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During the reign of Charles the 1st the river "Stour" became one of the hardest-worked rivers in the kingdom, providing power for blast furnaces, tilt hammers, and slitting mills located along its length. "Nash’s History of Worcestershire" 2nd Edition 1799.  (Many of these were the property of the Foley family).

In the reign of Charles the 2nd an act of parliament was passed for making the river navigable, Andrew Yarranton claimed to have completed this in 1665 between Stourbridge and the River Severn. (He had previously built Roman locks on Dick Brook to connect his Astley Furnace with the Severn).

Rising behind St Kenelms church, on the edge of the Clent hills, the slow trickling stream soon becomes a babbling brook, and within 2 miles becomes the "River Stour" mentioned in Andrew Yarranton’s book "England’s Improvement by Land and Sea" London 1677.

This same river powered Dud Dudley’s Cradley forge where he claimed to have perfected the use of ‘pit coal’ for the smelting of Iron, in his book "Metallum Martis" published in 1665.

The Foley’s Iron Empire in the 17th & 18th centuries comprised of many furnaces, forges and slitting mills many of which were on the River Stour,

Today many parts of the river and its tributaries are surrounded by houses and factories, but the pockets of rural landscape convey some impression of how the valley might have looked 200-300 years ago.

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This series of photographs is a personal interpretation of the way a river is perceived in our post-industrial landscape. It no longer has any economic importance, no industries depend on it, and instead it must be tamed and controlled – for flood defence.