The Heritage Rooms are open during events and a private visit can be booked by special arrangement, for families or groups.
The Old Ticket Office is a small building on York Street. At one time it was the office of coal merchant John William Powell, who lived at Kingston House in Mitton Street. The Ticket Office itself was probably built around 1901, although Mr Powell was trading as a coal and coke merchant from York Street from 1855. By 1900, his son John, aged 19, was listed in the census as ‘coal merchant’s clerk’.
Coal wharves were important to Stourport, as they were places where one of the most important cargoes to the town were trans-shipped (unloaded and re-loaded onto riverboats). The Old Ticket Office offers a great view over the basins. Visitors can find out about businesses around town and look at artefacts related to Stourport’s past, including a beautiful model trow, one of the flat-bottomed boats that worked on the river here in years gone by.
The Tontine Stable is a single remaining preserved stable, once one in a row of six stables serving the Tontine Hotel. Visiting merchants would be able to stable their horses here during their stay at the grand Tontine Hotel. An impressive building, the hotel could accommodate around 200 people, although sleeping arrangements were basic, with limited facilities and sharing of beds! The Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal Company had their board room and a ballroom here, overlooking the canal basins, as well as houses for their lock keepers and people who managed the wharves. In later years, the stables were used overnight by the horses of boatmen, taking their boats through the town. (In fact, these stables were just a few of many at the back of pubs, in the town and canalside in the days before motor transport).
Guided tours and boat trips through the canal basins
Guided walks and heritage room tours are also available, by prior appointment. Stourport Forward also offers group trips on heritage working boat Bramble. We can take up to 12 passengers per trip, as part of our operations to maintain the boat as a working heritage exhibit. Please be aware that there is limited accessibility and no facilities, so this is an experience from the past! ‘Brindley’s Brainwaves’ a trail leaflet produced by the Canal and River Trust, all about the development of the canal basins, is available from the Tontine Stable Heritage Room and The Windlass Cafe.
All guided walks and trips are run by Stourport Forward Ltd, a not for profit organisation. We very much appreciate donations towards our costs, but we are also able to offer free tours and trips to organisations and groups at our own discretion.