Broader Outlook: A Long-Lost Country Wharf

A Broader Outlook: NarrowBoat, Winter 2016

Robert Hamilton

Robert Hamilton traces the forgotten history of the Cambridge Arm of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal and its terminal basin. The arm fell into disuse 140 years ago, though the remains of it can still be uncovered.

Sharp-eyed visitors to the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal between Frampton-on-Severn and Slimbridge may spot a stone-sided structure on the east bank of the canal. A consultation with a walking or canal guide will likely suggest that this is merely the outfall of an unnavigable water feeder. However, two interesting facts that few guides will impart are that the feeder was formerly navigable, and that the stone-sided structure at its entrance was, in bygone years, a lock.Building the G&S The construction of the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, which commenced in 1794, was a highly ambitious project. Built to enable ships and barges to bypass a very dangerous length of the River Severn, and to turn Gloucester into a major port, the 16-mile-long waterway was approximately 86ft wide and fully 18ft deep, making it, at the time of its opening, the broadest and deepest canal in England. The creation of such a prodigiously large waterway was beset with many problems. Quite apart from…

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