs Weir Cut of 1850 which was never built. The plan wrongly shows Charlton Mill on the east bank of the Navigation. It was actually sited on the west bank.

 

 

                        LMA ACC 2423/P342

 

This survey, drawn in October 1878, shows the layout of Dobbs Weir, with the Fish and Eels PH, Charlton Mill (in the correct place), the towing path bridge and the Engine House. The Navigation exits bottom left by the Fish and Eels PH.

 

On 19th November 1853, the Engineer reported that “he has had some felt nailed over this wooden house to keep it warmer for the winter.”

 

             LMA ACC 2423/P533

 

 

In the 1860's, a new house was provided for the lock keeper and his family on a site  between the weir and the lock.  On 10th October 1877, it was recommended that “a house be built facing the lock”. (NA Rail 845/56). 

 

                                 LMA ACC 2423/P342

 

This plan, from the October 1878 survey, shows the old River Lee Trust lock cottage, (with an extension), and the new Conservancy house at the side of the lock.

 

On the 1878 survey, it was noted that the "skeleton of the building was up and roof - workmanship good - house well raised above water level"  (NA Rail 845/56)

 

20.4.1883 The new lock house was insured for £250 (NA Rail 845/23). 

 

16.3.1888  "It being reported to the Board that Mrs Cook, the tenant of the old Lock house at Dobbs Weir was using the same as a Cottage Hospital...Mrs Cook be given notice that she had forfeited her Agreement."  This notice was rescinded at the next meeting (NA Rail 845/25)

 

 

          Dobbs Weir Lock, c 1908

 

(H S Brooks)

 

Thomas Brooks, lock keeper from 1915 to 1917, with his family (l to r) Herbert, (Thomas), Annie, Fred and Florence

 

 

The Fish & Eels has stood on the banks above the Weir since the early 1800s. This photograph was taken in the 1920s.  It is possible that the man standing outside is Walter Hughes, lock and weir keeper at Dobbs Weir between 1920 and 1932

 

 

           Martyn Denney

 

The reconstruction of the lock in 1922, showing the former wooden-sided 13' 3'' wide chamber.

 

 

LMA ACC 2423/P1892

 

The site plan for the new lock built in 1922, showing the outline of the 1883 lock keeper's house.

This house gradually subsided until it was 13” lower at the rear than the front, which provided an interesting environment in which to live. The children’s toys would roll from the front door to the back without assistance and it was occasionally difficult for the occupant to determine the degree of his sobriety.

 

The new house, built partly with the bricks from the burnt-out house down stream at Aqueduct Lock, brought up on the British Waterways barge Musgrave, was completed for occupation on Boxing Day 1976.  The  Conservancy house was demolished in February, 1977

 

 

 

Dobbs Weir Lock.

 

Census/Date

Name

Title

Wife

Location given by enumerator/Comments

Source Reference

11.2012 Len Byatt Weir & Lock keeper retired Carol Byatt
5.1969 Len Byatt Lock keeper appointed 24.3 1969 Carol Byatt
1959 Charlie Wright Lock keeper ex Waltham Common Lock Carol Byatt
6.3.1959 Edward James Weir keeper Left for health reasons (earning £7 19.11 plus 5/- on call allowance) LCB Records
4.3.1957 Edward James Weir keeper £7.15.4 LCB Records

1.4.1938

Walter Fish

Lock keeper

£1.12.0 to £1.14.0

NA Rail 845/122

1.4.1937

W Fish

Lock keeper

£1.11s to £1.12s (inc house and garden)

NA Rail 845/121

22.10 1933 Hughes died (NA Rail 845/117)

23.6.1933  W  J Hughes (Former Lock keeper)  Has now received £375 in insurance payment.  Board requested he pay them £91 10s in respect of relief  cover while he was ill prior to retirement.  Reduced to £50 on appeal. (NA Rail 845/117)

14.10.1932

Walter Fish (45)

Lock keeper

Son-in-law of Hughes, appointed at 31/- per week plus house and uniform and 6d per week for coal in the hut (at the weir)

NA Rail 845/116

30.9.1932

W J Hughes

Lock keeper

Employment terminated.  Pension 10/- per week

NA Rail 845/116

24.6.1932  Hughes ….was knocked down by a motor car on 14th May and received a fracture of a bone in the leg.  He will be off duty for several weeks more.  I have put on a man at £2 3s a week and Hughes’ son-in-law looks after the Weir at night and on Sundays.  The accident occurred through the car backing suddenly into Hughes as he stood outside the Fish and Eels Inn.  (NA Rail 845/116)

31.10.1920

W Hughes (71)

Lock keeper

9 years service, 31/- per week and house.  Wife has pension

NA Rail 845/114

9.3.1921  Mrs Coulson vacated house (NA Rail 845/48)

22.11.1920  Letter from Mrs Coulson saying “she could not get out”  26.11.1920 Board’s solicitors instructed to take proceedings to obtain possession  (NA Rail 845/47)

15.10.1920  Letter of 6.10 1920 from Mrs Coulson asking that the Board allow her to remain in the lock house for a time.  Resolved that a gratuity of £15 be granted to Mrs Coulson when she leaves the lock house (NA Rail 845/47)

17.9.1920

W J Hughes

Lock keeper

Of Bishop’s Stortford, appointed and notice to quit the Lock house be given to Mrs Coulson

NA Rail 845/47

Coulson left a widow  and family. The eldest boy was 20 and had asked for the post. The widow was more or less a cripple. The Engineer did not consider the boy old or strong enough for the work. (NA Rail 845/47)

17.9.1920

Robert Coulson (50)

Lock keeper

Died on 2.9.1920, at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, as the result of an operation.

NA Rail 845/47

23.7.1920

R Coulson

Lock keeper

Plus 5/- per week for looking after weir as well as lock

NA Rail 845/47

14.11.1919

R Coulson

Lock keeper

27/- + house, garden, and uniform

NA Rail 845/46

15.2.1918

R Coulson

Lock keeper

22/- per week

NA Rail 845/66

28.9.1917

R Coulson (47)

Lock keeper

 Appointed. After medical check on 1st October by Sir John Collie who reported "he is physically fit for the occupation of lock-keeper"

NA Rail 845/44

LMA ACC 2423/016

25.8.1917

T Brooks

Lock keeper

Dismissed

NA Rail 845/44

“The Engineer and Manager submitted the following report, viz:- I have to report that Thomas Brooks – lock-keeper at the  above lock was convicted at Epping Petty Sessions on August 10th, 1917 and fined £7 for stealing Coal from H.M. Barges when passing this lock, - About 2 ½ tons of Coal being found on the premises occupied by Brooks.  This man was appointed Lock-keeper by the Board on March 12th 1915.  He is a married man with four young children, his present wage is 24/- per week with House, garden and uniform.  I shall be glad of the Committee’s instructions.”  Brooks was dismissed on 25th August 1917 and vacated the house 27.9.1917. 

1.4.1917

T Brooks

Lock keeper

+2/- per week

NA Rail 845/44

1.12.1916

T Brooks

Lock keeper

£2 war bonus

NA Rail 845/43

20.10.1916

T Brooks

Lock keeper

Increase of 1/- per week  (to 19/- per week)

NA Rail 845/43

4.3.1915

T Brooks

Lock keeper

+2/- per week

NA Rail 845/42

12.3.1915

T Brooks

Lock keeper

Appointed.

NA Rail 845/42

T Brooks “at present employed by the Broxbourne Rowing Club in attending their boats…37 years of age married with three children” (NA Rail 845/42)

12.3.1915

W Lambert

Lock keeper

Resigned

NA Rail 845/42

8.11.1912 Lambert requested an allowance for coal used in the lobby when passing flood water at Dobbs Weir; as his house was a considerable distance from the weir.  Allowance of £1 6s made for the purchase of coal in the winter months.  (NA Rail 845/39)

2.4.1911 William Lambert (29) Lock keeper Annie  Lock House Nazeing Mead Nazeing Waltham Cross RG14PN9787 RG78PN516 RD189 SD2 ED7 SN91

10.12.1909

Wm  Lambert

 Lock keeper

Appointed 

NA Rail 845/36

26.11.1909

G Halls

Lock keeper

Leaving

NA Rail 845/36

20.11.1903 "I am having a new hut built, to be placed at this weir as a shelter for the Lock keeper whilst attending to the weir at night. - C Tween LMA ACC 2423/007

25.7.1902

G Halls

Lock keeper

Appointed

NA Rail 845/30

11.7.1902  Reported  the death of W Smith….  Appointed 1895, his wages being 16/- per week. His father was there before him and his mother Jane still has pension of 7/- per week. (Jane died 1.1.1912 LMA/ACC 2423/012)  He leaves a widow and several children.  (NA Rail 845/30)  

 25.7.1902   Granted a gratuity of £25  (NA Rail 845/30)

31.3.1901

John Thomas Smith (40)

Lock keeper

Sarah

Dobbs Weir Lockhouse

Nazeing/11/4

19.6.1895

Henry Smith

Lock keeper

Appointed at Survey

NA Rail 845/28

16.5.1895 William Smith Lock keeper Died this day. "He was only disabled for about 3 weeks, he leaves a widow and several children" Widow granted 7/- per week pension LMA ACC 2423/005

5.4.1891

John (William) Smith (63)

Lock keeper

Jane

Lockhouse (nr Meadgate Farm)

Nazeing/10/4

5.4.1891

Unoccupied

 

 

Old Lock House

Nazeing/10/4

20.3.1883

William Smith#

Lock keeper

 Served 12 years, 16/- per week

NA Rail 845/23

# William Smith’s daughter (Eleanor, 7) was drowned while dipping for water.  As a result the Board instructed the engineer to provide a pipe.

4.4.1881

William Smith (52)

Lock keeper

Jane

Pages Lock

Nazeing/10/8

27.9.1872

William Smith (44)

Lock keeper

(24 years experience) Appointed at 16/- per week

NA Rail 845/19

2.9.1872

John Page

Lock keeper

Died

NA Rail 845/19

2.4.1871

John Page (68)

Lock keeper

Sarah

River Lee

Nazeing/10/11

8.4.1861

John Page (58)

Lock keeper

Sarah

Nazeing Mead Lockhouse

Nazeing10/10

19.4.1860

J Page

Lock keeper

1/6d less wages per week due to provision of garden

NA Rail 845/15

17.11.1855

John Page

Lock keeper

16/- per week

NA Rail 845/14

21.10.1854

John Page

Lock keeper

16/- per week

NA Rail 845/14

30.3.1851

John Page(55)

Lock keeper

Dianna

Deals Lockhouse

Nazeing/6c/11

30.3.1851

John E Page (19)

Lock keeper

~

Deals Lockhouse

Nazeing/6c/11

18.6.1850 Letter from...John Archer Houblon Esqr complaining that the Water at Charlton Mill is penned above the Watermark to the injury of the lands in the occupation of his tenants....Resolved that the lock keeper...be desired not to Pen the Water so high. NA Rail 845/13

7.6.1841

John Page (40)

Lock keeper

Diana

(Kings Weir) Probably not

Nazeing/8/5

15.4.1828

John Page

Lock keeper

 Replacing his deceased father

NA Rail 845/10

26.7.1779

Joshua Page

 

From his Weir to Broxbourne Turnpike £30.16s pa

NA Rail 845/5

18.12.1775

Joshua Page

 To look after from his weir to Broxbourne Turnpike at £30.16s per year. Agreed for the term of three years

NA Rail 845/5

14.1.1772 “ Joshua Page who hath hitherto lookt after Dobs Weir …to look after the Navigation and all the Weirs and Cisterns between Archers Weir and Carthagena Turnpike exclusive for the same allowance he hath hitherto had for looking after Dobs Weir” (NA Rail  845/4)

11.1.1758  " Joshua Page the Younger the keeper of Dobbs otherwise Page's Weir...hath lately been very negligent in his duty and greatly misbehaved himself....order that the said Joshua Page shall attend them at their next General Meeting to answer the said complaint"  (There is no further reference to this in the minutes) (NA Rail 845/2)
26.12.1757 Joshua Page the Younger Collector of Tolls Appointed in the room of William Graves deceased NA Rail 845/2
Date not known William Graves Collector of Tolls   NA Rail 845/2

10.10.1746

Widow Page

Weir keeper

To look after weir (see below)

NA Rail 845/1

 Trustees ordered  that “the Widow Page…look after and take care of Dobbs otherwise Gray Goose Weir standing on the River Lee in the Parish of Roydon in the county of Essex and that she do not shut the said weir for any Barges or Boats passing through the same but for such only as will pay for shutting the same”

 
     

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