A CUT ABOVE THE REST
Glass has been made continuously in the Stourbridge area for over 400 years and today it remains the only region in the British Isles to maintain production on a sizeable scale.
In the seventeenth century products included window glass, bottles and phials; the next century saw the introduction of more elegant drinking glasses, decanters and tableware; but the nineteenth century established Stourbridge craftsmen as world leaders in glassmaking of all kinds and the area was esteemed alongside the great European centres of Venice and Bohemia (the present Czech Republic).
Although the glass from the area has always been referred to as ‘Stourbridge Glass’ it is ironic that no glass was ever made in the town itself. From the earliest days, the glassworks were situated around the periphery of the town, in the parishes of Lye, Oldswinford, Hagley, Wollaston, Amblecote and Wordsley, as well as in Brierley Hill and Dudley.
In the first two decades of the seventeenth century, Stourbridge was a busy market town acting as the focal point of the area with important leather and clothing trades. Every trade used the town’s new banks whose bills were headed ‘Stourbridge’, hence the name ‘Stourbridge Glass’ became the accepted generic title on the letterheads of the glasshouses.Download the Full Article (PDF)