News Letter – September 2017

October 2nd, 2017 by JCope

The history of glass making in Stourbridge stretches back some 375 years. Not only was it the lifeblood of the community, but it was also a substantial contributor to Britain’s manufacturing strength and national wealth. It appears that glassmakers were a migratory people, continually moving to where they could find suitable resources such as coal and fireclay which existed here in abundance.

Kate Round’s topic entitled ‘Stourbridge Glassmakers on the Move’ might lead you to believe that she was referring to this migration. However, it appears that the word ‘move’ in this context refers to a continuous shift pattern of six hour on and six hours off where the change of shift was called the ‘move’.

At the end of the 17th century, the distinctive cone shaped glasshouse appeared that came dominate the landscape and still does today. The industry grew and evolved for the next 275 years and glass from Wordsley, Amblecote and Brierley Hill is recognised as amongst the finest in the world. Unfortunately the final decades of the 20th century saw the loss of the four major companies. In 1990 Thomas Webb and Sons closed and in 1995 Webb Corbett was closed by Royal Doulton. Royal Brierley Crystal went bankrupt and closed in 2000.

Our next meeting at St Saviour’s Church Hall is on Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 8.00pm with a presentation by Fiona Joseph entitled “Beatrice, The Cadbury Heiress Who Gave Away Her Fortune”. For her, being a ‘have’ in a world of ‘have-nots’ was troubling, and in 1920 she decided to ‘give back’ all the Cadbury shares she had inherited to the Bournville factory workers … with unexpected consequences. Visitors are most welcome at all our events – see for details and contacts.

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