The town in its current guise is the creation of the industrial canals of the eighteenth century: before the creation of the new port town of Stourport-on-Severn, the hamlet now engulfed by the development of the basins was called Lower Mitton. The name of Stourport-on-Severn is given by its position as a canal port where the River Stour enters the River Severn. (The mouth of the Stour is next to the basins area behind what was the Bond Worth carpet factory.)
History and early growth
Before the completion of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, in 1772, there were two hamlets here, named Upper Mitton and Lower Mitton, at the junction of the River Severn and the River Stour. The town of Stourport grew up around the canal basins and the locks between the canal and the river, and for 150 years was the principal location for the trans-shipment of goods from the canal boats into the river-going craft called Severn trows. The central district of the town supported boat and barge building, foundries and carpet manufacturers.
Local trade suffered badly with the construction of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, completed in 1815. The new railways also further reduced the canal trade. Stourport suffered an economic decline. The new town that expanded so rapidly after 1770 was already virtually defunct in the early 19th century.
The canal locally was used by a declining number of companies and by the 1940s only two companies used it to any extent, Royal Worcester Porcelain for coal and Cadbury of Bournville for chocolate crumb.
The church of St Michael and All Angels was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1875, shortly before his death. Building work started in 1881 under his son, John Oldrid Scott, but was never finished. Scott's building has been partly demolished to be replaced by a new church. The George Gilbert Scott church replaced an earlier brick church of 1782 by James Rose.
Redefinition and redevelopment
During the late 19th century, Stourport became a popular summer destination for the industrial workers of the Black Country, who came for its riverside pleasure parks, boat trips, and caravan parks. Since the end of the Second World War and the nationalisation of the canal system Stourport has been in steady decline. However the growth in leisure boating and canal barge ownership and holidays has seen the revitalisation of the central canal basins.
Extensive housebuilding away from the town centre has taken place since the 1920s, around the main roads which link the town with Kidderminster, Worcester and Bewdley. Several primary schools have also been built, as well as the town's secondary school.
- Rowing: Stourport Boat Club was founded in 1876, when boating rather than rowing in particular was the main pastime.
The club caters for a wide range of ages from 11+. The club has a very strong Junior section (Under 18), a very competitive Senior section (18+) and a healthy Veteran section (30+). The 2 day Regatta held every year in August attracts over 600 crews from all over the country to compete. The event attracts many spectators and supporters and 3,000 visitors are catered for over the weekend.
Early May sees the Arley to Stourport Raft Race run by the Lions Club in aid of local charities. Rafts fall into various classes, some competing just for fun, and others such as the Super Rafts intent of the fastest possible time. It runs along 8 miles of the River Severn through some beautiful countryside and passing through Bewdley at about half way.
First weekend of September is Stourport Carnival which as well as a land parade has a river parade during the day and after dark another river parade with the boats decked out in lights.
- River Stour
- Stourport Carnival
- The Shuttle Local weekly newspaper serving Stourport
- The River Severn
- Pictures of Stourport-on-Severn and the area on Geograph.co.uk
- Photos of Stourport-on-Severn on Flickr's Stourport Group
- Stourport-on-Severn's Fairground - Treasure Island
- The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, Nikolaus Pevsner, 1968 Penguin. p271