Hidden Under Ground

BIRMINGHAM'S GLASS INDUSTRY

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Birmingham’s glass industry has left very few visible remains and is under-appreciated in comparison with that of nearby Stourbridge and Dudley.

Yet nineteenth-century illustrations of the Aston Flint Glassworks in Bagot Street hint at the size and importance of this often forgotten part of Birmingham’s industrial past. Recently, archaeological excavations have helped to improve the understanding of this once-thriving industry.

Although 'forest' glass was being made in wood-fired furnaces in the West Midlands as early as the fourteenth century, Birmingham’s glass industry was part of the predominantly urban coal-fired glass industry of the seventeenth century onwards.

In common with many of the city’s industries the growth of glassmaking followed the development of canals from 1769, when the first canal into Birmingham opened. Canals were ideally suited to carrying the industry’s fuel, raw materials of sand and lime, and its bulky and fragile products. The first canal-based glassworks, Park Glasshouse, opened on the Birmingham Canal in Spring Hill, in 1788.

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Glass Birmingham Industry