TWO historic Newport locks were given a facelift yesterday when new gates were fitted after an absence of 50 years.

A 35-tonne crane was drafted in to lift the two-tonne gates into position at the bottom of locks 19 and 20 on the Cefn flight section of the Fourteen Locks stretch.

The four oak gates were specially made by British Waterways in Wolverhampton and cost between £15,000 and £20,000 each.

Tom Malony, of Fourteen Locks, said their installation was a massive step forward for the larger restoration of the flight.

He said: "It's a landmark day for us because people, over the years, will have thought that they would never come back. It’s terrific.”

Work started in March to restore locks 17 to 20 after Newport City Council and the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canal Trust were awarded a £700,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant along with money from other organisations.

Since then all debris and overgrowth has been removed and the chamber walls have been strengthened to ensure they are strong enough to hold up to 50,000 gallons of water, when they start working again. It is hoped the remainder of the restoration, which includes fitting the top gates and ground paddles, will be completed by the end of September.