No 138. Sunbury Lock Cut Footbridge

This bridge over the very long lock cut at Sunbury gives access to the lock island and the various boat yards and moorings that are situated there. The lock itself is some distance beyond the bridge and is fairly unique as it consists of two locks side by side, the old lock with wooden arms was opened in 1886 and the larger , now automated , new lock in 1927. Boaters arriving when the new lock is closed can still use the old wooden lock but it is very hard work. Sunbury itself is not accessible from the lock as there is a large weir on that side of the river but is a very old settlement famous among other things for the start of ‘Swan Upping’ in the third week of July. This tradition dates back 800 years, in the middle ages swans were eaten and therefore valuable to their owners. They are these days divided between the Crown and the city of London Guilds of Dyers and The Vintners. The Swan Uppers are supervised by the Queens Swan Keeper and he presides over the ceremony from his special skiff in his scarlet livery. The cygnets are marked with one nick on the beak for the Dyers Company and two nicks for the Vintners, the Queens are left unmarked.