The foundation stone of Stourbridge Public Baths was laid on 2nd August 1900 by Isaac Nash, Chairman of the Council. The building was designed by Frederick Woodward, the Council’s Surveyor and cost about £4,500. Thomas Vale was the builder. On 23rd May 1901 local dignitaries met in the Town Hall and then went in procession headed by the Titan Works Band to the Baths which were opened by Joseph Wooldridge, Chairman of the Baths Committee. The water for the baths came from a well sunk in the sandstone.
On 4th June 1901, Stourbridge Swimming Club was founded. The annual subscription was fixed at five shillings (25 new pence) and the original Club colours were decided on – ‘costumes of blue and drawers of turkey red with a black border’. The first swimming gala was held on 11th July with about 600 being present. On 28th July it was decided to form a Ladies Swimming Club. An open air swimming bath was constructed on an adjoining site on 17th May 1923. The indoor baths were extended and modernised in 1939. Until 1967 the indoor bath was covered during the winter months and used as a hall. In 1967 the Men’s and Ladies’ Clubs were amalgamated to form the present organisation. Since its founding in 1901, the Club has closed only once – during the 1939-1945 war years. Plans to knock down Stourbridge’s pool meant there would be no training facility for the club. Instead it would be replaced by a fun pool. However, due to the dedication of parents and friends, even making the local television news, the Council were lobbied hard and long until eventually it was agreed that a training pool would be built. The last Club Night to be held at Stourbridge Baths was on 10th June 1985. The following week, Brierley Hill Leisure Centre began hosting every subsequent Club Night for the next twenty years. The Stourbridge pool buildings were finally closed in 1987 and later demolished. After much public debate about its controversial design, the Crystal Leisure Centre was constructed on the same site and opened in March 1990.
When the home of Stourbridge Swimming Club was demolished and replaced with a leisure pool unsuitable for competitive swimming, the headlines of the day announced the demise of the club. It seemed as if it would be impossible to continue to operate at any competitive level, let alone maintain its success, without its base. However, with Club Night established at Brierley Hill and pool training time found at the Crystal and other local pools, the coaching continued and the Club, along with commitment of the youngsters of the area, built upon its proud heritage.
One of the competitive swimming highlights in recent years was success in the Nuneaton & District Junior League. Having achieved third place the previous year, the Club was victorious in 2001. At this point in time, Stourbridge Swimming Club was unbeatable in Midlands as was demonstrated by a perfect points score of 24 for each of the four rounds and eventually qualifying for the National Final. This was the second time the Club had made the final, on the first occasion travelling to Liverpool on a double decker bus.
At the end of December 2005, Brierley Hill Leisure Centre, itself, was closed to make way for a new Black Country tram line and Club Night transferred to a refurbished Dudley Leisure Centre. Today, the Club has around 300 members and an enviable competitive record. County Express 2nd June 1985.
The Club Badge is based upon the Stourbridge Coat of Arms granted in 1917.
ARMS: Blue, the span of a bridge of silver, and hanging therefrom by a black chain, a golden fleece; in the chief two gold pears.
MOTTO: One heart, one way. An official explanation states: The name of the Borough and its close connection with the County of Worcester are symbolised by the bridge and the two pears, whilst the Fleece and the Chain suspending it are typical of the Skin and Leather Dressing and Chain Cable Industries, carried on in the Borough. The motto, ‘One heart, one way’, expresses the ‘singleness of mind and purpose’ animating the Members of the Town Council.
CLUB COMPETITION BANNER
The ASA Club Code for Stourbridge SC is STRM and we have used these letters to make a team rallying call