The entrance to the Stroudwater Canal from the River Severn was formed at Framilode, close to the mouth of the River Frome which had long been a haven for trading vessels.
Initially, there was just a lock (1) that could be used by vessels around the time of high tide on most days, although not for the lowest neap tides. The basin (2) and adjoining warehouse (3) were built in the 1790s to provide transshipment facilities for visiting vessels that did not want to continue up the canal, although it seems that little such traffic developed.
The Canal Company built a house beside the bridge for their lock-keeper and toll clerk (4), and they also owned other houses nearby (5). The long row of houses backing on to the towpath (6) was built by the owner of Framilode Mill (7) which produced tin plate and other metal products until it closed in the 1830s. Further south along the towpath were two beer houses: the Bell (8) and the Ship Inn (9). Both were well placed to serve bargemen who had arrived from a trip on the Severn or were waiting to leave the canal at high tide.
The image shows the swing bridge viewed from the south-west, with the lock house on the right when its extension was used as the village Post Office. In the background is the warehouse, which was not used much for storing cargoes, but its upper floor was used as a meeting room for the Framilode Benefit Society of Watermen whose members were supporters of the temperance movement and did not want to meet in a pub. For a time it was also used as a school room before a National School opened in Framilode.
Since the right of navigation was withdrawn in 1954, the bridge hole has been filled in and the lock house and the warehouse are now private residences.
The basin was built in the 1790s, partly paid for by the Thames & Severn Canal Co, to provide space for vessels bringing Newport coal to transship into local barges that could continue up to Brimscombe and beyond, although it seems that little such traffic developed.
The image shows the barge Irene waiting for the lock keeper to open the gates when the tide in the river reached the right level. She appears to be carrying a cargo of grain loaded at Sharpness for delivery to the mill at Lower Framilode, half a mile down river. Since 1954, this basin has also been filled in and the area is a private garden.
For Ivor Gurney's connection to Framilode read about the Framilode Lock Keeper.
As the only access to and from Framilode church was across Framilode Bridge, locals say that it was common at one time for newly married couples to pay a 'toll' to the bridge keeper when crossing his bridge.