MAIN SECTIONS >  Home  Gloucester Docks  Sharpness Docks  G&S Canal  Vessels  People  Studies
 WAREHOUSES & MILLS PAGES >  Warehouses Intro  Next Warehouse  Location Map

Gloucester Docks &
the Sharpness Canal


Lock & Pillar Warehouses

The warehouse beside Gloucester Lock was built in 1834, and beside it to the south, another warehouse supported on pillars was built in the following year. The latter was destroyed by a fire in 1917, and there is just a gap where it once stood. This page summarises the histories of the two buildings.

Lock Warehouse
     The warehouse beside the lock was built in 1834 for Messrs J & C Sturge, the leading corn merchants of the day. It originally had a ground floor that was a few feet above the ground, rather widely-spaced cast-iron columns supporting the floors and correspondingly widely spaced windows. There were loading doors on each floor in the middle of each side of the warehouse and at the southern end. Experience evidently showed that the floors were not supported properly when loaded with heavy sacks of corn, and additional cast-iron columns were inserted on each floor in 1877. At the same time, the ground floor was lowered to ground level and taller cast-iron columns were installed to suit. The additional columns carry the name of their maker, W Savory & Son, Gloucester.

Lock Warehouse Occupants
     Messrs J & C Sturge continued using the warehouse for storing imported corn until the early 1880s, when they ran into financial difficulties. The building was then occupied by corn merchants Spiller & Co, later Spillers & Bakers, and they were still there in 1917 when the roof was destroyed by a fire which spread from the neighbouring warehouse (see below). After two short-term tenancies, the next major occupier was Gopsill Brown & Sons, who went on to purchase the freehold in 1929. Their business was hiring out sacks, some for use around the docks but many more for use by farmers all over the surrounding countryside. As well as storing sacks in the warehouse, Gopsill Brown & Sons needed people working in the building, cleaning and repairing the sacks, and to suit this change of use they installed larger widows and built an external fire escape.
        Gopsill Brown & Sons moved to new premises in 1957, and in due course the warehouse was purchased by builders merchants Jennings & Guildings, later taken over by Graham Reeves Ltd. Then in 1979, the building was bought by E J (Eddie) Cook, who adapted the interior to house a furniture restoration workshop and arcades of small shops selling antiques and collectables. In July 2009, the Antiques Centre moved to another building, and in April 2010 the warehouse became an Arts & Crafts Centre displaying items made locally.

Pillar Warehouse
     The Pillar Warehouse that formerly stood to the south of the Lock Warehouse was built in 1835 for Messrs Phillpotts & Baker. It was built on pillars, with the ground floor open to the quay, in order to provide a covered area where goods being discharged from a ship could be stored temporarily when needed.
     The two partners tried to make Gloucester a centre for importing sugar from Jamaica and Mauritius for distribution throughout the Midlands, but they soon found they were unable to break the monopoly of the London merchants, and the warehouse was mainly used by other local corn merchants. Around 1850 it was occupied by J & C Sturge, in the 1860s and 70s by W C Lucy & Co and from the 1890s by Smith & Cornock. The last named were still using the building in 1917 when it was gutted by a serious fire which also damaged the roof of the adjoining Lock Warehouse. The ruins of the building were later demolished.

TNA, Canal Co minute books; Glos Archives, rate books; Glo Jnl 15 Dec 1917, 20 Nov 1980, photo Glos Arch, Chelt & Glo Graphic 17 Dec 1917. 

Return to Top Menu   Copyright Hugh Conway-Jones 2007   Contact