Port of Gloucester

Gloucester was given the formal status of a port by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I in 1580. From that time, the coastline of the Severn estuary north-east of the Aust/Beachley area came under the jurisdiction of a new custom house at Gloucester. This meant that vessels could trade directly between Gloucester and foreign ports without having to call in at Bristol custom house, which had previously been responsible for the area. Gloucester Corporation hoped to benefit from the new status because they collected dues on goods handled at Gloucester's riverside Quay. In practice, however, few foreign-going vessels were seen at the Quay because of the difficulties of navigating the shallow tidal stretch of the River Severn approaching the city.
The opening of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal in 1827 allowed ships to bypass the difficult stretch of river, and so considerable trade developed with foreign ports. To supervise this better, a new custom house was built in the docks area in 1845. After the new dock at Sharpness was opened in 1874 to accommodate the larger ships then in use, cargo handling activities gradually declined at Gloucester, and in due course customs administration moved to Sharpness.


14712384368 0257fe36b1 m
The Port of Gloucester The Gloucester and Cheltenham Tramroad (1811 - 1861) Through this gateway, the nine mile long tramroad entered the docks. Wagons carrying goods and minerals were pulled by horses along cast - iron rails having a gauge of 3ft. 6in. (1.1M). It was the first railway in the country authorised by Act of Parliament. The steam locomotive Royal William was tried in 1831 or 1832 but its weight broke the rails. This plaque was erected in 1991 by Gloucester Civic Trust and the Gloucestershire Society for Industrial Archaeology.

Gloucester Docks, Gloucester, United Kingdom

14896793351 b06333b77c m
The Atlas Bell This was the bell of the Atlas, launched in 1812, which made several voyages to India and China for the East India Company. After the ship was broken up in 1832 the bell was used here for signalling the dockers starting and finishing times. As a navigation aid in fog. Re-erected in 1986 by the Rotary Club of Gloucester and Gloucester Civic Trust.

Near the North Warehouse - Gloucester Docks, Gloucester, United Kingdom

14900465852 aa75d0ff13 m
Britannia Warehouse The original warehouse, built in 1861, was the third financed by William Partridge, an iron merchant and carrier. For many years Britannia was used by the corn merchants H. Adams & co. On 1st April 1987, the building was destroyed by fire and was subsequently rebuilt using many of the original bricks on a modern structural framework.

Britannia Warehouse - Gloucester Docks, Gloucester, United Kingdom

14714361447 0b7fa6dcdc m
Albert Warehouse Built in 1851 and named after the Prince Consort, this was the second warehouse financed by William Partridge, an iron merchant and carrier. Initially used by corn merchants W. C. Lucy & Co., it was converted in 1869 to a flour mill by James Reynolds. The mill closed in 1977 after more than a century of operation.

Albert Warehouse - Gloucester Docks, Gloucester, United Kingdom

14722476337 a79f8ec9a8 m
Herbert, Kimberley & Phillpotts Warehouses Dating from 1846 these three warehouses were built to accommodate the growth in grain imports following the repeal of the corn laws the same year. Phillpotts and Kimberley are named after the corn merchants who used them. Herbert was occupied by T. Robinson & Co., but named after its owner, a local solicitor.

Herbert Warehouse - Main Basin - Gloucester Docks, Gloucester, United Kingdom

14908653532 cdf10a415e m
Vining Warehouse Built in 1840 for Bristol - based corn merchants Charles Vining & Sons, this warehouse originally had a double height ground floor which was initially used by a firm of iron merchants. In the 20th century, the building served as a corn store for the nearby Reynolds mills in Albert Warehouse.

Vinings Warehouse - Gloucester Docks, Gloucester, United Kingdom