WELL, here's a group of very worthy Victorian gentlemen for you.

The soberly-dressed men pictured were standing on the floor of the new Naburn 'large lock' before it was officially opened by Prince Albert Victor, Queen Victoria's grandson, on July 22, 1888. The prince inspected the lock before it was filled with water.

According to Volume 3 of the 'History of the County of York', there has been a lock at Naburn since 1757.

"The Ouse ...was from early times an important highway for the trade of York, though perhaps little used by the inhabitants of Naburn," the History relates. "It was, however, within the parish (of Naburn) that considerable improvements were made in the 18th and 19th centuries to overcome the difficulties created by shoals.

"A weir was made at Naburn, a mile downstream from the village, in 1741 and a 'dam' or weir and a lock were opened in 1757; the making of the lock cut created an island on which a water-mill was later built. A second, larger, lock was constructed beside the old one in 1888. The original lock-keeper's house was rebuilt in 1823-4, and work done in 1888 included the building of a pair of lock-keepers' cottages."

The lock in our photograph, therefore, is very clearly the second lock - hence the use of that term 'large lock'.

We found the photograph in The Press archives; and we thought it was just too good not to use. So we've dug out a few more old photographs of the lock through the years, to keep it company on these pages.

They include one photograph which doesn't actually show the lock itself - but which does have a curious connection to Naburn.

This is the photograph taken in April 1905 which shows a young white whale which had been put on display in the Pack Horse public house in Micklegate. The whale had apparently made its way up the Ouse to Naburn Lock, where it was found dead. It obviously created quite a sensation.

Other photographs show barges using or approaching the lock. There is a nice photo of Dennis Burrows, who took over as lock keeper in 1974 in his early forties, and remained there until he retired more than 20 years later. And of course, no look back at the history of the lock would be complete without at least one photographing showing it coping with flood waters. In this case, we have an aerial photograph of the lock entirely swamped by water during the great flood of November 2000: a date Naburn itself will not quickly forget...

Stephen Lewis