Sonning Lock

Sonning Lock

Waterlock Less

Sonning Lock

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Sonning Lock is a lock and associated weir situated on the River Thames at the village of Sonning near Reading, Berkshire, England. The first lock was built by the Thames Navigation Commission in 1773 and it has been rebuilt three times since then.

The weir is some distance upstream at the top of the island where the backwater heads behind the island


A weir at Sonning is recorded as belonging to the Blunte family in the 15th century. This was associated with the mill and fisheries and mention is made of a "Locke-heise" at this time. The flash lock was replaced in 1773 by the pound lock. This was the highest upstream of the eight locks constructed after the navigation act of 1770. It was commissioned in 1771 but took two years to build. Fir wood was originally used for these locks, but this decayed very quickly and was replaced at Sonning by oak in 1787. Repairs took place in 1827 when the old flash lock was brought back temporarily into use. By this time a lock house had been built.

The lock-keeper from 1845 to 1878 was James Sadler, a poet and beekeeper. He wrote verses about the river and about bees, and is credited with the invention of the Berkshire hive. One of his works The Thames from Oxford to Windsor is a rhymed list of the locks, bridges and towns.

The lock was rebuilt in 1868. The weirs were reconstructed in 1898 and further rebuilding of the lock occurred in 1905.Fred. S. Thacker The Thames Highway: Volume II Locks and Weirs 1920 -...
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