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150 years of Llanthony Warehouse

In 2023 the National Waterways Museum Gloucester is celebrating 150 years of Llanthony Warehouse, its home in the Gloucester Docks. Throughout the school summer holidays, visitors will be able to take part in a celebration of the building.

150 years of Llanthony Warehouse

Junk modelling

On Wednesdays throughout the summer holidays, starting on 26 July, the museum will host junk modelling sessions from 10:30am - 2:30pm.

Junk modelling is all about creating new and exciting things from discarded items. The whole family can join in, designing, investigating and problem solving as they bring their plans and ideas to life.

The models will then be on display during the Heritage Open Days on 8 and 9 September, so come and have a go at getting one of your creations in the museum. The drop-in junk modelling sessions are free with an annual ticket or just buy your ticket on the day. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Llanthony Warehouse: Uncovered secrets

During the refurbishment of the museum in 2016, our conservation and construction team peeled back the layers of the old museum. After removing the objects from the floors, we were able to see the spectacular craftsmanship of the building for the first time.

A port since the granting of its Royal Charter in 1580, Gloucester became a centre for the corn trade in the 1840s when foreign grain was first allowed into Britain.

Wheat, barley, oats and maize were the principle grain cargoes imported into Gloucester Docks to be transported up the River Severn to feed the expanding towns of the Midlands. Llanthony Warehouse, now home to the National Waterways Museum Gloucester, was the last great corn store to be opened in Gloucester Docks in 1873.

Transformation over time

Built of brick, with a slate roof, wooden floors and cast-iron columns, the building was designed to store sacks of grain. Winches in the roof and loading doors on each floor, meant the grain sacks could be lifted from the ground or the boats to any one of the six floors above.

The building was later occupied by builders' merchants and then in 1988 it was transformed into the Gloucester Waterways Museum on the lower three floors. With office space and archives above.

Seven months of restoration work has uncovered parts of the now Grade II Listed warehouse including the original windows – designed more for ventilation than light. They used to make the building seem a bit uninviting so to counteract this we have a new glazed entrance where you'll find information about the museum, docks trail and boat trips.

We've also uncovered a symmetrical grid of 33 cast-iron columns made by JM Butt and Co Iron Founders (a major local employer for over 100 years) and floorboards showing the wear and tear of the building's former use as a grain warehouse.

Last Edited: 15 August 2023

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