Top Lock Cottage is located (as the name implies) alongside the top lock of the Buckby flight of locks on the Grand Union Canal at Long Buckby Wharf in rural Northamptonshire. Fully refurbished in 2012 the cottage now provides comfortable holiday accommodation for four / five.
The cottage front door opens directly on to the towpath adjacent to the lock, a busy scene of boating activity particularly in the summer months and a popular location for "Gongoozellers" (those that like to simply watch the boats). However, the rear of the cottage offers peaceful seclusion and privacy in the picturesque orchard gardens which extend to over an acre. With a south west aspect the rear enjoys all day sunshine (and some spectacular sunsets).
Surrounded by open countryside Top Lock Cottage is an ideal base for exploring the many tourist attractions of the area, enjoying country walks along the canal towpath or simply relaxing and watching the boating activity at the lock!
Top Lock Cottage was built at the turn of the last century and was a typical "two up, two down" late Victorian detached canalside property. It was built for the then landlord of the adjacent historic canalside pub, "The New Inn". In 1920 a small single story extension was added on one side to form a shop to serve the working boat people. This shop sold not only provisions but also items of practical use for the boat people and became well known in particular for the galvanised metal water cans which were made and decorated on the premises in traditional canal art style. Because these cans were originally only made and sold from this shop at Buckby Lock they became known as "Buckby Cans" a name that is still used universally today to describe these traditional ornate water cans. In the room which was once the shop a dozen or so large metal hooks still remain in the ceiling, these being originally used to hang the freshly decorated cans from while the paint dried. So Top Lock Cottage is the original home of the Buckby Can!
In more recent times the shop became known as "Ginger's Stores" when the cottage was owned by the waterways artist and author Shirley Ginger and her husband Maurice. They operated the shop in the seventies and eighties selling painted canalware and souvenirs as well as provisions and of course Buckby Cans painted by Shirley. Shirley wrote a book about living at the cottage called "Lock, Stock and Barrell" which became a best seller among waterways enthusiasts and is now out of print, although the occasional copy comes up on Ebay or Amazon
The shop remained in use until the early 1990's. Now, with its large window providing a superb view over the lock, it allows the boating activity to be observed in comfort in all weathers!
The cottage has been substantially extended and now offers comfortable and spacious accomodation which has been completely refurbished in 2012 by the current owners for their own use.