Photo essay: Gloucester Docks, Gloucestershire, England

Last weekend was warm, sunny and bright, and I spent an hour or so walking around Gloucester’s historic docks on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. It’s changed a lot over the last 30 years, and regeneration projects are still ongoing. As I walked I photographed anything which interested me, and thought I’d share a selection. All of the shots were taken using an iPhone 8 Plus through the Camera+ app.

Most of Gloucester Docks has been re-purposed and renovated but not all. The malthouses on Bakers Quay, next door to the new Gloucester Quays shopping centre, were still in use in the 1970s but are now empty and overgrown.

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Downings No 2 Malthouse on Bakers Quay

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Names of the branches of Downing’s Malters peer through the years and layers of peeling paint.

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Downings No 3 & 4 Malthouses by the canal with the lighthouse boat behind.

I crossed the Gloucester and Sharpness canal via High Orchard Bridge, the canal boat passing under it on the its way to the basin adding some movement to the scene below. The view was a slice of Gloucester’s history: the new building for Gloucestershire College, the Victorian Main Basin and, poking up above the warehouses in the background, the 1960s Shire Hall and the medieval Church of St Nicholas.

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The canal with Gloucestershire College and the basin in the background

Under the bridge, graffiti covers the concrete walls including some great street art.

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Walking back towards the city, I passed by the lighthouse boat moored up by Llanthony Priory. It’s been there a while, a ‘For Sale’ sign on the side. Not sure about my head, but my heart’s certainly tempted!

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Llanthony Priory, an Augustinian monastery founded in 1136, has itself undergone a lot of work over the last year. The new buildings of Gloucestershire College are next door, old and new comfortably sitting together.

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The old tithe barn next to the new glass-fronted Gloucestershire College buildings, the panel in front giving an idea of the Priory at its height.

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Narrow 16th-century bricks surround old stone window frames on one of the Llanthony’s buildings.

The Main Basin is still lined with boats, moorings and a restoration company’s two dry docks. There’s always houseboats, barges, and sail boats around the place. I may live much too far from the sea, but I’ve at least got a little bit of a maritime world nearby.

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A couple of sail boats moored up by the dry docks, with the National Maritime Museum in the background.

All around the water, the old warehouses have been re-purposed and re-used. I enjoy being down there, a vibrant mix of old and new.

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The old ‘Pillar and Lucy Warehouse’, refurbished and reused.

By the Victoria Docks, before the steps take you away from the docks and into the city at Southgate Street, lies ‘The Candle’. Designed by the artist Wolfgang Buttress, the 23m tall sculpture has words from Ivor Gurney’s poem ‘Requiem’ at the base. Its rough, rusty-coloured surface tapers away to a point high above the ground. It’s quite mesmerising from below, and I’ve sat staring up on many occasions.

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‘The Candle’

Wandering, following my nose and taking photos in the sunshine is always a joy. It made me realise that, no matter where you are, there’s always something to see, something to find interest in. And something to photograph.

How to get there: Gloucester Docks are on the southern side of the city on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal. The Gloucester Quays shopping centre forms a part with the postcode GL1 5SF.

One thought on “Photo essay: Gloucester Docks, Gloucestershire, England

  1. Pingback: Public art and retelling a city story: St Kyneburgh’s Well, Southgate Street, Gloucester | Archaeo-travelo-cycling-cooking Man

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