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Gloucester Docks &
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News Archive 2011

Lucia Sunk
The former fishing boat Lucia has sunk at her mooring in Monk Meadow Dock, although the dock contains so much silt that her superstructure is still above water. She has been surrounded by a boom to contain any oil leakage. (Photo)

Culvert Maintenance
Contractors have been clearing out the brick culvert under the canal to the south of Saul Junction in preparation for reinforcing the interior. Work will also be done on Cambridge Arm and Stonebench culverts.

Partnership Members Wanted
The Canal & River Trust are looking for eight to twelve volunteers who would like to join the South Wales & Severn Waterways Partnership to advise on how local waterways are to be used and looked after. Candidates should have a broad spectrum of expertise in areas such as fundraising, volunteering, finance, planning and regeneration, environment, heritage, engineering, community engagement, and working with partners in local government.

Dockside Pub Re-opens
The Fosters pub on the East Quay of the Main Basin re-opened on 9 December with a new owner, and in the New Year it will be given a new name - The Quay.

Dredger Move Hampered
The Waterways Museum's steam dredger was moved away from its mooring on 7 December, but the operation was severely hampered by excessive silt in the Barge Arm. (Photo) After a short stay on the East Quay, on 12 December the dredger was moved across to the large dry dock to have its hull inspected and its boiler tubes replaced.

Dredging Successful
A survey has shown that the recent programme of dredging by the SiltTek water erosion dredger has been successful. There is now a good depth of water in the Main Basin at Gloucester, but there is still much silt in the Barge Arm.

Gloucester Brewery Open
The new Gloucester Brewery in Coots courtyard adjoining the Waterways Museum opened to the public on 3 December. Three grades of beer are on sale, and visitors can have a tour of the brewery.

Victory for Tommi Nielsen
T Nielsen & Co of Gloucester have been awarded a prestigious contract to work on the restoration of HMS Victory at Portsmouth in partnership with BAE Systems and Bell Rigging of London. Tommi Nielsen's men will be using traditional shipwright skills to replace planking and knees etc in the forward one-third of the hull.

Building on Monk Meadow Quay South
The first houses are under construction on the new Linden Homes development on the southern half of Monk Meadow Quay. The site will eventually comprise 104 dwellings.  

Partnership Chairmen Appointed
The Canal & River Trust, the new charity which is due to take over the role of British Waterways, has appointed Chairmen of local partnerships that will oversee the management of specific waterways. The South Wales & Severn partnership (which includes the G&S Canal) will be chaired by Jack Hegarty, managing director of Wychavon District Council (Photo), and the Museums partnership (which includes the Gloucester Waterways Museum) will be chaired by Laurence Newman, chairman of Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. (British Waterways press release 29 Nov 2011)

Gloucester Hoppers For Sale Again
Former local mud hoppers that left Sharpness in 2008 are for sale again at Tilbury. They were bought by the Green Barge Co for expected work related to the Olympic sites in east London, but the company has now abandoned any hope of such work. (Waterways World Nov 2011)

Gloucester Beer at Victorian Market
The first batches of Gloucester Gold and Dockside Dark beer from the new Gloucester brewery went on sale at the Victorian Market over the weekend 25-27 November. The market organised by Gloucester Quays attracted around 70,000 visitors. (Citizen 28 & 29 Nov 2011)

Merchants Quay Unveiled
The scaffolding has been removed from the side of the new Merchants Quay apartment block facing the Main Basin, showing all of the windows currently covered by shutters. 33 of the 48 apartments have already been sold, and they are expected to be ready for occupation in February 2012. (Photo)

Coal Boats on Canal
Narrow boats Bletchley and Argus made one of their regular visits in mid November to deliver coal to customers at various locations along the canal (Photo). To order coal or diesel for a future visit, phone Peter Hawker on 07984 900613.

More Dredging
Following concern about the effectiveness of the Land & Water dredger used in September, further work has been done at Gloucester with a larger water erosion dredger provided by SiltTek Ltd.

Brewing Started
The Gloucester Brewery in the Coots Courtyard started the process of brewing on 8 November. The beer should be ready to drink in a matter of weeks. (Citizen 9 Nov 2011)

Four Lifeboats
Four former lifeboats were moored beside the East Quay at Gloucester for the weekend 5-6 November to help raise money for the RNLI. One was from Saul, one from Sharpness and two from Portishead (Photo).

Wall Repairs
The mid-nineteenth century brick wall on the north side of the Southgate St entrance to Gloucester docks has been rebuilt as it was in danger of collapse. The curved wall on the other side of the weigh-bridge house has been repaired and repointed.

Council Staff Move
Gloucester city council staff have begun to move from the North Warehouse to other warehouses nearby as a first step in vacating the building prior to selling or renting it out.

Compost Plant Smell
When the organic composting facility at Sharpness re-started after improvements made during the summer, it still emitted a putrid pong and had to be closed down again. The operators think they have identified where the smell came from, and they expect to re-start imminently. (Citizen 29 Oct 2011)

Dredger Lottery Award
The Friends of Gloucester Waterways Museum have been awarded 43,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for repairs to the Museum's steam dredger, now recognised as the oldest steam dredger in Europe. The money will mainly be spent on a survey of the hull and the replacement of boiler tubes. (BBC Website) (Photo)

Memorial Tree and Plaque
On 30 October, a plaque was unveiled beside a tree planted by the local branch of the Inland Waterways Association on the canal bank between Sandfield and Fretherne bridges. The tree is in memory of the late Julia Hones, who had been an active member of the IWA in the Gloucester area and the Midlands Region, and the plaque was unveiled by Julia's sister in the presence of members of Julia's family and friends from the IWA. (Photo)

University Campus Open
A new campus for the University of the West of England was opened in the lower three floors of the Alexandra Warehouse on 28 October. It will provide degree level courses for nurses.

Using a Sky-hook
The masts of the classic yacht Halcyon have been varnished by two men in a cradle suspended from a crane. This saves the difficulty of disconnecting and re-connecting all of the rigging and electrical cables associated with removing the masts to work at ground level. (Photo: Susie Bayliss)

Possible New Museum
A museum dedicated to the Korean War could be established in the former office building between the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum and the Gloucester Yacht Club. Members of the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum are in talks with the city council and leading Korean businessmen who are keen to honour the role played by the Gloucestershire Regiment in the war. (Citizen 27 Oct 2011)

Merchants Quay
Some of the scaffolding around the new Merchants Quay building has been taken down, revealing the timber facing of the gable ends. (Photo)

Lock Warehouse
The warehouse beside Gloucester Lock, recently the home of the Gloucestershire Arts & Crafts Centre, is to be converted into 26 flats and 3,000 square feet of retail space. Barnwood Construction will start work in November, and the building should be ready for occupation in October 2012. (Citizen 20 Oct 2011)

Half a Dozen Cutters
The number of Bristol Channel pilot cutters at Tommi Nielsen's yard has increased to six with the arrival of the Cariad for overhaul. Including other vessels nearby, the number of masts visible has increased to thirteen. (Photos)

Lease for Sale
Following the demise of the Waterside Pub Partnership, the lease of the premises in Kimberley Warehouse currently occupied by Fosters restaurant/bar was put up for auction on 10 October but did not sell and was subsequently available for 160,000. (Details Lot 132)

New Waterways Charity
On 6 October, British Waterways announced that when the organisation becomes a charity next year, it will be known as the Canal & River Trust. The logo shows a swan in front of a bridge. (Photo)

Silt Concerns Eased
At the Canal Users Forum on 5 October, local British Waterways manager Nick Worthington acknowledged recent concerns about the high level of silt in the Main Basin at Gloucester, which had been made worse by low river levels during the very dry summer and increased pumping due to the number of big ships using Sharpness Dock. He promised that the current programme of dredging would continue and that ways were being sought to make it more effective.

Brewery Progress
Work is in hand on setting up a micro brewery in the former Waterways Museum workshops off Coots courtyard. It is expected that the first brew will be made at the beginning of November, and the brewery will be open to the public for tours and the sale of ales at the end of November. (Citizen 4 Oct 2011)

New Phase for Gloucester Quays
The Peel Group have announced plans for a 60 million development of their Gloucester Quays designer outlet centre. The plans include a ten-screen cinema on the first floor of the building between High Orchard St and Merchants Rd (Photo), a variety of restaurants in the neighbouring units and development of the existing cinema building to provide more shops etc overlooking the canal. (Citizen 27 Sep 2011)

Emergency Dredging
Following complaints from commercial operators about the high level of silt in the Main Basin at Gloucester, British Waterways have arranged an additional campaign using the Land & Water floating pump which stirs up the silt so that it can pass out through the sluices at the lock. (Photo)

Tasty Toasty
A toasted sandwich with a Mars Bar filling is proving very popular at the On Toast cafe on the West Quay at Gloucester. (Citizen 21 Sep 2011)

Partnership Chairman Wanted
An exceptional volunteer is wanted to chair the South Wales & Severn Waterways Partnership of the New Waterways Charity that will take over from British Waterways in 2012. Closing date for applications is 11 Oct 2011.

Bentley Car Gathering
Around 25 Bentley cars, dating from the 1920s to the present day, almost filled the Museum car park on 17 September while their owners visited the Museum and went for a cruise on King Arthur. The cars attracted much interest from passers by.

Concern About Accumulating Silt
Serious concerns have been expressed about the steady accumulation of silt in the docks and the limitations of the current efforts at dredging. If an adequate depth of water is not maintained, it will effect the viability of future tall ship festivals, Tommi Nielsen's shipyard, the lightship Sula and the hotel cruise boat Edward Elgar. (Citizen 10 Sep 2011)

Waterways Archives Leaving Gloucester
The Waterways Trust has announced that the fine collection of waterways archives, now stored on the top floor of Llanthony Warehouse, will be moving to Ellesmere Port at the end of the year, where it will be possible to provide better storage conditions.

More Houses for Monk Meadow Quay
Plans put forward by Linden Homes for 104 dwellings on the southern half of Monk Meadow Quay, while still providing for lorry access to the quay, were approved by Gloucester Planning Committee on 6 Sep 2011 (App Ref 11/00564). Work has already started on clearing the site, which was formerly occupied by timber merchants Williams & Farmers and then Travis Perkins.

Plan for Offices
Crest Nicholson have been given planning permission to change the use of the ground and first floors of Phillpotts Warehouse from retail to offices. The premises are currently used mainly as a marketing suite for the adjoining Merchants Quay development, and the change of use will only occur after the development has been completed. (App Refs 11/00820 & 00821)

Llanthony Litter Bins
Three litter bins have been installed along the canal towpath between Gloucestershire College and Sainsburys. These were instigated by the City Centre Community Partnership to combat a previously high level of litter in the area.

Arts & Crafts Centre
The Arts & Crafts Centre in the Lock Warehouse closed on 31 August, as the organisers could not obtain a lease for longer than three months at a time. They are hoping to open new premises closer to the city centre.

Tall Ships Festival
Huge crowds thronged the docks over the weekend 26-28 August to see on the water five tall ships, two lifeboats, canoes, narrow canal boats and a naval boarding party attacking one of the tall ships. (Photos) On land, visitors could enjoy a variety of living history characters, a funfair, circus acts, live music, classic vehicles, market stalls, local organisations and plenty of places for refreshments.

Organ Needs New Home
The old organ at the Mariners' Chapel is on offer to anyone who is willing to take it away. At one time played by poet and composer Ivor Gurney, it has been replaced by a newer organ donated by Gloucester prison. (Citizen 25 Aug 2011)

More Dredging
The Land & Water pump dredger was back at work in the Main Basin on 23 August to remove some recently discovered tumps of silt prior to the arrival of the deep draughted vessels attending the Tall Ships Festival at the weekend.

Lightship Weekend
Lightship Sula, based on Llanthony Quay, took part in the 16th International Lighthouse/Lightship Weekend 20-21 August. The lightship's radio room was brought to life by members of the Cheltenham Amateur Radio Association who were contacting many other enthusiasts around Europe and some in America.

Sharpness Houses for Sale
British Waterways has announced plans to sell the nineteen houses in Severn Rd and Great Western Rd, Sharpness, in one lot at an auction in September. The existing tenancy agreements will be protected. (BBC website 16 August)

Centenary Cruise
A good crowd gathered at Saul Junction on 12 August to wave off a flotilla of boats embarking on a cruise to Lechlade to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the last working boat to pass through Sapperton Tunnel on the Thames & Severn Canal. As the direct route is no longer available, some boats are going via the Midlands while others are travelling via the Severn Estuary and the Kennet & Avon Canal. (Photo)

Access to Pontoons
A ramp has been installed to give access to the pontoons beside Llanthony Quay to the south of lightship Sula.

Foliage Cleared from Lock Gates
With the crane barge in Gloucester Lock on 3 August, the opportunity was taken to use the cradle suspended from the crane as a work platform for removing accumulated mud and foliage from the outside of the lower lock gates. (Photo)

Lock Gate Jammed
When one of the lower gates at Gloucester Lock could not be closed, the crane barge was needed to lower a cradle to give a diver safe access to the water. On 3 August, the diver removed a piece of wood that was obstructing the lock cill and all was well. (Photo)

Dutch Rowers Visit Gloucester
A group of Dutch rowers in seven skiffs visited Gloucester on 27 July. They had rowed down the river from Stratford on Avon, and after an overnight stop, they rowed back to Upton on Severn. (Photo: Susie Bayliss)

New Dredging Boat
Contractors Land & Water have used a new boat to dredge the Main Basin by pumping water to stir up the silt which then flows out through the sluices at the lock.

Summer Evening Classes
Gloucestershire Adult Education are offering a range of evening classes in Llanthony Warehouse, covering creative writing, flower arranging, holiday Spanish, holistic relaxation, introduction to massage, jewellery design, look good feel good and photography.

Quays Food Festival
Large crowds were attracted to the Gloucester Quays Food Festival over the weekend 22-24 July, which also took over Llanthony Rd and the Waterways Museum car park. Visitors could enjoy tasty morsels from a wide range of food stalls and attend cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs. (Photo)

Award for Public Realm Project
Cheltenham-based Britannia Construction have received an excellent rating for the quality of their work on the paving, lighting and public art around the east and north sides of the Victoria Dock. The award scheme is run by the civil engineering industry to promote environmental quality. (Citizen 12 Jul 2011)

Brewery for Coots Courtyard?
Gloucester planners are considering a proposal to install a micro-brewery in a building off the Coots Courtyard that is currently the Waterways Museum workshop, where it is intended to offer brewery tours to members of the public and to sell bottled ale. (App Ref 11/00729) Equipment currently in the workshop is to be transferred to new premises being set up in the former toilet block in the Museum car park.

Piling Survey
Contractors, working from a pontoon, have started surveying the piling along Monk Meadow Quay prior to houses being built along the canal frontage. (Photo)

Uni in Move to Docks
Work is in hand to prepare the lower three floors of the Alexandra Warehouse for providing degree level courses for nurses organised by the University of the West of England.

Canal-side Attack
A woman was attacked as she walked her dog on the east side of the canal between Rea Bridge and Sellars Bridge on 28 June. A man punched her in the face and demanded everything she had but eventually ran off when she started screaming. (Citizen 30 Jun 2011)

Yacht Re-launched
After a thorough overhaul in Tommi Nielsen's workshops, the Bermudan sloop Kalistra was craned into the large dry dock on 20 June. Designed by Robert Clark as a smallish vessel for cruising, she was built in 1939 by Miller's of St Monance, Fife. (Photo)

Foster Bros Clearance
Work has started on clearing up the area around the former Foster Bros Oil & Cake Mills at the south end of Bakers Quay. Later additions to the listed building are being removed, and the quayside has been cleared of vegetation.

Missing Eggs
A mother duck must have wondered what had happened to her eggs after the boat she had laid them on moved away from Saul Junction. The seven eggs were laid in a decorative barrow of growing herbs on NB Platypus, and they were only noticed when the barrow was being transferred to the owner's new Dutch barge Ebenhaezer at Gloucester.

Composting Plant Closes
Following repeated complaints from Sharpness residents about the smell from the composting plant near the approach to the Old Dock, the owners of the plant have agreed to shut it down for two months to try to get the smell under control. (Citizen 15 Jun 2011)

Tramroad Bicentenary
Members and friends of the Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology gathered around the replica tramroad wagons near the Southgate St entrance to the docks on 4 June to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the opening of the horse operated tramroad to Cheltenham in 1811. Speakers outlined the history and features of the original tramroad and welcomed the installation of the replica wagons on the original line. (Photo)

Show Home Open
Features of the facilities that will be available in the new Merchants Quay apartments can now be viewed by potential purchasers in the marketing suite in Phillpotts Warehouse.

Kimbrose Ramp
The wheelchair ramp alongside the Kimbrose Steps has been opened for use. This allows wheelchair users to manage the change in level between the north-east corner of the docks and the new Kimbrose Square while following the new linkage route between Gloucester Quays and the city centre.

Addie Restoration
The former Gloucester tug Addie is now based at Goole, and a recent dry docking showed her hull plates are still in very good condition. Her owner has been working on her for ten months and is planning soon to take her on a cruise around the coast, possibly calling at Gloucester next year. (Photo)

Mayflower Anniversary
The former Gloucester tug Mayflower, the oldest steam tug in the world, has celebrated her 150th birthday by cruising around the Floating Harbour at Bristol. She has recently undergone a complete overhaul and refit, ready to resume trips in time for the opening of M Shed, the new museum that tells the story of Bristol.

Bakers Quay South
For Sale signs have been put up on the site at the south end of Bakers Quay which includes the former Foster Bros oil & cake mill and the former Downings malthouses. Site owner Dick Bishop said that interest had already been shown by eighteen different groups, raising hopes that new uses can be found for these historic buildings. (Citizen 30 May 2011)

Regatta Winners
At the Three Clubs Regatta over the weekend 28-29 May, the competition for the Best Dressed Boat with a Best of British theme was won by wide boat Chocolat based at Rea Bridge. (Photo) The Concours d'Elegance was won by Erossimo from Stourport.

Ecclesiastical Deal
Major local employer Ecclesiastical Insurance has signed a deal with the South West Regional Development Agency committing the firm to build new headquarters offices on the current Southgate St car park overlooking the Victoria Dock. Local consultancy firm Gleeds has been appointed to manage the project. (Citizen 26 May 2011)

North Warehouse
Gloucester City Council have ordered that leaflets be printed to promote the sale of the North Warehouse. The staff currently working in the building will be relocated to Herbert, Kimberley and Phillpotts Warehouses. (Citizen 20 May 2011)

Back Badge Plaque
A plaque commemorating the official opening of Back Badge Square by the Duke of Gloucester on 20 April has been erected on the wall between the square and Pridays Mill.

Sharpness Night Manning
British Waterways have announced that from 9 May, they will no longer be manning Sharpness Port at night unless a ship passage is booked in advance. For details, see the stoppage notice on their Waterscape website.

Farewell to HMS Gloucester
Personnel from HMS Gloucester assembled on the North Quay on 7 May and then marched through the city to a service in the cathedral. This is the last time for such an event as the ship is being decommissioned and there are no plans to use the name again.

Body in the Canal
A body was recovered from the canal to the south of High Orchard Bridge on 4 May. It has been identified as that of a young man who had gone missing on his way home to Hempsted after a night out in Gloucester. (Citizen 5 & 6 May 2011)

Deer in Canal
The Fire Service launched their boat from Rea Bridge on 30 April to rescue a deer that had fallen into the canal and could not get out. The deer was not injured and just walked away. (Citizen 2 May 2011)

Canal Downgrade?
As part of the consultation on the proposal to transform British Waterways into a charity, the Government is considering downgrading the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal from a commercial waterway to a cruiseway. The aim is to save the charity from the obligation to dredge the canal, but this will make it more difficult for tall ships to visit Gloucester in the future. (Have your say)

Tall Ships Festival
Four ships have agreed to attend a festival at Gloucester over the weekend 26 to 28 August with a flotilla of smaller craft and numerous on-shore activities. The ships coming are the brig Phoenix, three-masted schooner Kathleen & May, ketch Irene and Cornish lugger White Heather.

Body in Canal
A man's body was recovered from the canal near Monk Meadow Quay on 25 April. The death is not being treated as suspicious. (Citizen 26 Apr 2011)

Bishop Visits Saul
The Bishop of Gloucester visited Saul Junction on 24 April to bless the narrow boat Juliana which will be home to the Rev Mark Walker from Australia who will be providing Christian ministry as he travels the local waterways. (Citizen 27 Apr 2011)

Back Badge Square
The Duke of Gloucester visited the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum on 20 April to unveil a plaque officially naming the nearby Back Badge Square and to open an exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Imjin River in the Korean War. (Photo)

Adopting the Towpath
Following a meeting with British Waterways staff on 16 April, Gloucester Yacht Club members have formally agreed to adopt the west side of Gloucester Docks and the towpath down to Sainsbury's for a trail period of six months. Once they have been trained, they will collect litter, carry out minor maintenance tasks and help the lock keeper on busy days.

Stables Cafe
The Stables Cafe has been refurbished after a fire in the kitchen, and the venue reopened on 11 April.

Jumble Crowds
Hundreds of visitors attended the annual Boat Jumble and Waterways Festival organised by the Friends of the Waterways Museum on 10 April. As well as stalls offering new and used bargains, entertainment was provided by the band of the local sea cadets and folk group Bees Knees, and the Friends demonstrated boaters crafts and steam powered duck racing. (Photo)

Docks Property Transfer
In preparation for the demise of the South West Regional Development Agency, the Government has agreed that their property in Gloucester, including most of the eastern half of the docks estate, can be transferred to the City Council. This will allow the Council to continue the redevelopment of the Southgate Street car park, due to become the site of offices for Ecclesiastical Insurance, and Nos 23-29 Commercial Rd. (Citizen 9 Apr 2011)

Purton Hulks Safety
Following the development of a Site Management Plan for the Purton Hulks, British Waterways have begun implementing a number of measures to mitigate Visitor Safety Risk. These include creating three formal access points and closing informal access, installing safety signs, and covering some of the larger holes and removing sharp metal work on the concrete barges.

Llanthony Towpath Tidy
The towpath from Gloucestershire College to High Orchard Bridge was given a face-lift on 5 April by the combined efforts of volunteers from the City Centre Community Partnership and College students. The work included a thorough litter-pick and the clearance of unsightly scrub.

Freedom Parade
Soldiers from the Rifles Regiment paraded beside the Victoria Dock on 2 April to receive the Freedom of the City from Gloucester Mayor Jan Lugg. Later the soldiers marched through the city to a service at the Cathedral commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Imjin during the Korean War.

Massey Shaw for Overhaul
The London fire boat Massey Shaw, famous for its role in rescuing troops from Dunkirk, arrived in Gloucester on 1 April for a major restoration by Tommi Nielsen's craftsmen. (Photo) Built in 1935, the vessel played a vital role during the London blitz and continued in service until 1971. After a period of dereliction, she was rescued by a group of enthusiasts and is now being restored with the help of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. (Website)

Merchants Meeting Rooms
The County Council Adult Education Team are offering businesses five new meeting rooms with a range of training facilities on the fifth and sixth floors of Llanthony Warehouse. Each room is named after one of the merchants who were once associated with the docks: Joseph Sturge, James Shipton, John Biddle, William Partridge and Samuel Herbert.

Information Office Closure
The Gloucester Docks Information Office in Albion Cottages closed to the public on 31 March. Matters relating to security and/or the dock-side areas will continue to be dealt with via the usual phone number (01452 311190).

Gate Maintenance at Sharpness
Maintenance work is in hand at Sharpness to repair the gate seals and cill of the inner lock and also to replace the track and to repair the cill of the outer gates.

Stables Fire
A fire broke out in the kitchen of the Stables Cafe adjoining Sandfield Bridge during the evening of 18 March. It was spotted and extinguished before much structural damage occurred, but the kitchen area was badly affected by smoke and the cafe may not reopen until Easter.

Piling for Rowing Club
On 14 March, contractors began driving piles along a short length of the canal bank about 300 yards south of Hempsted Bridge. This is the first step in providing a launching ramp for Gloucester Rowing Club, who are planning to build a new club house on the land behind. (Photo)

Bridge Hydraulic Unit Repaired
Purton Upper Bridge had to be left across the canal for a few days, starting 14 March, while the hydraulic ram unit was removed for urgent maintenance and repair.

Paddle Repair
Divers were in action on 8 & 9 March to repair a damaged paddle rod beside the upper gates of Gloucester Lock. It is thought that some debris had been trapped when the paddle was being closed, and the power of the hydraulic ram caused the rod to buckle.

Scrap to Liverpool
Recycling specialists EMR at Sharpness have established a new traffic for the port - shipping scrap cars to Liverpool, where the company has a plant for separating out the various components in accordance with the latest regulations. (Photo: Mike Nash)

Heritage Centre Phone
The Cotswold Canals Trust's Heritage Centre at Saul can now be contacted by phone - 07854 026504. The centre is only staffed at weekends, but an answering service will record messages left at other times.

Kennet in the North West
Tug Kennet which was moored at the Waterways Museum for many years is now based near the northern end of the Trent & Mersey Canal. She is now owned by boatbuilder Tim Leach who runs Dutton Dry Dock at the southern entrance of Preston Brook tunnel.

Timber Shed Demolished
The old timber shed to the north-east of the High Level Bridge at Sharpness was demolished in late February. It was one of several put up a century ago for storing 'the higher class of timber', but it has not been used for many years. (Photo: Mike Nash)

Daredevil Book Signing
Former stunt-man Dick Sheppard signed copies of his book 'My Wild Life in Gloucestershire' at the Waterways Museum on 26 February. He was also showing a model of the locally owned schooner Lucy Johns, made for him by his father and incorporating the ship builder's original half-model.

Hulks Status Recognised
The remains of vessels on the Severn foreshore at Purton have been recognised as the largest assemblage of maritime hulks to lie on the English shoreline. This finding comes from the national Hulk Assemblages Survey, financed by English Heritage and due to be published later this summer. (Citizen 25 Feb 2011)

Merchants Quay Progress
Work on the foundations of the two Merchants Quay buildings is well advanced. The concrete floor of one building can be seen together with the bases of some structural columns. (Photo)

Seaman Missing
A Turkish seaman was reported missing from the MV Neri in dock at Sharpness. He said he was going ashore to do some shopping, but he had not returned by 11 pm, and the ship left without him. (Citizen 22 Feb 2011)

Llanthony Litter Pick
Prompted by the City Centre Community Partnership, a group of students at the Gloucestershire College have agreed to pick up litter along the canal side between the College and Sainsbury's using equipment provided by the Partnership.

Toast Restaurant on West Quay
A new speciality restaurant on the West Quay at Gloucester was formally opened on 19 Feb by the Mayor of Gloucester, Councillor Jan Lugg. (Photo) The restaurant serves a wide range of toast dishes, together with tea or coffee.  

Overhaul for Offices
Scaffolding has been erected around 27-29 Commercial Rd to facilitate essential maintenance work. The building once provided offices for merchants trading in the docks but is now unoccupied awaiting redevelopment.

Current Conditions at Sharpness
A new page on the website of the Gloucester Harbour Trustees displays current tidal and weather conditions at Sharpness, automatically updated every two minutes. Also shown are recent changes in the height of the tide and the barometric pressure.

Transient at Work
The giant barge Transient, which was once based in Gloucester with a view to bringing gravel down the Severn to a concrete plant at Two Mile Bend, is now working on the Thames. Renamed Green Transient, she is helping with the removal of spoil from the shaft being dug at Beckton for the Lee branch sewer of the new Thames Tunnel. (Waterways World Feb 2011)

New Pub Planned
Wolverhampton-based Marston's Inns & Taverns has bought land at Monk Meadow for a new public house. The site is on the north side of St Ann Way, opposite to Sainsbury's. (Citizen 29 Jan 2011)

Updated Masterplan
An updated masterplan for the docks has been prepared by LDA Design, highlighting the remaining development opportunities in the part of the docks owned by the South West Region Development Agency. The sites include the present car park (expected to be occupied by offices for the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group), 23-29 Commercial Rd, land to the south of the Victoria Dock and land between Victoria and Britannia Warehouses. (GHURC Newsletter Jan 2011)

Tall Rowers Wanted
Tall people are being sought to join the newly-launched Rowing 'Start' Academy using facilities at Hartpury College and Gloucester Rowing Club. The 'Stand Tall' campaign is open to men more than 190cm tall and women more than 180cm who are in the age range 15 to 18 and have the ambition to represent their country. (Citizen 24 Jan 2011)

Appeal for a New Lifeboat
The Sharpness Branch of the Severn Area Rescue Association is aiming to raise 60,000 to replace one of their lifeboats that is now eleven years old. They are hoping the new boat will be available by the autumn. (Citizen 22 Jan 2011)

More Signs for Llanthony Bridge
Following complaints from the public, County Highways have erected more signs warning that cars are not allowed to cross Llanthony Bridge. Although most motorists are now aware of the ban, around 30 cars a day are receiving penalty notices after being recorded by the enforcement camera. (Citizen 14 Jan 2011)

Marketing Gloucester Move
Following a restructuring of Marketing Gloucester, the remaining staff moved from Alexandra Warehouse to the GHURC offices in Ladybellegate St on 14 January.

Archaeology Protected
The foundations of a gatehouse of Llanthony Priory beside the canal towpath north of High Orchard Bridge have been covered over at last after remaining exposed since they were revealed in an archaeological excavation in 2008. The work was done following pressure from English Heritage and local community groups.

Green Team at Rea Meadow
On 8 Jan, volunteers made a good start on cutting back scrub that was encroaching on the meadow along the top of the spoil bank south of Rea Bridge. (Photo) To join future work parties on the second Saturday of each month, contact 

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