Category Archives: Latest News

Flood Averted (just!)

The Bonded Warehouse (housing a partly assembled Santa’s Grotto) had a narrow escape last Thursday night due to the River Stour bursting it’s banks – the flood water reached half way across Canal Street judging by the tide mark of mud and was coming up the road drains. There was no more than 2 inches of clearance under the bridge across to the old Evans & White factory and beyond the bridge the area cleared by the land preparation work was a wide flooded plain. Thank goodness for all the land preparation work for the new development which has probably saved us from a big and chaotic flood.

We are in debt to Ann Pollard, one of our Trustees (and a moored boater) who asked a volunteer (John Ganner) and her husband Gareth to attend site at lunchtime to put the defence barrier in the basement – they were both soaked due to the heavy rain and we are very grateful to them indeed in taking this action.

The stable block on the opposite side of Canal Street from the warehouse  was subject of water ingress but there was no major damage caused though it is a bit whiffy as it gradually dries out. The photograph shows just how far the water reached – ironically impacting the freshly repaired and painted end door of the stable block which serves as access to the bar on Open Weekends – another touch up job to add to the list. The basement of the Bonded Warehouse was checked on the Friday morning and everything is fine other than just a very small amount of mud was showing on the inside of the door – Santa continues !! Phew !!

 

Stourbridge Army Cadet Force “armed” by SNT

The Trust’s complimentary association with the Stourbridge Platoon of the Army Cadets Force has been going for 2 years now and has proved to be mutually very beneficial. Visitors to the recent Open Weekend would have seen the local platoon being highly visible either at their recruitment stand or helping out around the site during the course of both days. All of this voluntary work  is great evidence to support  their contribution to “community activity” for Duke of Edinburgh awards, so counts for not only the platoon but also for individual cadets aspiring towards this hard earned and prestigious award.

In exchange for their valued efforts a number of  “Tuesday Club” volunteers down at the Bonded Warehouse have,  over the last year, carefully tooled an armoury of wooden rifles which were in short supply and would have cost a lot of money to have been commercially produced. The work was quite intricate actually as there are some very tight angles to cut and a good amount of detail in the wooden weapons.

The Trust was delighted to receive a “Thank You” card from the platoon with the message “Dear Stourbridge Navigation Trust Volunteers, thank you for all your hard work producing wooden rifles for our Cadets. They are outstanding quality and really enhance training. As you can see in the covering photograph they will be well used, best Wishes, Stourbridge Platoon, Army Cadet Force.”

The photograph above shows the SNT Chairman, David Caunt, who has personally spent a lot his time helping to produce the rifles, lined up with a number of Cadets sporting the new rifles.

We look forward to continuing our effective working relationship with Stourbridge Platoon in the coming years.

 

 

2019 Open Weekend Report

This year the Open Weekend was once again well supported by the local community who attended in large numbers throughout the weekend. The Trust tried this year to inject some new ideas into the event by having more live music, with hopefully something for everyone – we had The Shambolics,  City Limits, Matthew Richards as George Formby, The Fretted Orchestra,  The Endangered Species, Cheeky Blinders,  The Singing Princesses and P Body with many of these bands performing to entertain the crowds for free – thank you so much for that. There was a different portfolio of vehicles, new traders and food outlets. Black Country Radio 102.5FM also broadcasted live from a double decker bus with “live” commentary from a number of organisations who were plying their wares or causes (e.g. Guide Dogs & the RNLI). We hope that the changes were noticed and appreciated / enjoyed by our loyal supporters.

The Trust, as a Registered Charity,  relies on the Open Weekend as a major opportunity to generate income which goes a long way in helping to cover the costs of maintaining and operating the unique buildings to be found on site – this help is very much appreciated by the many volunteers who give up their time and skills freely to assist. This is an opportune moment to recognise the efforts of the volunteers who contributed to the success of the Open Weekend, whether it was manning the entrance, erecting the beer tent or simply having a presence on the day it is all appreciated by the Trust. special thanks must be given to Pauline Hooper who acted as Project Manager for the whole event for the first time – well done and thanks to you !

The gallery of photographs (in no particular order) below provides a lasting record of the Open Weekend from the setting up stage onwards but if you have any good shots that you would like to share, send them to us and we’ll add them onto the website.

Many thanks are due to the Mayor of Dudley and his consort, Cllr Anne Millward for coming along to give their support and also to the Stourbridge Army Cadet Force who once again did a great job in keeping the street clean as well as exercising the various dogs and doing other odd jobs which cropped up without a grumble – they are a fine group of young people !

Extract from the Express & Star:

Stourbridge Navigation Trust’s annual Open Weekend festival in Stourbridge was held last weekend and thousands of people descended to enjoy the experience along the Stourbridge Arm.

Christopher Dyche, treasurer to the Stourbridge Navigation Trust, said: “We had several thousand people, we had about 100 boats visiting on the canal, a large variety of craft and many stalls. We had vintage vehicles, steam engines, musical entertainment, children’s rides and canal boat trips as well. The whole thing takes place in the Canal Street conservation area. It helps raise funds for the maintenance of the conservation area.”

Mr Dyche added: “The event promotes the local waterways, The Bonded Warehouse, the conservation area, and it gives a weekend of free entertainment to the local population. This year’s festival was very successful and the weather was very kind to us.”

The event was fully organised by volunteers who are passionate about helping the local community, commented Mr Dyche.

Stourbridge Navigation Trust annual festival is on its 36th year and keen to attract new and younger volunteers. Mr Dyche said: “If people ring Stourbridge Navigation Trust, we’d be happy to chat to them and ask them to come along to volunteer their help to maintain the facilities and indeed to assist in the management of the Trust!”

For more information, visit thebondedwarehousestourbridge.co.uk

 

Macmillan Coffee Morning Success

A  craft group that hire the Trust’s Boardroom on a weekly basis hosted the annual Macmillan coffee morning  on September 26th from 11.00am until 12.30pm.  Heide the Trust Manager also helped them to provide an enjoyable session in aid of a very worthwhile cause. There were plenty of visitors including passers by and indeed a variety of cakes to choose from and savour.

This is Macmillan’s biggest fundraising event for people facing cancer. People all over the UK  host their own Coffee Mornings and donations on the day are made to Macmillan who do good work in understanding the support people with cancer need to live their lives as fully as they can. From the moment of diagnosis and whenever we’re most needed,  they there to help people find their best way through. Their  help is totally focused on each individual person, so everyone receives the support that’s best for them.

We are pleased and proud that the event at the Bonded Warehouse raised £200 which was a great effort on the part of the craft group organisers and Heide so well done and thank you all to them.

 

Splendid Makeover in Ladies Toilets.

At the beginning of the year the SNT Committee determined what major projects needed to be taken on and importantly funded for the year ahead. One of the projects which was felt absolutely necessary was to refurbish the toilets in the Bonded Warehouse to bring them up to a standard that our visitors and hirers expect in this modern age. Funding was earmarked and a project set up to initially identify companies who could make suggestions about the specification, design and cost of such a challenge. We needed to identify a time to undertake the work when an important event such as a wedding reception was not taking place – quite difficult thesedays with the venue becoming increasingly popular and firms operating with full order books. However, dates in August were scheduled and the work commenced in earnest.

It was fascinating to watch the aged toilets and sanitary ware being ripped out as well as lighting, ventilation, floor and tiling which have now all been replaced to create a modern, fresh and easy to maintain toilet area in the Ladies area just off the Brindley Room. The job took almost 2 weeks such was the extent of the work and also reflecting the quality of the workmanship and materials to get the job done to a high standard.

The lights automatically turn on when you enter the room, taps also turn off automatically and the two new lights burn time is 30,000 hours. Two concealed cisterns have been fitted but will allow access to the pipework if we have any plumbing problems, white tiles are on all the other walls along with a new modern radiator. Heavy duty Porcelain floor tiles finish the room off and it all looks very clean in white and grey

The photograph gallery below shows the various stages of the work up until the finished article which we hope all of our female visitors will like and appreciate. Further works on the remaining toilets are being arranged, starting with the lower floor ladies toilets which will be given the same makeover treatment by the same contractor with whom we were very pleased. This is to be programmed in the not too distant future.

 

New wall and railings now in place.

It had been noticed for some time that the wall acting as a boundary between Stourbridge Navigation Trust and what will soon be re-named “The Old Wharf” was starting to lean quite noticeably – our regular Tuesday Club volunteer, John Ganner, a former builder, expressed his concerns and so did Jack the new proprietor of the soon to open pub – there was only one course of action to take.

A few quotations were acquired and various options explored as to how the work might be done, what we all wanted it to look like and of course as a Charitable Trust we were very mindful of the potential cost. In fairness it didn’t take too long to put a plan in place and over a couple of months the old wall which featured blue bricks showing the “SNT” initials was demolished, new stronger footings put in place and the new walling built. The final part was the installation of attractive railings on top of the wall to serve as the boundary, providing security for our moorers and giving a nice view from the pub’s outside space up the Stourbridge Arm.

The photo gallery below shows the various stages of the job from day one to demolition to rebuilding and the end product which all agree is very smart. That’s another job off the list and quite a considerable sum spent from the Trust’s bank account.

There’s only one small job to do now to complete the job and that is to re-instate the plaque which heralded the building of the original wall in 2003 – it’s only right that the history of the site is preserved. Photographs of the plaque is also shown in the gallery below and this will be fixed in place very soon.

 

 

Tuesday Club – a Blur of Paint Brushes.

Tuesday Club volunteers are making the most of the dry weather by tackling jobs on the exhaustive list which are deemed as ‘outside’ jobs and done when it will remain dry – so out came the sandpaper, paintbrushes and a peak of enthusiasm. The volunteers organised themselves into two groups – one to deal with the large end door to the stable block (where the bar operates from at Open Weekend) and the other two man team to the railings near the entrance to the dry dock.

The first job was to re-fix the large door to the frame-post on the stable block and then prepare it for its first coat of grey primer – application of a second  coat was applied the following week and then finally to finish it off with a top coat of ‘plum’ gloss. It’s amazing really that this job started out as “we need to replace that door post because it’s rotten at the bottom” – as usual the task broadened in scope but at least we will have a finished job in a few weeks which will last for many years. The picture above shows the job after application of the first coat of undercoat with the end product in the photo gallery below.

The other job simply involved applying black gloss to the already prepared existing railings and gates – quite a tedious yet highly satisfying job, with many passers by giving encouraging remarks as the railings / gates took on a rejuvenated shiny state. Painting the gates is a time-consuming feature to tackle and also we knew that the top of the rails would soon be adorned with small knobs to match the new boundary fence with the Old Wharf Inn – it should look smashing when it is all completed.  The picture below shows the railings partly painted and in the gallery is the finished job which we think looks splendid.

Those achievements will naturally lead us to look at other items which would benefit from the proverbial ‘lick of paint’ – the crane, bollards, window sills on the Bonded Warehouse (which are in urgent need of attention), the lamp post and many other ‘bits and pieces’ that will look better for a bit of TLC.

Work will soon start (August we hope) to repair a large area of roofing on the office buildings and whilst the scaffolding is in place we hope to take the opportunity to paint the large windows in that building and also give the glass a good clean.

The work down at the Bonded Warehouse is endless actually and we really could do with a few more pairs of hands, so if you have some spare time and would like to get involved with a valuable community asset then do come along on Tuesdays to join the voluntary group – you will need a good sense of humour, the ability to glug coffee and be adaptable to take on repairs & maintenance tasks which you may not have done before – it’s a good opportunity to learn new skills, enjoy yourself, make friends and help the Trust look after this unique community building.

 

SNT Sponsorship ‘deal’ with Advanced Accountancy Sealed.

We were absolutely delighted that a generous local accountancy firm, Advanced Accountancy Midlands, a financial organisation based in Kingswinford, approached us a few weeks ago about potentially forging a sponsoring relationship. After openly discussing how this would work in benefitting both parties it soon became apparent that this somewhat pioneering strategy for the Trust was a sound proposition because we quickly felt a sense of great confidence and true generosity in our first ever sponsoring organisation.

And so last week the relationship became a reality and we were thrilled to receive a four-figure donation from their director Marina Parry. The photograph above shows the Trust’s Chairman David Caunt being presented with a cheque for £1000 by her whilst on-board The Blackcountry Man canal boat.

The Bonded Warehouse, as a volunteer-led venture which has been serving its community for over 60 years, will use the corporate sponsorship to help maintain its iconic 18th Century community building and to support a range of local events.

 Advanced Accountancy Midlands director Marina Parry was delighted the money was going to a worthy cause. “We have been looking for a new charity to sponsor for some time now and when the opportunity arose with The Bonded Warehouse, it was too good to pass up,” she enthused, “Everyone in Stourbridge is familiar with the vital work the group does preserving the region’s industrial heritage and building community spirit – we’re thrilled to support their efforts. We’ve enjoyed a period of rapid progression at Advanced Accountancy over recent years so this was our way of saying thank you to our valued clients as well as putting back into the community. We’re so pleased to be working alongside such an iconic organisation who work so hard to serve the local community. I look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with The Bonded Warehouse team in the future.

David Caunt the Chairman of Stourbridge Navigation Trust responded with equal enthusiasm:

Stourbridge Navigation Trust are very grateful to Advanced Accounting for taking this sponsorship step and is a very welcome initiative which we hope will be of mutual benefit.

The Trust is tasked by a number of national bodies to maintain the Grade 2 listed Bonded Warehouse and to have oversight of the Stourbridge Canal Town Arm. The maintenance of a listed building will always be costly and every year we have a programme of major works to keep the buildings and surrounds in first class order.

This sponsorship will help to relieve the financial pressures experienced by the Trustees in performing their duties and responsibilities”.

So next time you are in Canal Street by the Bonded Warehouse or attending one of the many events taking place over the year do look out for the Advanced Accountancy banners/posters/cards proudly displayed around the building and the Stourbridge Arm canal – we think they look great ! The photo gallery below shows a record of the sponsorship event, describes our new sponsor and also includes a lovely picture of Marina the director and Rohan the practice manager.

If you are looking to engage a local and reputable Accountancy firm for services from payroll, book-keeping to accounts then take a look at their website: http://www.advancedaccountancy.co.uk/ or give them a call on 01384 271858.

Brand New Carpet Fitted to Brindley Room

As part of the “major expenditure” projects agreed by the Trust’s Committee earlier in the year some of the work has been commissioned and indeed completed!

One of the projects was to replace the carpet tiles in the Brindley Room as those in place could be described as “past their best” having served the room well over the years by enduring huge footfall, subject to various spillages along with everyday ‘wear and tear’. In order to keep costs down it fell to the Tuesday Club volunteers to lift up the outgoing tiles – quite good fun actually as they were removed from the upper floor by gentling dropping them out of the end of building window (honest!) where others collected them into neat piles for onward disposal – some to garden sheds !

It was left to the professionals to lay the new carpet tiles though the Tuesday Club were once again on hand to unload the order from the delivery vehicle and carry them to the top floor – quite a heavy load but it got the cardio-vascular systems going and some thought it was better than going to the gym !

Once laid the we felt the room looked much lighter and brighter due to the fundamental change in colour from brown to grey and indeed the room looks very smart. The Pilates Group were amongst the first to use the room and were delighted with the clean flooring.

The photo gallery below shows the transition brought about by this investment and we hope you all like it as much as we do – it will certainly have to last for a good few years.

Amongst the other major projects scheduled for 2019 are significant roof repairs to the front of the office building, total refurbishment of the upstairs ladies toilets and a new railed wall adjoining the soon to be opened Old Wharf Pub.

 

 

More Shambolics at the Bonded Warehouse !

We were delighted to receive an email from The Shambolics sharing with us their show reel which was filmed at the Bonded Warehouse.  The band stepped into the breach at last year’s Open Weekend and proved a great success by entertaining the crowds with their wide range of music in their own inimitable style.

Based in the Black Country, the Shambolics were formed when a group of friends started an open mic night. Through this they met lots of talented musicians who bit by bit joined the band, creating a supergroup with 2 rhythm guitarists, 1 lead guitarist, a harmonica player, a drummer and a bass guitarist. With three part harmonies as standard and four different vocalists, they’ve become the professional function band they are today, well known all over the Black Country for their energetic live shows.

We look forward to welcoming them to future events but if you want a “taster” the following Shambolics Showreel will I’m sure impress and entertain you – look out for the well-known features of the Bonded Warehouse too !