Many thanks to Absolutely Fabulous Beauty Salon
for facililtating this camera's location and Stroud District Council and Cotswold Canals Trust
for facilitating this camera's location and capitally funding its installation. Within Stroud District, the Cotswold Canals comprise the corridors of the Stroudwater Canal and the Thames & Severn Canal. Wallbridge Lower Lock serves as the initial point of access to the Thames & Severn Canal, holding historical significance within the waterway's infrastructure.In June 2014, restoration efforts commenced for Wallbridge Lower Lock, initiating the construction of a bypass channel and fish pass. This diversionary channel facilitates the redirection of water from the Slad Brook around the lock. On February 2, 2018, the lock was formally inaugurated by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, commemorating its restoration.The locks were originally designed to accommodate Severn Trows, sizable vessels measuring 72 by 15.5 feet (21.9 by 4.7 m) with a carrying capacity of 60 tons. Notably, the canal lacked a dedicated towing path for horses, resulting in most boats being propelled by men who hauled them along the canal. Notably, Framilode Lock, situated at the canal's entrance, operated as a tide lock with multiple gates to adapt to various tidal conditions. When a vessel reached the junction, a rope would be secured from the boat to the shore and attached to a capstan, which facilitated the hauling of the boat into the lock.Following the canal's opening, the Proprietors diligently endeavored to enhance the facilities, leading to the construction of several warehouses. Many shareholders were also involved in the Thames and Severn Canal project, which achieved completion in 1789, establishing a continuous route connecting Wallbridge to the River Thames at Lechlade. The navigation of the canal primarily served commercial purposes, and the presence of pleasure boats was discouraged through the imposition of a fee of £1 (equivalent to £132.00 in 2020) for each lock utilized.Coal constituted the principal cargo transported along the canal. In 1788, a group of shareholders formed a coal committee and commenced trading operations. Initially, the coal was sourced from the Staffordshire and Shropshire coalfields, utilizing the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal as a transport route. Subsequently, coal from the mines in southern Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean supplemented the supply. This profitable enterprise continued until 1833. The canal saw the use of Severn Trows, sailing vessels equipped with ketch, cutter, or sloop rigging. While many of these boats were later converted into dumb barges by removing their masts, none are known to have survived to the present day.In 1794, a basin was constructed above Framilode Lock to provide a waiting area for vessels until the Severn tide reached a suitable level. This addition was a request made by the Thames and Severn Canal company. However, proposals for a horse towing path in 1799 and 1812 were deemed too expensive and were subsequently dismissed. Eventually, a towing path was established after the completion of the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal, making it the only section of the waterway between Shrewsbury on the Severn and Teddington on the Thames without such a path. This construction was finalized in August 1827. The opening of the Gloucester and Berkeley Canal to Sharpness in 1827 diminished the use of the link between Saul and the Severn at Framilode, though coal from the Forest of Dean still utilized this route.Over time, traffic, receipts, and dividends steadily increased along the canal. Tolls rose from £1,468 in 1779 to £6,807 in 1821. Shareholders received their first dividend of 3.75 percent in 1786, and by 1821, the dividend rate had reached 15.78 percent. While tonnage data for the early years is unavailable, it amounted to 79,359 tons in 1821. A decline in merchandise transportation occurred in 1810 upon the opening of the Kennet and Avon Canal, which provided a more convenient route from Bristol to London. However, this trend reversed after 1819, following the opening of the North Wilts Canal, which offered a favorable link from Latton near Cricklade to Abingdon via Swindon and the Wilts and Berks Canal, offering an easier alternative to using the Thames. The highest dividend payout occurred in 1833, with shareholders receiving 26.33 percent. Subsequently, receipts and dividends gradually declined. In 1859, two of the locks were widened to accommodate the passage of a coal barge named the Queen Esther.