Framilode Friendly Society of Watermen

By Hugh Conway Jones

Photo:Sauce boat and plate, Framilode Friendly Society of Watermen

Sauce boat and plate, Framilode Friendly Society of Watermen

Donated by Hugh Conway Jones

The following note is based on the Stroudwater and Thames & Severn Towpath Guide by Michael Handford and David Viner p27-28 and The Stroudwater Navigation by Joan Tucker p45. Can anyone offer any further information about the Society?

The Waterways Museum at Gloucester has a cake stand and a sauce boat carrying the name Framilode Friendly Society of Watermen. The Gloucester Folk Museum also has some items of crockery, and other examples are believed to be in private hands around the area. The crockery is decorated with blue flowers and foliage on a white background, and the name of the society appears on a circular belt fastened by a buckle. The society has left no records, but it appears that members were watermen working on the Stroudwater Canal and the Severn estuary who paid in regular contributions in the expectation of receiving help when needed. Between 1843 and 1896, the Society rented a warehouse beside Framilode basin to which they added a 'room' (apparently an upper floor on an existing single storey building). It is believed that the ground floor of the warehouse was a store for gear that was needed by vessels navigating the estuary but not when they were on the canal, and the upper floor was a room where meetings were held and presumably where the society's crockery was used. The society continued to function into the twentieth century, but due to declining employment for watermen, the society was dissolved c1920 and the crockery was dispersed among its members.

This page was added by Iris Capps on 18/12/2009.

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