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Gloucester Warehouses & Mills

The warehouses and mills at Gloucester were mainly built for the storage and processing of imported corn - a generic term covering wheat, barley, oats, maize, linseed and cotton seed. This page gives a general introduction to these important structures, and the following links lead to pages providing a location map and more details about specific buildings:

Location Map   North Warehouse   Lock & Pillar Warehouses   Albert Britannia & Victoria Warehouses
Alexandra & Great Western Warehouses  City Flour Mills   Foster Bros Oil & Cake Mill   Downings Malthouses


Looking south-east across the Main Basin, Gloucester Docks, c1910

Looking south-east across the Main Basin, Gloucester, in 2003

The old warehouses, here viewed from the lock, were built with thick brick walls, a slate roof and strong wooden floors supported by cast-iron columns. The many small windows were intended more for ventilation than for light and were originally fitted with shutters rather than glass. The corn was stored in sacks that were lifted up to the required floor by manually operated winches in the loft. The location and building dates of individual warehouses and mills are noted below. (Photo: A.Done)

Following the decline in the number of sea-going ships coming to Gloucester, there was less need for corn storage, and in the twentieth century many of the warehouses were occupied by businesses such as builders' merchants who had no connection with water transport. Although even these uses declined, most of the warehouses survived and are now vital features in the redevelopment of the area. The new green building is the Merchants Quay shopping centre.

Corn Mills
     In the early days, corn imported through Gloucester was sent on to be processed by existing mills in the Midlands, but during the second half of the nineteenth century, several mills were established in the docks, all worked by steam-power. Initially the milling was done using traditional stones, but from the 1880s these were gradually replaced by roller milling machines.

Albert Warehouse, Gloucester Docks, c1935

Albert Warehouse, Gloucester, in 2003

The Albert Warehouse was converted to a flour mill by J. Reynolds & Co. in 1869, with the addition of a boiler house etc to the south. As the business expanded, Double Reynolds and Vining's Warehouses (almost hidden in the background) were used for flour and wheat storage. (Photo Glos. Collection)

The mill closed in 1977 and the ancilliary buildings were demolished. After housing the Robert Opie Collection of Packaging for several years, Albert Warehouse was converted to apartments in 2003, and Double Reynolds and Vining's Warehouses followed.

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