The cottages were built around 1779 at Sandiacre Lock on the Erewash Canal.
Although each of the 14 locks along the twelve and a half miles length of the Canal had a lock cottage attached, Sandiacre Lock cottages are the only ones that remain today. The cottages at Sandiacre housed the families of the lock and toll house keepers. When the canal first opened Industry along the Erewash Canal was extremely busy and sometimes hectic. The movement of commerce along the canal included coal and iron products as examples and the links with other canals and the River Trent meant goods could be distributed around the country.
Sandiacre Lock was particularly important as it linked with the Derby Canal. You can still see where the two canals joined, however Derby canal was abandoned and subsequently filled in during the early 1970s. One of the Sandiacre Lock Cottages has a toll booth which is still preserved today. Owners of barges moving freight along the canal paid a fee for the privilege of using the canal and the charge depended on the weight of the goods being transported. Just like the M6 toll road today !
In the late 1960s the cottages were under threat of demolition as they were deemed uninhabitable and the Erewash Canal was also under the threat of closure. The Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Agency (EPDDA) was formed in 1968 and the group restored large sections of the canal and the Cottages. The ECPDA remains today and continues to thrive with over 200 members. All continue to have a care and interest which enables boaters to navigate the canal, walkers and cyclists to enjoy the towpaths.
Today the cottages remain relatively unspoilt and people can visit free of charge to glimpse the canal’s historic heritage (see ECDPA website for days and times). Community and education groups are also welcome to access the cottages at times to suit. Future opening will include themed events for all the family for example: Victorian wash days, ragging (rug making) and Christmas decoration using natural foliage.
Come and visit us and enjoy light refreshments and of course magical open fires !!