William Congreve Mews, N1

Place name

Usually thought to be a reference to the Restoration playwright, but as likely to be named after another member of the family, the engineer who designed the hydro pneumatic lock which was built at Hampstead Road Lock of the Regent’s Canal. William Congreve, later Sir William (May 20, 1772 – May 16, 1828), was also famous for the invention of military rockets. The lock however was a failure, and in 1819 it had to be rebuilt to a conventional design. Martin Sach, chairman of the London Canal Museum, told the Islington Gazette: “At Camden, an experimental lock designed by William Congreve was built but didn’t work properly. Everybody blamed everybody else and the whole thing had to be scrapped.”




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