Bradford on Avon boasts the busiest wharf on the Kennet and Avon Canal. It’s obvious, therefore, why it’s necessary to have six lock keepers to hand at any one time. Actually, there are more but a shortage of chairs means that one has been relegated to team photographer. If it’s unclear exactly what these folk do, there’s no better source to turn to than the Canal and River Trust (CRT).
The CRT note that the lock keeper ‘is a really important role steeped in history and tradition … although this has changed over time’. For example, they now do it sitting down. Further, ‘working outdoors and staying fit have been key incentives’. These days, the emphasis is on the former.
Another important facet of the CRT job description is ‘greeting and assisting boats’. This contemporary illustration will inform future students that, in the twenty-first century, this task was performed from a distance and in chorus.
Finally, CRT notes that it’s ‘important to feel part of a friendly and supportive team’. Well, you only need to look at the photograph to see this manifested wharf-side at Bradford on Avon. Where else would so many people be happy to share one apple and two flasks of gin?