Craftsmen gave masterclass at Stanley Ferry

Open day at Stanley Ferry. Picture Grant Osborne Photography
Open day at Stanley Ferry. Picture Grant Osborne Photography

More than 450 visitors discovered the secrets of Stanley Ferry Workshop.

The Canal & River Trust opened the workshop up for a free ‘behind the scenes’ experience last Saturday.

It is one of only two places in the UK where lock gates are manufactured and refurbished by the Canal & River Trust. Almost 100 individual gates are handcrafted every year.

The workshop in Wakefield, is normally closed to the public but for one day only its doors swung open so people could see how the massive gates are expertly made.

Janet Tynan, workshops manager at Stanley Ferry, says: “It was great to see people at the workshop learning about what we do. Our craftsmen were quizzed on everything from what we do with the offcuts to how they trained to become one of the team.”

More than 450 visitors took a tour of the woodworking workshop, viewed the dry dock, and saw the historic Stanley Ferry Aqueduct.

Each lock gate is unique and made to measure, requiring detailed and accurate manufacturing by the trust’s craftsmen. Over the years thousands of lock gates have been made at this workshop.

The workshop manager added: “There was something for everyone and the fishing was a great success with the younger visitors.”

Children also tried their hand at fishing with guidance from a professional fishing coach. And everyone took home a free fishing starter kit to keep them hooked on the sport.

Photographer Grant Osborne, who went on the tour, said: “My father-in-law, Rae Millington MBE, worked at Stanley Ferry as man and boy for 39 years. He started as an apprentice carpenter and worked up to workshop foreman. He use to design, make, install and repair lock gates.”