The lock has had this name since it was recorded in the first detailed survey of 1792. However, on 12th January 1780 it was “Resolved that the following Locks be repaired with all convenient speed Viz. Dole Mead Lock (probably Hardmead), Nazeing Mead Lock, Carthagena Lock, The Aqueduct Lock at Cheshunt Millstream, Waltham Lock, Rammey Mead Lock, Enfield Lock, Enfield Half Lock, Piggotts Lock, Cooks Lock, Boltons Lock, Stonebridge Lock, Tottenham Lock, Lee Bridge Half Lock, Hackney Marsh Brick Cistern Lock And It Is Ordered that the Surveyor do repair the same as he shall find them absolutely necessary” (NA Rail 845/5)
John Rennie listed it as Ardneath Lock in his report of 1804, when he recorded “this lock is in pretty good condition”. This lock later took over the fall of Ware half-lock, which was at the southern edge of Ware.
On 15th July 1857 Mr Beardmore was "directed to repair Hardmead Lock during the Annual Stoppage of 13 days in August next." Five days later he was "directed to proceed with building Hardmead Lock on the new site as proposed in May last." (NA Rail 845/14). The old and new locks are shown on his working plan below.
LMA ACC 2423/P469
On 14.5.1860, "The east wall (of the new 16 foot wide lock) gave way by turning over at 6 o'clock (in the morning). It will take at least 16 days....to replace and will cost nearly £400. The cause of the disaster was a sudden flood carrying away the backing owing partly to it having been of a very inferior character as dredged out of the Cuts below and partly from the access given by a circular pit in which the tail of the drawbridge worked. There was no better stuff at disposal within 12 miles and this could not be got at at the point of failure from the necessity of closing it during a stoppage but it is a warning against all but work of the most expensive character in these new large and deep locks. The whole staff is taken off Stonebridge and I trust the effectual reinstatement will be very rapid as I do not think there is any more serious damage than the breaking down of the wall between the upper and lower gates which remain with their hollow quoins comparatively undamaged" (NA Rail 845/15)
On 18.6.1863, it was authorised that the swing bridge over the chamber be removed and a new fixed bridge be built (NA Rail 845/15)
15.9.1871. In the Minutes "There being no Lock keeper at the Hardmead Lock some mischievous Boys who generally congregate there on a Sunday threw a Barrow into the Lock and the barge "Express" belonging to Mr Green of Ware was passing downwards was pricked by the Handle of the Barrow between the Timbers causing her to leak, and some of the Malt at the bottom of the Barge got wet..." (NA Rail 845/18)
The lock house was authorised as early as 1873 but not built until after Walter Green gained the contract at £185/10/0 on 15.9.1876 (NA Rail 845/20).
The original design dated 8.7.1876 (shown below) featured
only one attic window and a leanto privy and ashbin on the
left with a scullery to the right.
LMA ACC 2423/P911 LMA ACC 2423/P016
The house that was built by Walter Green in 1876 (above right) was to the same pattern as that built at Hertford in 1878 and Tottenham in 1881.
In July 1877 it “was not quite dry yet.” (NA Rail 845/21). Alterations were recommended on 26.10.1877 “that the room upstairs intended for a loft have moveable windows put in and made into a bedroom, and glass to be put in the slots in the porch” (NA Rail 845/21)
20.4.1883 The new lock house was insured for £250 (not in former policy) (NA Rail 845/23).
15.9.1899 “That a well be sunk at a cost of £6” (NA Rail 845/29)
2.10.1885 "..damage done...in consequence of the stop rope not being properly fastened, the barge (Faith) ran into the lock and on to the low gates and forced one over...about 1½". It is impossible to straighten it and it is much regretted that a pair of such splendid new gates only fixed about 2 months ago should be so damaged by carelessness and I think the bargeman ought to be punished" (J Child) LMA ACC 2423/002
Hardmead lock house, 2008. Extended and modernised £799,950 (5.9.2011 £699,995)
This site was last updated 03-Mar-2021