Lock House

Several locks on the Ypres-Comines had a lock keeper’s house. It is not known whether lock keepers were ever recruited for this canal that never opened, or whether anyone lived in them when war broke out. The Germans found themselves in possession of the lock house at Lock 6b, while the British named the one at Lock 9 “The Doll’s House”.

There was also such a house at Lock 7b, in the middle of the Palingbeek. Only one photograph of this has come to light and it is taken from the German Backofen Beobachtungstelle.

Left: Kleine Bastion (In British hands in 1915), right: canal as far as Lock 7b.

While this is a photo taken by a soldier’s private camera, the excellent lens allows this magnification and supports the fact that the Germans had an uninterrupted view of Lock 7b. Being in plain sight of the enemy spelled the early ruin of this building, but it did give its name to the high canal bank behind it, between the house and Spoilbank: ‘Lock House Bank’.

Remains of the lock house at 6b can still be found in the undergrowth, a couple of layers of bricks sprouting from the foundations. Of the lock house 7b there is seemingly not a trace. But wait, what is this small hole in the ground?

In the hole, there is a little storage alcove of the cellar with arched brick ceiling and whitewash still on the walls, or sheltered accomodation for one sleepy soldier.

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