Two pairs of genuine canal lock gates have been transported to London to be the stars of this year’s Welcome to Yorkshire garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The gates were removed from the Huddersfield narrow canal as part of regular maintenance and have been gifted to the tourism organisation by the waterways and well-being charity Canal & River Trust to make sure the garden is as authentic as possible.
They were collected from the charity’s workshop at Stanley Ferry in Wakefield this morning. Staff there have been adapting all four gates, which now weigh around 1.5 tonnes each, to make sure they are the perfect fit for the canal, which is the main feature of the show garden being constructed in London by designer Mark Gregory and his team from Landform Construction.
It’s the tenth year Welcome to Yorkshire has entered a garden into the prestigious flower show. This year’s design is inspired by the county’s rich industrial heritage and celebrates both the vital role played by our canals and waterways historically and their current importance to tourism, leisure and well-being. The aim of the garden is to showcase the county to the world and encourage people to visit and experience its beauty first hand.
Welcome to Yorkshire’s Commercial Director Peter Dodd said: “We’re showcasing Yorkshire’s stunning waterways to a global audience at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, so it’s essential we get it just right, and the gates look fantastic. Our canals are such a valuable resource. At one time they were essential to our thriving textile industry and now they are the most wonderful addition to tourism, with so many brilliant experiences on offer, from the narrow boats themselves to peaceful nature walks or more dynamic activities like paddle boarding and kayaking.”
Canal & River Trust Craft Operatives Vanessa Coakley and Adam Cluny recently completed a three-year Heritage, Conservation and Restoration Apprenticeship specialising in carpentry and joinery to learn the traditional techniques required to work on the charity’s lock gates. They have had their carpentry skills put to the test over the last six weeks, working closely with Mark Gregory to ensure the gates were ready on time.
Adam Cluny from Canal & River Trust said: “It’s brilliant to see the gates make their way down to London and we’re looking forward to seeing them in-situ as part of the Welcome to Yorkshire garden. It’s been fantastic to be part of this project and we’ve learned a lot – a big thanks to Mark for giving us this opportunity.”
Garden Designer Mark Gregory said: “This is such an exciting stage of the build and the garden is really coming together now. I’m creating a real slice of Yorkshire down here at the show and I want people to feel they’ve been transported to the county, to feel its peace and beauty. It was so important to me that we got real lock gates, the genuine article, so the garden is as authentic as possible, and I can’t thank Canal & River Trust enough.”
The huge gates were lifted onto a haulage vehicle by landscaping suppliers Green-tech. The firm, which works with garden designers, architects and contractors across the UK is transporting them to the Chelsea Flower Show site at SW3 in London.
Richard Kay, Chairman of Green-tech added: “We are incredibly proud to be able to support this wonderful Welcome to Yorkshire garden, designed by our friend Mark Gregory and inspired by the industrial roots of this great county. Green-tech is a Yorkshire business through and through and we are honoured to assist in flying the Yorkshire flag for the landscaping industry across the UK.”
Many of the materials being used to build the garden, including the huge amount of stone required to construct the canal walls have been transported by Johnsons of Whixley, a leading commercial nursery, grower and wholesale supply expert. Both these Yorkshire companies have been very generous in their support of the Welcome to Yorkshire garden.
Please find footage of their departure here: