THE HIDDEN side of a waterway was explored when a historic lock gate was replaced last week.
Members of the public were given the opportunity to experience a 'behind the scenes' tour of repairs and restoration to the Hanwell Flight on the Grand Union Canal.
The open day was part of a £50million makeover of dozens of historic locks, bridges and aqueducts, which includes the replacement of the 3.6 tonne gates just north of Green Lane, in Hanwell.
As part of the £500,000 project, the pond around the William Jessop-built gate, made of European oak wood, will also be cleared and turned into a beauty spot.
On Sunday, local people were invited to go meet a British Waterways project engineer and heritage adviser on the canal and to take a tour of the ancient site.
Antonia Zotali, British Waterways' senior engineering project manager, said: "The Hanwell Flight on the Grand Union Canal is one of the jewels in the crown of the London waterway network. This picturesque piece of working industrial-era infrastructure is over 200 years old so it's not surprising repair works like these are necessary.
"British Waterways takes advantage of the winter time, when fewer boats are moving on the waterways, to get projects like these done. This £500,000 project will take just over a month."
The canal runs from Brentford where it joins with the River Thames, up to Birmingham.
For more information about the Waterway Open Days and to book your place, visit www.waterscape.com/canalopendays