Portobello Lock


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Lock State Date Length Length - Working Distance Width Fall Removed or bypassed
Portobello Turnpike Built 1740 ~ ~ 15' 0'' 11 7/16'' c1767
Weir which may have been taken into... Extant  1741 ~ ~   1' 9 7/16'' c1767
....Mrs Hadsley's Lock Built 1767       2' 1832




This map, probably of the 1820's, shows the position of the defunct Portobello Lock. Mrs Hadsleys Lock is the unnamed chamber at the top of the map).

LMA ACC 2423/P/754 



Portobello was a short-lived turnpike built below Ware Lock (Lord Fanshawe’s Old Lock) and Ware Mill in 1741 and redundant by 1767, when the present channel was cut.


2.4.1768  “Surveyor to survey and examine Portabella Lock in the said River and the Islands and Parcels of Land near thereto and formerly held and occupied with Ware Weir in the said River and report….the state and condition of the said Turnpike and what is the value thereof….”  (NA Rail 845/50)


All turnpikes and navigable weirs were flash locks, providing a flash of surging water to aid the passage of boats and barges.  However, turnpikes (on the Lee, anyway), were built for the express purpose of aiding navigation, whereas the other weirs had their own primary purpose of penning water for the miller or trapping fish. Surviving drawings show that turnpikes on the Lee were built with guillotine gates; weirs were built with removable boards.


Like Carthagena Lock at Broxbourne, Portobello Lock was named to commemorate a battle in the War of Jenkins' Ear. Portobello Lock (as well as Portobello Road in London) marks the victory in 1739 of the capture of Puerto Bello in Panama by Admiral Vernon.

 LMA ACC 2423/P899

MRS HADSLEY'S LOCK was probably built at the same time as the 1767 channel.  Certainly on 30.7.1788, "...it is ordered that the Lock below Ware Cistern be repaired to prevent their (sic) wasting water" (NA Rail 845/52).  The name is not recorded until 1825, when the Annual Survey started from Hertford and passed through it.

The plan to the right, also recording its existence, is dated from the 1820's.  It shows an estimated fall of about 24'', which was  dredged the short distance back to the new Ware Lock when that lock was built and Mrs Hadsley's Lock was decommissioned in 1832.                            

The removal was confirmed on the plan below drawn by A Comrie in 1828.


LMA ACC 2423/P898



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This site was last updated 03-Mar-2021