Foster Street, Stourbridge
|Postcode:||DY7, DY8, DY9|
|Dialling code:||01384, 01562|
Stourbridge is a town in Worcestershire, a suburban town on the edge of the Black Country conurbation. Stourbridge is known as a centre of glass making as it has been for centuries, though much of the population today is made up of commuters to Birmingham and the Black Country.
The town and about
Stourbridge is about 13 miles west of Birmingham, at the edge of the industrial Midlands, located between Kidderminster and Dudley. Much of the town consists of suburban streets, interspersed with green spaces. At the edge of Stourbridge is green belt land, and it is close to unspoiled countryside with rural Shropshire close by to the west. The Clent Hills, Kinver Edge and large areas of farmland lie to the south and west.
The town and surrounding area is at the south western extremity of the Black Country and the majority of the working-class population retain the region's accent and dialect, although there is a larger middle-class population than nearby towns such as Dudley or Halesowen.
For centuries, Stourbridge was in the ancient parish of Oldswinford, Worcestershire and was known as Bedcote. Stourbridge takes its current name from the River Stour, which flows through the town and here forms the border between Worcestershire and Staffordshire.
The town gives its name to local glassware, which has been manufactured since the early 1600s. The local glass proved particularly suitable for industry, taken up predominantly after the immigration of French coal miners in the Huguenot diaspora. Most of the glass industry was actually located in surrounding areas including Wordsley, Amblecote and Oldswinford, but Stourbridge was the central place. The rich natural resources of coal and fireclay for lining furnaces made it the perfect location for the industry. Glass making peaked in the 19th century, encouraged by the famous glass-making family, the Jeavons.
The 1861 census identified that 1,032 residents of Stourbridge were involved in the glass trade in some way. Of these, 541 were glass workers - an increase from 409 in 1851, believed to be partly caused by the collapse of the glass industry in nearby Dudley in the 1850s. The vast majority of those involved in the glass trade came from Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, though 8.1% had come from Ireland. The houses inhabited by glassworkers were of a much better quality in comparison to the slums in which the nailmakers of Lye and Wollescote lived. However, only a few glassworkers owned their own houses.
Stourbridge glass is recognised as amongst the finest in the world has been used countless times as gifts for royalty and visiting dignitaries. However, in recent years, the industry has been shrunk by the effects of globalisation, and glassmaking companies have moved abroad.
The Red House Cone, thought to be the only complete remaining glass cone of its kind, stands on the Stourbridge Canal at Wordsley. It is the site of the Red House Glass Museum and there are regular demonstrations of blowing glass in the traditional way, and a collection of Stourbridge glass can be seen at Broadfield House Glass Museum in Kingswinford.
Churches in Stourbridge include:
- Church of England:
- St Thomas' Church
- St Mary's Church, Oldswinford
- Amblecote Holy Trinity Church
- St Peter's, Pedmore
- Baptist: Hanbury Hill Baptist Church
- Presbyterian-Unitarian Chapel, Lower High Street. Built 1788.
- Quaker Meeting House, founded 1689.
- United Reformed Church: St John's URC
- Stourbridge Cricket Club plays at the War Memorial Athletic Ground in Amblecote
- Stourbridge Football Club also plays at War Memorial Athletic Ground
- Stourbridge Stourbridge Rugby Club plays at Stourton Park
- Redhill Volleyball Club plays at Redhill School.
Stourbridge used to be served by four cinemas: The "Danilo" at the end of the Hagley Road, now the Picture House nightclub, The Scala (later the Savoy) at the top of Lower High Street, The Odeon on the High Street and the largest, the "Kings" halfway down New Road.
Parts of the demolished Odeon were discovered when demolition began to create the new Wilkinsons store. It possessed a large pipe organ. A mosaic from the cinema floor was rescued and moved to the crown centre nearby.
Stourbridge FM was established in March 2001 to establish a commercial radio station broadcasting to and from the Stourbridge area. Stourbridge FM Radio Ltd carried out three experimental 'trial' broadcasts in November 2001, May 2002 and January 2003 from studios in the centre of the town and was sponsored by Stourbridge College but disbanded by February 2004. The volunteer Stourbridge-FM established the "Stourbridge Radio Group" to apply for a non-profit making community radio licence for the area, which won a community radio licence in September 2005, called The 'Bridge; full programming as launched on 1 January 2008 at 10.25 am.
Stourbridge has a railway station, named Stourbridge Junction on the Birmingham to Kidderminster line, with a frequent and efficient train service and the town is also served by the shortest railway branch line in Europe - the Stourbridge Town Branch Line which carries a shuttle service from Stourbridge Junction on the Birmingham - Kidderminster line to Stourbridge Town railway station in the town centre.
Stourbridge lies on the River Stour and is linked to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and the Dudley No. 1 Canal by the Stourbridge Canal. This places the town on the Stourport Ring, a popular route with holidaymakers and is navigable by narrowboat.
The town is served by National Route 54 of the National Cycle Network.
Stourbridge's shopping centre lies on or near the High Street. Here can be found branches of many banks and building societies as well as big retailers There are several pubs, cafés and food outlets. Off the High Street is the Ryemarket shopping centre which houses a number of shops.
Sights in and around the town
- Clent Hills
- Bonded Warehouse
- Broadfield House Glass Museum
- Crystal Leisure Centre
- Hagley Hall
- Foster & Rastrick Foundry building
- Mary Stevens Park
- Red House Cone
- River Stour
- Ryemarket Fountain
- Stambermill Viaduct
- Stourbridge Canal
- Stourbridge Junction Clock & Car Park Footbridge
- Stourbridge Town Hall
- Town Centre Clock
- Town Centre brickwork
- Wychbury Hill
In popular culture
Stourbridge appears in two great works of poetry from the 20th century: Finnegans Wake by James Joyce and The Cantos of Ezra Pound.
|“||Of course our low hero was a self valeter by choice of need so up he got up whatever is meant by a stourbridge clay kitchenette and lithargogalenu fowlhouse for the sake of akes (the umpple does not fall very far from the dumpertree)||”|
|“|| and I went in a post chaise
Woburn Farm, Stowe, Stratford, Stourbridge, Woodstock, High Wycombe and back to Grosvenor Sq
Stourbridge found its way into Pound's Cantos by way of John Adams, the second President of the United States, whose diary entry from 1786 Pound translated into his own epic poem.
Stourbridge Golf Course is also mentioned by P G Wodehouse.
|“||"Or take Golf", said Mr Carmody, side-stepping and attacking from another angle. "The only good golf-course in Worcestershire at present is at Stourbridge."||”|
- Boucher, B. The Huguenot Role in Industrial England
- Matsumura, Takao (1984). "Flint glass makers in the local community". The Labour Aristocracy Revisited: The Victorian Flint Glass Makers, 1850-80. Manchester University Press. pp. 149–161. ISBN 0719009316.
- Philips, David (1977). Crime and Authority in Victorian England: The Black Country 1835-1860. Taylor & Francis. pp. 29. ISBN 087471866X.
- Priestley centenary
- James Joyce Finnegans Wake, part 1, Episode 6. Page 184
- Ezra Pound, Canto LXVI, line 30, Page 380
- P. G. Wodehouse, Money for Nothing, Chapter 5
- River Stour
- Internet Guide To Stourbridge
- Stourbridge News Local Stourbridge weekly newspaper
- St Thomas's Church
- Stourbridge bus and rail information
- Ridgewood High School
- Old Swinford Hospital School
- Information about the Stourbridge Lion
- Stourbridge Cricket Club
- Stourbridge Ladies Circle
- The 'Bridge 102.5FM
- Stourbridge Bicycle User Group (Stourbug)
- 871 Troop, 67 (QOWWY) Signal Squadron (V)