In the previous post, I mused on the drowning of Lockmaster William Brady (Braidy) at Brewers Mills, and two other men . A party of five were crossing the lock in the dark and fell in. Mrs. Brady and one man were rescued.
The pictures here show that the early lock gates had only a single iron railing, making it possible to fall into the lock. If you were under the “affluence of ilcohol”, it might be easy to explain unsteadiness even in someone as experienced as Lockmaster Brady.
You can see that the iron railing is only on one side. So…. if you’re not holding on, or if you’re unsteady, etc., you could easily tumble in. If it’s dark out, and if the lock man on duty is in the house, he won’t know you’re in the water until he hears you yell.
Today, the railings are on both sides of the gate – you walk between them. Harder to fall in, but not impossible.
This sketch shows the single railing on the gates. Pretty easy to fall in. Also note that there aren’t any life-saving features, such as ropes, ladders, etc. Tough to cross in the dark, especially if you’re a bit tipsy.
You’d think that a lockmaster and his friends would be more careful, but “familiarity breeds contempt,” they say.
Many people are somewhat nervous crossing a lock in broad daylight, even with an iron railing on both sides of them.