infobox UK place
country = England
map_type= West Midlands
population = 54,661 (1991 Census)
metropolitan_county = West Midlands
region= West Midlands
postcode_district = DY7, DY8, DY9
dial_code= 01384, 01562
london_distance= Stourbridge is a town within the
Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the West Midlands of England. Historically part of Worcestershire, Stourbridge was a centre of glass making, and today includes the suburbs of Amblecote, Lye, Norton, Oldswinford, Pedmore, Wollaston and Wollescote.
The population, as recorded in the
United Kingdom Census 1991, was 54,661. Much of the population is now made up of commuters to Birminghamand the Black Country. Stourbridge is included in the Stourbridge constituency, currently held by the Labour party through Lynda Waltho.
The apse and north chancel screen at St Thomas' Church were added by W. H. William Bidlake. [ "The Buildings of England: Worcestershire", Nikolaus Pevsner, 1968 p268 ]
Geography and administration
Stourbridge is a part of the West Midlands
metropolitan countyand conurbation, in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley. Stourbridge is located at the edge of the industrial Midlands, roughly between Kidderminsterand Dudley.
Much of the town consists of
suburban streets, broken by green spaces. Stourbridge borders on green beltland, and is often close to unspoiled countryside - for example, Stourbridge is closer to Shropshirethan it is to Birmingham city centre. Good examples are Clent Hills, Kinver Edgeand large areas of farmland to the south and west. It has been said that you could go west from Stourbridge and not encounter another built-up area until past the border with Wales, or even further.
The town and surrounding area is at the south western extremity of the
Black Countryand 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.
Closest cities, towns and villages
hub = Stourbridge
Kingswinford, Wombourne, Wolverhampton
Brierley Hill, Dudley, West Bromwich,, Walsall, Great Barr, Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth
Hagley, Romsley Bromsgrove, Redditch
West Hagley, Worcester
Kidderminster, Bewdley, Stourport
For centuries, Stourbridge was in the ancient parish of
Oldswinford, Worcestershireand was known as Bedcote. Since 1974, it has been part of the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley.
Stourbridge takes its name from the River Stour, which flows through the town and for centuries formed the border between Worcestershire and
Staffordshire. But the border was moved a couple of miles north in 1966, when AmblecoteUrban District (previously in Staffordshire) was incorporated into the Borough of Stourbridge. This arrangement lasted eight years until the ascent of the Local Government Act 1972in 1974, when Stourbridge was amalgamated into the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley and became part of the wider West Midlands county.
There have been numerousFact|date=March 2007 campaigns to re-instate Stourbridge into the ceremonial county of
Worcestershire(or the previous Hereford and Worcester) since 1974.Fact|date=March 2007
The town gives its name to local glass production, which has been manufactured since the early 1600s. However, most of the glass industry was actually located in surrounding areas including
Wordsley, Amblecoteand Oldswinford. The rich natural resources of coal and fireclay for lining furnaces made it the perfect location for the industry. It was probably the presence of fireclay that attracted glassmakers to the area. The canals also facilitated the importing of large amounts of fine sand from Ireland. Stourbridge glass is recognised as amongst the finest in the world. The glass has been used countless times as gifts for royalty and visiting dignitaries. However, the glass industry in the area has been all but destroyed by the effects of globalisation, with the factories moving abroad where cheaper workers are available.
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.
Stourbridge lies on the River Stour and is linked to the
Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canaland 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.
Stourbridge Junction, the town's main railway station, is on the former
Oxford-Worcester-Wolverhampton Line. Just past the station is the Stambermill Viaductover the River Stour and the A491 road. The railway closed to passengers in 1962 and is now used solely as a freight line. Instead, the line now runs to Birmingham via the stations of the Black Country.
The town is served by the shortest railway
branch linein Europe, the Stourbridge Town Branch Line, with a shuttle service from nearby Stourbridge Junction on the Birmingham - Kidderminster line to Stourbridge Town railway stationin the town centre. The line formerly continued to an interchange basin with the Stourbridge Canal. The old Stourbridge Town station, when demolished, was recovered and materials used for buildings at Tyseley Locomotive Works. Until recently, on Sundays, as part of a pilot scheme, a gas-powered Parry People Mover operated on the line. This has ceased but may restart when the UK rail franchise for the local train operating company Central Trains expires and is rebid.
The famous "
Stourbridge Lion" locomotive, was built in Stourbridge at the foundry of Foster, Rastrick and Co. in 1828. The shell of the building still stands and is easily accessible , though potentially hazardous as with any derelict building. It arrived in New Yorkon May 13, 1829, becoming the first steam locomotive to run on a commercial line in the United States. The locomotive is quite famous in the USA, although few people in Stourbridge have heard of it. It is currently on display at the B&O Railroad Museum Baltimore, Maryland, on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.. A clock has recently been unveiled in the town to celebrate the engine.
The town is served by National Route 54 of the
National Cycle Network.
Stourbridge is home to two colleges - the prestigious King Edward VI College founded in 1552 and
Stourbridge Collegeof Further Education. In addition, there is a sixth formfor both genders at Old Swinford Hospitalfounded in 1667 by Thomas Foley.
Stourbridge boasts a number of secondary schools including Redhill School, Old Swinford Hospital School,
Pedmore Technology College(previously known as The Grange School) and Ridgewood Schoolas well as Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School(includes: kindergarten, plus classes 1 to 11).
Stourbridge Football Club and
Stourbridge Cricket Clubboth share the War Memorial Athletic Ground in Amblecote, and Stourbridge Rugby Club play at Stourton Park in nearby Stourton and Redhill Volleyball Club play at Redhill School.
During the 1980s and the early 1990s, four Stourbridge bands, Diamond Head;
The Wonder Stuff; Pop Will Eat Itselfand Ned's Atomic Dustbin, all enjoyed chart success. Other notable musicians include Clint Mansell.Recently a new artist named Andy Richardshas emerged, reaching number 1 on the daddyfreshmusic download chart for 6 weeks, and is planning to release an album for 2008.
From the 1860s until the late 1960s, the area was covered by the "County Express" newspaper. Archives are now on microfilm in Stourbridge Library. Today, Stourbridge is covered by the "
Stourbridge News", the " Express & Star" and to a lesser extent the " Stourbridge Chronicle".
The Stourbridge area is served by commercial and
BBC Radiostations broadcasting from Wolverhampton, Birmingham as well as from within Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Shropshire. Stourbridge FMwas established in March 2001 to campaign for a commercial radio station broadcasting to and from the Stourbridge area. Stourbridge FM Radio Ltdcarried 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. The station received a great deal of support from listeners and business people alike within the community, including numerous letters of support and a petition. By February 2004, Stourbridge FMhad disbanded due to official information that there were no immediate plans for a small-scale commercial radio licence in the Stourbridge area, nor would the up-and-coming commercial radio licence in Kidderminster receive an area extension. The volunteer force of Stourbridge-FM established a new steering group known as the Stourbridge Radio Groupto apply for a non-profit making community radio licence for the area.
The group won a community radio licence in September 2005, to be called "The 'Bridge". Test transmissions began on 102.5 FM on
December 4 2007, and the full programming launched on January 1 2008at 10.25am.
Places of interest
* Bonded Warehouse
* Crystal Leisure Centre
* Mary Stevens Park
Red House Cone
* River Stour
* Ryemarket Fountain
* Stourbridge Junction Clock & Car Park Footbridge
* Town Centre Clock
* Town Centre brickwork
* Johnny Briggs, actor
William Henry Bury, murderer and Jack the Ripper suspect
Kay Davies, Human Geneticist
Frank Foley, the relatively little-known "British Schindler" retired and eventually died in Stourbridge. A memorial is in Mary Stevens Park.
Samuel Johnsonlived and worked in Stourbridge for a time
Screech Louder, drummer in indie band The Long Blondes
Dan O'Hagan, BBC Match of the Dayfootball commentator
Nicholas Michaels, Theoretical Particle Physicist
Robert Plant, singer with Led Zeppelin. Attended King Edward VI School, Stourbridge.
Danielle Saxon Reeves, classical banjo and guitarist; director of the Midlands Fretted Orchestra
Nigel Reo-Coker, Aston Villa player
David Trotman, Pure Mathematician. Attended King Edward VI School, Stourbridge.
Brett Westwood, radio presenter and author
Clement Lindley Wragge, meteorologist
Matt Rowland, Apprentice participant, attended Stourbridge College in 1989.
Ashley Young, Aston Villa player
In popular culture
Stourbridge appears in two great works of
poetryfrom the 20th century: " Finnegans Wake" by James Joyceand " The Cantos" of Ezra Pound.
cquote|Of course our low hero was a self valeter by choice of need soup he got up whatever is meant by a stourbridge clay
kitchenetteand lithargogalenu fowlhouse for the sake of akes (the umpple does not fall very far from the dumpertree) - James Joyce Finnegans Wake, part 1, Episode 6. Page 184
cquote|and i went in a post chaiseWoburn Farm, Stowe, Stratford,Stourbridge, Woodstock, High Wycombe and back to Grosvenor Sq -
Ezra Pound, Canto LXVI, line 30, Page 380.
Joyce's interest in Stourbridge is self evident from the passage quoted above and Stourbridge found its way into Pound's "
The Cantos" via John Adamsthe second President of the United States, whose diary entry from 1786 Pound translated into his own epic poem.
"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." from chapter 5 of 'Money for Nothing' by P. G. Wodehouse, published in 1928.
* [http://www.stourbridge.com/htm/stour.htm River Stour]
* [http://www.stourbridge.com Internet Guide To Stourbridge]
* [http://www.stourbridgenews.co.uk Stourbridge News] Local Stourbridge weekly newspaper
* [http://www.st-thomas.freeuk.com/ St Thomas's Church]
* [http://www.stourbridgebusinfo.co.uk/ Stourbridge bus and rail information]
* [http://www.ridgewood.dudley.gov.uk/ Ridgewood High School]
* [http://www.myspace.com/thechevronband Chevron's myspace page]
* [http://www.oshsch.com Old Swinford Hospital School]
* [http://www.kedst.ac.uk King Edward VI College]
* [http://www.stourbridge.ac.uk Stourbridge College]
* [http://www.redhill.dudley.gov.uk Redhill School]
* [http://www.stourbridge.com/htm/lioncent.htm Information about the Stourbridge Lion]
* [http://www.stourbridgecc.co.uk Stourbridge Cricket Club]
* [http://www.stourbridgeladiescircle.co.uk Stourbridge Ladies Circle]
* [http://www.thebridgeradio.net/ The 'Bridge 102.5FM]
* [http://www.stourbug.org.uk Stourbridge Bicycle User Group (Stourbug)]
* [http://www.wordsley.dudley.gov.uk/ The Wordsley School, Stourbridge]
* [http://www.army.mod.uk/royalsignals/67sigsqn/ 871 Troop, 67 (QOWWY) Signal Squadron (V)]
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