Wallbridge Basin was formed by a slight widening of the canal at its eastern terminus. This 1931 painting by John Cook also shows the warehouse, the crane and the weighbridge house, with the chimney of Stroud Brewery in the distance.
Up to 1877, most of the land around the basin was leased to a single coal merchant who also ran the nearby Ship Inn. After this, as coal for Stroud was mostly arriving by rail, the yard was mainly used by local Councils for storing and breaking road stone.
After the right of navigation was withdrawn in 1954, the basin was filled in and the land was sold.
The warehouse was built in 1850 by John Biddle, the principal miller in the district based at nearby Stratford Mill. He paid the cost on the understanding that he would be repaid by a rebate on the tonnage charges he would incur on his wheat and flour carried on the canal.
At that time, much foreign wheat was flooding into Britain following the Repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, and there was a shortage of facilities for storing and milling it. Biddle also built a warehouse at Gloucester Docks to receive foreign grain, which was then brought to Wallbridge by barge.
In time, this boom declined, and by the twentieth century, the building was mainly occupied by businesses who were not making use of the canal.
Access to the wharf was controlled by gates which were closed at night and at weekends. Remarkably, the gateway to the towpath still survives, and it has grooves cut by the tow-ropes of horse-drawn boats and barges.
Use of land around the basin derived from Rent Books D1180/2/54 & 55.
For building the warehouse, see D1180/1/5 p98-104.
For warehouse occupiers, see Rent Books D1180/2/54 & 55.