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the Sharpness Canal


News Archive 2003

Transformer Discharged at Sharpness, Dec 2003
On 3 December, the Italian registered heavy-lift ship Tina Med arrived at Sharpness from Rotterdam carrying a transformer. The ship had a pair of derricks that worked in tandem to lift the transformer on to a special lorry which took the transformer to a sub-station near Gloucester.

Missing Milepost Recovered, Nov 2003
A team of local divers has recovered a milepost that had slipped into the canal many years ago due to erosion of the bank. Members of the Gloster Divers Club found the post during an underwater search along a length of the canal one mile from Gloucester, and they succeeded in dragging it up on to the canal bank, from where it was taken to the National Waterways Museum. (Photos

Work Starts on Reynolds and Vinings Warehouses, Nov 2003
Work has started on converting Double Reynolds and Vinings Warehouses to provide 70 one and two bedroom apartments with a new restaurant on the north side of Vinings Warehouse. Contractors Barnwood Construction have fenced off the area around the two warehouses and scaffolding is being erected. The work is expected to take ten months.

Russian Timber Discharged at Sharpness, Oct 2003
For the first time in nearly 18 years, a cargo of Russian timber has arrived at Sharpness, and discharge commenced on 23 Oct 2003. The Russian-owned MV Megra brought 2700 cubic metres of sawn timber from Archangel, the shipment being arranged by North Sea Lumber (Sales) Ltd on behalf of a number of customers.

Topsail Schooner Arrives for Overhaul, Oct 2003
The topsail schooner Johanna Lucretia arrived at Gloucester on 13 October for an overhaul, but she was unable to moor where intended because of an accumulation of silt. She was found a temporary mooring until the silt was cleared.

New Boat for the Willow Trust, Sep 2003
A new boat for the Willow Trust was officially launched at Saul Junction on 27 September. Built by R.W.Davis & Son of Saul, the boat was named Leonard Matchan after the charitable trust that made a major donation towards the cost. The boat is specially designed to carry groups of infirm and disabled people who do not have to pay anything as all costs are covered by donations. The naming ceremony was carried out by Cmdr Cree, captain of HMS Gloucester, and the boat was blessed by the Ven. Hedley Ringrose, archdeacon of Cheltenham. (Photo)

Government Approves New GLOSCAT Campus at Llanthony, Sep 2003
A new further education campus near Llanthony Priory has been approved in principle by the Learning and Skills Council, which is responsible for funding and planning education for over 16-year-olds. The project will form part of the Gloucester Quays development of the docks. It is expected to cost about 38 million, some of which will come from the sale of the college's current sites in Brunswick Rd. (Citizen 20 Sep 2003) 

Cyclists Explore New Route, Sep 2003
A colourful team of cyclists rode down the canal towpath on Saturday 13 September, trying out a route from Gloucester to Salisbury. The planned National Cycle Network Route 45 will make use of the towpath for several miles and continue via Avebury and Stonehenge. The riders were due to spend two days on the journey, camping overnight at Chiseldon.

Car Winched from Canal, Sep 2003
The British Waterways floating crane was used to raise a stolen car from the canal beside Bakers Quay on 5 September. The gold Nissan Micra had been taken from nearby Llanthony Road a week earlier, and it was only discovered after a vigilant passer-by spotted broken glass on the side of a boat moored next to Llanthony Bridge. There was no one in the car. (Citizen 6 Sep 2003)

Transformer Loaded at Sharpness, Sep 2003
A 180 tonne transformer from Oldbury Power Station was loaded on to the coaster Ardent at Sharpness Dock to be taken to Ellesmere Port. The unit was on its way to Stafford for repairs and needed to go part-way by sea because of its weight and the size of the rig needed to move it. (Gazette 5 Sep 2003)

Vindy Boys Monument Unveiled, August 2003
About a thousand former merchant seamen gathered at Sharpness on Saturday 9 August to witness the unveiling of a monument to all those boys who passed through the Sea School on the training ship Vindicatrix while moored in the Old Arm between 1939 and 1966. Designed by John Ashcroft, the monument depicts a modern concept of a sailing ship, and the granite plinth carries brief details of the former Sea School. The monument was unveiled by Capt. Warwick, former master of the QE2. (Photo)

Reed Boat Voyage Down the Canal, August 2003
A small boat made from reeds and powered by an outboard motor passed down the canal on Saturday 9 August on a voyage from Bewdley to Bristol. On board were veteran adventurers Jerry and Jimmy Masters, who had travelled on much larger such craft on the rivers of South America while trying to establish how the Incas moved their boats down to the sea. They broke their journey at Purton, where they made contact with their land support team.

New Facility at Saul Junction Opened, August 2003
A new Heritage Centre and service station for boaters at Saul Junction was formally opened by George Greener, Chairman of British Waterways, on 14 August. The Heritage Centre contains information on the history and restoration of the Stroudwater and Thames & Severn Canals. The service station includes public toilets, showers and pumpout facilities for boaters.

Albert Warehouse Ready for Occupation, July 2003
Owners of the new apartments at the Albert Warehouse have picked up their keys. All of the apartments have been sold except one penthouse, which is currently on the market for 250,000. (Citizen 29 Jul 2003)

Crowds at Gloucester on Water Event, July 2003
Thousands of people flocked to the docks on Sunday 27 July to see a wide range of activities organised by British Waterways and Gloucester City Council. The central attraction was a trapeze artist performing graceful movements while suspended from a helium filled balloon. Meanwhile, around the quays were many entertainers, displays and special activities for children. The day culminated in a spectacular fire and laser show in the evening.

Man Drowned Near Sellars Bridge, July 2003
Fire engines, police and ambulances converged on Sellars Bridge following reports of a man falling overboard from his boat. The bridge keeper had jumped into the canal and swam to where the man had gone in, but the victim had disappeared beneath the water. Police divers later recovered the body of John Pavitt of Gloucester. It is thought he was manoeuvring his cabin cruiser Sonnet across the canal when the accident happened. (Citizen 15, 16 Jul 2003)

Docks Flats Approved, July 2003
Gloucester City planners have approved two projects for new flats in Gloucester Docks. Laing Homes and British Waterways will build two new blocks of 25 flats each and three shops on the west side of the Main Basin. The scheme will cost 8m, and contractors aim to start work on site by October. On the other side of the Main Basin, Crest Nicholson will convert the Double Reynolds and Vinings Warehouses to provide 67 apartments, shops and workshops for crafts people. Open land beside Vinings Warehouse is earmarked for a new restaurant of steel and glass construction. The scheme will cost 15m, with work planned to start in August and to be completed in 15 months. (Citizen 3, 11 Jul 2003)

Saul Canal Festival Broke All Records, July 2003
This year's Canal Festival at Saul Junction on 5 & 6 July, organised by volunteers from the Cotswold Canals Trust, attracted 11,000 people, 232 boats and 237 camping units. Visitors enjoyed seeing boats of all shapes and sizes, traders and craftsmen selling a wide range of goods, children's games, model boats and musical entertainment from folk and jazz groups. The event raised 14,000 towards restoring the Stroudwater and Thames & Severn Canals.

Medals Presented to Museum, June 2003
A Victoria Cross and a DSO awarded to Lieut. Col. Dan Burges have been donated to the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum. This means that four of the eight VCs awarded to the Gloucestershire Regiment are now on display in Gloucester. (Citizen 1 Jul 2003)

Docks Masterplan Published, May 2003
Planners employed by the South West Regional Development Agency have published a masterplan for Gloucester Docks. This establishes a framework within which developers of individual sites around the docks can work out their detailed proposals. It is intended that old and new buildings will generally have shops, cafes and business units on the ground floor and residential accommodation above. Car parks will be provided around the periphery, leaving the central area traffic-free except for service vehicles. It is proposed to have high quality surfacing, street furniture and visual arts features.

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