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Canalside warehouse fire

A sad day for Stroud – Historic warehouse found ablaze

The Fire and Rescue Service were called to Cheapside Wharf, Wallbridge at 4 pm yesterday Tuesday 21st August.

The former Thames & Severn Canal Company Warehouse was found to be ablaze.

Photo by Mel Ryan

History

This Grade II Listed building was built in 1828, as part of Wallbridge Wharf on the Thames and Severn Canal at Cheapside.

The photo below is from a ‘magic lantern’ glass slide dated 1855. It shows a wharf crane and coal stacked on the wharf.


Reasons for Grade II Listing

Architectural interest
The building is a relatively uncommon surviving example of a wharf warehouse, retaining quality ashlar dressings and intact adjoining wharf walls.

Historic interest
As part of the development of the nationally-significant interchange between the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames and Severn Canal

Additional historic interest is provided by the fact that the building was requisitioned in WWII as a potential mortuary in the event of a gas attack on Stroud.

A new waterfront for Stroud

The Cheapside Wharf site and warehouse have been secured for development by Gloucester based Newland Homes. Newland Homes Design Director Jeremy Drew commented,

“We are terribly disappointed that the listed Wallbridge Warehouse has suffered an extensive fire but very glad to learn that nobody was hurt. Of course, we are doing all we can to ensure the listed building is safe.

“Prior to the arson attack on Tuesday 21st August, the building was fully secure and there are indications that it may have been physically broken into. If it emerges that this was, in fact, an arson attack, we hope those responsible for a mindless act of vandalism to a heritage asset realise they could have not only injured others but have been injured or worse themselves. We are extremely grateful to the lady in Hill Paul who reported the fire and to the Fire Service for their prompt and professional work to contain and extinguish the fire.

“Once we are given the all clear we will arrange for an appropriate structural assessment, before deciding how best to proceed. Even from an external visual inspection, it appears this damage will impact upon the viability of this project, as the reinstatement works and costs will have to be revisited. However, we will of course work towards a successful outcome for all concerned and to respect the important heritage this building represents.”

Arrests made

Two men, both 20-years-old and from Stroud, were arrested on Wednesday morning 22nd August on suspicion of arson.