Griggs’ Report 1844:No 6 Lock called Burnt Mill Lock is affected by a mill. Has a road bridge attached to it with 6 oak timbers and oak covering. Greater part of the bridge new in 1843. Depth of water on the upper sill 3’ 6’’; ditto on lower sill 3’ 7’’. Headway under bridge 5’ 9’’. Brickwork to the lower gates in fair order. With upper and lower gates dated 1814. One upper staple post indifferent. The lower gates are very weak and the gate planking bad. No 3 Lock house at Burnt Mill in good order
Beardmore’s Report 1870: Burnt Mill Lock is in good repair
Childs’ Report 1880: Burnt Mill; Upper gates require renewing. Lower gates renewed and deepened in 1861 in fair condition. Side timbers and slacker frames &c in poor condition. (Lock house) Plaster & tiled (date 1799) old but in fair condition, sheds timber
Childs' 1884 Report: ''Upper gates require renewing. Lower gates renewed and deepened in 1861, in fair condition; side timbers ands slacker frames, &c., in poor condition. Lower brick work requires repair. Lock-house: Plaster and tiled (date 1799), sheds timber, recently repaired, new tiled, and an addition in brickwork of a washhouse, with bedroom over.
Tween's 1901 Report: ''Upper gates, pine, fair order, Lower gates , 1861, in bad condition. Lower brickwork requires repair. Cost about £400 The upper sill should be lowered about 1 foot. Lock-house, plaster and tiled (date 1799). Sheds, timber, in fair order.
By 1885, there was an ironworks where the mill stood. The Outdoor Pursuits Centre now occupies the site.
The photograph above shows the house set well back from the chamber to allow for the wider turf-sided lock, which can be seen in the plan below.
This raises another mystery. The plan, which is dated November 1912, shows proposed alterations to the lock house.
LMA ACC 2423/P1587
The elevation facing the lock bears two plaques - one, presumably the original, has the initials GD (George Duckett), the red hand and the date 1799. The other, LC (Lee Conservancy) rebuilt 1913.
But the mystery is that this card, posted on August 15th 1905, clearly shows, apart from the original lock house in the foreground, the chimney and roof of the proposed building!
Then on 13th March 1924 a letter was received from Epping Rural District Council's Sanitary Inspector, Mr Beard : "The Netteswell Parish Council have called my attention to the conditions under which your employee Mr Puncher at the Lock-house, Burnt Mill, is living. As you are probably aware, there is only one room in which the man and his wife have to eat, sleep and do all the work in. The place is damp, there is no proper water supply and the closet is dilapidated. I hope your board will now put in place the proposed new cottage which I understand was contemplated some long time ago." Mr Tween comments "It will be remembered that Puncher was offered the Brick Lock cottage some time ago but refused it." (LMA ACC 2423/021)
On 2nd December 1924, approval was given for the new, less elaborate design of an extension to the lock cottage.
LMA ACC 2423/P1949
The lock house was replaced by a modern bungalow in the 1960’s.
The warning sign on the bridge doesn't relate to the fact that boaters would be advised to duck when going through the very low bridge. It warns of possible canoe activity beyond at the Harlow Outdoor Learning Centre (http://www.essexoutdoors.org/harlow.php).
Just above the lock is Canalability, a registered charity dedicated to working with disabled people and with community and youth groups. You can enjoy a great experience on their boats exploring the River Stort and the River Lee for day trips or weekend breaks. http://www.canalboat.org.uk
In 2007 a sculpture by Graeme Mitcheson "Short Stort Thoughts" was placed on the eastern side of the lock.
Burnt Mill Lock House
This site was last updated 25-Apr-2020