The Windlass Cafe and Restaurant in Stourport Canal Basins
Stourport Canal Basins
Visit and Enjoy Stourport Canal Basins
Discover a wealth of information about the historic heart of Stourport-on-Severn and its origin as a canal town at the award-winning Stourport Canal Basins. The basins remain largely intact from the golden age of the canals and have recently been restored, regenerated and returned to their original Georgian splendour, creating an exciting and informative heritage attraction.
The canal basins provide a great place to wander around at leisure and explore. The abundance of water creates an air of peace and tranquillity. Relax and unwind in one of the local pubs, cafes and restaurants in and around the Canal Basins. Watch boats travelling through the locks and five historic basins which house nearly 100 narrow boats and yachts and many listed Georgian houses and warehouses.
Enjoy the annual programme of events and two Heritage Rooms (restricted opening). The Tontine Stable Heritage Room is accessible to customers of The Windlass Cafe daily through a connecting door. Click the tab above for opening times/dates for The Old Ticket Office Heritage Room or telephone the Stourport Forward Office on 01299 822827.
Group bookings for costume guided walks/tours are welcomed. For the latest updates and for further information on these events visit the ‘What’s On’ page or contact Stourport Forward, tel: 01299 822827.
The creation of the cafe/restaurant, heritage rooms, school visit project and events programme for Stourport Canal Basins was initially funded by regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands. The Heritage Rooms, School Visit Programme and Events Project are partnership projects of Stourport Forward with Stourport Civic Society, British Waterways and Bewdley Museum
The ongoing work of Stourport Forward (which includes delivering these events and activities) has been funded by grants from Wyre Forest District Council and Worcestershire County Council and is also supported by Stourport Town Council, British Waterways, Bewdley Museum, Stourport Local Policing Team, many other local groups/organisations and a strong core team of dedicated volunteers.
Old Ticket Office Heritage Room
Tontine Stable Heritage Room
Pirate Weekend in Stourport Canal Basins
Stourport Canal Basins
Stourport Canal Basins still remain largely intact from the golden age of the canals in the late 1700′s – early 1800′s, and recently underwent a major award winning regeneration programme which was completed in 2008. Click here to view the Masterplan behind the Stourport Canal Basins Regeneration.
Stourport Canal Basins are made up of five historic basins, home to nearly 100 narrow boats and yachts, and one re-opened basin, plus five canal locks and a dry dock, all located on the bank of the River Severn in the picturesque Severn Valley. Popular legend has it that James Brindley chose Stourport rather than Bewdley for his canal because the citizens of Bewdley did not want his ‘stinking ditch’ passing through their town. The reality is that Stourport made far more sense from a topographical point of view. A canal joining the River Severn at Bewdley would have needed to cross several hills. Joining the Severn at Stourport it could follow the Stour valley and this obviously made construction much cheaper.
The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal linked the River Severn with the Trent and Mersey Canal and as a result, after Birmingham, Stourport became the busiest inland port in the Midlands. The canal opened to Stourport in 1771 and by 1812 the five canal basins had been built. The town rapidly expanded and by the 1780′s there were brass and iron foundries, a vinegar works, tan yards, worsted spinning mills, carpet mills, barge and boat building yards, warehouses, shops, houses and inns. By 1795 it had 200 houses and 1300 inhabitants.
The aim of the award winning regeneration programme was to bring the Stourport Canal Basins and their surroundings back into full, vibrant, sustainable use. The community were actively engaged during the programme through volunteer activities, arts events and commissions, site interpretation, education trails and skills development.
The partners in the Stourport Canal Basins regeneration project included Heritage Lottery Fund, British Waterways, Advantage West Midlands through Stourport Forward, Wyre Forest District Council, Stourport Town Council, Worcestershire County Council and the Arts Council.
Stourport Canal Basins Heritage Rooms
Stourport Canal Basins are firmly back on the map thanks to a major heritage initiative that is transforming the site into an interactive attraction for local people and visitors alike.
The Tontine Stable Heritage Room is accessible to customers of the Windlass Cafe / Restaurant daily through an interconnecting door, where visitors can discover about the growth of the canal basins and some of the animals that worked on site. “Brindley’s Brainwaves” a trail leaflet produced by British Waterways which provides a wealth of information about Stourport Basins, is available from the Tontine Stable Heritage Room. Please ask a member of staff for assistance if the door is locked.
A new Heritage Room and Information Point, “Discover Stourport”, opened at 8a Bridge Street in May, on a temporary basis and includes exhibits loaned by Bewdley Museum and displays created by Stourport Civic Society to discover more about life at Stourport in times past, including some of the shops and trades that used to be part of the town. “Discover Stourport” also includes a small information stand about local attractions. The room is open during events at Stourport Canal Basins and from middle of September until the end of December will aim to open on the first Saturday of the month (during October, November and December). Please watch this space for further information about the opening times and dates. Costumed guided walks and heritage room viewings are also available, where possible, by prior appointment. If you would like any additional information or would like to make a booking please contact 01299 822827 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two other Heritage Rooms, the Old Ticket Office and Discover Stourport will be open at events and at published times/dates – a rota is currently being developed. Both rooms are opened to groups and schools by appointment and group bookings for costume guided walks (which usually include an opportunity to view the heritage rooms) are welcomed.
Visitors can also discover more about the canal basins and some of the trades that grew as a result of the arrival of the canal at the Old Ticket Office Heritage Room, York Street.
You can also enjoy costume guided walks in Stourport Canal Basins.
The Old Ticket Office Heritage Room
The Tontine Stable Heritage Room
Discovery Heritage Room
The Stourport Basins Art Commissions
An integral part of the Stourport Canal Basin Restoration is the Arts Masterplan and Commissioning Programme. Formulated by a team led by the artists pro/POSIT and funded via a joint initiative between British Waterways, Wyre Forest District Council and Arts Council England; the aim of the programme was to place art and artists at the forefront of the design process in this unique heritage and conservation context.
The Arts Commissioning Programme is made up of a number of arts commissions which have been identified to illuminate, enhance and promote the site through events, projects and off site art pieces. Since September 2006 British Waterways have been working to implement the Arts Programme and have carried out research to source potential artists suitable to deliver the commissions which make up the two year programme. British Waterways focused on four specific commissions and invited a number of artists to respond to the initial commission briefs in December 2006. The responses received were assessed by a panel made up of the project partners in January 2007. As a result of this selection process, 5 artists were chosen to deliver the commissions. The artists worked on the project from April 2007 until July 2008.
Further information about the commissions and each of the artists click here to download the full colour booklet as a pdf outlining the arts projects as part of the Stourport Basins Restoration.
Stourport Canal Basins Discovery Trail
The Discovery Trail at Stourport Canal Basins promises a unique experience to anyone visiting the site by providing alternative information about Stourport Canal Basins. The trail points out hidden historical facts which have been uncovered and discovered through the recent restoration and explains the rationale behind many of the contemporary design features which have been incorporated into the project.
To download the Stourport Canal Basins Discovery Trail by following the links below:
You can pick up a copy of the Discovery Trail from the British Waterways office in the Basins.