Stourbridge was historically in the county of Worcestershire until the creation of the West Midlands county in 1974. There has been settlement in various parts of what now makes up the town for hundreds of years, particularly in the region of the bridge over the River Stour, and in Oldswinford to the south. The area became famous for its glass production in the seventeenth century after Huguenot glass makers, fleeing religious persecution in France, found the local clay, lime and coal to be ideally suited to glassmaking. Today there are still many glass producers in the area, as well as several museums, and the Stourbridge Canal was built into the town centre to facilitate trade.
Today, alongside artisan glass makers in the Glass Quarter, the town exists as a local hub for retail and leisure. The town now includes several areas such as Norton, Lye, Pedmore, Amblecote, Wordsley and Wollaston.