Inland port on the River Severn
Miles inland, far from the sea, but Queen Elizabeth I declared Gloucester a 'port' in 1580. In 1827 an 18 mile stretch of shipping canal was opened and big sailing ships arrived in the city. Gloucester made its fortune exporting grain to the rest of the UK.
These are serious Victorian dockyards ~ massive brick warehouses, one after another. It is nice to see that they are not all used for posh housing these days. There are a number of office headquarters. And a medium sized shopping mall with cafes, pizza bars and craft shops.
Here at the Docks you can find the National Waterways Museum and also Gloucester Antiques Centre, four floors of antique stalls and art galleries.
And a small Tourist Information Office, also open on Sundays, run by local volunteers (closes 3.30pm).
The Mariners Chapel
The sailors were not allowed to worship in the City's churches as their clothing was considered inappropriate. This led to the creation of a public subscription by the docks traders to provide a Church specifically for the crews of visiting ships. Therefore the Mariners Chapel was opened in 1849. This lovely little Chapel sits right below the mighty Reynolds and Vinings Warehouses.
The building is still used for worship by a small congregation of local people, and it is usually open to visitors during the day. Regular services are held on Sunday evenings, and a special Sea Sunday service each July is usually attended by the Mayor and representatives of local organisations with maritime links.
Gloucester is located on the eastern bank of the River Severn some 114 miles from London and is the county town of Gloucestershire sheltered by the Cotswold’s in the east with the Forest of Dean and the Malvern Hills rising to the north and west it is a port and is linked to the Severn Estuary by the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal which runs from Gloucester's docks, The Canal allows much larger ships to reach the docks than would be possible on the River Severn due to the tide.
Gloucester was founded by the Romans as the municipality of Colonia Nervia Glevensium (Glevum) it was granted its first charter in 1155 by King Henry II giving the burgesses the same liberties as the citizens of London and Winchester, Subsequent charters were numerous and Gloucester developed into a Busy port with ships sailing up the River Severn from all over the known world.
The ports wharfs, warehouses and docks fell into disrepair but were renovated during the 1980s making it into a popular ‘open space’. Some of the warehouses now house the National Waterways Museum while others have been converted into residential apartments, shops, restaurants, bars and the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum is located in the Custom House. Interestingly the port still houses the most inland RNLI lifeboat in the UK.