Foster Street, Stourbridge; leading towards the railway station
|OS grid reference|
|• London||125.8 miles/202 km (via M40)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||DY7 - 9|
Stourbridge // is a market town in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in the West Midlands, England, situated on the River Stour. Historically in Worcestershire, it was the centre of British glass making during the Industrial Revolution. The 2011 UK census recorded the town's population as 63,298.
Stourbridge is about 12 miles (19 kilometres) west of Birmingham. Sitting within the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley at the southwestern edge of the Black Country and West Midlands conurbation, Stourbridge includes the suburbs of Amblecote, Lye, Norton, Oldswinford, Pedmore, Wollaston, Wollescote and Wordsley.
Much of Stourbridge consists of residential streets interspersed with green spaces. Mary Stevens Park, opened in 1931, has a lake, a bandstand, a cafe, and a mixture of open spaces and woodland.
Bordered by green belt land, Stourbridge is close to countryside with the Clent Hills to the south and southwest Staffordshire and Kinver Edge to the west.
Stourbridge was listed in the 1255 Worcestershire assize roll as Sturbrug or Sturesbridge.The medieval township was named for a bridge which crossed the River Stour. It lay within the manor of Swynford or Suineford (now Old Swinford), which appears in William the Conqueror's Domesday Book of 1086.
In 1966, the Stourbridge border between Worcestershire and Staffordshire, which for centuries had been marked by the River Stour, was moved a couple of miles north when Amblecote was incorporated into the Borough of Stourbridge. Following the Local Government Act 1972, Stourbridge was amalgamated into the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley and became part of the wider West Midlands county in 1974.
The town gives its name to local glass production, which has been manufactured since the early 1600s. The local clay proved particularly suitable for the industry, taken up predominantly after the immigration of French coal miners in the Huguenot diaspora.However, most of the glass industry was actually located in surrounding areas including Wordsley, Amblecote and Oldswinford. 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. 9% came from other parts of England and 0.2% had come from abroad. Of particular note are glass cutters, as 8.1% had come from Ireland, believed to be as a result of the decline of the Irish glasscutting industry in the first half of the 1800s. 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.
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.
Today, Stourbridge is the most affluent town in the Dudley Metropolitan Borough although it continues to suffer deprivation in parts.Some people retain the traditional Black Country accent and dialect.
Stourbridge High Street is home to a mix of chain and independent shops, pubs, coffee shops, restaurants, gyms and a yoga studio. Quaint Victoria Passage dates back to the Victorian era. Off the High Street is the Ryemarket Shopping Centre with retailers including Waitrose and WHSmith. Nearby Lye is known for its many Balti restaurants.
The town centre has seen major regeneration in recent years. In 2014, Lion Health medical centre opened in the renovated former foundry of Foster, Rastrick and Company – where the Stourbridge Lion locomotive was manufactured. The next phase of regeneration on the foundry site will create parkland next to Stourbridge Canal with a "heritage and community hub" named Riverside House.
Crown Centre Shopping Mall at the bottom of Stourbridge High Street opened in 2013 at the site of the old Crown Centre and Bell Street multi-storey car park, which were demolished between 2012 and 2013. Costing £50m, the new mall is home to a 60,000 sq ft (5,600 m2) Tesco anchor store, a two-level underground car park, six retail stores and a central food court. The Tesco store occupies much of the footprint of the former Safeway supermarket which had closed in 2004. Stourbridge Bus Station underwent substantial redevelopment and re-opened as Stourbridge Interchange in April 2012.
In 2010, Stourbridge was awarded Fairtrade Town status. Stourbridge Farmers' and Craft Market takes place on the first and third Saturday of every month in the Clock Square. Stourbridge Beer Festival happens every year in late April/early May. Throughout the summer, Mary Stevens Park hosts outdoor live music.
In the 2011 Census, the average age of people in Stourbridge was 42.
Conservative MP Margot James held the Stourbridge parliamentary constituency 2010–2019.She was succeeded in 2019 by Suzanne Webb of the same party.
Three main roads meet in Stourbridge, these being the A451, the A458 and the A491, the last forming the one way Stourbridge Ring Road.
Stourbridge has two railway stations, the main one being Stourbridge Junction. From here, it is around 30 minutes to Birmingham, 30 minutes to Worcester and between two and 2.5 hours to London. The other station, Stourbridge Town, is served only by a shuttle to and from Stourbridge Junction. At just over 1⁄2 mi (800 m), the Stourbridge Town Branch Line is believed to be the shortest railway branch line in Europe. The former main line to Wolverhampton via Dudley, and branches to Wombourne and Walsall closed in the 1960s. However the line towards Dudley remains open for freight as far as the Round Oak Steel Terminal north of Brierley Hill. In January 2021, proposals were made to reopen the line to Brierley Hill to passengers using a light rail vehicle similar to that used on the Stourbridge Branch Line.
Stourbridge Interchange is the main bus station, located in the town centre next to Stourbridge Town railway station. The Interchange opened in 2012 at a cost of £7 million.Most services are operated by National Express West Midlands and Diamond Bus.
By bike, National Route 54 of the National Cycle Network links Stourbridge with Dudley via the canal towpaths.
The Stourbridge Canal links the town to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and the Dudley No. 1 Canal. This places Stourbridge on the Stourport Ring, navigable by narrowboat and popular with holidaymakers.
There is one college in Stourbridge. King Edward VI College was founded in 1552, becoming a sixth form college in 1976.Stourbridge College, south of the city centre, was formed in 1958 and specialised in art and design, but was closed in 2019.
There is also a sixth form at Old Swinford Hospital school, which was founded in 1667 by the Stourbridge-born politician Thomas Foley.The boarding school was named the best secondary school in Dudley, closely followed by Redhill School, an academy also in Stourbridge.
Elmfield Rudolf Steiner School is an independent school which follows the international Steiner Waldorf Education curriculum.
The International Festival of Glass is held at Ruskin Mill in Stourbridge every two years. Launched in 2004, it showcases the skill and innovation of glass artists, designers and craftspeople.
The British Glass Biennale is the festival's flagship exhibition, featuring contemporary work by glass makers in the UK. The exhibition attracts collectors, galleries and museums from around the world.
In the late-1980s and early 1990s, three Stourbridge indie bands – The Wonder Stuff, Pop Will Eat Itself and Ned's Atomic Dustbin – all had chart success, selling millions of albums between them and gracing the covers of NME and Melody Maker.Pop Will Eat Itself's former frontman Clint Mansell has since composed musical scores for films including Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream.
The 80s metal bands Diamond Head and Witchfinder General also came from Stourbridge, and Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant once attended King Edward VI College (then King Edward VI Grammar School for Boys).
Stourbridge is covered by three newspapers: the Express & Star (daily), the Stourbridge News (weekly), and the Stourbridge Chronicle (weekly). Two news websites – BBC Birmingham & Black Country and Black Country Live, launched in 2019– also cover the area.
In addition, Stourbridge is served by commercial radio stations broadcasting from Wolverhampton, Brierley Hill and Birmingham as well as three BBC Local Radio stations: BBC Hereford and Worcester, BBC Radio Shropshire and BBC WM.
From the 1860s until the early 1980s, Stourbridge was covered by the County Express newspaper. The archives are now on microfilm in Stourbridge Library.
Stourbridge Football Club, founded in 1876 and nicknamed "The Glassboys", shares the War Memorial Athletic Ground in Amblecote with Stourbridge Cricket Club. Stourbridge Rugby Club play at Stourton Park in nearby Stourton. Dudley and Stourbridge Harriers have trained at the Dell Stadium since 1964. Other teams include Redhill Volleyball Club, which plays at Redhill School. Stourbridge Running Club also train at the War Memorial in Amblecote.
According to the 2011 Census, the majority of people living in Stourbridge identify as Christian (65%). Almost a quarter of people said they had no religion. Less than 1% of people identified as Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, or Hindu. 43 people identified as a Jedi Knight.
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"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."
Worcestershire is a county in the West Midlands of England.
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county and combined authority area in western-central England with a 2018 estimated population of 2,916,458, making it the second most populous county in England after Greater London. It appeared as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, to cover parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The county is a NUTS 2 region within the wider NUTS 1 region of the same name. It embraces seven metropolitan boroughs: the cities of Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, and the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Walsall.
Halesowen is a market town in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, in the county of West Midlands, England. It is considered one of the largest towns in the United Kingdom without a railway station.
The Stour is a river flowing through the counties of Worcestershire, the West Midlands and Staffordshire in the West Midlands region of England. The Stour is a major tributary of the River Severn, and it is about 25 miles (40 km) in length. It has played a considerable part in the economic history of the region.
The Metropolitan Borough of Dudley is a metropolitan borough of West Midlands in England. It was created in 1974 following the Local Government Act 1972, through a merger of the existing Dudley County Borough with the municipal boroughs of Stourbridge and Halesowen. The borough borders Sandwell to the east, the city of Birmingham to the south east, Bromsgrove to the south in Worcestershire, South Staffordshire District to the west, and the city of Wolverhampton to the north.
Brierley Hill is a town and electoral ward of the Dudley Metropolitan Borough in the West Midlands of England, and is situated approximately 2.5 miles south of central Dudley and 2 miles north of Stourbridge. Part of the Black Country and in a heavily industrialised area, it has a population of 13,935 at the 2011 census. It is best known for glass and steel manufacturing, although industry has declined considerably since the 1970s. One of the largest factories in the area was the Round Oak Steelworks, which was closed down and redeveloped in the 1980s to become the Merry Hill Shopping Centre. Brierley Hill was originally in Staffordshire.
Kingswinford is a town of the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in the English West Midlands, situated 5 miles (8.0 km) west-southwest of central Dudley. In 2011 the area had a population of 25,191, down from 25,808 at the 2001 Census.
Amblecote is an urban village and one of the most affluent areas in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley in the West Midlands, England. It lies immediately north of the historic town of Stourbridge, extending about one and a half miles from it, and is on the southwestern edge of the West Midlands conurbation. Historically, Amblecote was in the parish of Oldswinford, but unlike the rest of the parish it was in Staffordshire, and as such was administered separately.
Stourbridge is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2019 by Suzanne Webb, a Conservative Party politician. The seat was previously held by Margot James, a Conservative who lost the whip during September and October 2019.
Wollaston is a village on the outskirts of Stourbridge in the English West Midlands. It is located in the south of the Dudley Metropolitan Borough, one mile from Stourbridge town centre.
Wordsley is a suburban area of Stourbridge in the West Midlands, England. It is part of the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley and falls into the Stourbridge (DY8) postcode and address area, being just north of the River Stour. Wordsley is part of the Dudley South Parliamentary constituency. It is bordered by open countryside to the west, Kingswinford to the North, Brierley Hill to the East and Stourbridge to the South.
King Edward VI College (KEDST) is a selective state sixth form centre located in Stourbridge, England, in the West Midlands area.
The Stourbridge Canal is a canal in the West Midlands of England. It links the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal with the Dudley Canal, and hence, via the Birmingham Canal Navigations, to Birmingham and the Black Country.
The name Oldswinford is now used for a small area of Stourbridge, close to the parish church.
The A491 is an A road in Zone 4 of the Great Britain numbering scheme.
Corbett Hospital is a National Health Service (NHS) hospital run by the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust located in Amblecote, Stourbridge, West Midlands, England. The current hospital is an out-patient centre which opened on 25 May 2007 in a ceremony conducted by Tony Blair as part of his farewell tour before resigning as Prime Minister.
Norton is a suburb and council ward in the town of Stourbridge, West Midlands. It has a population of 11,943 in an area of 569 hectares. The population is largely White British and self-identifies as predominantly Christian.
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