Stourbridge has never made on to any list of places to see before you die to my knowledge. It's not glamorous, exciting or picturesque. It's just another midlands town. To be honest, I only went there to deliver a model I'd built.
Perhaps there is an appeal for the transport enthusiast. According to Wikipedia (so it must be true) the town sits at the end of the shortest branch line in Europe. With the journey only taking 3 minutes I can well believe this is true. Add to that the easiest and most boring train driving job in the world and it's a real find.
This would be to denigrate an rather nice little town. The shopping centre isn't huge but it is largely free of the larger chain stores. They all live in nearby Merry Hill shopping centre leaving High Street free for the local shops. Quite a mix of them too - how often do you find a Post Office that also sells Indian food ? Sadly this modern innovation leaves the original attractive building one of the few boarded up in the road but I suspect this won't last long.
Indoor Market spotters will be pleased to find a 60's version on the edge of town, just past the entrance to the town hall and library which jut out from the back of the building into a shopping precinct. Sadly there are only 2 business operating in the market - a busy baker and quiet cosmetic shop. The signs are that this is to be renovated, it deserves it.
In the middle of the precinct there is a tall automaton - a clock which on the hour has a rotating display of statues. The "Stourbridge Lion", the first steam engine to be operating in the USA and manufactured locally, is followed by three fey fellows who spin around carrying glasses and flowers. Not sure what they represent buy the Lion is a very fine representation. It's a pity that the audience is limited to a couple of OAPs who are just sitting there waiting for nothing in particular.
Back on the high street and feeling hungry, a local chain baker (Firkins) supplied a contender for the most disgusting (in a good way) cake ever. Imagine the bun from an iced bun, generously covered with yellow icing and filled with lemon curd and cream. "That looks disgusting", I said to the lady behind the counter, "I'll have one". "I know, but they are lovely", she replied with the air of someone letting me in on a secret. She wasn't wrong either. The slightly savoury (OK, not sweet) dough of the bun provides a welcome counterpoint to the sickliness of the topping while the cream softens the tartness of the curd. I think one a day is plenty through...
More pics on Flickr