A day trip to the fresh air of the countryside was a major highlight of the life of Black Country folk. It was a means of escape from the soot and grime which encompassed them on a daily basis. Clent and Kinver were two favourite places for people to visit, as were Bewdley and Stourport. For many people, Clent was accessible by a short walk but visiting anywhere else required a journey on horseback, the hire of a carriage or cart or even travel by boat along the River Stour or the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. Over the years, travel became easier for those who could afford a motor car and there was of course, the good ol' bicycle.
Kinver did not become part of the main railway network but on 4 April 1901, The British Electric Traction Co (BET) opened Kinver Light Railway. This proved a huge success with half hourly services and fares as low as 3d for the whole journey. The tramway ran from the Fish Inn at Amblecote (where it connected with the tracks of the Dudley, Stourbridge and District Company's system) to the Staffordshire village of Kinver via Wollaston and Stourton, a distance of just over 4 miles.
By the mid 1920's, motorbus competition had become more popular and fewer tram services operated resulting in KLR being closed on 8 February 1930.
Examples of Kinver Light Railway and The Great Western Railway motor buses which were introduced in the early 1900's can be seen below. (Please also see Old Transport page).
Stewponey & Foley Arms Hotel.
A place our ancestors would have visited on their way for a day out in Kinver. Sadly, this building was demolished in the 1930's and replaced with a building of the style of that era. This was also known as the Stewponey Hotel and was a landmark for Stourton until 2004 when it was demolished to make way for a housing estate. This was built in a design which replicated that of the Stewponey Hotel it replaced to remain in keeping with the area.
Light Railway and Castle, Kinver.
St Peter's Church, Kinver.
The Cliff and Church, Kinver.
High Street, Kinver, c1903.
High Street, Kinver, c1916.
This is one of my favourite postcards because it has so much character. The lovely store featured here, R. Jennings, was formerly G. Morgan, Stationer and Newsagent. This bustling High Street has retained its charm and Ye Olde White Harte, now Grade II listed, is Kinver's oldest pub. No doubt this was somewhere our ancestors visited after the journey from the Black Country.
Another lovely view of Kinver High Street.
Compa Cottage, Kinver.
Martindale's Tea Gardens. A lovely place where our ancestors would have stopped off for refreshments.
Nannie's Rock, Kinver.
Tram Terminus, Kinver.
A scene familiar to the residents of Kinver when the Black Country folk arrived for a day out.
Stourton Castle, near Kinver.
Lyttleton Arms Hotel, Hagley, c1918.
The Lyttleton Arms is only a short distance from Clent and was no doubt somewhere our ancestors visited.
Woodman Hotel, Clent, Showing Motor Bus.
View From The Top Of Clent Hills. From the oil painting by E.Blocksidge.
Hill Tavern, Clent.
This is certainly a place our ancestor's would have visited. With its location at the bottom of the Clent Hills, it was an ideal place to stop off for refreshments.
The Hollybush Inn, Clent.
The title on this postcard is Clent Castle. Can anyone provide more information?
Adams Hill, Clent. A fair is visible near to the large house in the foreground. Our ancestors travelled to Clent to escape the smog of the Black Country when they had a break from work - without doubt they would have enjoyed their day out.
Clent Church (Showing War Memorial).
Many of our ancestors from Rowley Regis got married at Clent, instead of their local Parish Church. Clent is relatively close, being some six miles from Rowley Regis. However, why our ancestors travelled from Rowley Regis to Clent is not known. The practice appears to have started around 1770 and continued into the mid nineteenth century; at least one third of people from Rowley Regis got married at Clent. I personally believe that there were two possible reasons, because I have ancestors of my own who did indeed live in Rowley Regis and marry in Clent.
First, Clent was closely associated with Rowley Regis because as far back as the late 13th Century, their chapels were connected. In 1841, an Act of Parliament was passed to separate Rowley Regis and Clent into two individual parishes. However, a prerequisite to this was that it did not become effective until the death of the Rev. Adolphus Hopkins who had become the Vicar of Clent and Rowley Regis in 1825. Rowley Regis did in fact have its own Curate in the period to 1855 but the incumbent at Clent was the Vicar of both Clent and Rowley Regis until he died in 1855 and the two parishes separated.
Second, Clent was an agricultural parish with a population one tenth the size of Rowley Regis which was predominantly a mining district at that time. People wanted to escape the air of the Black Country and Clent was the perfect place to visit. Generations of my ancestors spent Sundays and holidays at Clent - indeed as a child, Mom and Dad took us to Clent as a treat on summer evenings or at weekends. We used to visit the Fountain Inn and I would eat smokey bacon crisps and drink lemonade in the back of our old mini van after a lovely walk across the Clent Hills. Clent was and still is a really beautiful part of our countryside.
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