MAIN SECTIONS >  Home  Gloucester Docks  Sharpness Docks  G&S Canal  Vessels  People  Studies
NEWS ARCHIVE PAGES >  News Archive Index  Return to News

Gloucester Docks &
the Sharpness Canal


News Archive 2012

New Gym
The Gym on the corner of Bakers Quay and Llanthony Road was officially opened by the Mayor of Gloucester on 19 December.

Balmoral Laid Up
The passenger ship Balmoral which usually runs occasional trips in the Bristol Channel from Sharpness will not be operating in 2013 as her owners have decided to concentrate their resources on their other ship Waverley. Instead, Balmoral will be looked after on a care and maintenance basis by volunteers in Bristol while alternative ways of utilising the ship are explored. (Website)

Dredging Trial Outcome
Following three weeks operation of the Land & Water cutter suction dredger costing £115k, a hydro-graphic survey has shown that almost 9000 cubic metres of silt were removed from the Main Basin and the canal down to Monk Meadow, leaving mid-channel depths generally in excess of four metres. As the silt was pumped directly into the river, by agreement with the Environment Agency, the operation is considered cost effective compared with other projects involving off-site disposal. (CRT)

World Cycling Record
After ten days pedalling in a marquee beside the North Warehouse at Gloucester, on 18 December Jamie McDonald beat the world record for the longest continuous cycle ride on an exercise bike, and he continued pedalling for two more days. Prior to this, Jamie had completed an amazing cycle ride from Bangkok to Gloucester to raise funds for the Pied Piper Appeal. (Facebook)

Tall Ships 2013
Gloucester City Council has confirmed that there will be a Tall Ships Festival in the docks over the late May Bank Holiday weekend. Further details will be announced in due course.

North Warehouse Sharpness
Contractors have completed repairs to the roof of the North Warehouse at Sharpness and made the building weather-proof. Work has included re-slating, new baghouses and winch housing, relining guttering, refurbishment of downpipes and shuttering of open windows. (Photo: CRT)

Sunken Boat
A boat has sunk at the northern end of the former Oil Depot Wharf to the north of Sellars Bridge. A warning notice marks the location.

Llanthony Warehouse Car Park
Terms have been agreed between Peel and the Canal & River Trust to lease the Llanthony Warehouse car park for use as a new public events space. (CCCP Update)

Waterways Museum Award
Gloucester Waterways Museum has been recognised as a "quality assured" visitor attraction by Visit England. Mystery shoppers visited the Museum at the end of October and made a number of anonymous telephone calls and emails to assess the Museum for its customer service. (ThisIsGloucestershire website 19 Nov 2012)

Gloucester Brewery Anniversary
Gloucester Brewery held an open day on 17 November to celebrate the first anniversary of their opening. To mark the occasion, they have created a new brew called Dr Foster's Puddle & Spice, said to be a warm and malty wheat beer with hints of festive spices.

Severn Rd
Following the removal of the scaffolding from around the Lock Warehouse, two-way traffic has been re-established along Severn Rd.

North Warehouse
Contractors have started work on refurbishing the interior of the North Warehouse to provide a suite of serviced offices for the Regus Group.

Docks Public Realm
The contract for managing the eastern side of the docks on behalf of Gloucester City Council and the Gloucester Docks Estate Company has been awarded to the Peel Group which owns the Gloucester Quays Shopping Centre. The new arrangement covers the cleaning, maintenance and landscaping of the public areas to ensure they are welcoming and attractive. (Punchline e-zine)

Poppies for Museum
To mark Remembrance Sunday and the associated Poppy Appeal, the Commercial Rd frontage of the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum has been decorated with strings of poppies running from the roof line to the ground.

Purton Lower Bridge
Contractors May Gurney started work on upgrading the electrics of Purton Lower Bridge on 5 November.

Dredging Started
On 5 November, dredging contractor Land & Water started a trial of cutter suction dredging to remove silt from the Main Basin. It is expected that this will be more efficient than the water erosion dredging used in recent years. (Photos)

Orienteering Course
A Fixed Orienteering Course for the docks has been created by the Gloucester City Centre Community Partnership. A map of the course can be downloaded as a 2 MB pdf, or copies are available from the Waterways Museum, the Regimental Museum and the Tourist Information Centre.

Square Sail for Sale
The Square Sail company that owns three tall ships which have often visited Gloucester is for sale for around £4.4m. As well as the ships Kaskelot, Earl of Pembroke and Phoenix, the assets include Charlestown harbour and some development land. (Details)

Dredging Equipment Arrives
Dredging contractor Land & Water began setting up equipment on the West Quay on 30 October in preparation for a trial of cutter suction dredging in the Main Basin due to start in November. The footpath over the dry dock gates is diverted round Severn Rd and Llanthony Rd.

Show Apartment Open
A show apartment on the first floor of the Lock Warehouse was officially opened by Gloucester MP Richard Graham on 25 October. A quarter of the apartments have already been sold.

Partnership Vacancies
The South Wales & Severn Partnership is seeking two new members with expertise in areas like volunteering, fundraising, environment, heritage and community engagement to help shape plans for the future of local waterways. The closing date for applications is 12 Nov 2012.

Floating Surgery
Stroud MP Neil Carmichael held a surgery for his constituents on the Cotswold Canals Trust's trip boat Perseverance while cruising between Slimbridge and Hardwicke. (Citizen 10 Oct 2012)

Concrete Barge
The concrete barge that was once an exhibit at the Waterways Museum has sunk at its mooring near the old Marshfield timber pond south of Purton. Only the tiller is visible above water, and boaters are advised to be careful.

Quays Crane
A huge crane was erected on 4 October between Merchants Rd and High Orchard St to help in the construction of the new multi-screen cinema in the Gloucester Quays shopping centre. (Photo)

North Warehouse Refurbishment
Plans to refurbish the interior of the North Warehouse to provide a suite of serviced offices for the Regus Group were approved on 2 October. The top floor will be retained by the City Council, including the existing council chamber and mayor's parlour, and a new committee room will be formed in place of the sheriff's parlour and the silver display area. (App Ref 12/00764)

New Gym
On 17 September, work started on the creation of a new 24-hour budget gym on the corner of Llanthony Rd and Bakers Quay. Contractors are fitting out a unit for the Gym Group who operate a chain of gyms around the country.

New Quays Cinema
Work has started on the creation of a new multi-screen cinema in the Gloucester Quays shopping centre. Hoardings have been erected in Merchants Rd and High Orchard St.

Albion Cottages
A planning application has been submitted for change of use of No 1 Albion Cottages from offices to one three-bedroom house. (App Ref 12/00720)

Lock 200
The 200th anniversary of the opening of Gloucester Lock to commercial traffic was celebrated on 8 September with a gathering of decorated boats in the Main Basin and stalls on the North Quay. Two boats re-enacted the original opening, rising in the lock to the sounds of a band playing, a gun firing and spectators cheering. (Photos)

New Therapy Clinic
The Align Therapy Clinic has opened in a unit on the West Quay at Gloucester. It offers a wide range of healthcare services, including osteopathy, physiotherapy, chiropody and beauty therapy.

Work has started on landscaping the strip of land between the Sula lightship and Llanthony Priory. The area has been fenced-off, the weeds sprayed and undergrowth cleared.

North Warehouse, Sharpness
Contractors have re-battened the roof, removed the four baghouses which were beyond repair and reconstructed much of the box guttering. The main trusses on either side of each baghouse were found to have more decay than was expected due to long-term water ingress, and a structural engineer was preparing details for splicing and plating in new sections of Douglas Fir to match the originals.

Weighbridge House
A planning application has been submitted for the Weighbridge House at the Southgate St entrance to the docks to be used as a barber's shop. (App Ref 12/00836/COU) Contractors have started work on the inside of the building.

Gloucester Through the Ages
Over the weekend 1-2 September, visitors to the docks were entertained by a variety of re-enactment groups on land and water, including Redcoat soldiers from the Napoleonic War period. (Photo: Paul Guy)

Over the Weir
A fleet of small boats from Lydney Yacht Club arrived at Gloucester Lock on 1 September having come up the river just behind the bore tide and passed over Llanthony Weir. Another boat went up the West Channel, over Maisemore Weir and down the East Channel to Gloucester Lock. (Photo)

Coots Closed
The Coots cafe/bar that occupied the buildings adjoining the Waterways Museum closed on 31 August.

Appeal for Volunteers
The Curator of the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum has appealed for volunteers to help prepare for a major refreshment project expected to be supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Tasks needing help include cataloguing, research and conditioning silver and plate, while anyone with IT skills or shop experience would also be welcome. (Citizen 21 Aug 2012)

Filming Father Brown
The Waterways Museum's quay was brightly illuminated during the evening of 14 August for filming a scene for a new BBC daytime TV drama series about the exploits of Father Brown. The ten-part series has been commissioned to mark the centenary of G K Chesterton's stories about a Catholic priest who excels at solving crimes. (Photo: Paul Guy)

Olympic Legacy
Following the successes of Team GB's rowers in the Olympics, Gloucester Rowing Club has been inundated with inquiries from people wanting to take up the sport. Sixty people have signed up to join its beginners course in September. (Citizen 8 Aug 2012)

Lottery Money for Museum
The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum is in line for a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help rejuvenate and expand the museum. The trustees have received a Stage 1 award that will help them to finance the development of a Stage 2 bid for the major grant.

North Warehouse Sharpness
Contractors May Gurney are carrying out repair work on the historic North Warehouse at Sharpness. In early August, they were stripping the slates, removing debris and exposing the bag houses which are in an extremely parlous state.

Promoting the Canal & River Trust
A representative of the new charity that has taken over the responsibilities of British Waterways is often to be seen at the head of the Barge Arm talking to members of the public about the change and recruiting Friends of the new charity. He is also to be seen occasionally at Saul Junction and other waterways sites.

Award for Public Realm
The recent work around the north and east sides of the Victoria Dock has been given a Civic Award for the most improved public area in Gloucester. The award recognises the new paving, lighting, seating and pleached trees and the re-siting of an old crane. (Citizen 30 Jul 2012)

Bell Rung for Olympics
As part of a national project to mark the beginning of the Olympics by ringing bells, Gloucester Civic Trust guides rang the Atlas Bell on the corner of the North Warehouse for three minutes starting at 8.12 am on 27 July. At the same time, a resident of the West Quay apartments joined in by ringing a hand bell on their balcony. (Photo: A Conder)

Hotel Boat for Sale
The paddle-wheeler hotel boat Oliver Cromwell, currently moored at Alexandra Quay, is for sale with an asking price of £325,000. Facilities include a function room/restaurant with dance floor, a lounge, an open upper deck and 22 en suite cabin bedrooms. (Details)

Nielsen Base for Olympic Cauldron
Craftsmen from T Nielsen & Co made the base for the cauldron to carry the Olympic flame down the Thames on board the replica royal barge Gloriana. The cylinder is formed from strips of wood from each type of tree native to the UK. (Photo)

New Canal Map
A detailed and attractive map of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, with interesting text and photographs, was published on 16 July. The map gives current and historical information of interest to walkers and boaters, including local facilities and mooring sites.

Welcome to Canal & River Trust
Business and community leaders gathered at the Waterways Museum on 12 July to celebrate the transfer of responsibility for local canals and rivers from British Waterways to the Canal & River Trust. After hearing speeches and a message from Prince Charles, patron of the new charity, those present enjoyed a trip down the canal on King Arthur and then drank a toast to the new charity. (Photo)

Poster Exhibition
A temporary exhibition of posters for the Mikron Theatre Company that travels around the country by boat performing at waterside venues opened at the Waterways Museum on 3 July. It will continue until September.

New Charity Takes Over
Canal structures were decorated with flags on 2 July to mark the Canal & River Trust taking over responsibility for 2000 miles of canals and rivers in England and Wales from British Waterways. This new charity aims to benefit by working with local communities, by harnessing the work of volunteers and by seeking donations and sponsorship. (Website)

Buddhist Ceremony
During a four day visit to the SULA Lightship, Japanese Shingon Buddhist Master Eimei Kawakami ordained nine local people as priests in the Shingon Buddhist tradition on 26 June. The Gloucester Buddhist Centre on the Lightship aims to give support to local communities and to facilitate de-stress and meditation classes on board.

Shops for Cinema Site
Gloucester planners have given approval for the Peel Centre cinema alongside the canal to be transformed into five retail units for the sale of bulky items. This opens the way for work to start on the creation of a previously approved multi-screen cinema in the buildings of the Gloucester Quays outlet centre between Merchants Rd and High Orchard St. (Citizen 14 Jun 2012) (Pictures)

Kaskelot For Sale
The barque Kaskelot that has often visited Gloucester is for sale with an asking price of £549,000 (Link). In recent years, she came for filming Amazing Grace, for the 2009 Tall Ships Festival and for overhauls in dry dock.

Body in Canal
The body of a 39 year old man has been recovered from the canal to the north of High Orchard Bridge. Police are seeking help from the public about the man's last movements and about a black leather jacket found on the bridge. (Citizen 9 Jun 2012)

Jubilee Regatta
Boats from Stourport and Gloucester gathered in the Main Basin for a special Jubilee Regatta over the weekend 2-3 June. The decorated boats made a fine show, and crews took part in a series of water-based games. (Photo)

Marketing Office
A marketing office for apartments in the Lock Warehouse was opened on the opposite side of Severn Rd at the end of May. The various designs of one and two bedroom apartments are named after merchants that used the building for storage, such as J & C Sturge, Spillers & Bakers and Gopsill Brown.

2 Albion Cottages
The right-hand half of the pair of cottages near the Southgate St entrance to the docks has been occupied since March by the Mariners (the community that worships at the nearby chapel). The Chaplain has an office there, and other rooms are used for midweek meetings and for children's activities on Sunday mornings.

Lock Gates Repaired
Access through Gloucester Lock was restricted on 30 and 31 May while contractors replaced planks on the upper gates. (Photo)

Mair Delayed
Following an overhaul in the small dry dock at Gloucester, survey ship Mair was delayed in the Main Basin on 30 May because the High Orchard Bridge could not be opened.

Olympic Flame at Gloucester Docks
A huge crowd gathered on the North Quay to watch the Olympic flame start its journey through Gloucester on 24 May. The torch bearer for the first leg was George Livingstone-Thompson from Maisemore who helps those with disabilities to lead more active lifestyles and try new sports. (Photo)

TS Jack Petchey
The motor powered training ship Jack Petchey called at Gloucester on 17 May, bringing a party of sea cadets who had spent a week experiencing life on board a ship while cruising around the coast of Britain. A new group of sea cadets went on board at Gloucester, and the ship departed for another week's cruise. (Photo)

Canal Webcam
A webcam on the Pilot Inn at Hardwicke gives a view of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal which is updated frequently. (Link)

Dragons Draw Crowds
Crowds thronged the quays around the Main Basin on 13 May to watch a series of dragon boat races and to browse a variety of stalls and entertainments. The event was organised to raise money for the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent. (Photo)

Kennet for Royal Pageant
Tug Kennet, which was moored at the Waterways Museum for many years, will be taking part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June. 

Farewell to Wye Trow
The recently launched replica of a Wye Trow, built by T Nielsen & Co, left Gloucester by lorry on 8 May for a naming ceremony at Hereford ahead of taking part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June. Before departure, she was lifted on to trestles and given a fresh coat of paint to be ready for the ceremony. (Photo)

Fugitive Jumped into Canal
Following a burglary at a house in Hempsted in the early morning of 4 May, police chased a suspect to the canal bank near Sainsbury's where he climbed on to a canal boat and then jumped into the water. The officers followed him into the water and made an arrest. (Citizen 5 May 2012)

Dredging Forum
Following concerns about high levels of silt in the basin at Gloucester last summer, British Waterways arranged a meeting of stakeholders on 1 May to explain current dredging practice and possible future developments. Studies over the winter have improved the effectiveness of the current water injection dredging technique, and to obtain further benefits it is proposed to try cutter suction dredging, by which silt is pumped through a long pipe back into the river.

East Quay Open
The quay in front of the new Merchants Quay apartments has been cleared of builders' equipment and is open for use by pedestrians.

Stop Gates Put In
Following record rainfall in April, the River Severn at Gloucester rose to the level that required the stop gates at Gloucester Lock to be closed on 30 April to protect the basin from possible flooding.

Dredger Returns to Museum
Following an overhaul in the dry dock, steam dredger SND No 4 was welcomed back to the Waterways Museum
on 28 April by Chairman of the Friends, Chris Witts, and the Mayor and Sheriff of Gloucester, Councilors Andy Lewis and Pam Tracey. (Photo)

Wye Trow Sails
The recently launched replica of a Wye Trow, built by T Nielsen & Co, was taken for a trial run under sail in the Main Basin at Gloucester on 27 April. The square sail, carrying an image of a Herefordshire bull, worked well going down-wind, and the motor was used to return up-wind. (Photo)

Rowers Practice
The recently launched replica of a Wye Trow, built by T Nielsen & Co, was taken down the canal on 11 April by rowers from Herefordshire who will row their Lord Lieutenant down the Thames in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June. (Photo)

Dock Gates
The gates on the Commercial Road entrance just outside the Dock Office have been repainted.

Partnership Meeting
The Partnership that will guide the development of canals in the South Wales and Severn area of the new Canal & River Trust has held its first meeting. Local members include Jan van der Elsen, retired oil company safety health and environmental manager and owner of the Lightship Centre for Complementary Therapies, Lois Francis, retired primary school head teacher and a leading member of the (Saul) Junction Heritage Project, Clive Matthews, general manager of the Avon Navigation Trust and Robert Moreland, management consultant and former member of the European Parliament.

North Warehouse, Sharpness
British Waterways have submitted an application for Listed Building Consent for repair work on the historic North Warehouse at Sharpness to safeguard the building for potential use in the future. Proposed work includes re-slating the main roof, rebuilding the bag and winding houses, replacing the parapet gutters and repairing rainwater pipes. (App Ref S12/0568)

Wye Trow Launched
A replica Wye Trow built by T Nielsen & Co was lifted by crane into the Main Basin on 28 March, a mast was installed and later it was rowed around the Basin with about twenty of Nielsen's men on board. The trow is due to carry the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June. (Photos)

Civil War Salute
Members of the English Civil War Society fired a salute on the North Quay on 25 March in honour of those who died in the Siege of Gloucester in 1643. (Photo) They had previously marched to St Nicholas church to lay a wreath where some of those who died were buried.

Jaguar Plaque
A plaque made for HMS Jaguar was unveiled at Gloucester Yacht Club by Sheriff of Gloucester Pam Tracey on 24 March. Partly funded by Gloucestershire residents, the ship was lost on 26 Mar 1942. (Cit 27 Mar 2012)

Berkeley Boilers on the Move
A 300 tonne boiler from the decommissioned Berkeley nuclear power station was loaded on to a pontoon barge at Sharpness on 16 March to be taken to Avonmouth, there to be transferred to a sea-going vessel for onward journey to Sweden for recycling. Others have since followed. (Photo: Mike Nash)

Jubilee Rag Rug

Visitors to the Waterways Museum were invited to add pieces of material to a red, white & blue rag rug being made to celebrate the Queen's diamond jubilee.

Gloucester Rowing Club Crew for Royal Pageant
An eight-man crew from Gloucester Rowing Club will row the Old Balliol in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June. The boat, normally housed at the River & Rowing Museum at Henley-on-Thames, is a replica of the craft used in the first ever Boat Race in 1829. (Citizen 3 Mar 2012)

Gloucester Steamboat for Royal Pageant
The steamboat Sabrina, built by local engineering company Fielding & Platt in 1871, will carry the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June. Sabrina was originally built for the engineer and directors of the Gloucester & Berkeley Canal Co, but she is now privately owned and based in Maidenhead. (Citizen 3 Mar 2012)

Raikes Chase!
Linden Homes have opened a sales office for their Raikes Chase estate at the southern end of Monk Meadow Quay, and two show homes are available to view.

Raising Lucia
On 28 February, R W Davis & Son started trying to raise the former fishing boat Lucia which had sunk at her mooring in Monk Meadow Dock. (Photo) With help from British Waterways, powerful pumps were brought alongside, and after several setbacks, the vessel was raised the following day.

Name an Ale
Gloucester Brewery, adjoining the Waterways Museum, is planning to brew a new Indian pale or blonde style ale and is asking for names to be suggested that have local connections. The winner will be awarded a firkin of the new ale. (Citizen 22 Feb 2012)

Recruiting Volunteers
At an open day at the Gloucester Dock Office on 22 February, potential volunteers heard about opportunities for working alongside British Waterways staff on topics such as environmental management, GIS mapping, regeneration, administration and lock-keeping. For further information about these and other volunteering opportunities, go to

New Minister
At a special service on Tuesday 21 February, Rev Andy Osmond was licensed by the Bishop of Tewkesbury as the new minister at the Mariners Chapel. Previously a curate in Cheltenham, Andy has bold initiatives to help grow the church and make it more accessible to people in the area. He can be contacted at

Saul Junction Office
British Waterways have rearranged the furniture and equipment in the office adjoining the Junction House at Saul in order to improve the bridge keeper's working environment. Following consultation with interested parties, a way was found of retaining the historic toll collector’s desk by moving it to a more convenient position.

Design Team Chosen
Ecclesiastical Insurance has appointed Bristol-based Stride Treglown as architects for their new headquarters building on what is now the Southgate St car park overlooking the Victoria Dock. Stride Treglown have recently designed the Merchants Quay apartments and Sainsbury's at Monk Meadow. (Citizen 14 Feb 2012)

Towpath Diversion
The path along Monk Meadow Quay in front of the Bloor Homes development has been diverted through the estate to allow piled foundation works to be undertaken prior to the erection of more houses. (Photo) The diversion is expected to last until 30 March.

Ice on Canal
During a cold spell at the beginning of February, ice formed along much of the canal, but a passage though it was made on 4 February by the passenger boat Dorset Belle of Poole on its way for an overhaul at Tommi Nielsen's yard.

Body in Canal
The body of a 34-year-old Gloucester man was recovered from the canal near High Orchard Bridge on 1 February. (Citizen 4 Feb 2012)

New Residents
Residents began moving into the new Merchants Quay apartments at the end of January.

Novel Plant Pots
Narrow boat Lucy Crown from Worcester, seen at Gloucester on 27 January, had plants growing on the cabin roof in an array of metal teapots.

Hut Demolished
A small brick hut near the towpath towards the southern end of Llanthony Quay has been demolished. Formerly part of the Great Western Railway goods yard, in recent years the hut had become a haven for undesirables.

Alsatian Rescued
Seven firemen and a boat were mobilised late on 18 January to rescue a young Alsatian dog that had fallen into the water at Gloucester and was unable to get out. The puppy was recovered using a special water rescue sled. (Citizen 20 Jan 2012)

Docks Security
The docks security team has been merged with the Gloucester Quays team, and security patrols for most of the east side of the docks are now run from the Gloucester Quays management office, where also CCTV pictures are permanently monitored. The docks site manager continues to be based at 1 Albion Cottages.

Lock Warehouse Refurbishment
Contractors have started work on the refurbishment of the warehouse beside Gloucester Lock to provide apartments in the upper floors with retail uses at ground level. To allow space for scaffolding and for builders' access, Severn Rd will only be passable in a southerly direction while the work continues.

Plan for Turbine
Stroud District Council have received a planning application from Partnerships for Renewables for the construction of a wind turbine on land at Sharpness to the south of the track leading to the SARA rescue station. The turbine would have a maximum overall height of 122m, and the plans include a new access track, hard standing area and control kiosk. (App Ref S.11/2448/FUL)

Shops to Replace Cinema
In conjunction with the proposal to create a new cinema in the Gloucester Quays development, Peel Land & Property Investments have presented plans to convert the current Cineworld cinema building to create four large retail units with two more units to the south. The back of the building facing the canal will have brick showing at the bottom, a band of render above and zinc cladding at the top. (App Ref 11/01292) 

Return to Top Menu   Copyright Hugh Conway-Jones 2012   Contact