The Salters Cut (Sabey’s Canal and Rickmansworth Wharf)

Salter’s Cut was a 500yd cut opened in 1804 (or 1805 as some sources claim) and served Salter & Co’s Brewery, but later also extended to serve a gravel pit (now Sabey’s Pool) and Rickmansworth Gasworks. Here we look at the lock on the branch to Sabey’s Pool and the site of Town Wharf.

1) Sabey’s Canal and lock

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Looking south from the Ebury Way bridge over the River Chess the overgrown entrance to ‘Sabey’s canal’ can be seen.

Note: The photographs of the old canal lock were taken with the acknowledgement of the allotment holders whose property it passes through.

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Remains of the old lock. Clearly a broad chamber of 14 ft width. Part of the wall can be seen at right.

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The date of construction – 1903 – is stamped upon an early concrete plinth within the lock chamber.

Some more wall as well as the bottom gate heel posts and quoins can be seen in the undergrowth.

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The wing walls at the tail of the lock chamber are still visible, although the ground has been raised considerably.

It appears the drop was around 2 – 3 feet from the Chess down to the level of Sabey’s Pool.

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This shallow ditch is all that remains of the Sabey’s Pool branch canal.

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Further south is the sight of a very overgrown canal looking towards Sabey’s Pool.

2) Town Wharf, Rickmansworth

Rickmansworth Town Wharf was built to serve the gasworks nearby. Thus the River Chess branch off the Grand Union Canal acquired a second nickname – The Gasworks Arm.

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Beyond the furthest River Chess moorings is the site of the former entrance to Rickmansworth wharf – now filled in.

The wharf seems to have existed until the 1960’s when it was filled in. Much of it is now housing.

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Map showing the location of Town Wharf, with local roads and Town Ditch marked clearly.

The Town Ditch ran roughly along the western boundary of Rickmansworth wharf, though the two were not connected up.

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Looking south from Talbot Road. Rickmansworth wharf was where the houses on the left are sited alongside Town Ditch. The footpath on the left would have at one time been in the edge of the actual wharf!

It appears Town Ditch has been diverted somewhat in the area of the junction forming Talbot Road/Salters Road so any comparision of modern and old maps is slightly more complicated when determining the exact location of Town Wharf.

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The wharf’s furthest extremity was roughly at this bridge seen by the Salters Lane junction. This path runs approximately along the former west side of the wharf towards the new Talbot Road bridge. Town Ditch is at left and its west wall appears to be that of the old wharf.

The ‘Town Ditch’ runs through Rickmansworth and enters the Colne valley’s river system near Batchworth Lake.

Note: Nowadays Wharf Lane in Rickmansworth is something of a misnomer – doesnt go anywhere near the site of the old wharf!

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Town Ditch – away from the old wharf – heading along Talbot Road in Rickmansworth en route to the Colne near Batchworth lakes.

The map shown below will help to localise and place the different elements that made up the mini-waterway network above Batchworth locks.

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Map showing the waterways area to the north east of Batchworth lock (just out of sight at far left.)

The route to/from Ebury Way is shown in red. Salters Wharf was the original part of the River Chess canalisation, which served Salters brewery. The extension to Town Wharf can be seen at top. This location is identified the present Wharf Lane in Rickmansworth. The canal to Sabey’s Pool is marked as is the location of the 1903 lock to permit boats to access the pool.

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