Stourbridge in 1843
Stourbridge is a market-town, which derives its name from its bridge over the Stour. The bridge is of stone, and forms the communication between Worcestershire and Staffordshire, of which counties the river is here the boundary. The town is rather irregularly built on a gentle declivity, but the general appearance is handsome. The market-house is a spacious modern structure. There is a small theatre. The church was built by subscription in 1742. The living is a curacy in the parish of Old Swinford, in the gift of the inhabitant householders of the town, of the average net yearly value of £134. There are places of worship belonging to the Independents, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, and Roman Catholics. There is a free grammar-school, founded by Edward VI, and said to be richly endowed, but no return of the number of scholars was given to the commissioners for inquiring into the state of education in 1833 : there were nine other daily schools and two Sunday-schools. The population in 1831 was 6,148 ; in 1841 it was 7,481, of whom 3,654 were males. and 3,827 were females. The manufactures consist chiefly of iron, glass, and fire-bricks. A bed of sand, 150 feet below the surface, is used for making the glass, and is sold to a considerable amount for the same purpose in other places. The bricks are made of the Stourbridge clay, which has long been celebrated for its excellence in resisting the action of fire ; crucibles are also made of it. Stourbridge has excellent. navigable communication by means of a branch from the Dudley canal.