Over Canal Basin – 2000

First clearance work on site began in February 1998. Later in the year work started on excavating the basin, which had been filled in when the hospital was built in 1903.

The work was carried out by volunteers from the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Trust and teams of volunteers from the Waterways Recovery Group who had a number of work camps through 1999 and 2000. Up to 50 or 60 volunteers were working on the site on occasions.

Recycled bricks
The work co-incided with the demolition of the Over Hospital, that had at one time stood alongside, in readiness for a new housing development. Materials from the demolition were recycled by the Trust.

This included thousands of heavy Victorian bricks that went into the building of the wharf walls. The brick had to be picked from piles of rubble, sorted and the black mortar chiseled off of the surfaces ready for them to be re-laid.

Once the main walls were completed the curved entrance to the lock was constructed and a gabion wall built along the towpath side of the basin. The wharf wall was topped with blue coping bricks.

A hospital mortuary block had once stood across the line of the canal. Its heavy concrete foundations, although challenging, were successfully removed by the excavator team.

The slipway was laid with granite sets and the banks leading away from the basin sculptured into a gentle slope. These banks were seeded with grass and a wood chip towpath laid.

Filling the basin
It was time to test the basin. The original clay that had lined the original basin was used to line the sides. The basin was filled with water extracted from the River Leadon, just before it reached the Severn. The pump, watched by TV cameras, started the flow into the hollow. It took several days until the correct level was reached.