A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 4, the City of Gloucester. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1988.
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'Gloucester: Quay and docks', in A History of the County of Gloucester: Volume 4, the City of Gloucester, (London, 1988) pp. 251-258. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/glos/vol4/pp251-258 [accessed 29 February 2024]
QUAY AND DOCKS
According (fn. 1) to a tradition recorded in the early 1540s there was at one time a quay on the Old Severn near St. Oswald's Priory. (fn. 2) By the late Middle Ages most of Gloucester's river and maritime trade was conducted at the town's common quay. Vessels used the common (later the city) quay until the 20th century, but from the earlier 19th trade centred on docks and yards at the city end of the Gloucester and Berkeley canal. This account describes the development of the common quay and docks and the principal buildings connected with them. Their trade and the role which it played in Gloucester's economy are discussed in the general chapters on the city's history.
Though not found recorded before 1390 the common quay, (fn. 3) a stone structure on the east bank of the eastern arm of the Severn below its confluence with the Old Severn (later Dockham ditch), (fn. 4) was presumably built by the burgess community at a much earlier date. It fronted waste land belonging to the borough, and in 1454 the bailiffs and stewards granted a parcel of that land by the quay's southern end to the butchers' company for the disposal of refuse. (fn. 5) About 1520 butchers, tanners, and glovers were ordered not to wash puddings, hides, and sheepskins at slipways on the quay; (fn. 6) the butchers' slip recorded in 1620 may have been on the bank just below the quay, (fn. 7) which itself had four slipways. (fn. 8) In 1505 the mayor and burgesses, in support of their claim to exact tolls on merchandise landed there, said that maintenance of the quay was a great charge, (fn. 9) and work on the quay was later a regular item of expenditure in the corporation's accounts. (fn. 10) The water bailiff, the officer responsible in 1586 for collecting the tolls on goods carried under Westgate bridge and landed at the quay, later kept the quay clean. (fn. 11) Weights kept there for assessing tolls on wood and coal were included in the lease of the Boothall inn in 1613. (fn. 12)
In 1580 the quay, known then as the king's quay, was designated the principal landing place in the new port of Gloucester, (fn. 13) and the following year the city corporation built a custom house there. (fn. 14) Part was used as a warehouse by 1583, (fn. 15) and in 1630 the customs officers occupied the upper rooms and the corporation kept its stock of coal for sale to the poor at low prices in the warehouse underneath. The fuel was evidently dispensed at a penthouse standing in front of the building (fn. 16) and known by 1636 as Pennyless Bench. (fn. 17) By 1692 a merchant held the warehouse on lease from the corporation. (fn. 18) In 1610 the custom house was part of a range of buildings fronting the northern part of the quay from Dockham ditch to the entrance of the road later called Quay Street. (fn. 19) Three yards for wood and coal had been formed on the waste ground adjoining the southern part of the quay, where the building of warehouses had started by 1622 when two new houses occupied land formerly used as a dunghill. (fn. 20) Also in 1622 the corporation began constructing a second quay, probably by extending the first one southwards to the city boundary, beyond which were the castle precincts. That work was completed the following year. (fn. 21)
By the early 18th century warehouses and other buildings extended along the southern part of the quay as far as the castle precincts. In the late 17th century and early 18th several industrial buildings were erected on the waste ground near the quay's northern end, notably a large conical glasshouse west of the mouth of Dockham ditch in 1694. Building east of the ditch included a conical limekiln in 1696 and led to the formation of a narrow lane (later Turnstile Alley or Quay Court) between the quay and lower Westgate Street. (fn. 22) The mouth of Dockham ditch was dredged in 1713 (fn. 23) when the corporation built a short quay there; (fn. 24) the new wharf apparently extended along the east side of the ditch up to the Foreign bridge. (fn. 25) In 1724 the custom office was enlarged by carrying the two storeys above the warehouse forwards on pillars over the site of Pennyless Bench. (fn. 26) The new building was faced in ashlar decorated with pilasters and a cornice. John Pitt, the collector of the customs, occupied the warehouse in 1779 (fn. 27) and purchased it in 1799. (fn. 28) The corporation provided new weights at the quay in 1741, (fn. 29) and between 1750 and 1771 the lessee of the weights also had charge of the yard at the quay for storing the corporation's stock of coal for the poor. (fn. 30) Several inns were opened on the quay in the 17th and 18th centuries, the earliest recorded being the Star which in 1630 stood next to the custom house. (fn. 31) At least three sites on or near the quay have been occupied by inns called at some time the Ship. (fn. 32)
The opening of a direct overseas trade by way of the river in 1791 gave impetus to the scheme for the construction of a ship canal terminating at a basin or dock on the south side of the city. That project was completed in 1827 (fn. 33) but the city quay continued for several years to handle large numbers of vessels. In the early 19th century the custom office was transferred to a larger building nearby (fn. 34) and in the early 1830s from St. Mary's Square to Bearland. (fn. 35) Later it was moved to the docks. The quay provided the terminus of a horse tramway for transporting coal to Cheltenham. It was completed in 1811 and ran southwards along the river bank to the canal basin. (fn. 36) Among buildings erected behind the quay were the gasworks in Quay Street in 1819. (fn. 37) In 1812 the corporation erected a crane on the quay for the collector of its tolls and in 1828 it supplied a second crane for him. (fn. 38) In 1825 a new road was formed between the quay and lower Westgate Street by culverting Dockham ditch below the Foreign bridge, near which the corporation installed a weighing machine. During those improvements a wharf above the mouth of the ditch was extended at the corporation's expense. (fn. 39) A small building had been erected at the northern end of the quay for the corporation's weights by 1842. (fn. 40)
In the early 19th century the southern end of the quay incorporated a private wharf, which was occupied by the wharfinger John Walker and was owned with the warehouses lying behind it in the county. (fn. 41) To the south vessels were prevented from mooring along the river bank adjoining the new county gaol, completed in 1791 on the site of the castle, and the county magistrates thwarted attempts from 1796 to build a road and wharf along the bank between the quay and the canal basin. The canal company appropriated part of the bank at the entrance to its lock leading from the river to the basin in 1818 for a wall, and the road was formed under an agreement of 1827 between the city corporation and the magistrates. (fn. 42) The prohibition on mooring remained. (fn. 43)
The number of vessels using the city quay was evidently falling by the 1840s, and of the corporation's cranes one had been abandoned by 1844 and the other by 1854. (fn. 44) The quay's decline, which accelerated with the severing of the tramway at the docks in 1848 and the removal of the lines behind the county gaol, (fn. 45) was caused not only by the expansion of the docks and railways but also by the silting up of the river foreshore, particularly following the construction c. 1870 of weirs at Llanthony and Maisemore which reduced the tidal flow. Those works enabled seagoing vessels, which were replacing trows on the river, to pass through the lock into the docks throughout the year. (fn. 46) By the early 1870s the quay could be reached only by planks over the foreshore (fn. 47) and the wharf upstream of it had been extended forwards. (fn. 48) The private wharfage rights on the southern end of the quay apparently lapsed in or soon after 1864, a crane being removed and warehouses and other buildings behind demolished to make room c. 1870 for an extension of the militia barracks. (fn. 49) Industrial development behind the quay continued, (fn. 50) and among new buildings facing the river were offices built c. 1864 for the gasworks. (fn. 51) The gasworks closed in the mid 1870s. (fn. 52)
A major improvement was carried out at the city quay in 1887 by extending it over the foreshore to a new wall in line with the wharf upstream. Following the contractor's bankruptcy his work was completed in 1888 by Maynard Colchester-Wemyss, owner of the Westbury Court estate. The new quay had six slipways, and parts were fenced off for letting as yards, including the section north of Quay Street. The corporation, which took the tolls in hand, (fn. 53) installed a new crane and weighing machine on the quay. (fn. 54) The water bailiff, who looked after those and other fittings, regulated mooring. (fn. 55) In the late 19th century and the early 20th the buildings facing the quay were altered considerably, (fn. 56) the remains of the glasshouse being demolished in 1933; (fn. 57) Quay Court disappeared after 1901 in a remodelling of the area between the northern end of the quay and Westgate Street. (fn. 58) The river wall was extended from the quay to the canal lock in 1937 when the road along the quay and the river bank adjoining the prison was improved to carry traffic bypassing the city centre. (fn. 59) Trade at the quay had ceased by the mid 1960s when the road along it and the entrance to Commercial Road at the south-western corner of the prison were widened as part of an inner ring road. (fn. 60) In 1986, when the southern part of the area was dominated by the new block of the Shire Hall, built in the early 1970s, the old custom house was the only building to survive as a reminder of the trade once carried on at the quay.
DOCKS. (fn. 61)
The first stage in the development of Gloucester's docks was the construction of a basin at the terminus of a ship canal bypassing the obstacles to navigation on the Severn below the city. The scheme for a basin, first advanced in 1783 but abandoned when the site chosen was included in that of the new county gaol, was revived in 1792 and building began in 1794. The new scheme, which was delayed many times by engineering and financial problems, placed the basin next to the Naight, a small island in the Severn a short way below the city quay, (fn. 62) with the canal running southwards to the river at Berkeley. To make the basin, the southern end of the river channel east of the Naight was blocked and the northern end was adapted as a double lock for trows and barges passing to and from the river. Soil removed from the basin was used to build up the river bank to the west or was dumped on land to the east. The construction of the basin and canal destroyed Severn Street, the old road leading from lower Southgate Street towards Sud Meadow and Hempsted, which the canal company replaced by a new road (Llanthony Road) further south and carried over the canal by a wooden swing bridge. (fn. 63) At the basin stone quays were built along the north and west sides and an earth bank was left on the east side where it was proposed to enlarge the dock later. In 1799 with the completion of the lock the basin was ready for use but work on the canal, which had been dug as far as Hardwicke, was halted. The basin was opened to vessels from the river in 1812 following the construction of the horse tramway between Gloucester and Cheltenham. The tramway ran east of the basin where it turned to cross lower Southgate Street. (fn. 64) A weighing machine erected there c. 1814 had an office in the Doric style. (fn. 65) A new road formed from Blackfriars by 1813 (fn. 66) provided a better route between the city and the basin than the old road by Barbican hill. (fn. 67)
In the early 19th century there were several timber yards and a rope walk by the basin. A shipbuilding yard was opened there in 1814, (fn. 68) and in 1818 John Bird of Stourport (Worcs.) built a graving dock at the basin's south-western corner. As traffic in the basin grew the canal company divided the adjoining land into yards for letting to merchants and on the east side laid sidings connected to the tramway. (fn. 69) In 1817 work was resumed on the canal, for which a new course joining the Severn at Sharpness was agreed, and the completion of a junction with the Stroudwater canal at Saul in 1820 enabled vessels to enter the basin from that canal. In 1824 the company constructed a quay on the east side of the basin and a barge arm (known in the late 19th century as the Old Arm) (fn. 70) entered from the canal to the south-east. Around the barge arm, which was finished in 1825, yards with tramway sidings were laid out. They were used mainly by coal, stone, and slate merchants (fn. 71) and among their equipment were manually operated cranes.
In 1826 the canal company began building the first of the large warehouses which were to be the dominant architectural feature of the docks. (fn. 72) The other warehouses were added at intervals until the early 1870s by merchants for their own use or letting, but the company required them to conform in design and to be set back from the quay. The warehouses, which were mostly for grain, were all of brick and the earliest had three or four storeys over a high vaulted basement. Each floor was supported by wooden beams carried by cast iron pillars and had a central loading bay facing the quay. Ventilation was provided by numerous small windows fitted with metal bars. From the 1830s taller warehouses without basements and aligned at right angles to the quays were built.
The company's warehouses, a pair completed in 1827, formed a four-storeyed range facing the north quay and known later as the North Warehouse. They were built for letting and to designs prepared by Bartin Haigh, a Liverpool builder, for the development of the basin. After the opening of the canal in 1827 private warehouses were built on the west side of the basin. The first had only one storey, but following the company's adoption of leases for 63 years, the Birmingham corn merchants Joseph and Charles Sturge submitted plans for three-storeyed buildings, which became the model for a range of eight warehouses erected along the length of the west quay between 1829 and 1831. (fn. 73) Two blocks were for a salt company and another replaced the smaller warehouse. In 1830 John Biddell, a Stroud miller, (fn. 74) built a warehouse on the east side of the basin, beside the barge arm. Its design, prepared by William Franklin of Stroud, included a hipped roof, windows with segmental arches, and loading bays facing both the basin and the barge arm. (fn. 75) As most of the land east of the basin was used for timber yards in the 1830s other warehouses had to be built elsewhere. In 1833 James Shipton, a timber merchant, built one in the yard behind Biddell's warehouse with the roof's gable end facing the barge arm, and in 1834 J. and C. Sturge one fronting the lock. The gap between the latter and the range on the west quay was filled in 1835 by a warehouse built by Samuel Baker and Thomas Phillpotts, the upper floors of which were carried over the quay on pillars to provide cover for perishable goods. In addition to its warehouses the canal company built an office on the site of the lock keeper's cottage at the main north-east entrance to the docks in 1830 and a steam engine, housed beside the graving dock, to pump river water into the basin in 1834. It enlarged the graving dock to take ships of 700 tons in 1837. (fn. 76)
Commercial development had started on the east side of the canal by the mid 1830s when two salt warehouses were built on the company's land above Hempsted bridge 2 km. from the basin. Both were long single-storeyed buildings and beside each the canal was widened and a quay constructed. (fn. 77) Nearer the basin major works were carried out immediately below Llanthony bridge where, under an agreement with the company in 1836, the canal was widened and a quay built in front of High Orchard by a partnership formed by Samuel Baker, Thomas Phillpotts, William Tupsley Washbourne, and two Birmingham bankers to develop the land for commercial and industrial use; the quay, though known as Baker's Quay, belonged to the canal company. (fn. 78) The northern part was in use by the end of 1837 (fn. 79) and the southern part was completed after a dock had been formed there in 1839 or 1840 for the Birmingham and Gloucester railway company. (fn. 80) The railway company erected coke ovens in its yard by the dock but a branch line to its proposed terminus at Gloucester was abandoned after some rails had been laid. (fn. 81) Most of the land behind the quay was used for timber yards and related industry but Samuel Baker and James Shipton built a grain warehouse on the northern part (fn. 82) in 1838. It comprised two blocks (fn. 83) and, as the 1836 agreement allowed, the upper floors extended on pillars over the quay. South of High Orchard, to where John Bird had moved his boatbuilding yard c. 1834, a quay had been formed by 1838. (fn. 84) Further south were several other yards, of which at least one was occupied by slate merchants and another by the timber merchants Price & Washbourne. (fn. 85)
In 1839 work began on a small dock below the barge arm, but it was abandoned after disagreements between the developer and the canal company and the excavation filled in. (fn. 86) Building on the east side of the basin resumed in 1840 with two warehouses to the north of John Biddell's. Both were constructed sideways to the water, an alignment copied for later warehouses, and one, erected by J. and C. Sturge, comprised two blocks. More sidings were laid by the basin after the Birmingham and Gloucester railway company formed a connexion between the tramway and its station on the opposite side of the city in 1841, (fn. 87) and in 1844 the tramway was adapted to carry railway as well as tramway wagons between the docks and the station. In 1845 the custom office was moved to a new brick building near the basin. Designed by Sydney Smirke (fn. 88) it had a classicalstyle ashlar front to the road from Blackfriars, which in 1847 was incorporated in Commercial Road, formed as the principal thoroughfare between the city centre and the docks. (fn. 89)
In the later 1840s and early 1850s, as waterborne traffic grew, the docks area was enlarged and more warehousing was provided, together with a mariners' chapel completed in 1849. (fn. 90) In anticipation of the repeal of the Corn Laws three warehouses were built east of the basin in 1846 on a timber yard given up by Price & Co. The following year the canal company constructed a second barge dock and began work on a new ship dock. The barge dock was west of the canal in Berry Close, between the basin and Llanthony Road. Opposite it the canal was widened by Thomas Tripp, a timber and slate merchant, (fn. 91) who built a quay, known later as the Britannia Quay, in front of his yard there. The new ship dock, which was entered by a narrow cut in the east side of the basin and was bounded by stone quays, was opened in 1849 (fn. 92) and was called the Southgate Street or Victoria dock. (fn. 93) Its excavation, which provided soil for a railway embankment near Over, severed the lines of the tramway. The northern end leading to the city quay was abandoned and railway sidings were laid around the new dock. Those sidings were connected to a branch line which the Midland Railway completed to the docks by way of High Orchard in 1848. William Partridge, a wharfinger who carried goods on the river above Gloucester, (fn. 94) built two warehouses on the west side of the new dock, the Victoria at the northern end in 1849 and the Albert at the southern by the entrance in 1851, (fn. 95) and Joseph and Jonah Hadley built a flour mill to the north in Commercial Road in 1850. The mill, known as City Mills, had doubled in size by 1853. (fn. 96) The Berry Close dock, the sides of which had been left as earth banks, was filled in, probably during the preparations for a second and larger graving dock, which the canal company constructed in 1852 at the main basin near the first. (fn. 97) The engine house between them was altered in 1855 to accommodate a larger machine.
Following the completion of its branch line the Midland Railway abandoned the High Orchard dock and, presumably in the early 1850s, filled it in to form a goods yard behind Baker's Quay. (fn. 98) Below High Orchard, where the timber yard of Price & Co. had been enlarged in 1846 and the quay in front of it rebuilt and lengthened, (fn. 99) more timber yards and moorings were established (fn. 100) and in 1854 the Midland Railway laid sidings along the bank to a yard just above the salt warehouses at Hempsted bridge. (fn. 101) John Bird moved his boatbuilding works to a site beyond the bridge where he built a small graving dock in 1846. Commercial development on the western bank of the canal was begun in 1851 with the widening of the canal and the construction of Llanthony Quay opposite Baker's Quay for the export of coal. The project, started by the Gloucester and Dean Forest railway company and completed in 1854 by the G.W.R., (fn. 102) included a branch line to Over but a planned dock, for which the Hempsted road was diverted, was never built. (fn. 103) A railway goods yard was created behind the quay. (fn. 104)
The construction of new quays and railway sidings in the docks resumed with the end of the economic depression of the mid and later 1850s, and William Partridge built two more warehouses, one of them in 1861 west of the Victoria dock. Most of the improvements took place north of Llanthony Road. The bridge over the canal was replaced by an iron structure to carry railway lines, and a quay was built in front of Berry Close, where sidings were laid and where in 1863 William Partridge's other new warehouse was built by the road. The Britannia Quay was extended northwards to the barge arm, where the quay on the south side was raised to enable railway sidings to be brought to it. (fn. 105) They replaced the tramway sidings which had been abandoned in 1861. (fn. 106) Transit sheds to store imported grain awaiting transfer to the railways were built, one east of the Victoria dock by the canal company in 1866 and another at the Midland Railway company's Baker's Quay yard in 1867. (fn. 107)
After the early 1860s there were few major works in the docks. Many seagoing vessels had become too large for them and for the canal and, beginning with docks opened in 1874, the canal company concentrated more on the development of facilities at Sharpness. In the Gloucester docks two new grain warehouses were provided in the early 1870s, one, south-west of the main basin, built by W. Fox of Rhyl (Flints.) for his sons in 1870, being rebuilt after a fire in 1875. (fn. 108) The other, built in 1873 for the firm of Wait, James, & Co., comprised two blocks south of the entrance to the barge arm. (fn. 109) The canal company, which was renamed the Sharpness New Docks & Gloucester & Birmingham Navigation Co. in 1874, (fn. 110) undertook some improvements at Gloucester. The most notable were to the railways on its land, which came more fully under its control in 1876, and included the construction in 1880 of an iron swing bridge to carry lines over the lock. (fn. 111) The lock was replaced in 1892 by a larger single chamber as part of improvements to navigation above the city. (fn. 112) Among new buildings was a store built by an importer of petroleum products in 1882. One of the salt warehouses at Hempsted bridge was converted as a petroleum store in 1881.
Industrial development around the docks and canal increased and diversified from the 1860s. Two more flour mills were established in the docks by the conversion of the southernmost warehouse on the west quay as St. Owen's Mills c. 1863 and of the Albert Warehouse in 1869. (fn. 113) An oil and cake mill built at the southern end of Baker's Quay in 1862 (fn. 114) incorporated a wooden structure carried over the quay on pillars. (fn. 115) South of the quay part of Price & Co.'s yard was included in the works of Eassie & Co. (fn. 116) and from 1875 of the Gloucester Wagon Co. (fn. 117) A wooden church was built beside the canal there in 1878 for Norwegian seamen visiting the docks. (fn. 118) Shipbuilding was revived near Hempsted bridge in the 1860s (fn. 119) and the graving dock there was enlarged in 1868. (fn. 120) Further south, moorings were created for the gasworks built on the Bristol road in the mid 1870s, (fn. 121) and in 1869 S. J. Moreland, the owner of a match factory, formed a timber float where the road touched the canal at Two Mile Bend between Hempsted and Quedgeley. (fn. 122) Later industrial developments included a malthouse (1888) (fn. 123) and the docks company's engineering workshops (1891–3) near the main basin. At Baker's Quay the site of the remaining timber yard was filled by a factory making enamelled slate and by maltings in 1897 and 1899 respectively. The maltings, which were completed in 1901, (fn. 124) formed a large addition to the High Orchard works of G. and W.E. Downing and extended over the quay on pillars. (fn. 125) The oil mill to the south had been rebuilt on a larger scale in 1893 following a collapse of the quay wall. (fn. 126) In 1917 a yard was established south of the graving dock at Hempsted bridge for building concrete barges as part of the war effort. After the completion of the barge contract the yard continued to operate as concrete works for many years. (fn. 127)
From the late 1880s a number of works were carried out below Llanthony bridge to benefit trade. (fn. 128) The docks company constructed a dock and a large pond for floating timber in Monk Meadow, west of the canal, in 1891 and 1896 respectively. (fn. 129) The new dock was served by sidings connected to the goods yard behind Llanthony Quay and to a branch line from Tuffley, which the Midland Railway began in 1897 and carried over the canal by a swing bridge north of Hempsted bridge. (fn. 130) Opposite Monk Meadow the timber merchants Price, Walker, & Co. enlarged their yard and mills in 1894 (fn. 131) and at the wagon works to the north a small timber pond was constructed in 1899. (fn. 132) The installation of gantries to improve handling methods in some of the yards had started by the 1870s, (fn. 133) and at Llanthony Quay, the principal wharf for the larger steamers using the canal, the G.W.R. provided sheds and mobile steam cranes for the sugar trade; (fn. 134) hydraulic lifts handling coal there had been removed in 1869. (fn. 135)
Elsewhere in the docks warehousing and handling equipment were increasingly unsuited to commercial needs. Many of the principal warehouses continued to store grain and one was occupied by a firm hiring out sacks for bagging cargoes. The Severn & Canal Carrying Co. used the two warehouses on the north side of the barge arm, and warehousing firms rented space in several others to merchants. (fn. 136) In the early 20th century two warehouses near Llanthony bridge stored sugar. (fn. 137) Several fixed manually-operated cranes remained in use in the later 1920s, others having been replaced by steam-powered machines moving over the railways. The warehouse supported on pillars over the west quay was burnt down in 1917 (fn. 138) and fire reduced that by Llanthony Road to a single storey in 1945. The North Warehouse, to which the plant of St. Owen's Mills was transferred in 1921, (fn. 139) was made a single unit by the insertion of doorways in the dividing wall. (fn. 140) City and Albert Mills, which used several warehouses for storage, were provided with additional buildings. (fn. 141) Before the Second World War some warehouses were taken over by builders' merchants and some were abandoned. During the war several were used again to store grain and in 1943 a silo was built beside the canal between Llanthony Quay and the Monk Meadow dock for processing local corn. The Monk Meadow dock, where a transit shed had been erected in 1921, had become a distribution point for refined petroleum products and from the mid 1920s several oil companies built storage tanks around it. (fn. 142)
The British Transport Commission, which acquired control of the docks and canal in 1948, (fn. 143) began a number of improvements in the late 1950s. They included replacing the swing bridges by single-leaf structures, Hempsted bridge being rebuilt in 1959 and the lock bridge in 1962, (fn. 144) and developing wharfage facilities below Llanthony bridge where ships of 750 tons could moor. At Llanthony Quay works completed in 1962 included the reconstruction of the quay and the provision of single-storeyed warehousing. The policy was continued by the British Waterways Board, the docks authority from 1963, with the building in 1965 of a quay for the timber trade below the entrance to the Monk Meadow timber pond. (fn. 145) The pond was later filled in and by 1985 the southern part of the new quay had been incorporated in a timber yard.
The older part of the docks above Llanthony bridge declined markedly as a commercial and industrial centre after the Second World War. Several warehouses were abandoned and those remaining on the west quay were pulled down in 1966. (fn. 146) The tall stack of the engine house nearby was demolished about the same time. (fn. 147) From the late 1970s many smaller buildings were demolished. The dismantling of the dock railways, which had begun south of Monk Meadow by the 1950s, (fn. 148) was carried out mostly in the 1960s and left only a line from Over to Llanthony serving a cement depot behind the quay and the silo to the south. Among railway buildings to disappear was the Victoria dock transit shed. (fn. 149)
From the late 1970s the older docks, which because of the survival of the mid 19th-century warehouses featured occasionally in historical films and television programmes, were increasingly used by pleasure craft. Some warehouses took on new uses, that by the lock housing an antiques centre from 1979 (fn. 150) and the former Albert Warehouse a museum of advertizing and packaging from 1984. The custom house in Commercial Road was occupied from 1978 by the headquarters, and later by the museum, of the Gloucestershire Regiment. (fn. 151) The warehouse on the northern part of Baker's Quay was converted as offices and restaurants in 1983. To encourage revitalization of the older docks as a commercial, residential, and leisure area the city council in 1985 and 1986 refurbished the North Warehouse for its main administrative offices. (fn. 152) The area's industrial tradition was represented in 1986 principally at City Mills and the graving docks.
Although the canal lost much of its goods traffic to the roads, industrial and commercial development of the land adjoining it continued after the Second World War. Timber yards were opened near the new quay in Monk Meadow in the mid 1960s (fn. 153) and continued to dominate the eastern bank above Hempsted bridge, although some were replaced by factories and warehouses. (fn. 154) Of the former salt warehouses at Hempsted bridge one was a timber store and the other a packing case factory in the mid 1970s. Below the bridge industrial and trading premises were strung out along the eastern bank to just beyond Two Mile Bend, where the timber float had been filled in and its site used for concrete works. (fn. 155) Industrial development west of the canal centred on Llanthony, where in 1985 the former goods yard behind the quay was filled with buildings for a trading estate, and on Monk Meadow, where oil storage tanks remained around the dock.