The paper mill lock in Essen-Werden is one of the systems that were built between Ruhrort and Langschede during the expansion of the Ruhr to Wasserstraße 1774 to 1780. They made it possible to transport goods, especially coal, to the Rhine without reloading. The size of the ships, the so-called Ruhraaken, had to be matched to the locks. Around 1840, wooden barges were used to transport bulk goods such as coal and ore. They had a length of 34 m, a width of 5 m, a draft of 0.8 m and could carry a payload of up to 100 t. On the valley, the Ruhr boaters were driven by the current, on the mountain the empty ships had to be pulled with 2 to 8 horses. When the wind was favorable, sailing support was added. For the draft horses, a paved path, the so-called towpath, was created on the bank.The abbot of Werden had a lock built on the left bank of the Ruhr next to the mill there near the current location of the paper mill lock. Today there is nothing left of the facility. In 1834 it was replaced by a new building on the right bank. Because of the deep location, the first lock on the Ruhr was built on concrete.With the expansion of Lake Baldeney (1931-1933), the river section in the Werden area was regulated at the same time. This caused the water level to drop, so that the paper mill lock lacked sufficient water depth. It therefore had to be lowered. With the commissioning of the Kettwig reservoir in 1950, the water level on the entire route was raised by approx. 2 m. The result was flooding of the paper mill lock. Now that she was obstructing shipping, she was dug up and filled with the demolition material lock with upper and lower channels. Only after the plant was listed in 1987 was it uncovered and the historical condition restored. A piece of paved towpath can also be seen at the level of the lock.
December 23, 2019
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