The river Severn ( the longest river in Britain ) has been a very important highway for goods for over two thousand years. When the Romans decided to establish a fort at Gloucester, their decision must surely have been based not only as a defensive structure but as a means of supplying men and materials between the midlands and Wales. Today the docks are used more for leisure than work.
The Saxon and medieval quay was first sited to the north of Westgate street on the banks of the third branch of the river ( now vanished ) that joined the present east channel. The first record of this quay is 1390. It was built following the silting up of the original channel in the thirteenth century.
We now have the Gloucester Quays shopping centre, a residential area with flats being built in the old warehouses, a large change from the old working docks.
The docks were always a favourite site for TV programs such as ” The Onedin Line”. Many film makers have also used Gloucester Docks
The National Waterways museum is another favourite complete with films and working exhibits .
Don’t miss a visit to the military museum and find out why the local regiment were called The Glorious Gloucesters .
There are many other attractions including , shops and restaurants and the National waterways museum. We now also have a new shopping outlet – Gloucester Quays
Wool, cloth, corn and iron were shipped out of Gloucester during the medieval period. In 1580 Queen Elizabeth granted Gloucester the status of a port and a custom house was opened in the following year.
Over the next two hundred years trade continued to grow. In 1780 over 600 ships were recorded as having berthed at Gloucester docks. Because the larger ships could only approach Gloucester on the highest spring tides a proposal was made to open a canal to Berkley. This would not only bypass the obstruction but would link with the Stroudwater and Thames canals opening a direct route to the midlands and London. An act of parliament was made in 1793 and the canal was started the following year.