Date & Time: Monday 27 August meet 9.45am, starts 10.00am
Start: Ruskin Centre
End: Red House Cone
Guide: Graham Fisher
Price: £3.75. Tickets available from Broadfield House Glass Museum 01384 812745
The Stourbridge Canal Arm was constructed in the 1770’s to link the town of Stourbridge itself with the main canal to the east. A typical early waterway, it followed the contours of the Stour Valley and the river Stour from which it drew its water supply. Local glass manufacturers were prominent investors, the canal providing both transportation for their raw materials and finished goods, and a source of revenue via tolls on other traffic. Stourbridge Wharf, close to the bridge over the Stour, was nothing less than an inland port incorporating a customs house which survives to this day. Several new glass factories sprang up alongside the canal, as well as ironworks and sand quarries, and for a century until the railway arrived in the 1850’s, ‘the cut’ was the area’s main transport artery. Nevertheless the canal remained in commercial use for another hundred years until in the 1960’s it fell into dereliction.
Following the famous ‘Battle of Stourbridge’ during which canal enthusiasts fought victoriously against a British Waterways anxious to close it forever, the Stourbridge arm and the restored Bonded Warehouse became an icon of the new inland waterways movement.
This walk will encompass the whole of the Stourbridge branch and the mainline canal to the Red House Cone, pointing out a host of important manmade and natural features.