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Gloucester Docks &
the Sharpness Canal


Gloucester Barge Arm

The Barge Arm provided quay space where cargoes could be transferred between barges and narrow canal boats and a motley collection of small yards operated by local traders. The area around the north corner of the Arm provided bases for a succession of firms who carried goods for other merchants between the Bristol Channel ports and the Midlands. Some made use of the ground floor of Biddles Warehouse for storing goods temporarily while in transit between barges and narrow canal boats, and others had sheds on the adjoining yards to the east where two of their crane posts survive. For other parts of the docks, see:

Gloucester Docks  Gloucester Docks South  Former Dock Railways  Docks Details

Biddles Warehouse

For over 100 years, the ground floor of Biddles Warehouse and the adjoining quays were used successively by the carriers Pickford & Co, Danks & Co and then the Severn & Canal Carrying Co.

By 2003, the building was only being used occasionally as a back-drop for filming costume dramas, and the adjoining quays provided good moorings for pleasure craft.

Carriers' Yards and Cranes

     The first yard along the Barge Arm was used by the Severn & Canal Carrying Co and the next yard by the carriers Jacob Rice & Son. Each firm had their own crane for transferring heavy loads to and from vessels moored by the quayside, and the posts of these are still in situ.
     This was a busy area throughout the working life of the docks, where skippers and crews (commonly known as watermen) were to be seen loading or discharging cargoes, preparing to depart or returning from a trip after many days away from home.

Other Yards
     Other yards around the Barge Arm were used by merchants handling bulk cargoes such as coal, stone, timber and builders materials.

Old photos from A Thomas and Glos Archives, Journal Pictorial May 1926.  

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