The Bell Hotel is an unusually wedged shaped building which once stood opposite the Stroud Brewery, overlooked by the Great Western Railway and was adjacent to the L.M.S. Wallbridge Station and Goods Yard. This was one of the nearest pubs to the brewery.
The Citizen: 15th April, 1986 – Cracking good send off. Pub landlady Nancy Green has named a punt. Mrs Green, hostess at the Bell Hotel at Wallbridge, also took time to officially launch the new Stroudwater Thames & Severn Canal Trust vessel in her pub yard. In the best nautical tradition she cracked a bottle across the “Wallbridge’s” bows and went aboard for its maiden voyage, a short trip up the canal and back to the Bell. The punt, built by Trust members Richard Attwood and Tony Jones, will be used for construction work on the canal.
The Citizen: 27th October, 1987 – Couple in pub deal – Luciano and Aileen Magoliti have taken over a pub only a short distance from one they already run. Luciano and his wife, who run the Clothiers Arms in Bath Road, stroud, have now bought the Bell Inn at nearby Walbridge. They plan an extensive plan of modernisation at the Bell and said yesterday that they intended to absorb the feel of their property before they begin refurbishments which should be completed during the Spring.
Stroud News & Journal 4th July 2001 – Hearty abseilers to make the leap: Fundraisers who like a challenge will jump at the chance to take part in a charity abseil to be held for the first time in Stroud later this month. A professional abseiling team will be at the Bell Inn, Wallbridge on Saturday 14th July from 10am to 4pm to encourage members of the public to take the plunge in aid of the British Heart Foundation.
“Because the Bell is only 30 ft high, it is ideal for everyone, including children, who would like to have a first go at abseiling and they can raise money for a good cause into the bargain,” said Anne Priestly of the BHF.
An application was submitted in 2004 for change of use to six residential units. Stroud District Council turned down the plans as there were only three hotels in the town centre and, as Councillor John Marjoram of Stroud District Council development committee said: “It should be retained as a hotel because in a few years time this will be seen as a goldmine once the canal restoration is complete.” / July 2006 for ‘change of use of ground floor to A!, B1, B2 or D1 commercial use, first and second floors to 4 dwellings.
Stroud District Council. Planning June 2005 – The Bell Hotel. Wallbridge: Change of use of ground floor into residential dwellings. (Resubmission following refusal). Change of use of first and second floors to 4 residential dwellings (Resubmission following refusal).
Stroud News & Journal, 6th September 2006 – Gays can relax in our new bar: Gay people in Stroud will finally have a bar to call their own when the Lock Keepers in Wallbridge reopens this Friday. The new leaseholders of the canal-side venue, Yvette Eagle and Tasmin Hulls, have given the place a modern new look – but are eager to make it clear customers will be welcome, whatever their sexuality. Yvette and Tasmin, who have lived in Stroud as a couple for eight years, have also taken over the running of the adjoining Bell Inn.
Stroud News & Journal, 5th September 2007 – Bar’s Birthday: Stroud’s Lock Keeper’s bar will celebrate its first year in business with a special birthday bash on Friday, September 7th. The bar will have DJ’s and live music from 8pm until 3am.
Stroud News & Journal, 6th May 2009 – Fall in trade forces hotel conversion: The Bell Hotel in Stroud is to be converted into flats and offices in July due to a lack of custom. Landlord Luciano Magalotti, who also owns the Clothiers Arms, hopes the redevelopment will help improve the area.
The three-storey building in Wallbridge, which is not listed, will undergo a several thousand pound renovation while the Lockkeepers bar will probably be demolished. “I did not intend to close it but because of the lack of business it has come to that,” said Mr Magalotti. “It is the only way I can use the building. When the canal is regenerated and the Hill Paul site is developed it will be a very nice area.”
Mr Magalotti, who bought the hotel and bar complex in 1986, was granted permission for the work two years ago after a five-year battle with Stroud District Council. The 12 hotel rooms on the top two floors will be converted into four two-bedroom flats for rent. Meanwhile. the ground floor, currently a bar, lounge, breakfast room and reception will become office space.
Mr Magalotti, who won an award from the town council for extending the hotel in 1988, said he did not yet know how many businesses would rent the floor. He also said he had no plans for the bar but admitted it would probably go.
The Citizen, Friday 8th May 2009 – Hotel and gay bar converted to create flats: Stroud’s first openly gay bar will be converted into flats when its operators’ lease ends in the summer. The owner of the Bell Hotel and Lock Keepers bar at Wallbridge won planning permission to turn the business into residential apartments two years ago.
But then the Lock Keepers Bar, which is beside the Thames and Severn canal, hit the headlines when it was turned into Stroud’s first openly gay-run bar. Now, however, its operators Yvette Eagle and Tasmin Hulls say that although they have enjoying the first business of their own, they feel it is time for a change. “We are not shutting because of the recession. It is the end of our lease in July,” Ms Eagle said. “It has been great. We have learned a lot. We have had big transgender groups here.”
The Citizen, Wednesday 27th May 2009 – Letters to the editor: Madam – The Bell Hotel was for many years the headquarters of Stroud Rugby Club until the club-house was built on the present site in the early 1950’s. Both teams would change at the hotel and then run up the Bath Road to the ground and run back again after the match. The harder you ran the cleaner the water in the big communal bath.
The “three-quarters” always got there first. I think this arrangement existed right from the the time rugby came to Fromehall Park. I know that, playing for Stroud during the war, we had to do it but when I resumed playing on leaving the army in the 1950’s the new premises were built but it was still first in the bath had the cleanest water.
Bill Mortimore, Preston, Cirencester.
Stroud Life, 11th August 2010 – New visitor centre shows canal work: Waterway’s fans have been enjoying a look at Stroud’s new canals visitor centre before it officially opens. Curious passers-by have already dropped in to the Cotswold Canals Trust base at Wallbridge when they’ve found the door open, said volunteer manager Clive Field.
The smart visitor centre in the former Bell Hotel has a lockside entrance for the public, said Mr Field who is hoping for a formal launch event in the early autumn.
Stroud Life, 3rd August 2011 – Wendy turns hobby into café: Keen cook Wendy Townsend has put her home baking skills to professional use by opening the new Lockkeepers’ café bar. Mrs Townsend, who lives in Stroud, launched her canal-side venture in Wallbridge after voluntary work led her to the nearby towpath.
One day, while she and other canal restoration volunteers enjoyed their picnic lunch beside the canal, a friend came up with the idea of opening a café. “I needed no more encouragement,” said Mrs Townsend, who has just opened the licensed Lockkeepers offering morning coffees, light lunches and teas seven days a week.
Stroud News & Journal, 21st May 2014 – Café shuts in rent row: A busy canal-side café in Stroud is to close under current management next month because of a disputed rent rise. The Lockkeeper’s is a popular café bar which also hosts evening events and had built up a loyal customer base since opening in 2011.
In 2012, owner Wendy Townsend was named Trader of the Year in the Stroud Town Council Awards. Now, following a dispute with landlord Luciano Magalotti over a rent increase, the business is to close under current ownership next month with the last day of trading on June 29th.
“I put a lot of work into this café, which was a wreck when I bought the lease in 2011,” said Ms. Townsend. “But when I approached the landlord in September 2013 to increase the lease for another five years, I was told the rent would increase more than we could afford.”
In a statement, Mr Magalotti said the lease was given on the understanding that the first nine months would be rent-free because of the extent of the repair work required on the building. He said the remainder of the lease was given “well-below market value” but says it was agreed that after the three years expired, the rent would return to its full rate.
Owner in 1891: Stroud Brewery
Rateable value in 1891: £52.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1891: Alehouse
Owner in 1903: Stroud Brewery
Rateable value in 1903: £49.0s.0d.
Type of licence in 1903: Alehouse
Closing time in 1903: 11pm
Landlords at the Bell Hotel include:
1856 B. Pearce
1885 George Grimes
1891 George Kane
1902 Christopher Stockwell
1903 Walter Mancel Bedford
1906 Alfred Laundy
1919,1927 Joseph Henry Elliott
1986 Nancy Green
1998.2005 Luciano Magalotti (owner)
2002 Sarah Close (manager)
2006 (Sept) Yvette Eagle and Tamsin Hulls (Lock keepers)