About The Thames

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King's Lock

King's Lock is distinguished for, among other things, having the second shallowest rise along the Thames at 0.77 metres (2ft 6in), and the smallest rise of any beam-operated lock on the Thames.

King's is the most northerly lock on the Thames and is well known for its extensive gardens, said to contain well over 100 species of plants, shrubs and trees. The lock keeper here is justly proud of his lockside gardens.

This is also the last manually-operated lock on the river - all those downstream are electrically and hydraulically operated.

The origins of King's Lock go back to 1289, when a flash weir provided eels and fish for consumption by local residents. In those days it was called Kingisweire - 'kin' meaning cattle.

The present beam pound lock and lock house were built in 1928, although negotiations by the Thames Commissioners began as far back as December 1817. As proposals were put forward (and rejected) over the following 100-plus years, the flash weir was constantly being repaired.

Here at King's is an unusual buck weir, with gates that are raised vertically on runners either side of the gates. In 2002, it was fitted with an electrically operated hoist.

King's Lock has its fair share of wildlife, with red kites, kingfishers, and reports of otter sightings and the nuisance minks.

The local pub The Trout Inn is said to be haunted by a ghost, Rosamund the Fair, the White Lady. More recently, it has been the haunt of Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse.

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