Extract from Express & Star 4th February – Stourbridge canal side restoration project revealed for former historic ironworks:
A stretch of canal beside a former historic ironworks factory in Stourbridge will be transformed, under new plans. The work to the canal towpath will include removing graffiti, managing the trees and undergrowth, brightening up brick work and restoring the historic interpretation panel. It has been adopted by the Riverside House group as part of Canal and River Trust’s adoption scheme.
The stretch of canal is situated next to the Foster Rastrick Ironworks, a significant factory in the early 19th century which includes the recently restored New Foundry – now the Lion Health Medical Centre.
The canal-side transformation will initially start one day a week and will also provide opportunities for adults in health and social care and help individuals develop work skills, communication skills, confidence and employability skills.
Lloyd Stacey, director of Riverside House, said: “This is an opportunity to become involved in an exciting historical regeneration project that be of will benefit to the whole community. It will be the first of many projects that will be happening in the area. We have been working on this for around a month now and it’s great to be working with different groups who may not be in employment or have learning disabilities. We are aiming for around 400 yards of the path along the canal to be smartened up outside the ironworks.”
The former ironworks also include the historic crane base used to lift the Stourbridge Lion locomotive onto narrow boats, remains of a dry dock and two bridges that were entrances to canal boat basins and went into the heart of the iron works. It was here that shipments of raw materials such as iron ore and coal were brought into the factory and manufactured wrought iron bars and rods were transported back to market.
Mr Stacey continued: “The whole area has sadly been left derelict for some time now and gone to wrack and ruin. The surrounding site is very important for the Dudley borough as a whole. It is of historical significance. We will be looking into major brick repairs along the wall and restoring it as best as we can. This is just a small project before we hope to look into something more.”
Riverside House is a community interest company. They deliver activities by providing therapeutic craft and land based activities.