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Gloucester Docks &
the Sharpness Canal


News Archive 2008

Knot Krazy Has Moved

Fender-maker and knot tyer Ben Selfe has moved his floating workshop from the canal bank at Saul Junction to a berth in Saul Junction Marina.

Ferris Wheel for Gloucester Docks
Plans are in hand to have a 110ft high Ferris Wheel at the south end of the Victoria Dock between June and October 2009, giving views from well above the tops of the warehouses. This is to help publicize the opening of the new Designer Outlet Centre.

Plans for Second Phase of Public Realm for the Docks
Plans for paving, seating, lighting and public art on the east and north sides of the Victoria Dock were put on show for public consultation on 11 December. The aim is to create an interesting pedestrian-friendly route between the Gloucester Quays development and the city centre and to provide an attractive events area at the north end of the dock. (Illustration)

Girders Erected for Sainsbury's Store
On 8 December, contractors began erecting girders for the Sainsbury's food store on the west side of the canal below the new High Orchard Bridge.

Old Culvert Revealed
Contractors preparing to install a storm water outfall from the Sainsbury’s construction site on 5 December were surprised to open up a 9ft diameter brick shaft close to the canal bank. Urgent research in the archives revealed that this was associated with a culvert which had once carried a stream and later a sewer under the canal, but which has long been redundant. (More details)

Linked Barges to Deliver Aggregate
Thompson River Transport's motor barge Perch pushed a dumb barge to a temporary mooring beside the Cemex concrete works at Two Mile Bend on 2 December. It is expected that such barges, linked by adjustable wires, will deliver aggregate to the plant once a wharf has been constructed to receive it. (Photo)

Tramroad Plaque Replaced
The plaque commemorating the Gloucester & Cheltenham tramroad has been replaced on the gatepier beside the pedestrian entrance to the docks from Southgate St. The route of the tramroad through the gateway is marked in the paving.

Bishop Property Development Delayed
Plans by Dick and Steve Bishop to redevelop the former industrial buildings along the southern half of Bakers Quay have been put on hold due to the change in the housing market. (Citizen 1 Dec 2008)

Help Needed at Purton Barge Graveyard  
Paul Barnett, chairman of the recently formed Friends of Purton, is keen to recruit like-minded people to act as guides to the hulks on the Severn foreshore, to take part in archaeological surveys, to participate in forthcoming research and to support the campaign to get official protection for the site. Contact Paul.

Heritage Boat Destined for Gloucester
The Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust has leased the heritage boat Renton from British Waterways and is due to base it in Gloucester docks. Renton is a former Grand Union Canal Carrying Co 'large Northwich' motor boat that has been shortened to 45ft to become an ice-breaking tug. (Waterways World Dec 2008)

Floating Walkway Beside Bakers Quay
A temporary walkway has been erected on pontoons beside Bakers Quay to allow pedestrians to divert around work needed to construct a new outfall for storm water from the new designer outlet centre. (Photo)

Plans for More Houses on Monk Meadow Quay
British Waterways have re-submitted outline plans for up to 142 dwellings on the southern half of Monk Meadow Quay (formerly Travis Perkins timber yard). All matters apart from means of access are reserved for future determination. (App Ref 08/01171)

Second Award for Purton Hulks
The Purton Hulks have again received national recognition at the Nautical Archaeological Society’s Annual Conference in Portsmouth. Following the Adopt a Wreck Award for 2007, the recently formed Friends of Purton were presented with the Society's Certificate of Merit for 2008 for their ongoing campaign to protect the unique collection of hulks on the foreshore of the River Severn at Purton.

New Road Bridge Opened
The completion of the new lift bridge built to carry St Ann Way over the canal was celebrated on 18 November by a ceremony attended by the Mayor and Sheriff of Gloucester and children from St Paul's primary school. (Photo) The bridge was officially named High Orchard Bridge after the old name of the adjoining land where the designer outlet shopping centre is under construction. The road was opened to traffic on 23 November. (More about High Orchard)

Knots Book Launched
Ben Selfe, who can often be seen demonstrating ropework on his boat at Saul Junction, was in the Heritage Centre on 16 November signing copies of his new book 'Knots for the Cut'. With clear illustrations, many in colour, the book covers topics such as mooring a boat, splicing and whipping, making fenders and fancy ropework.

Work Starts on Patch Bridge Replacement
Contractors Morrison Construction have started preparing the approach roads for a temporary fixed bridge at Shepherds Patch that will be installed in January to allow vehicles to cross the canal while the swing bridge is being replaced. The canal stoppage is due to last from 5 January to 3 April.

Waterways Museum Limited Opening
During the winter months (3 Nov to 1 April), the National Waterways Museum will be closed on weekdays during term time, except for groups by arrangement, but it will be open fully during school holidays.

New Life For Zodiac
The historic motorboat Zodiac, after many years on the G&S Canal on bank maintenance duties and later carrying fuel for the dredger, has been moved from storage at Sharpness to join the fleet of Birmingham-based society 'Moving Forward'. The society promotes engineering and hands-on skills for young people and aims to restore the boat to a condition suited to todays waterway activity environment.

Pirates Weekend at Gloucester
Over the weekend 25-26 October, thousands of people enjoyed a wide range of activities at Gloucester Docks linked to the theme of Pirates! The replica of Cabot's ship Matthew (pictured entering Sharpness on her way to the event) was a popular attraction as a pirate ship. (Photos of the event)

New Docks Pub Opens
The Inn on the Docks opened its doors in Llanthony Rd on 17 October with a live music evening. It occupies the former Sir Colin Campbell building, which has been extensively refurbished inside and out by the group behind the Coots cafe/bar on the other side of Llanthony Bridge.

New Life for Mud Hopper
A former mud hopper, recently fitted with a motor and wheelhouse at R W Davis & Son's yard at Saul, passed through Gloucester Lock on 17 October ready to start a new life. Now named Elver, she is due to carry aggregate from Ryall to the Cemex concrete works at Two Mile Bend. (Photo)

Work Starts on Sainsbury's Site
On 15 October, contractors started preparing the site for the new Sainsbury's food store in the Monk Meadow section of the Gloucester Quays development. Building work started on 27 October, and the store is expected to open in June 2009. 

Sunken Boat Raised
A narrow boat that had sunk at Saul Junction was raised on 10 October. It was initially dragged along under water until it was close to the crane in Davis's boatyard, and then it was lifted enough to allow the water to be pumped out. (Photo)

Barge Graveyard to be Featured on Coast
A BBC film crew has visited the Purton Barge Graveyard to record material for an edition of the Coast TV programme to be shown next spring. The piece will include a walk-through by presenter Neil Oliver.

Johanna Lucretia Sold
The topsail schooner Johanna Lucretia, which has for several years been moored in the Main Basin, has been sold to become a private yacht. She is due to remain at Gloucester over the winter whilst Tommi Nielsen's craftsmen carry out extensive refurbishment.

New Slipway At Sharpness
A new slipway for launching boats run by the Severn Area Rescue Association was formally opened on 3 October. The ceremony was performed by R.W.Bro.Benjamin Addy, the Assistant Grand Master of Mark Master Masons who gave £85,000 in recognition of the efforts of the SARA volunteers during the July 2007 floods in Gloucestershire. 

Farewell to Kennet
Tug Kennet, which for many years has been based at the National Waterways Museum, was collected by her new owner on 3 October. She was lifted on to a low-loader at R W Davis & Son's yard at Saul and taken by road to her new home at Sawley on the River Trent. (Photo)

Llanthony Hotel to Be Bigger?
The Ramada Encore hotel chain wish to have a larger hotel than was originally planned in the Llanthony section of the Gloucester Quays development. Gloucester city planners are being asked to approve an increase in the number of rooms from 80 to 120 and an increase in building height by one floor. (App Ref 08/01319)

Antiques by Boat
During the Antiques and Collectibles Fair at the docks over the weekend 27-28 September, a boat was moored by the North Quay with items of brassware for sale. (Citizen 2 Oct 2008)

Oliver's Swan Song
The cruise ship Oliver Cromwell left Gloucester on 27 September for a special 'swan song' trip to Sharpness and back. During the winter, the vessel is due to be fitted out as a static hotel and restaurant. (Photo)

Tug Kennet Sold
The colourful tug Kennet, which has for many years been based at the National Waterways Museum, has been sold following the death of her previous owner who had loaned her to the Museum. The new owner, an historic boat enthusiast, is moving her to the River Trent and intends to put her back close to her original design.

BBC Radio Visits Canal
Radio Gloucestershire presenter David Smith broadcast his afternoon programme from points along the canal on 23-25 September. Travelling by narrow boat, he talked with canal folk at Sellars Bridge, Patch Bridge and Gloucester Docks.

Gloucester Docks in Vogue
Scenes in Gloucester Docks are featured in a four-page advertisement for the forthcoming Gloucester Quays designer outlet centre in the October edition of Vogue magazine. Fashion models are shown posing beside or on board vessels at various locations around the docks. (Photo)

Towpath Re-opened
The towpath blockage at the construction site of the new canal bridge for St Ann Way has been removed. Pedestrians can now walk through the construction site between Llanthony Quay and Monk Meadow Dock, passing under the new roadway.

New Cafe at Saul
The Stables Cafe beside Sandfield Bridge opened on 10 September in a building that was formerly stables for the horses that towed vessels up and down the canal. The new cafe offers a range of light meals seven days a week. (More details)

Demolition Plan Withdrawn
Crest Nicholson have withdrawn their application, submitted in July, for permission to demolish the now empty Merchants Quay shopping mall.

New Office Development for the Docks
Ecclesiastical Insurance, currently based in Brunswick Rd, are planning to move to a new office development to be built on the current car park beside Southgate St. Construction is expected to start in the summer of 2009 with a move into the new building in 2011. (Citizen 4 Sep 2008)

Johanna Lucretia For Sale
The topsail schooner Johanna Lucretia, which has for several years been moored in the Main Basin, is for sale for £120,000 through R W Davis & Son at Saul and Rugby Boat Sales. Having been abandoned by her owner, British Waterways took possession of her and is selling with a view to recovering unpaid license and mooring fees.
Humber Keel Docks at Sharpness
The 72ft long Humber motor barge Eccles David docked at Sharpness on 29 August after a voyage around the coast from the River Trent. Now owned by David Lugg, she was built at Hull in 1922, carried grain on the Trent and Humber, and was later used to repair riverbanks. (Stroud Life)

A Sad End
The former canal dredger Thomas Fletcher was broken up for scrap in the dry dock at Sharpness at the end of August. (Photo)

2012 Flag Raised
The official London 2012 flag was raised at the North Warehouse during the Rock at the Docks concert on 24 August. The ceremony marked the official handover of the Olympic flag to London at the end of the Beijing Games and celebrated the choice of Gloucester’s GL1 as a training venue for gymnastics disciplines in 2012. (Photo)

New Role for Oliver Cromwell
The owners of the hotel boat Oliver Cromwell are intending to seek planning permission to use her as a floating hotel and restaurant that would be permanently moored in the docks. A special swan-song cruise on the canal will take place over the weekend 26-28 September. The smaller Edward Elgar will continue with regular cruises next year.

Coots Take On King Arthur
The operation of the cruise boat King Arthur, based at the National Waterways Museum, has been taken on by Cotswold Water Park Catering Services Ltd who already operate the Museum cafe under the name Coots. The company aims to develop conferencing at the Museum and to work with partners to develop events in the docks, such as their provision of a beer festival and live music component at the recent food and drink festival.

Plan to Extend Canalside Cinema
Peel Investments have applied for planning permission to extend the Cineworld cinema along the canal bank of the Peel Centre and to add four cafe/bar units at the south end. The extended cinema will have nine screens rather than the current six, seating arrangements will be improved and the external appearance of the building will be modernised. (App Ref 08/01116) (Illustration)

Kiosk Plan for New Square
Gloucester Quays have applied for planning permission for a kiosk in the new square being formed in front of Pillar & Lucy House. The kiosk will serve refreshments and is intended to help make the square a focal point of the Gloucester Quays scheme. (App Ref 08/01142) (Illustration)

Cargo Landed at Frampton Pill
A boat brought a symbolic bag of charcoal to Frampton Pill, to the west of Splatt Bridge, on 3 August to mark an ancient right of the residents of Frampton. The event was organised by BBC Radio Gloucestershire presenter Brian Bailey, using a boat manned by volunteers from the Severn Unit of the Maritime Volunteer Service. (Photo passing Sharpness: Mike Nash)

Sea Cadet Boats Return to Docks
Gloucester Sea Cadet boats have a mooring in the Barge Arm again after being forced to leave when the Arm was closed to facilitate nearby building work. In the interim, the boats have been based at Patch Bridge, and some boats will remain there as they are now used by other units in the Severn District. 

Canal Tugs For Sale
Former G&S canal tugs Speedwell and Primrose are for sale on Humberside with asking prices of £30,500 and £11,000 respectively. During her two years in the north-east, Speedwell's duties have included towing ships up to the jetty above the Dutch River Swing Bridge at Goole. (Sale details) (Photo: Peter Robinson)

Gloucester Taste Festival
People flocked to the docks on 2 August for a festival celebrating food and drink. Attractions included stalls selling local fruit and vegetables, cooking demonstrations producing tasty samples for visitors to try, and a cooking competition between branches of the armed services.

Surprise Visitor at Museum
After taking a photo of an exhibit at the recently revamped National Waterways Museum, a visitor was surprised to find the picture included a ghostly arm protruding from behind a barrel. Staff have previously reported hearing strange noises, seeing a mysterious man in black and feeling a tap on the shoulder, but this is the first time a ghostly image has been recorded. (Photo: via C Hayes) 

Suction Plant On The Move
The former mud suction plant at Purton was towed to Sharpness on 24 July by the tug Datchet from Bideford. The tug then went into the dry dock for a routine overhaul. (Photo: P Marks)

Sea Cadets Learn Boat Handling
Junior sea cadets from units in the Severn District were in Gloucester 18-20 July for a boating weekend, which included an opportunity to try their hand at pulling. (Photo)

Lifeboats Donated by Rotary
Four semi-rigid boats were presented by local Rotary Clubs to the Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service at a civic reception at the docks on 18 July. The boats are designed with flat bottoms to cope with flooded street environments. (Citizen 22 Jul 2008)

Plan to Demolish Merchants Quay
Crest Nicholson are seeking approval to demolish the Merchants Quay shopping mall and to make good the facade of Phillpotts Warehouse. (App Refs 08/01022 & 08/01023) Plans for a replacement building will follow.

Refurbishment of Stable Block
Work is underway to refurbish the former stable block at Sharpness Old Dock. The aim is to replace the roof and guttering, improve the brickwork and openings, and install enhanced toilet and shower facilities for those using the marina. (App Ref 07/2642) (Photo)

Tower Plan for Mill
Shipton Mill on the former Cadbury's site at Frampton has applied to Stroud District Council for planning permission to erect a 23 metre high glass-sided tower on top of the existing 25 metre high building. The additional accommodation is needed to house vital new equipment to secure future productivity of the mill, but there are local objections. (App Ref 08/1266)

Awards for Docks Developments
Two docks developments were winners in the 2008 Gloucester Civic Awards. Chapel [now Shipton] Square won the award for the most improved public area, and the Gloucestershire College won the award for the best climate friendly scheme. (Citizen 11 Jul 2008)

Fashion Shoot in Docks
Two models were photographed on a barge in the docks for an advertising campaign, due to appear in the magazine Vogue, to publicise the Gloucester Quays designer outlet centre. The couple, both wearing black, were photographed sitting at a table apparently sharing a bottle of wine. (Citizen 11 Jul 2008)

Another Great Saul Festival
The Saul Canal Festival held over the weekend 4 to 6 July provided visitors with a wonderful mixture of boats, music, trade stands and family entertainment. The award for the best boat in the parade went to the former lifeboat The Always Ready, restored by Craig Glassonbury of R W Davis & Sons at Saul Junction. (Pictures)

Replica Tug Launched
A replica of the tug Gloucester which towed working boats through the tunnels on the summit level of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal was launched at Sharpness on 4 July. She was built at Brimscombe by Simpson Boats, trading as Abdela & Mitchell, and is due to be available for hire throughout the year. (Photo)

Former Dredger Returns
The hulk of the former canal dredger Thomas Fletcher returned to Sharpness on 3 July and will probably be cut up for scrap.

Hopper Having Motor Installed
A former mud hopper is in the dry dock at Saul Junction to have its stern modified and a motor installed. The hopper is due to be used for moving aggregate down the River Severn. (Photo)

Side-Loader In Canal
A side-loader working in Nicks & Co's timber yard tipped into the canal on 25 June. Two mobile cranes were used to recover it on 27 June. (Photo)

College Plans Floating Restaurant
Gloucestershire College is carrying out a feasibility study into having a floating restaurant moored beside their Llanthony Campus. This could replace the college's current training restaurant in Cheltenham. (Citizen 23 Jun 2008)

Hotel Operator Named
The budget hotel under construction in conjunction with the Gloucester Quays designer outlet centre will be operated by the Travelodge hotel chain. The 96 room hotel is expected to be completed in May 2009. (Citizen 23 Jun 2008)

Bridge Fault Overcome
Netheridge Bridge was out of action on 16 June due to a mechanical fault, causing concern that the Trinity House vessel Mair would not be able to leave Tommi Nielsen's yard on schedule. Two days later, however, engineers overcame the fault just in time for the Mair to leave with minimal delay.

Russell Newbery Rally
Over thirty boats with Russell Newbery engines (or later derivatives) gathered in the new marina at Saul Junction over the weekend 13-15 June. The crews enjoyed a busy programme of talks, demonstrations, walks and musical entertainment. (Photo)

Chief Executive Hears Views
British Waterways chief executive Robin Evans attended a meeting of commercial and pleasure boat owners at Gloucester on 13 June. He heard strong views expressed about silting and vegetation along the River Severn and about winter bridge opening times and the lack of bridge lights on the G&S Canal.

Farewell to Mud Hoppers
Three former British Waterways mud hoppers left Sharpness on 9 June on their way around the coast to London. It is believed that they have been purchased by the Green Barge Co. (Photo: Mike Nash) 

Surveying Course at Purton
Hulks in the barge graveyard at Purton were used over the weekend 7-8 June for an introductory course on surveying foreshore wrecks organised by the Nautical Archaeology Society. Students were shown how to draw the plan of a hulk by measuring the sides of triangles and how to record details using a planning frame (as in the photo). Other topics were covered the following weekend.

New Life for Lifeboat
A 1930s Liverpool Class lifeboat The Always Ready has been lovingly restored at Davis's boatyard at Saul. She was involved in a famous rescue attempt in 1934 off Whitby when coxswain Robert Patten lost his life, and she later featured in national newspapers and Pathe newsreels. (Photo)

Survey for Aggregate Wharf
Depth soundings were recorded on 6 June around the proposed site for a new wharf for the concrete works near the former Two Mile Bend. The wharf is due to be used by barges bringing aggregate down the River Severn from Ryall.

Cable Tunnel Under the Canal
A guided drilling rig has been used to drive a small tunnel under the canal to carry power cables and other services between the Bakers Quay and Monk Meadow sections of the Gloucester Quays development.

Concern About Lack of Signal Lights
British Waterways director Simon Salem visited the canal on 2 June to hear serious concerns expressed by boaters about the instruction to bridgemen not to use the signal lights to control the passage of boats. He was taken by boat through all of the bridges to see the resulting difficulties for himself.

Bargain Hunt at Antiques Fair
Scenes for four episodes of the popular TV programme Bargain Hunt were filmed at the first Gloucester Antiques Fair held over the weekend 31 May-1 June. Pairs of contestants toured the stalls in and around the North Warehouse and selected items that will be sold later at auction to see who spotted the best bargains. (Photo)

Change of Boat Departure Point
Following a rearrangement of the National Waterways Museum site, the regular cruises by Queen Boadicea II will now depart from the quayside adjoining the Museum. Some special cruises will still use the quay opposite Merchants Quay.

Museum Reopens After Refresh
A ceremony was held on 23 May to mark the reopening of the National Waterways Museum following a major refreshment of the exhibits. After appropriate speeches, Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda cut a ribbon, helped by the Mayor of Gloucester and children from Hempsted Primary School. Then invited guests had a preview of the new displays before the Museum opened to the public on the following day. (Photo)

Bench in Memory of Father & Son
A bench has been placed on the North Quay at Gloucester in memory of Albert Tonks and his son Albert who both worked on vessels using the canal and both served for a time in the Royal Navy. More than 30 members of their family gathered for the dedication on 17 May.

Tits Make Nest in Post
A pair of Great Tits made a nest at the bottom of a hollow fence post near Sims Bridge. For a few days they frequently flew in and out bringing food for their young, but later the nest was abandoned. (Photo)

Two More Vans Leave Museum
Following the departure of three railway box vans from the National Waterways Museum last month, two more were taken away on 14 May to open up the quayside around the Museum. One of these went to the Severn Valley Railway and the other is going to Littledean Jail Museum.

New Cafe at Sandfield
Work is underway to convert the former stables beside Sandfield Bridge into a cafe to be known as The Stables Cafe.

Mooring Aids in Lock
Contractors have finished installing eight vertical mooring cables in the walls of Gloucester Lock. These will provide a safer means of mooring boats, avoiding the need for ropes to be adjusted as the water level in the lock changes. (Photo A Watts)

Outlet Centre Topped Out
Management and construction workers at Gloucester Quays gathered on 6 May to celebrate laying the upper level of concrete in the structure of the designer outlet centre. Among those attending the ceremony were Lindsay Ashworth, director of Peel Developments, and Robin Evans, chief executive of British Waterways, representing the two main organisations behind the project. (Citizen 7 May 2008) 

Duck Nest Surprise
While tidying the quayside at the National Waterways Museum, staff were surprised to find that a duck had made a nest in an old barrel. (Photo) The eggs later hatched out, but it is feared the ducklings were taken by predators.

Pillar Warehouse Refurbishment
Work has started on the refurbishment of the exterior of the Pillar Warehouse on Bakers Quay, also known as Pillar & Lucy House.

Mariners Chapel Closed Temporarily
The door of the Mariners Chapel was kept locked for a few days after an intruder kicked down the door of the vestry. The damaged door has been replaced, and the chapel is open again during the day.

Vans Leave Museum
Three railway box vans were taken away from the National Waterways Museum on 25-26 April to provide more space around the quayside. They were taken to the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway. (Photo)

Marina Opened
Saul Junction Marina was opened on 25 April by David Drew MP aboard the Cotswold Canals Trust's trip boat Perseverance. (Photo) The official party was followed into the marina by five other boats which all managed the turn into the entrance without difficulty.

Gloucester Through the Ages
Several historic re-enactment groups put on demonstrations in the docks and elsewhere in the city on 19 & 20 April. The crew of a boat, supposedly carrying Admiral Lord Nelson, demonstrated oar handling and the firing of a musket and a swivel gun. (Photo)

More Housing Proposed for Monk Meadow
British Waterways are seeking outline planning approval for a mixed housing development on the southern half of Monk Meadow Quay, currently occupied by the timber yard of Williams & Farmer. An indicative plan suggests the site could accommodate 73 town houses, 68 apartments and one feature detached house. (App Ref 08/00429)

Sellars Bridge Inspection
Sellars Bridge was closed to road traffic on 8 & 9 April to allow engineers to check the pivot and balance of the bridge in order to establish what needs to be done to reduce the effort needed to swing it.

Japanese Documentary
A Japanese film crew visited Gloucester docks on 6 April to film scenes for a documentary about English canals. They were delighted to be invited to film inside a narrow boat moored on the pontoons.

Young Gloucestershire in Harbour House
Young Gloucestershire, the leading youth work organisation in the county, has moved into Harbour House and the ground floor of Alexandra Warehouse, recently vacated by British Waterways. The charity provides programmes, services and events for young people between the ages of 8 and 24 years. (Website)

Hairdresser Open for Business
The Head Kandy hairdressing salon opened in the unit at the southern end of the Barge Arm East apartments at the beginning of April. The business is owned by local man Ryan Fortey who previously had a salon in Eastgate St.

Public Realm Phase 1b Completed
Work has been completed on the new paving and street furniture between the Southgate St entrance of the docks and the Mariners' Chapel and along to Llanthony Rd. This includes two retractable posts to limit vehicular access.

Presentation to Lock Keeper
Former Gloucester lock keeper Johnathan Chater was presented with the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators' award of Lock Keeper of the Year on 2 April. He will hold the shield for a year and will keep an engraved stainless steel lock windlass. (Photo)

Mooring Cables for Gloucester Lock
Contractors started installing mooring cables in the walls of Gloucester Lock on 28 March. While work is in progress over the next few weeks, passage through the lock will be restricted to fixed times.

Bridge Converted for User Operation
Equipment has been added to the bridge over the entrance to the Victoria Dock to allow it to be operated by boaters. A bridgeman will continue to operate the bridge at fixed times until all of the owners of boats in the marina have been shown how to do it for themselves.

Lifeboat Slipway for Sharpness
The Severn Area Rescue Association has been given £85,000 by the Masonic charity the Mark Fund of Benevolence. The money will be used to build a lifeboat launch slipway at Sharpness so that boats will no longer have to be winched into the river. (Citizen 24 Mar 2008)

Boat Horse at Saul
Prospective boat horse Gypsy Queen visited Saul Junction on 23 March to be introduced to boats for the first time. She was wearing a traditional style of harness that had been made specially for her. (Photo)

Shop Unit Being Fitted Out
The unit at the southern end of the Barge Arm East apartments is being fitted out for Head Kandy Hairdressing.

Wall to be Rebuilt
The brick wall on the north side of the Southgate St entrance to the docks, which for some time has been propped to stop it falling down, has been reduced in height and is due to be demolished. The original wall was measured and photographed so it can be rebuilt as close in appearance to the original as possible.

British Waterways Office Move
The Gloucester office of British Waterways moved on 16 March from Harbour House and the Alexandra Warehouse to the Dock Office adjoining the Commercial Rd entrance to the docks. This marks a return to the building that they occupied until 1988.

Body in Canal
A body was recovered from the canal near Saul on 13 March, believed to be that of a man who went missing two weeks earlier. Police appealed for any information about the incident. (Citizen 14 Mar 2008)

Dig Reveals Priory Outbuildings
An archaeological dig on the west side of the canal to the north of the new bridge has revealed masonry walls of buildings connected with the former Llanthony Priory. It is thought that they include the south gatehouse of the priory. (Photo)

Water Let Into New Marina
Water from the Stroudwater Arm began to be let into the new Saul Junction Marina on 6 March. One of the stop planks across the entrance was raised a few inches to allow the water to flow into the huge excavation in a controlled way over a period of a few days.

Former Bridge Keeper's Bungalow For Sale
Grade 2 listed Rea Bridge House at Quedgeley is being offered for sale for £425,000. It has two bedrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, study, bathroom, double garage and gardens.

Towpath Re-opened
The towpath between Sellars Bridge and Parkend Bridge, which had been closed due to concern about a slip in the canal bank, was re-opened on 1 March.

New Housing at Monk Meadow Quay
Bloor Homes opened a sales office on 1 March at their new canal-side site at Monk Meadow Quay to the south of Monk Meadow Dock. They have planning permission to build 131 houses, 90 flats and two blocks of offices/workshops. 

Wide Range of Tenders For Moorings
The highest tenders reported on for local British Waterways moorings on offer in February were £134/m at Splatt Bridge, £120/m at Purton South, £118/m at Sellars Bridge, £106/m at Parkend Bridge and £42/m at Monk Meadow. The current rates for these moorings vary from £105/m at Splatt Bridge to £88/m at Purton South.

Clearing the Marina Plug
A long-reach excavator began clearing the clay plug left across the entrance to the Saul Junction Marina on 26 February - with a view to letting water into the marina early in March. 

Man's Body in Canal
The body of a 66-year old man was found in the canal near Sellars Bridge on 24 February. The police appealed for information about the incident. (Citizen 25 Feb 2008) 

Mark Horton Visits Purton Hulks
Coast and Time Team presenter Dr Mark Horton has visited the Barge Graveyard at Purton and is backing Paul Barnett's campaign to get the hulks protected by official scheduling. (Photo)

Bridge to be User Operated
Work has started to make the bridge over the entrance to the Victoria Dock able to be operated by boaters. This has required temporarily stopping access across the bridge.

Entrance Wall Rebuilding Completed
The curved wall on the south side of the Southgate St entrance to the docks has been rebuilt after the original wall was demolished due to concern about its stability. The adjoining gateway, once used by the Gloucester & Cheltenham tramroad, has been reopened as a pedestrian access (although further surfacing work is planned).

Large Exhibits on the Move
The Bantam tug Walsall was eased out of the National Waterways Museum on 20 February to make way for a rearrangement of the Museum's displays. (Photo) Other exhibits removed were the bow of a narrow boat, a capstan and a warehouse sack chute.

Suction Plant Sold
The suction plant at Purton, formerly used to empty mud hoppers, was included in an on-line auction of surplus British Waterways workboats that closed on 14 February. It sold for £3,000.

New Cafe/Bar for Museum
The cafe at the National Waterways Museum has been renovated and enlarged by new management, and it reopened on 1 February with the name Coots. It has a large seating area with a licensed bar, and a separate room has a pool table and TV screen.

Historic Pub Demolished
The former Llanthony Bridge Inn and neighbouring buildings have been demolished to prepare the site between Llanthony Rd and Pillar & Lucy House for a new restaurant and bar quarter. (Photo) The inn was a popular haunt for dockers and watermen for over 130 years until it closed in 1972.

Masterplan for Bakers Quay
A master plan for land at the south end of Bakers Quay, owned by the Bishop family, has been prepared by architects and urban designers Broadway Malyan. After seeing the plan, the GHURC Design Review Panel asked for further work to be done on the project (GHURC Network News Jan 2008)

Sea Cadets to Moor in Docks
Gloucester Sea Cadets have been reallocated three mooring berths in the Barge Arm following the completion of regeneration work which had forced them to move out. The boats will be brought down from Tewkesbury when river conditions allow. (Citizen 30 Jan 2008)

Links Between City & Quays
The Gloucester Heritage Urban Regeneration Company has announced plans for four signposted pedestrian routes between the Gloucester Quays development and the city centre. Of the two routes to be developed first, one will be via the east side of the docks and Southgate St, and the other will be via the West Quay of the docks and the riverside Quay. (Citizen 23 Jan 2008)

Rope Guides Planned for Lock
British Waterways have applied for Listed Building Consent to fit eight rope guides in the walls of Gloucester Lock. The guides will be 4.2m in height, recessed into the stonework. (App No 08/00105)

Boaters to Operate Victoria Bridge
British Waterways have submitted plans to Gloucester City Council for the installation of equipment to automate the operation of the Victoria Bridge. This will allow boaters leaving or entering the Victoria Dock to operate the bridge themselves. (App No 08/00104)

Pontoon Sunk at Sharpness
The pontoon that used to carry the marina workshop sunk by the entrance to the Old Arm at Sharpness while being prepared for a new role. The location was marked with buoys for a few days until the pontoon was recovered.

Bridge Deck Moved into Position
The deck of the new bridge that will carry St Ann Way across the canal was moved into its operating position on 15 January. Having been assembled on a temporary framework on the west side of the canal, the 300 tonne lifting section was pushed in stages along rails until it spanned the canal and linked up with the fixed structure on the east side of the canal. The deck was partially lifted on 18 January to test the hydraulics, and it was fully lifted on 25 January to allow the tall ship Phoenix to pass down the canal. (Photos)

Restaurant Quarter Planned for Bakers Quay
Detailed plans have been submitted to Gloucester City Council for a two-storey building between Llanthony Rd and Pillar & Lucy House that will provide a high quality restaurant and bar quarter taking advantage of the canalside frontage. (Illustration) The former mill building on the corner of Llanthony Rd and Merchants Rd will be refurbished to provide residential accommodation. (App No 08/00017)

Food Store Planned for Monk Meadow
Detailed plans have been submitted to Gloucester City Council for a Sainsbury's food store and petrol filling station in the Monk Meadow section of the Gloucester Quays development. The plans show the store will have a restaurant and balcony overlooking the canal with direct access from the towpath. (Illustration) (App No 08/00090)

Railway Lines Exposed
Trial trenches dug on 9 January revealed a pair of railway lines parallel to the east side of the Victoria Dock just underneath the tarmac of the car park. (Photo) A second pair of lines shown on maps nearer to the dock had been removed, probably to allow the tarmac to be graded down to the dockside coping stones, and it is likely that these provided the material for the present stop-rail along the dock edge.

Masts Installed on New Bridge
The masts and cables that will stiffen the lifting section of the new bridge due to carry St Ann Way over the canal were installed on 8 January (Photo). 

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