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Gloucester Docks &
the Sharpness Canal


Lock 200

The 200th anniversary of the opening of Gloucester Lock to commercial traffic was celebrated on Saturday 8 Sep 2012. There was a gathering of decorated boats in the Main Basin and stalls on the North Quay, and the photos below show how two boats re-enacted the original opening, rising in the lock to the sounds of a band playing, a gun firing and spectators cheering. The event was organised by the Gloucester City Centre Community Partnership and the Gloucestershire & Herefordshire Branch of the Inland Waterwaus Association. (Impression of the first barge entering the lock in 1812 by Phil Moss.)

The Hereford Bull, a replica trow recently built by T Nielsen & Co, entered Gloucester Lock to re-enact the first barge passing through the lock in 1812. (Photo: Keith Reed)

The Waterways Museum's trip boat Queen Boadicea had also entered the lock carrying a party of school children waving flags.

The vessels were welcomed by a huge crowd and by the firing of a cannon by the crew of HMS Loire wearing period costume.

Having risen in the lock, Queen Boadicea entered the Main Basin to the cheers of the crowd.

Hereford Bull also left the lock and cruised around the Main Basin to a mooring by the North Quay.

During the afternoon the crowd by the lock was entertained by the Gloster Gladiators Scout Band.

Later there was a parade of interesting boats around the Main Basin.

Historical Background
At the time the lock was first brought into use in 1812, construction of the ship canal was incomplete and work was suspended due to lack of money, but the owners of river barges delivering coal to Gloucester wanted to use the basin as a safe mooring off what was then a tidal river. (More)

Melancholy Accident
During the original event, the owner of a swivel gun rammed down the charge so forcibly that, when the gun was fired, the chamber burst open, killing him and a bystander. When the event was reported in the Gloucester Journal, the headline was 'Melancholy Accident'.

Video by Henry and Irene Hemmann visiting from Hamburg

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