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All in a day's work for lock keeper Bill McCreadie

Ice at Eynsham Lock

Ice at Eynsham Lock (11 Jan 1982)

This photo appears in the Seasons Gallery and in the Gallery for Eynsham Lock

‘When Bill was a lock keeper his correct title was Lock and Weir Keeper. Weir control in very wet and very dry weather is a vital part of the job. During the drought of 1976 every bit of weir tackle was shut and sandbagged, pumps were used to back pump any water that did trickle over the weir to keep enough water in the river for Farmoor reservoir and treatment works to keep going.

‘Of course the opposite happens when the rains come and the river runs high. Whenever Bill received a phone call in the middle of a wet and windy night and had to go out on the weir, I didn’t go back to sleep until he was safely back in bed! The most dramatic occasion happened just as we were finishing a village quiz evening. Bill had been warned he could be called out so he stayed on Coke and I had my mobile switched on. Everyone laughed and cheered when we got up to leave. They were used to firemen on call, but not lock keepers! Due to illness and holidays, Bill and his colleague Tim were the only ones in the area available and they pulled 5 weirs from Northmoor to Godstow between 11 pm and 3 am. Eynsham fell in the middle of this group so I was ready with hot drinks and biscuits just after midnight.’

Maureen McCreadie

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