Historic Gatehouse — CCT Visitor Centre No. 3
The historic Gatehouse at Bond’s Mill Estate, owned by the Robert Hitchins Group, began a new lease of life as the third Cotswold Canals Trust Visitor Centre on Saturday 15th April.
Fifty three people visited the Centre between 12 noon and 4pm and brought with them a host of questions and interesting historic facts.
The Cotswold Canals Trust now occupies the Grade II listed building, situated on the Northern bank of the Stroudwater Navigation Canal at Stonehouse.
Second World War defence line
Originally built as a gun turret within the Second World War defences to protect Bristol and Avonmouth, the octagonal building will be a centre for displays on the history of the Gatehouse,
the Stroudwater Canal and the Bond’s Mill business park.
Stonehouse History Group Chair Jim Dickson shares historic facts with Stonehouse Mayor Theresa Watt
Eric Winder is pictured on the steps of the building in role as a 1940s Home Guard Sergeant
Open at Easter
The Gatehouse will be open to visitors throughout Easter from 2pm until 4pm, and thereafter between 2pm and 4pm at weekends through the summer.
Volunteers from the Cotswold Canals Trust and Stonehouse History Group will be on hand to answer questions on the history of the mill.
Stories & memories sought
The volunteers are equally keen to receive stories and memories from people who perhaps played a part in the important wartime work carried out at Sperry Gyroscopes.
Cotswold Canals Trust Director Val Kirby, the convener of the Canal Restoration Bid to be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund, comments…
“We are grateful to Robert Hitchins for permission to open the Gatehouse to the public. This is a great opportunity to view an historic gem.
“As a pill-box, the building was part of Bristol’s outer defences against a wartime invasion. It was unique since it doubled up as a platform for an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the roof.”
Helen Hawke Accounts and Administration Manager for the landlord at Bond’s Mill welcomed the project. “As landlord, Robert Hitchins is pleased to support the Cotswold Canals Trust. I am particularly interested in seeing the Gatehouse gain a new lease of life – when I started working at Bond’s Mill in 1988; I used the first floor as the Estate Office.”
Time to spare and energy to share?
If you feel you could help to staff the new Visitor Centre this summer please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our administrator on 01453 752 568.