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Gloucester Docks &
the Sharpness Canal


News Archive 2006

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Shop Closes

The Edinburgh Wollen Mill shop in Merchants Quay closed at the end of December. It was expected that the site would be redeveloped, but no plans have been published yet. Six units remain open, including one serving refreshments.

Tramroad Gateway Opened
The gateway once used by the horse-operated Gloucester & Cheltenham tramroad has been reopened after being bricked up for many years. The opening will become a pedestrian access to the docks adjoining the Southgate St vehicle access. (Photo) (More about the tramroad)

Canalside Field Sold
A small field adjoining the canal bank to the south of Splatt Bridge was sold by British Waterways for 17,250 at an auction on 12 December. 

Halcyon Restoration Completed
A party was held to celebrate the completion of an 11-month restoration of the 1929 classic ketch Halcyon by T Nielsen & Co. The yacht is due to be on view at St Katherine's Dock during the London International Boat Show in January and will then be available for charters. (Halcyon website)

Revised Plans for Winter Bridge Operation
Following adverse comments on an earlier proposal to require boaters to pre-book passages through bridges during winter months, British Waterways has announced an alternative means of reducing operating expenditure. From 1 February until Easter, the canal will be closed to non-commercial traffic on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. During the summer, the canal will be fully open but three bridges will be user-operated.

Rowing Coach Knocked Over
A Gloucester Rowing Club coach in the club's launch which looks like a floating desk did not duck low enough while passing under Hempsted Bridge, and he was knocked over on to his back while the launch continued forward. He was soon able to recover and bring the launch back under control, but he was left rather bruised and shaken.

Proposal for Boat Building at Moreton Valence
Plans have been submitted to Stroud District Council to use redundant barns at Barracks Farm for fitting out canal boats and to extend an existing farm track to a crane pad on the canal bank. The plans also show some boat moorings along the canal bank. Abdela & Mitchell Ltd of Brimscombe aim to bring in steel shells and send out finished boats via the canal. (Ref S.06/2675)

Noisy Protest Over Budget Cuts
About 50 boats crowded into the Main Basin at Gloucester on 25 November to protest at cuts to British Waterways budgets imposed during the current financial year. Speeches by David Drew MP and others, calling for proper funding arrangements for the waterways, were supported enthusiastically by a frequent chorus of boat horns. This was one of many such protests across the country that were organised by the Inland Waterways Association. (Photo: Steve Davis)

Proposal for Marina at Whitminster
Plans have been submitted to Stroud District Council for reserved matters concerning a marina on land adjoining Walk Farm, Whitminster. The plans show 284 berths, an entrance from the arm of the Stroudwater Canal, a slipway, a chandlery and accommodation for staff. (Ref S.06/2720)

Gloucester Quays Plans Published
Detailed plans for the 200 million Gloucester Quays development have been published for the information of potential tenants. For a masterplan, detailed drawings and pictures, visit the Gloucester Quays website.

Big Fish on the Move
Three boats fitted out at the Big Fish Narrowboats yard beside Llanthony Bridge were craned into the canal on 22 November. These were the last boats to pass through the yard as the site is due to be redeveloped and the firm is moving to Sharpness. (Photo)

Trial Swing for Netheridge Bridge
The new bridge being built to carry Gloucester's South West Bypass across the re-aligned canal at Two Mile Bend swung across the canal for the first time on 20 November. Officials and contractors were able to walk between the two halves of the huge construction site instead of having to make a 1.5 mile journey by existing roads.

Car Recovered From Canal
A car was recovered from the canal in front of Bakers Quay on 8 November. Its presence had been noted by the crew of the water injection dredger that was dispersing mud in that part of the canal. (Photo)

Boat Burned Out
The small motor cruiser Sea Sprog was burned down to the waterline over the weekend 4 & 5 November while moored at Monk Meadow. It is believed that vandals were responsible.

Indian Restaurant for Vinings Warehouse
A restaurant owner from Worcester is aiming to open a stylish 150-seat Indian restaurant in the ground floor of Vinings Warehouse. It is hoped that the restaurant will be open by February, although work is needed to install an extraction system. (Citizen 6 Nov 2006)

Halcyon's Masts Re-stepped
After a major refit by Tommi Nielsen's craftsmen, lasting several months, the 1920s ketch Halcyon had her masts re-stepped on 1 November. The main mast is 88 ft high. (Photo)

Antiques Centre Sold
The Antiques Centre beside Gloucester Lock has been sold to Evan Maindonald and his partner Raine Thurston. The new owners say that the building will continue as an Antiques Centre for the foreseeable future and they have plans to develop the business and improve the building. However, they also intend to review whether the building best serves the longer term needs of the business and its stakeholders. (Citizen 26 Oct 2006)

Two Traders Leave Merchants Quay
Due to the planned redevelopment of the Merchants Quay site, Pizza Piazza and Maddison's Cafe have agreed to terminate their leases, and they closed their operations at the end of October. Other leases are due to lapse at the end of December, but the remaining tenants are being encouraged to stay on until plans for the new building are finalised.

Protest Meeting
Over 350 boaters attended a meeting at the National Waterways Museum on 21 October to protest about a proposal to require advanced booking for boat movements on the canal and the River Severn during winter months. Strong emotions were expressed, and ideas were put forward for alternative ways of saving operating costs.

Severn Side Scrapped
The former Gloucester-based motor vessel Severn Side is being broken up for scrap at Strood, Kent. Built at Sharpness in 1952 for general trade in the Bristol Channel, she was later owned by Allied Mills and used for carrying wheat to Reynolds Mill at Gloucester. She was due to be converted to a houseboat at Strood, but it was found that she was too big for the mooring and so it was decided to cut her up. (Photo: Mike Nash)

Photographer Shed Demolished
The large shed which stood beside the canal to the north of Monk Meadow grain silo has been demolished in preparation for the redevelopment of the area. The site began as a wax paper works for the Powell Lane Manufacturing Co, it was enlarged by Heatek Services Ltd and for a time it was the headquarters of The Photographer Ltd who processed photographs of groups and individuals taken at schools all over the country.

Barge Arm Apartments Completed
Construction work on the new apartments alongside the Barge Arm has been completed, the first residents have moved in and the contractor's compound is being cleared away. (Photo: Chris Hayes)

Two Mile Bend Embankment Completed
Following the installation of a new electricity cable, the delayed section of the embankment across the old channel around Two Mile Bend was completed during early October, allowing work to proceed on laying foundations for Gloucester's South West Bypass.

Light Infantry Inspection
On 7 October, soldiers of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry were inspected by the Mayor of Gloucester on the North Quay before exercising their Freedom to march through the city with their bayonets fixed. The regiment is due to amalgamate with other regiments from the South West on 1 Feb 2007. (Citizen 9 Oct 2006)

Rea Bridge Out of Action
Rea Bridge could not be opened for navigation on 5 October because the nose of the bridge was resting so heavily on the wedges on the abutment that overcoming the friction required undue strain by the operator. Engineers got the bridge working again by removing some shims, and they will carry out further checks to establish what is causing the problem.

Lock Gates Re-planked
The upper gates of Gloucester Lock were lifted out on 2 October and moved to the quayside beside the Alexandra Warehouse for replacement of the planking. The refurbished gates were replaced the following weekend. (Photo)

Historic Craft On Offer
The British Waterways historic workboats that were withdrawn from public auction in April are now on offer to charitable groups to assist in the promotion of the waterways. Three local boats included in the offer are tug Freight Mover, river workboat Jubilee and narrow boat tanker Radiant.

Two Mile Bend and Cut
During September, a long-reach excavator moved silt, temporarily stored in the eastern end of the old channel around Two Mile Bend, to a new lagoon where it can be consolidated (Photo). Work continued on forming the embankment for the road across the old channel, and some road foundations were laid, but there was still a delay in completing the embankment over the line of the old electricity cable. 

Lock Walkways Removed
The pedestrian walkways across the upper gates at Gloucester Lock were removed on 30 September in preparation for the gates being lifted out for refurbishment.

Adjustable Weir For Purton
A coffer dam has been constructed to allow the existing structure of Purton Weir to be broken out and replaced by three rotating segments that will adjust automatically to maintain the canal water level as required (Photo). This will be particularly useful when extra water has to be pumped in at Gloucester to dilute a high concentration of nitrates draining from neighbouring fields that would otherwise prevent extraction at Purton Water Works.

Llanthony Bridge Damage
Llanthony Bridge was out of action for a time on 17 September due to the locking bolts becoming damaged. Engineers removed the affected components, and the bridge will be operated manually until replacement parts can be installed.

Gloucester Shipyard Open for Heritage Weekend
Tommi Nielsen and his team welcomed a steady flow of visitors on 10 September to see work in progress and interesting exhibits connected with shipbuilding and repairing. One highlight was to go down into the small dry dock to watch a seam being caulked with oakum in the traditional way. (Photo)

Body Found by Rowers
The body of a man was found floating in the canal on 9 September, about 500 yards south of Llanthony Bridge. It was spotted by members of the Gloucester Rowing Club, who called the emergency services, and the canal was closed for 50 minutes while the body was removed. (Citizen 11 Sep 2006)

Police National Fishing Match
Twenty-five teams of six anglers and reserves from all over the United Kingdom fished sections of the canal between Hempsted Bridge and Saul Junction on 7 September. The overall National Match was won by the Gloucester Police angling team, who came first in three sections and second and fifth in the remaining sections.

Anchor Point at Waterways Museum
The National Waterways Museum has been designated as an Anchor Point on the European Route of Industrial Heritage. It is included in the Transport & Communication Theme Route - along with the Ironbridge Gorge Museums and Chatham Historic Dockyard. (More details)

New Rowing Club Site Approved at Netheridge
On 5 September, Gloucester City Council approved outline plans for land beside the canal south of Hempsted that include space for a new clubhouse for Gloucester Rowing Club. Nearby land is allocated for an open market, for car boot sales and for car parking.

New Standard for Local Vindi Boys
The new standard of the Gloucester Branch of the TS Vindicatrix Association was blessed during a service at the Mariners Chapel on 3 September to mark Merchant Navy Day. The service was also attended by the Mayor and Sheriff of Gloucester and representatives of local maritime organisations. (Photo)

Barge Arm East Completed
The new block of apartments to the east of the Barge Arm was completed in August, and the first residents have moved in.

Two Mile Bend and Cut
The western part of the old channel around Two Mile Bend was largely filled in during August using spoil from the excavation of the new cut. Unfortunately, a narrow section over the line of a vital electricity cable had to be left temporarily unfilled due to the need to install a replacement cable. Meanwhile, work has continued assembling the carriageway sections of Netheridge Bridge that will cross the new cut and preparing the bridge abutments. (Photo)

Hempsted Bridge Closed to Vehicles
A two-day closure of Hempsted Bridge began on 29 August to allow resurfacing of the carriageway. This added to the congestion on Bristol Rd, causing tail-backs at times all the way south to the Cole Avenue lights.

Chaceley and Tirley For Sale
The last two motor barges that carried wheat to Healing's Mill at Tewkesbury are for sale. They have not been used regularly since 1999, and offers are sought in excess of 18,000 each.

Operating Staff to Be Cut for Winter
On 9 August, British Waterways announced a proposal to reduce the number of permanently employed bridge and lock keepers on the G&S Canal and the River Severn. Between November and Easter, boat owners would be required to book a passage in advance and would then be assisted by mobile operatives. A twelve week consultation process has begun.

Tugs' 75th Birthday Celebration
The 75th birthdays of the tugs Severn Progress and Kennet were celebrated at the National Waterways Museum over the weekend 29-30 July. Museum visitors were taken around the dock on Kennet and enjoyed displays about the tugs, rope and fender making and traditional boaters crafts.

Rusty Box Wins Award
The restaurant extension to Vinings Warehouse, with its rusty box facade, was judged to be Gloucester's best new building in the recently revived Civic Awards. (Citizen 28 Jul 2006)

Llanthony Bridge Stopped by Heat
During the heat of the afternoon on 25 July, Llanthony Bridge stuck in the half-closed position, preventing any movements of boats or vehicles. British Waterways engineers were soon on the scene, and the matter was rectified before the start of the rush hour.

Gloucester Lock Operations Limited
To minimise the need to extract water from the River Severn, on 24 July a restriction was placed on the frequency of river-bound operations of Gloucester Lock.

Stoppage at Fretherne Bridge
Boat movements through Fretherne Bridge were stopped on 21 July due to a major electrical fault, but the problem was resolved overnight by the British Waterways maintenance team.

Filming Scenes for Casualty
A 40-strong crew arrived at Sharpness on 18 July to film scenes for an episode of the Casualty TV series dealing with illegal immigrants being found in a tanker lorry. The scene filmed involved the ambulance crew arriving at a quayside and seeing a boat passing. (Photo

Patch Bridge and Purton Moorings
British Waterways maintenance men have put a new deck on Patch Bridge and provided disabled access and new mooring posts along the moorings below Purton Lower Bridge.

Narrow Boats to Lydney
Spectators at Sharpness watched with interest on 15 July as narrow boats set out to cross the River Severn on their way to Lydney. They were heading for a boat gathering organised by the Inland Waterways Association, the first such event to attract narrow boats across the tidal river. (Photo: Ken Bailey)

Filling Two Mile Bend
Having removed the silt from the central part of the old channel around Two Mile Bend, by 14 July contractors were filling the hole with spoil from the nearby heap. By the end of the month, the embankment for Gloucester's South West Bypass had been raised close to its intended level. (Photos)

Award for Sea Cadet Officer
Petty Officer Yonna Berry was presented with the Canal Users' Forum Award on 12 July for making a significant contribution to activities connected with the canal. Under the enthusiastic leadership of PO Berry, the Gloucester Branch of the Sea Cadets helps young people develop self reliance and team spirit through nautical training.

Watershed Bungalow Sold
The bungalow north of Sellars Bridge known as The Watershed was sold at auction on 11 July. A wooden holiday bungalow dating from the 1930s, it fetched 130,000.

Old Gloucester Pictures for New Container Ship
Three old pictures of Gloucester Docks now adorn a new British container ship which was officially named Maersk Gloucester on 5 July. Designed to carry 4150 standard containers, and built in Hong Kong for The Maersk Company, the ship is the ninth in a series named after British ports having the initial letter G. After the naming ceremony, the guests were treated to a traditional Chinese lion dance. (Photo: Maersk)

Tenth Saul Festival Better Than Ever
The 10th Saul Canal Festival held over the weekend 29 June to 2 July provided visitors with a wonderful mixture of boats, music, trade stands and family entertainment. Organised by volunteers from the Cotswolds Canals Trust, and supported by sponsors, the event raised thousands of pounds towards the restoration of the Stroudwater and Thames & Severn Canals. (Photos)

IWA's Jubilee at Gloucester
The Inland Waterways Association's narrow boat Jubilee arrived at Gloucester on 27 June on a national tour of the waterways network celebrating the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Association. (Photo)

Stone Tipped Into Two Mile Bend
Having removed the fish and pumped out most of the water, contractors started tipping limestone from Wickwar Quarry into the old channel around Two Mile Bend on 27 June. The stone displaced the residual silt to form a dam/causeway across the channel. (More details & photo)

Gloucester Quays Project Approved
Outline plans for the long-awaited redevelopment of canal-side land at Bakers Quay, Llanthony and Monk Meadow were approved by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on 23 June, subject to conditions. This decision opens the way for British Waterways and Peel Developments to seek detailed planning permission for phases of a 200m regeneration of the area, providing a factory outlet centre, foodstore, hotel, leisure developments and 1000 new homes, together with public transport facilities and improvements to the road network. (More details)

Llanthony Bridge Opening Stopped by Heat
The operation of Llanthony Bridge was stopped for a time on 10 June when the afternoon heat caused the temperature of the biodegradable oil used in the hydraulic system to exceed its trip level. Within an hour, however, the oil had cooled enough to allow the bridge to be opened again.

Canal Dewatering Started After Swan Move
Dewatering of part of the former Two Mile Bend started on 7 June to prepare the ground for Gloucester's South West Bypass. The project had been delayed for a few days because a swan was nesting beside the section due to be drained. After the eggs hatched, permission was obtained to move the birds a short distance to a new nest prepared by the contractors, and this allowed the dewatering to start. (Photos)

St Ann Way Bridge Approved
Planning permission was given on 6 June for a new bridge over the canal some 300 yards to the south of Llanthony Bridge. This is due to carry the final section of Gloucester's Inner Relief Road, linking Bristol Road and Hempsted Lane, and so open the way for the proposed Gloucester Quays development. (More details and picture)

Public Viewpoint for Two Mile Cut
The County Council has arranged a public viewing gallery overlooking the bridge being built over the new section of canal bypassing the former Two Mile Bend. Access can be gained via a footpath from the Norwest Holst site compound which is opposite the garages near the end of the new road from the roundabout to the west of Hempsted Bridge. (Photo)

Farewell to Speedwell
Motor tug Speedwell left Sharpness on 31 May for a new home on the Humber. She was recently sold at auction to Dean's Tugs & Workboats Ltd of Hull. (Photo: Mike Nash)

Boaters Services at Alexandra Quay
New toilet and shower facilities for boaters at Alexandra Quay, Gloucester, were opened on 29 May, and a laundry facility will be added shortly. The water point and pump out will remain in their current position on Llanthony pontoons. 

Top Award for Shipyard Firm
Tommi Nielsen and his partner Sarah White were presented with the Furniss Cup by Princess Anne at the Gloucestershire Ambassadors Dinner at Cheltenham race course on 19 May. This prestigious award recognises their firm's outstanding ship repair work which contributes to the vitality of the docks, provides training through apprenticeships and promotes Gloucestershire worldwide.

Man Rescued from Dock Scaffolding
An employee of a scaffolding firm was rescued after being taken ill on top of a structure he was erecting in the large dry dock at Gloucester on 19 May. The rescue services used an aerial platform as it was not thought he was well enough to climb down a ladder. (Citizen 20 May 06)

Piling Across Two Mile Bend
Following the opening of the new cut bypassing Two Mile Bend, work started on driving a line of piles across the old channel on 16 May. In due course, much of this old channel will be filled in to carry the embankment for Gloucester's South West Bypass. (Pictures)

Farewell to Thomas Fletcher
The former canal dredger Thomas Fletcher was towed down the canal for the last time on 13 May with tug New Ross 1 ahead and hopper barge Teme steadying astern. She was recently sold at auction to Cardiff Commercial Boat Operators Ltd, who hope to find work for her. (Photo: Mike Nash)

Two Boats Launched by Big Fish
Two narrow boats, Spartacus and Chutney, fitted out at the Big Fish Narrowboats yard beside Llanthony Bridge, were craned into the canal at Monk Meadow Quay on 8 May ready for the former to be taken to display at the Crick Boat Show on the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal at the end of May.

Maverick Trip for Pied Piper
NB Maverick left Gloucester on 7 May for a fund-raising trip to Oxford and back via Birmingham. Sponsors were invited to pay 1 for each guess of the number of locks the boat would pass through, with a weekend cruise on Oliver Cromwell as the prize. This is one of many Across Gloucestershire events raising money for the Pied Piper Appeal.

Beauty Centre For West Quay
Planning approval was granted on 5 May for a beauty and therapy centre to be established in Unit 3 on the West Quay of the Main Basin at Gloucester. It is expected that an existing business will move from Worcester Street to set an example on this side of the docks.

Official Opening of Two Mile Cut
The new cut two miles south of Gloucester was officially opened on 5 May by the passenger boat King Arthur breaking through a ribbon stretched across the canal where the bridge for Gloucester's South West Bypass is under construction. King Arthur was escorted to the site by the tugs Kennet and Severn Progress and was followed back to Gloucester by a colourful fleet of narrow boats from Saul. (Picture

Duplex Hopper Trial
Two hoppers, wired together bow-to-stern, passed through Gloucester lock on 4 May and continued up the River Severn. It is planned to install a hydraulic drive into the link between the two hoppers so that, when carrying gravel, they can be made to flex while rounding the sharp bends in the river north of Gloucester. (Photo)

Man Drowned in Canal
A man was drowned in the canal near Rea Bridge on 1 May. Police, fire and ambulance services were called to the scene, and the body of a 20-year-old Gloucester man was eventually recovered. (Citizen 2 May 06)

Noah's Ark Towed Away
A derelict barge, nicknamed Noah's Ark, that had been abandoned at Saul Junction, has been towed away by British Waterways under their policy of removing unlicensed craft. As their last tug was sold recently, the towing was done by the veteran workboat Jubilee. (Photo: Steve Davis)

Workboats Sold at Auction
The on-line auction of surplus British Waterways workboats reached its climax on 27 April 2006. Local craft sold included tug Speedwell for 26,200, dredger Thomas Fletcher for 12,300 and workboat Margo Newman for 11,000. Tug Freight Mover, narrow boat Zodiac and workboat Jubilee were withdrawn from the sale to give more time to assess their heritage value.

Two Mile Cut Opened
The new section of canal cutting off the former Two Mile Bend was opened to normal traffic on 27 April, ready for a formal opening on 5 May. The first boat to pass through was the former Thames Conservancy tug Kennet which is now based at the National Waterways Museum. Access to the old route around the bend was blocked by booms, and the contractors began preparing to fill in part of the bend to carry the embankment for Gloucester's South West Bypass. (Photos)

King Arthur Skipper Rescued By Passenger
While mooring up after a cruise on 15 April, the skipper of the passenger boat King Arthur fell into the water, striking his head on the way down. A passenger jumped in after him and, with the aid of a lifebelt thrown from the boat, managed to get him to a ladder where two men with a rope helped the pair to climb back on to the quayside. The skipper was taken to hospital for stitches, and the rescuer was given the use of a hot shower and a change of clothing by one of the local residents.

Phase 1a Paving Completed
The paving of the area around the Mariners Chapel and neighbouring warehouses at Gloucester was completed just prior to the Easter weekend. The central area is covered with granite blocks and Forest of Dean sandstone, and the quaysides with warm-toned resin bound gravel. (Photo)

Plans for St Ann Way Bridge
Plans have been published for a new bridge over the canal some 300 yards to the south of Llanthony Bridge. This is due to carry the final section of Gloucester's Inner Relief Road, linking Bristol Road and Hempsted Lane, and so open the way for the proposed Gloucester Quays development. (More details and picture)

Pontoons for Victoria Dock
Additional pontoons have been installed in the Victoria Dock marina at Gloucester to help meet the demand for mooring spaces. (Photo)

Clearing the Eastern Plug at Two Mile Cut
On 3 April, work started on clearing away the eastern plug left while the new cut across Two Mile Bend was being excavated. Two days later, with work also well underway on removing the western plug, a small workboat was able to make the first passage through the new cut. (See photo.)

Webcam at New Bridge Site
A webcam has been set up to show on-going construction work at the site of the swing bridge being constructed over the new cut that will bypass Two Mile Bend. The camera shows the view from one of the site offices, and the picture is updated every half hour during the day.

Filling the New Cut
Contractors started letting water into the new cut that will bypass Two Mile Bend on 13 March, and four days later it had reached its required level. By the end of the month, two diggers were removing the western plug left while the cut was being excavated, and a crane was helping to erect a framework for supporting the bridge sections that will be welded together on site to carry Gloucester's South West Bypass over the canal. (See photos.)

Boat Stolen from Gloucester Docks
A 12ft-long grey dinghy attached to a boat in the Victoria Dock was stolen between 6 & 10 March. (Citizen 13 Mar 2006)

On-line Auction of Workboats
Several local craft are included in a major on-line auction of surplus British Waterways workboats due to end on 27 April 2006. Bids can be submitted for familiar vessels such as the tugs Speedwell and Freight Mover, dredger Thomas Fletcher, wide workboats Jubilee and Margo Newman and heritage narrow boat Zodiac fitted out for carrying fuel. For further details, click here.

First Cargo of Aggregate
The first cargo of aggregate from Ryall to the CEMEX concrete plant at Two Mile Bend entered Gloucester Lock late on 2 March in preparation for its journey down the canal the following morning. It was carried by the motor barge Perch, and it is expected that this trip will be followed by many others using the larger barge Transient. For more information, click here.

Bungalow Sale
The bungalow beside the entrance to the Cambridge Arm with two acres of land has been sold at auction for 191,000. The adjoining 6.75 acres went for 36,500 and the 2.8 acre former orchard across the canal for 19,000.

City Council Considering Office Move
Gloucester City Council has begun a review to assess the feasibility of giving up some or all of its office space in the docks warehouses. This has been prompted by the transfer of about 300 staff to the new Gloucester City Homes housing management company. (Citizen 20 Feb 2006)

Canal Diversion at Two Mile Bend
After a pause during the winter, excavation of the new channel has restarted to take it down to its full depth of five metres. This work should be completed in March when the plugs at the ends will be removed prior to opening the new channel to boats. The foundations for the new swing bridge have been completed, and work is continuing on the abutments and pivot. The swing span is being built by Qualter Hall in Barnsley, Yorkshire, and should be transported down by road in 15 separate sections in July.

Archives Catalogue Launched On-line
An on-line searchable catalogue of archives for waterways all over the country was officially launched at the National Waterways Museum on 16 February by Paul Atterbury, historian, Antiques Roadshow specialist and Vice-President of the Waterways Trust. The catalogue includes extensive records of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal which are available for viewing at the Gloucestershire Record Office in Alvin St, Gloucester, and at the British Waterways Archive on the top floor of Llanthony Warehouse. To see the catalogue, click here.  

Giant Barge in River Trial
The barge Transient, which is due to carry gravel from Ryall to the Ready Mixed Concrete plant at Two Mile Bend, completed a successful trial on the River Severn on 11 February. The largest vessel ever to pass through Gloucester Lock, she negotiated the difficult bends in the river north of Gloucester, turned at the Upper Parting near Sandhurst and returned to Gloucester without incident. (Photo)

Warehouses Demolished
The last two nineteenth century single storey warehouses at Sharpness have been demolished. One will be replaced by a modern shed for Dragon Alfa Cement.

Vindicatrix Painting
The Gloucester branch of the TS Vindicatrix Association has presented a painting of the ship to the Hardwicke branch of the Royal British Legion. (Citizen 2 Feb 2006)

Cafe at Sandfield Bridge
British Waterways has been given planning permission to convert the workshop and store near Sandfield Bridge into a cafe. The former stables building will be refurbished to provide seating for 60 people on two floors, and terrace areas will be added to the north at ground and first floor levels. The current security fence around the adjoining yard will be replaced by bollards to create an informal events area.

GLOSCAT Girders Erected
The first girders have been erected for the new GLOSCAT building beside Llanthony Quay. The hoardings along the canal frontage of the site have been decorated with panels highlighting periods in Gloucester's history, and the final panel features the role of the college in the 21st century.

Bungalow for Sale
The bungalow beside the entrance to the Cambridge Arm with two acres of land (including a new access track) is due to be sold at auction on 22 February. The guide price is over 150,000. A further 6.75 acres of land adjoining is also for sale with a guide price of over 25,000, and across Cambridge Arms Bridge, a 2.8 acre former orchard has a guide price of over 12,000.

Double Century
A remarkable double century was completed on 14 January when MV Eva Maria Muller arrived at Sharpness for her 100th visit - one day after her sister ship MV Monika Muller departed after her 100th visit. Since 1999, both ships have been bringing 3600 tonne loads of cement from Santander in northern Spain for Dragon Alfa Cement, sometimes returning with scrap metal loaded by EMR Ltd. (Photos)

Llanthony Bridge Operation
As a trial during the winter, Llanthony Bridge and Gloucester Lock are being operated by one person based at the lock but available to open Llanthony Bridge during specified half-hour periods. Two-man working will resume in April when the bridge will be open on demand.

Sharpness Shipping List
A frequently updated list of expected ship arrivals and departures at Sharpness is now available on the Shipping List page of the Gloucester Harbour Trustees web site. The first list on 11 January noted the impending arrival of an appropriately seasonal cargo of road salt.  

Gloucester Lock Maintenance
A diver went down into Gloucester lock on 11 January to replace rubber seals on the cill of the lower gates. Around the same time, the connecting rod of one of the upper ground paddles which had bent was straightened and replaced.  

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