Stourbridge's Famous glass quarter is renowned worldwide. Glass is thought to have been made as early as 3000 BC in the Middle East. Prior to this natural glass was made by volcanoes. Glass bottles were found in the tomb of Thutmose I of Egypt Early glass blowing was carried out by the Ancient Greeks around 300 BC. to make larger and more useful vessels than the earlier Egyptian efforts.

Around 200 BC the Romans made plate glass as decorations and mosaics, they later went on to make cameo glass.

In the 1200s Venice became wealthy as a result of glassmaking, this industry flourished on the Isle of Murano. Eventually, once trade secrets were lost, the industry decline in Venice, but spread elsewhere.

Other parts of the Black Country also renowned for glass production include Brierley Hill and Smethwick, where Chance Brothers were probably the most famous.

The famous Redhouse Cone at Wordsley, Stourbridge, one of only 4 remaining in Britain.

Glassmaking flourished around the Stourbridge and Brierley Hill areas as a result of plentiful coal and fireclay, used to line the furnaces. The industry began in the 16th Century with the arrival of Hungarian refugees. A number of firms were in production around the end of the 18th Century. We hope that you will be able to find plenty of information about the history of glass in the Black Country by following the links on this page.

The International Festival of Glass came to Stourbridge from the 22nd to the 25th August 2008.

This was the 3rd such festival.

The next one will take place in 2010

Check the website for full details, by clicking on the link to the left.

Broadfield House Museum

Broadfield House Glass Museum
Compton Drive
West Midlands

Tel 01384 812745

For details of the museum and photos click here => Museum

Broadfield House Glass Museum has a magnificent collection of British glass, much of it made locally, dating from the 17th Century up to the present day.

An exciting programme of events and temporary exhibitions compliment the glass displays and celebrate the magical art of glassmaking. There is also a glassmaking studio on site where visitors can watch and wonder at the glassblowers' skills.
Admission to the Glass Museum is free.

Glass Glamour exhibition at the Glass Museum
from July 2008 to Spring 2009

The Red House Glass Cone lies in the heart of the Stourbridge glassmaking industry. Built at the end of the 18th Century the Cone was used for the manufacture of glass until 1936 and is now one of only four cones left in the United Kingdom.

Reaching 100 feet into the sky, the Cone enclosed a furnace around which men made glass for 140 years.

It's now a busy heritage site hosting exhibitions, events, children's activities, tours, a programme for schools, live glassmaking (not on Wednesdays) and craft studios.

The Red House Cone

High Street
West Midlands

Chances Glassworks article - a request for information from David Encill, author of the book on Chance Brothers, the Smethwick Glass Company.


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