The town of Stourport-on-Severn owes its existence to the canal period: it was built where the Staffordshire and Worcester canal - opened in 1772 - flows into the Severn, which is navigable at this stage. The site was surveyed and chosen by the engineer Brindley because it was close to the junction of the river Stour and the Severn, and thus the route of the canal could follow the valley of the Stour. Some of the marks made in the surveying process are still visible, or indicated by present-day markers.A first bridge on the Severn was built there at the time.

The last stages of the canal are cut through heavily sloping ground from the hills to the river, which entailed building several series of basins at different levels linked by locks. As water flowed from the basins each time a boat passed the locks (100 000 gallons for each boat), a pump driven by a Boulton and Watt steam engine was installed in the early 19th century to pump water back from the river; it pumped 448 gallons at each stroke (more than 2000 litres).


RollOver or click the map to connect it to a cross-section showing the successive levels of the ground



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Georgian streets
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The Georgian town built around the basins has sloping streets: a view of a street corner (the top one on the map, looking towards the North).

Warehouses were built close to the basins; some are still in existence (turned to other uses since the canal is now only used by pleasure boats):

  • the iron warehouse (1771), with two curved corners to enable tow ropes to pass
  • the clock warehouse, built in the late 18th century, with clocktower added in 1812

The Tontine hotel was built in 1773 for merchants.

To find more, see the Stourport website.


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When clicking on each of the three buttons, you will see photos of the corresponding levels of the basin; the standpoints and angles of view of the photos will appear on the map.

The of the ’V’s near the photos correspond to the colours of the angles marking the viewing points of the photos on the maps.



Canal to upper basin

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The Upper Basin, viewed from the East. To the left, the Iron Warehouse (white). In the centre, the Clock Warehouse.
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The Upper Basin, viewed from the South East Corner. The dark tunnel to the right is the arrival of the canal under a bridge.
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Upper basin to lower basin

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To the left, the Lower Basin. In the centre (foreground), the lock between the Lower Basin and the Upper Basin (background), the Upper Basin with the Clock Warehouse. to the right, the Iron Warehouse.
A panoramic view made by stitching three photos so as to show the layout of the area and the relative position of the basins.
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The other lock between the Upper Basin (left) and the Lower Basin (right). In the distance to the left, the Tontine Hotel and part of the white Iron Warehouse.
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Lower basin to Severn

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The lock between the lower basin and the Severn. In the distance, the Clock Warehouse. To the right, the Tontine Hotel.
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The same lock viewed towards the Severn which appears in the distance (South).
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