Category Archives: Latest News

Santa Canal Boat Trips Now on Sale !!

We are pleased to announce that Santa has already set his schedule for his visit to the Bonded Warehouse in 2018 !

Santa Trip boats will be running on the following days and times:

   Saturday / Sunday – 15th / 16th December.
   Friday 21st December (afternoon only).
   Saturday / Sunday – 22nd / 23rd December.

On each of these full days we will be running boats departing promptly at 10.45am / 11.30am / 12.15pm / 2.00pm / 2.45pm / 3.30pm / 4.15pm and 5.00pm.

On the Friday afternoon trips the first Santa Boat will depart at 2.00pm and then at 2.45pm / 3.30pm and finally at 4.15pm .

Tickets are priced at £9 each (Child: Boat Trip, Santa Experience & Present . Adult: Boat Trip, Santa Experience, Mince Pie and Drink).

To book your places call the Trust Manager on 01384 395216.

TICKETS ON SALE NOW!

Free parking available onsite.

 

Street Food Affair Video

Stourbridge Navigation Trust who manage the Bonded Warehouse are pleased to work in association with Street Food Affair as we both desire to bring the community together at this unique historic building.

Many of you will know that the monthly Street Food events are now in their second year and have become extremely popular, especially this year aided by the splendid summer weather but there is always something for everyone to enjoy be it the food, drinks, music or bargains in the Twilight market.

At the event in July a number of video clips were professionally taken and the short video record of the event can be seen using the following link – Street Food at the Bonded Warehouse – we hope that you enjoy the video and hope that it will inspire you to come to future events (keep a look out on our Forthcoming Events webpage for dates currently scheduled for the remainder of the year).

Out with the Old Chairs, in with the New !

Tuesday Club were energetic again this week moving plenty of furniture around – as good as a workout in the gym ! Pictured is Gareth Pollard taking a breather after handling the old chairs down from the large shuttered windows on the circular end of the building.

As part of an internal refurbishment new carpet tiles were fitted in the Dadford/Whitworth rooms on 2nd May and we also had a further 100 chairs delivered last Tuesday, 32 Burgundy for the Brindley room and 68 navy blue chairs for use in the Dadford room and the coffee bar area. The task for Tuesday Club was to remove the 160 older chairs down to the basement and then to replace them with the colour matched ones – quite a long job and on a warm day we certainly got a sweat on very quickly.

The new additions certainly have freshened up the rooms which do look very nice now as indicated in the photograph below of the new burgundy chairs placed around the walls of the Brindley room. Photographs of the refurbishment of the Dadford Room and the Coffee Lounge with new flooring and matching blue chairs can be found on the “Rooms for Hire” pages.

We were pleased that local community organisations (e.g. Scouts) could extend the life of many of the older chairs which were only slightly cosmetically looking a bit tired and they were soon snapped up and taken off site to their new homes.

 

Art Donation Gratefully Received.

We were delighted to be unexpectedly approached by a Mr Norman Shillingford who wanted to safeguard two paintings of canal-side buildings at Wordsley junction. Mr Shillingford is a descendant of the Shillingford family who occupied the premises for several years until the mid 1950’s. The paintings are of Junction House and Junction Cottage, two properties which stood at the head of the Stourbridge Arm at Wordsley Junction.

Junction House was originally the residence of the canal manager, and Junction Cottage was the toll keeper’s house and office

Mr Shillingford advises that the small figure by the property on the Junction Cottage painting is his mother. The family operated trip boats from the junction as illustrated in the article pictured below. He also recalled that as a child he once played a game of ice hockey on the well frozen canal – the lock forming one goal and the bridge the other – happy days !

The Junction Cottage artwork was painted by a disabled Wordsley artist named Ronnie Grove in 1979, being copied from the original which was painted in 1938 by a Mr J. Hammond.  The Junction House painting was produced by J.F. Hancox in 1986.

The paintings have been placed on the wall of the Boardroom and flank an existing picture of the lock at Wordsley junction.

Demolition of Stourbridge Rolling Mills

March 2018 saw the demolition of the Stourbridge Rolling Mills factory which sadly after a fine industrial heritage had become an eyesore along the moorings and an environment for ne’er-do-wells  to occupy.

The demolition itself was undertaken swiftly and cleanly by a specialist company who made short work of removing the building and the crane gantry fabrication using high-end cutting and removal equipment.

For the record a number of Stourbridge Navigation Trust volunteers took regular photographs of the various stages of the demolition and these have been added to this Gallery as an historical record of days gone by. Many thanks to all of the contributors who have compiled quite a collection of the demolition. Naturally if you have any photographs of your own of the factory in action or during its demise then we’d love to add those to the Gallery.

We hope that you enjoy looking at the photographs and if they trigger any memories that you would like to share then please let us know and we would gladly add any stories to the article outlining the history of the site.

Bonded Warehouse hosts Rock n Roll Wedding

The Bonded Warehouse has been featured in Rock N Roll Bride magazine as Liz and Marc got married here last September and were broadly featured in the magazine Rock n roll Bride! They tell us that they had a fantastic wedding day and are recommending the venue to their friends for which we are most appreciative.

Liz has kindly provided some of her favourite photos from the Bonded Warehouse and our official Rockstar vendor badge!

Their ceremony was held in the Thomas Robinson Building, which despite being a refurbished chapel is also a registry office, complete with beautiful stained glass windows and gorgeous chandeliers. Newly married, Liz and Marc spilled into the gorgeous sunshine to the tune of Pulp’s Disco 2000, with their guests blowing bubbles instead of throwing confetti.

The wedding party then moved on to The Bonded Warehouse, a beautiful redbrick venue overlooking the canal. “We knew that the industrial-style graffiti-ed abandoned buildings would suit us down to a TEE, and loved its setting on its little cobbled street. I sing in a band called The Rose Birds, and my wonderful bandmates (and big brothers!) played a set for us outside on the cobbles. We danced next to the canal in glorious sunshine to Dolly Parton and The Strokes covers!”

After the wonderful speeches and food, the wedding party went and boarded a canal boat for an hour before the evening guests were to arrive. Liz said that the atmosphere on the boat was fantastic as they danced to live music from the incredibly talented Esther Turner whilst enjoying drinks from the on-board bar. Ken, the boatman, was described as “an absolute legend” and dressed the boat beautifully for them. Finally the party got off at the lock for photos with everyone singing along to Montell Jordan’s This Is How We Do It down the canal – this being one of their highlights of their special day!”

Of course the Bonded Warehouse is very pleased to have played a small part in making Liz and Marc’s wedding day memorable and proud to have been featured in the magazine – a first for us!

We give heartiest congratulations to Liz and Marc and wish them all the very best for their future together and hope to see them again in the near future.

 

Fallen Tree Blocks the Towpath.

Users of the towpath from the Bonded Warehouse towards the Wollaston Bridge would have had a shock this morning as the towpath was blocked by a large decaying poplar tree which had fallen across the towpath near the weir – regular users of the route will recognize where this is from the photograph below.

We are grateful to Lloyd  Stacey at the nearby Riverside Project for alerting us to the incident – the matter was then quickly reported to the Canal & River Trust who instructed  a team of contractors  to attend the site as a matter of urgency to remove the significant trunk of the tree as quickly and cleanly as possible. We hope that the barrier is removed very soon to allow our Easter walkers, joggers and anglers to pass by safely.

Update: the towpath was cleared very quickly thanks to Canal & River Trust who must have worked hard to shift such sizeable  lengths of tree trunk and to secure new fencing – the way is now clear for all to traverse, though boaters please watch out for the large section of tree which remains in the water near the bridge where the tree fell.

Neighbourhood Watch Scheme launched on West Midlands Canals

Canal & River Trust have joined forces with the West Midlands police to launch a new neighbourhood watch scheme on the region’s historic canal network.

With more and more people working and living by the water, the Canal Watch scheme aims to promote a sense of community and encourage people to help ensure waterways remain safe and enjoyable places.

Peter Mathews CMG, chair of the Canal & River Trust’s West Midlands Waterways Partnership, explains; “One of the attractions of our wonderful waterways is that they’re quiet, tranquil places where you can escape the bustle of everyday life. However while we want people to enjoy the peace we don’t want them to feel isolated or vulnerable and that’s where this scheme comes in. We want to address any misconceptions and reassure people that our waterways are safe and welcoming.

Waterways are safe and welcoming

“With Canal Watch we want to make the fantastic sense of community that already exists on our waterways more visible. We want to show people that collectively those living and working on the waterways, the local police and other stakeholder groups are working together to share information and keep people and property safe.”

Under the scheme people living by the water, boaters and waterside businesses can sign up for police updates and free crime prevention advice.

Fantastic sense of community

Local community groups, businesses and organisations will also be encouraged to build closer links with each other and work together to make sure the waterways remain welcoming places. As well as receiving information people will be encouraged to report and share any suspicious activity so that action can be taken.

Leaflets and stickers will be distributed to local people, boaters and businesses with signage also being displayed across the region’s waterways. Forensic marking kits will also be handed out to boaters enabling their valuables to be traced if needed.

Inspector Imran Mirza said: “The Canal Watch scheme is a free initiative where West Midlands Police will work with various partner agencies across the region to promote safety and send key messages through the WMNow community messaging system. This will help boaters to keep their marine equipment secure and ensure that their journey across the waterways is as safe as possible. 

“The scheme isn’t just focused on boaters however, WMNow will ensure that anyone living or working beside the water is kept up to date and informed.

“By working together and communicating with each other better we can deal with the issues focusing on long term problem solving but also promoting early intervention and prevention.”

A Canal Watch option has been added to WMNow, the new West Midlands Police messaging tool that allows communities to be kept up to date with what is happening in their areas.

The scheme is initially being rolled out in the West Midlands Police region but it is hoped that it could also be introduced in other parts of the country.

The new scheme has already been officially launched for the Black Country’s canal network.

The scheme, launched by the Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Dave Tyler, at Dudley Canal Trust on Monday March 26th, allows people living by the water, boaters and waterside businesses to sign up for updates and free crime prevention advice via WMNow, the police’s community messaging system.

Cllr Tyler added: “It was a pleasure to attend the launch of Canal Watch and find out more about the work of the Canal and River Trust and police to protect, maintain and promote the borough’s waterways.

“Our canals have played an important part in our industrial and cultural heritage and are there to be enjoyed by residents and visitors to the area. I welcome this scheme and encourage local people to get involved.”

Visit www.wmnow.co.uk to sign up.

Homeless Benefit from Bonded Warehouse Christmas Carol performance.

We were delighted to receive this highly complimentary communication from Parable Arts after a successful series of performances at the Bonded Warehouse:

“It’s a rare thing to find a venue that manages to combine community-mindedness, flexibility, heritage and generosity, but The Bonded Warehouse ticks all those boxes beautifully.

This Christmas I was privileged to be able to use it as a venue for a theatrical adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, working in partnership with The Salvation Army to raise money for their work with homeless people in the region.  As a professional actor for over a decade, with experience of taking productions to dozens (if not hundreds) of performance-spaces across the country with a variety of different companies, I can honestly say I’ve dealt with a great many venues and venue-managers, and The Bonded Warehouse team rank alongside some of the best.  Their generosity, flexibility and friendliness enabled us to host a sell-out production that raised over £2,000 for the work of The Salvation Army with those experiencing homelessness across our area.  We were given a great amount of creative freedom to transform the venue to our needs, and for the duration of our performance time we were able to turn it into a performance venue Dickens would have been proud to have his works performed in.

Parable Arts will certainly use The Bonded Warehouse for performances in the future, and we would recommend it to anyone and everyone for their events and occasions.

Jon Buckeridge, Artistic Director of Parable Arts – February 2018

Ghostly goings on !

Stourbridge Ghost Trail (an extract from the Stourbridge Chronicle by Luke Bartlett) … on the night of Friday 4th November in 2016, Andrew Homer and a team of investigators took to the Bonded Warehouse to try to capture something paranormal on camera.

The three storey canal side building, which has parts dating back to 1799, is reported to play host to a variety of strange activities.

Both staff and visitors of the Bonded Warehouse are said to have experienced objects moving, doors opening and closing by themselves and mysterious figures appearing.

One of our esteemed Trustees (Chris Dyche ) states that there is allegedly a ghost of a man wearing a Cow-Gown (perhaps a former Store man?) who whistles through his teeth, and foot steps could be heard. Having worked in the building in the 1970’s when it was in a sad state of repair Chris found it to be a very spooky place to be in at times.

Author of “Black Country Ghosts and Hauntings”, Andrew Homer, told the Express & Star newspaper about what the investigation unearthed and how he managed to capture some of the supernatural goings-on with a small head camera.

Mr Homer said: “We had split into two groups with one group downstairs and another upstairs spending about 45 minutes seeing if we could experience anything. The upstairs group had put a trigger object down – a chair in the middle of the room with a child’s ball on it. Then my group went up ahead of me because I had to change the batteries on my head camera. I made my way upstairs and realised that the rest of the group were not there – I went over to the very edge of the room to switch my head camera on. What you hear on the video that it captured is the ball bouncing and I was nowhere near the thing – the chair was right in the middle of the room. We did try after that positioning the ball again and seeing if it would fall on its own but it didn’t. It had originally been up there for at least an hour”. We understand  that more ‘ghost hunts’ will be taking place at the bonded Warehouse during 2018 so look out for that in the local press.

So, there appears to be anecdotal and physical evidence of some sort of paranormal activity taking place in the Bonded Warehouse, but don’t let that put you off coming down to see us.!