Lifts on the Old Canal du Centre

La Louvière, Belgium

The lifts on the old Canal du Centre are a series of four hydraulic boat lifts near the town of La Louvière, classified both as Wallonia"s Major Heritage and as a World Heritage Site. Along a particular 7km stretch of the Canal du Centre, which connects the river basins of the Meuse and the Scheldt, the water level rises by 66.2 metres. To overcome this difference, the 15.4-metre lift at Houdeng-Goegnies was opened in 1888, and the other three lifts, each with a 16.93 metres rise, opened in 1917. These lifts were designed by Edwin Clark of the British company Clark, Stansfield & Clark.

The lifts were part of the inspiration behind the Peterborough and Kirkfield Lift Locks in Canada. In the late 19th century Richard Birdsall Rogers visited the locks as to understand and study possible ideas for a lift lock system.

These industrial monuments were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1998. Of the eight hydraulic lift locks built in the late 19th and early 20th century, the four of the Canal du Centre are the only ones still functioning in their original form.

Since 2002, operation of the lifts has been limited to recreational use. Commercial traffic now bypasses the old lifts and is handled by the enormous Strépy-Thieu boat lift, whose rise of 73m was the highest in the world upon completion.

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Founded: 1888-1917
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User Reviews

Luis Rocha (2 years ago)
Muito bom para fazer uma caminhada ou andar de bicicleta , umas pontes bastante impressionantes .
Jorge de Pablo Van Bost (2 years ago)
A place to go!
Mitr Friend (3 years ago)
These 4 have been retired for commercial purposes now and a new modern boat lift has been constructed. However still boat trips are still being organized in the canal to go across the 4 historic boat lifts, new boat lift and 2 swing bridges. Till date, the functionality of the 4 historical boat lifts can be seen. The operating rooms of the historical boat lifts can be accessed today too. The older lifts operate using high pressure water, stored in cisterns with counter weights on it to create the hydraulic force.
Mieke Thienpont (3 years ago)
Mooie wandeling langs industrieel erfgoed. 15' voorbij Sluis 1 zit een top Italiaans restaurant: L'Arlecchino, Rue Gustave Boël, 156 in 7100 La Louvière. Giga pizza! :-)
Ted Z. (3 years ago)
Gorgeous landmark to the Industrial Age.
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