A HISTORIC and well-known gatehouse on Stroud’s canal is to get a new lease of life as a mini heritage centre run by the Cotswold Canals Trust.

The Gatehouse at Bond’s Mill Estate is a quaint Grade II listed building, which is perched on the edge of the Stroudwater Navigation Canal at Stonehouse.

The bundling was originally a gun turret built as part of the Second World War defences to protect Bristol and Avonmouth.

It has now been transferred from the owner of the estate, developer Robert Hitchins Group, to the Canal Trust to be used as an information centre.

This will include displays on the history of the Gatehouse, the Stroudwater Canal and the Bond’s Mill business park.

After the official opening on April 13, The Gatehouse will be open to the public at weekends and Bank Holidays and run by volunteers from the Canals Trust and the Stonehouse History Group.

“We’re grateful to Robert Hitchins for permission to open the Gatehouse to the public,” said Val Kirby from the Trust.

“This is a great opportunity to view a hidden historic gem. As a pillbox, the building was part of Bristol’s outer defences against a German army. It was unique since it doubled up as a platform for an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the roof.”

Helen Hawke, accounts and administration manager for the landlord at Bond’s Mill, welcomed the project.

“As landlord, Robert Hitchins is pleased to support the Cotswold Canals Trust,” she said.

“I’m particularly interested in seeing the Gatehouse gain a new lease of life - when I started working at Bond’s Mill in 1988, I used the first floor as the Estate Office.”

The Gatehouse will be open to visitors at Easter on April 15, 16 and 17 from noon until 4pm and thereafter at weekends and Bank Holidays during the summer.