Autumn 2022

Gloucestershire Heritage Hub

Stroud Local History Society

There is nothing new about local history societies.  The only surprise was that in 1984 Stroud did not have one.  There were others interested in Stroud, such as the Civic Society, the Museum Association and the Stroud Preservation Trust, but local history?  No one had ever got round to it.

On 13 December, 1984, a meeting was held in the Stroud Library of those who might be interested.  Over sixty people came, while thirty more had filled in slips saying that they liked the idea but were unable to attend on that particular night.  It was a heady start.  Those who attended promised unanimous support and nearly all joined before they left that night.  That, together with the promises received, gave an initial membership of ninety plus.

There was a two-fold aim, first to foster an interest in the area’s local history and to add to the material on it.

Extract from BIRTH OF A SOCIETY by Alan Morley

To read the full article about the beginning of Stroud LHS visit About the Society | Stroud Local History Society  



Upcoming Talk

The Gasworks Tramway – an illustrated explanation by Mike Smith

Thursday November 17th. Doors open 7.15pm for 7.30pm start. £4.50 non-members

St Laurence Church Hall, The Shambles, Stroud.

Tells the story of how coal arriving on the LMS railway from Dudbridge to Stroud (now the cycle track) was transported down and over the river to the gasworks by the canal

Pay on the day but please book your place(s) by using this link Stroud LHS forms or phone 01453 759641


Book review

“Wallbridge, 1 railway, 2 canals, 3 mills, 4 pubs” by Pauline Stevens

When we think of Wallbridge, we might see a small stretch of road, a lock, and a few businesses but in her new book Pauline Stevens has captured a Wallbridge of old, a busy, noisy, probably smelly, and vibrant hamlet, where goods were created and sold and shipped, fortunes were made and lost, and families lived and socialised. Both the rise and demise of Wallbridge were driven by its transport links, the canal and the railway bringing opportunity, and the increasing use of motor transport leading to the demolition of old routes and buildings.

Long before the canal, this was an important site of a mill, and a bridge here over the River Frome can be dated to c1527. Many people will be familiar with the 1870 painting hanging in the Museum in the Park showing a Wallbridge that is almost unrecognisable, and this volume with its fabulous photos and helpful maps probes even further back to explain its evolution. Thankfully a few treasures were saved from destruction and pictures of some artefacts now at Stroud’s Museum are shown.  Canal records found at Bankfield House, the former headquarters of the Stroudwater Canal Company, have provided a wealth of information.

An enormous amount of research has gone into this story of a place where time never stood still. The families that lived in Wallbridge are chronicled. The fortunes of people who worked on the canal, the inn keepers of four pubs, bakers, blacksmiths, shopkeepers, coal merchants, mill owners and many more, are recounted.  The history of gardens and buildings; from homes, cloth mills, inns, brewhouses, stables, a bakery and a mustard mill are covered in detail. Amongst all this Wallbridge saw sporting activity, with swimming, water polo and skating in the canal basins, and the Stroud Rugby Club headquarters was housed over time in two of its pubs.

The book is an enjoyable and informative read from cover to cover, the photos alone are a revelation, and it is equally useful, and well indexed, to dip into as a reference volume. I certainly won’t walk through Wallbridge again without imagining its significant past and remembering a tale or two.

by Julie Mountain (Remembering Rodborough)

(A copy of “Wallbridge, 1 railway, 2 canals, 3 mills, 4 pubs”  is available at the Archives to read).


For more information about Stroud Local History Society visit


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