Wallbridge Wharf surrounded the basin at the terminus of the Stroudwater Canal on the south-west edge of the town of Stroud. Passing to the north of the Basin, the Thames & Severn Canal continued through Stroud to join the River Thames near Lechlade. To the south was the River Frome.
The area included a warehouse for perishable goods (1) and pens for storing coal and road stone. At the head of the basin, there was a crane for lifting particularly heavy items, and nearby was a weighing machine for wagons. To the north-east was the headquarters of the Canal Company (2), and to the south was the Ship Inn (3), which was much frequented by thirsty boatmen. On the hill overlooking all this was Farhill House (4), which was the home of Joseph Grazebrook, an early Clerk to the Canal Company.
This painting by John Cook shows Wallbridge Basin, warehouse and crane in 1931 with the chimney of Stroud Brewery in the distance. By that time, the Basin was little used as coal for domestic use was mainly carried by rail. After the right of navigation was withdrawn in 1954, the basin was filled in, but the warehouse has survived, and a stone gateway across the towpath (behind the artist) still carries grooves cut by tow-ropes when horses towed vessels to and from the wharf.
The headquarters of the Stroudwater Navigation Company has also survived. As well as offices, the building included accommodation for the Clerk who was in charge of the day-to-day running of the Company. It was in this building that the bulk of the archive material featured in this website was created. Note that the upper right window is a fake - there is no room behind it.
The name Wallbridge is thought to have derived from the name Walk Bridge for the crossing of the Frome near the Ship Inn, being a reference to the walkers or fullers who played a vital role in the woollen cloth industry that once flourished along the Frome valley.
In 1788, King George III visited Wallbridge on horseback wearing a blue coat with a scarlet collar and a cocked hat, and he watched a barge pass down through Lower Wallbridge Lock. (Fisher p125-26)