Wharefinger House is at the heart of Bradford's canal quarter with its restaurants, cafes and pubs clustered above and below the town lock. The Kennet and Avon canal and Wharfinger House were completed and open for business by 1810. The canal was originally conceived as a trade link between Bristol and London which avoided the dangers of the English Channel. With the enormous changes around the turn of the century resulting from the Industrial Revolution, the town's water powered mills now had to compete with large new steam driven wool and cotton mills up north. This gave Bradford Town Wharf plenty of business from the start, transporting coal from the Somerset Coalfield at Radstock and Timsbury via the Somerset Coal Canal to Bradford-on-Avon.
The first wharfinger, Benjamin Mason presided over an impressive and profitable little empire, with his grand house overlooking the wharves on both sides of the canal. The whole complex included a warehouse, a toll gauging station and dry dock as well as a modest lock keeper's cottage - all of which survive to this day. Wharfinger House, built with typical Georgian symmetry and fancy quoins, used only the best Bath Oolitic Limestone, which has weathered the centuries well and has now been rescued by Derek and Sybil, who have returned the house to the opulence Bejamin would perhaps have known.
The views from the bedroom windows ensure guests can enjoy the colourful narrowboats and the visitors who come to see them from the quiet and restful interior of Wharfinger House which is only a few yards from the deep town lock. Many of the hire boats are crewed by novices who generally welcome any assistance with operating the lock, so this could be your chance to lend a hand.
But if you just want to Gongoozle (a slang canal term for standing and staring) there is no better place than the lockside front garden!
|Private parking without charge||Yes||Credit cards accepted||No||Specialise in Vegetarian Food||No|
|Dinner by arrangement||No||Open Christmas and New Year||No||Entirely non-smoking house||Yes|
|Pets accepted||No||Restaurant||No||Within 1/2 mile of public transport or will collect||Yes|