Category Archives: Latest News

NEW MAN AT THE HELM FOR POPULAR BOAT TRIPS IN 2024.

STOURBRIDGE TRIP BOAT NEWS

The Blackcountry Man” narrowboat, based on the wharf by the Bonded Warehouse, will shortly be re-starting business again this year by running a programme of popular boat trips.

Following the well-deserved retirement of Ken, the previous Boat Manager for the last 8 years, the Trust has successfully appointed his replacement, Tom.

The boat trip service will continue as in previous years and may be even extended – keep a look out for the new schedule in the coming weeks. Bookings can be made using the same telephone number (07889 908090) or via the online Enquiry Form on the website. A variety of cruises will be available including Music Nights, leisurely trips as far as Kinver as well as private hire with a full crew and for school trips.

We are sure that our regular passengers will continue to experience the excellent service provided and are assured of being welcomed back on board when the new schedule commences under the new Boat Manager. New passengers will always be made most welcome and are invited to enjoy our beautiful local canal and of course the good company.

SNT OPEN WEEKEND 2024 – Boater’s Entry Form

Stourbridge Navigation Trust is pleased to advise that we are already planning for the Open Weekend which is scheduled to run over the weekend of 19th / 20th October 2024.

After last year’s success, despite the somewhat poor weather, we hope to attract as many boats as possible to celebrate canal boating and for all to enjoy this popular annual event  in Canal Street and hope that you will support us once again by participating. New boaters are always very welcome.

Please download the Boater’s Entry Form below and return the completed form to us by post or simply popping in to The Bonded Warehouse, Canal Street, Stourbridge, West Midlands DY8 4LU.

Thank you for your support and we look forward to once again welcoming you to Canal Street on the Stourbridge Arm.

» DOWNLOAD 2024 BOAT ENTRY FORM «

Stourbridge Canal Drained of Water.

Part of the Stourbridge Canal was found drained of water this morning (Thursday January 4th 2024).

A keen walker shared these images with The Stourbridge News after snapping the almost empty stretch of canal, between Amblecote and Wordsley, at around 9am today.

He said he later noticed the lock gates had been opened to allow water to flow back in and it looked as if the dried-up waterway had been refilled although water levels still appeared lower than usual.

The Canal and River Trust has been contacted for comment.

Photographs courtesy of Alan Meese / Stourbridge News.

Update 6th January:

A Trustee at Stourbridge Navigation Trust became aware of the problem and acted accordingly. He advises that whilst latterly the local youth have left the canal alone it does still occur occasionally. On this occasion the top gate of the bottom lock was opened and a paddle drawn at the bottom end sometime on Wednesday evening.

He put the paddle down again and reported it to CRT before 9 o’clock on Thursday morning as he couldn’t shut the top gate due to debris which require a long handled rake to clear. The pound was full again by 10.30 as a boat was coming down.

This sort of malevolent activity is not confined to Stourbridge as sadly it happens all over the country from time to time.

Santa Visits to Canal Street Cancelled !

The Stourbridge Navigation Trust has operated a popular Santa experience, including a canal boat trip, from the Bonded Warehouse for many years.

Santa was very disappointed to learn that due to a lack of volunteers to help him build his Grotto and to safely run the visits to see him that the Trust has reluctantly had to make the difficult decision to cease delivering the service. Santa is very disappointed and his elves are distraught.

We would like to thank those parents who became regulars to see Santa in the Bonded Warehouse and indeed to express our apologies to those who may have been looking forward to coming for the first time this year.

We hope that you can come to see me  in another local facility.

Merry Christmas,  Ho, Ho, Ho, Santa

Stourbridge MP attends OPEN WEEKEND

The Stourbridge Navigation Trust Open Weekend at the Bonded Warehouse is always one of my favourite events of the year.

It was great to bump into friends, our Mayor, local councillors, Friends of Corbett Meadow, Richard Parry from the Canal and River Trust, the Stourbridge Navigation Trust, Lloyd from Riverside House, the brilliant Midlands Air Ambulance, St John Ambulance and of course all of Sid’s mates.

There was of course important work to be done too – you can see me in a photo above learning CPR training from St John’s Ambulance. It was also good to catch up with the Canal and River Trust – it is so important to maintain and protect our canals. We are lucky to have one in our area that is so well supported.

WORK OF SNT VOLUNTEERS HONOURED

Volunteers have been at the heart of Stourbridge Navigation Trust since its inception. Following over a decade of restoration work led by volunteers the Bonded Warehouse was opened for community use in 1985. The present Trust is the culmination of 5 decades of voluntary effort, continuing the ethos of volunteering and seeing this as the sustainable way forward.

 The Trustees recently agreed that an Honours Board should be displayed to recognise the efforts of the main stalwarts of the Trust who gave their time, skills and energy freely to firstly restore and then manage, maintain and improve the facilities over the years both past, present and into the future.

 The Honours Board, skilfully hand crafted from scratch and hand lettered by local artist, Meg Gregory, was officially unveiled by the Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Andrea Goddard, and the Chief Executive of the Canal and River Trust, Richard Parry, at the 2023 Stourbridge Open Week-end and will take pride of place on public display in the Bonded Warehouse.

 Chairman of the Trust, Ian Cowdale said at the unveiling “Without the efforts of many people, I believe the Bonded Warehouse would now be no more than a distant memory suffering the same fate as other listed structures in the locality. The Stourbridge Town Canal Arm has only survived thanks to the volunteer activity at the Warehouse. As visitors stand and admire the new Honours Board and use the facilities today they can, just for a moment, remember the hard work put in by a dedicated volunteer force.”

 The Trust has a responsibility to maintain the standard of the area they control along the town Arm and also maintain the Bonded Warehouse and associated buildings and structures. The Trust is always keen to recruit new volunteers who wish to get actively involved in fulfilling their aims – they are sure to receive a warm welcome by our enthusiastic team.

The gallery of photographs below illustrate the making of the Honours Board and celebrations of volunteers and Trustees after the official unveiling.

Caravan by Stourbridge Canal is Removed

Extracts from the Stourbridge News – 5th October 2023:

HOUSE building company Taylor Wimpey says it has secured its canal-side parkland by the River Stour and Stourbridge Canal after a caravan parked illegally for about a year, and linked to anti-social behaviour, was finally evicted from the site.

The retro looking touring caravan, that resembled something out of TV show Breaking Bad, had become part of the landscape – with many regular walkers and locals left wondering when it would be moved and why it had been allowed to stay on the site.

Dudley Council’s homeless team had been aware of a man living in the caravan since last December and the authority said it had offered emergency accommodation and had been working to help identify long term options for the person residing there.

But the caravan remained on the site, which was turned into meadowland as part of the Doulton Brook housing development, until September 21 when an eviction was finally carried out.

A spokesperson for landowner Taylor Wimpey told the News: “We received a complaint regarding a caravan and two tents that were camped unlawfully on Taylor Wimpey land at Doulton Brook in early August 2023.

“Following discussions with our legal team a successful eviction was carried out on September 21.

“A coded lock has also been installed on the entrance gate which will prevent any similar incidents.”

Photograph courtesy of Newsquest.

2022 Open Weekend is a major success

The popular annual Open Weekend which had been postponed due to Covid-19 for the past 2 years finally returned to the Bonded Warehouse and the Stourbridge Arm of the canal over the weekend of 15th / 16th October 2022. With the benefit of fair weather and consequently a large public turnout it was a resounding success with thousands of smiling visitors coming along to support and enjoy the event.

The Open Weekend featured food stalls including the popular hog roast, a plethora of colourful craft stalls, a rally of 45 boats, a display of fantastic classic vehicles, a real ale bar, children’s rides, live music with broadcasting from Black Country Radio’s double decker bus, and numerous other traders showcasing the best of local business or as representatives of voluntary groups engaging with the community.

We were pleased to welcome local MPs Suzanne Webb and Mike Wood, Dudley’s Deputy Mayor, The Leader of Dudley Council Patrick Harley, the CEO of Canal & River Trust Richard Parry with Richard Preston on the VIP boat.

Stourbridge Navigation Trust are absolutely delighted that the event ran smoothly, despite a few inevitable niggles, this mainly due to the efforts that went into the detailed planning in the preceding months and on the day as a result of the tremendous work done by the SNT volunteers. It was indeed a great success, much enjoyed by the local community to whom we are grateful for their support – we look forward to welcoming you back to Canal Street and the Bonded Warehouse next year!

A Gallery of photographs (courtesy of Trustees Geoff Cooke and Paul Collins) illustrating the event can be viewed below – we hope you enjoy them! If you have any photographs which you think would benefit the gallery then please send them in and we’ll gladly publish them.

60th Anniversary of the Battle of Stourbridge

This week marks the 60th anniversary of The Battle of Stourbridge which took place an unbelievable 60 years ago this week back in 1962. The aim was to regain navigation on the Town Arm Canal and hold a rally in order to highlight the plight of the then closed Stourbridge ’16’ locks. Thanks largely to the endeavours of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal Society, with help from the Inland Waterways Association, following a legal battle with The British Transport Commission, the rally went ahead.

By 1964, the Society had made an agreement with the then newly formed British Waterways Board that the ’16’ would be jointly restored using both volunteer and paid Board labour. This made history in being the first such agreement in the country. The ’16’ Locks, and with It the through route to Birmingham, was reopened at Whitsun 1967.

Undoubtedly, had this not happened most of the canal routes in the area would have been filled in and been made into additional road infrastructure. Indeed, the Arm was threatened with this possibility in the early 1970’s, hence the Staffs & Worcs.  Society taking on the restoration of the Town Arm, and subsequently the Bonded Warehouse and its environs.

It’s interesting to reflect on what could have been and how Canal Street, the Bonded Warehouse and the canal route might have looked now if those in power had their way at that challenging time. Certainly looking at the local community enjoying themselves over the recent hot spell in a vibrant Canal Street with the now well maintained and well used Bonded Warehouse, cared for by the Stourbridge Navigation Trust, looking over it all with moorings permanently occupied by residential boaters all of this would have been lost forever if the infamous Battle of Stourbridge hadn’t been fought by local people for the benefit of the community.

Some of the pictures below show the scenes when the rally took place and also a recent portrait of Chris Dyche, SNT Treasurer, who took part in The Battle  and supplied the information above.