By CleanSteve

Baker's Quay on Sharpness canal at Gloucester Dock

I ventured to Gloucester this morning to buy some food supplies such as fresh tofu and 'Stroopwaffels', a new re-discovery following Helena's trip to the Netherlands. The imminent snowy weather galvanised me into stockpiling such essentials.

When I drove over the newish High Orchard bridge which carries St Ann's Way over the canal, I saw that some excavation work was occurring on the site of the ancient Llanthony Priory. It is a place I have been interested in for some years and recently heard a talk about its upcoming Heritage Lottery Funded regeneration.

I parked at the nearby supermarket and walked along the canal towpath and peeked into the area and read a sign describing the archaeological excavations on this strategic site beside the canal. The early medieval Priory was mostly destroyed during Henry V111's Reformation in the 16th century and only a few buildings remained above ground. The landscape around it had been built on in various subsequent eras for industrial usages linked to the canal. I took some photos from the bridge above to tru=y t record the scene for my general archive and for my fellow trustees of Stroud Preservation Trust, who will be interested to see the works in progress.

On my return I walked under the lifting bridge, built to allow high boats to get access into the docks from the canal. At its base I saw this amusing graffiti of a rather famous man's face with the phrase 'It's all relative' written beside it. I decided to step back onto the towpath in order to include the new building work on the east side of the canal , the site of which is called Baker's Quay. The narrowboat appeared fortuitously at the last minute.

The tall building with the scaffolding and plastic covers was a fine old warehouse which burnt down a couple of years ago. I blipped it soon after the fire to record its demise and even then I was pretty certain that the fire was very convenient, as it would allow the Listed building to be rebuilt with only some of the external walls remaining. Seeing what the developers have done to the site rather confirms my suspicions. The building next door to it is apparently going to be a cheap mass market restaurant and the building at the rear will be a Premier Inn hotel, very downmarket.

The main building will be called Provender Mill and will have 60 or more flats, a type of usage that has been very popular in the warehouses surrounding much of the rest fo the docks. The flats will have views across the canal of whatever happens to the Llanthony Priory redevelopment site. I shall return to check on it in due course.

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