The Stourbridge Glass Industry

THEN AND NOW

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Stourbridge Crystal was renowned the world over in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Changes in taste and fashion, as well as shifting patterns of global manufacturing, led to a steady down-sizing of the Stourbridge industry in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries and the loss of many of the iconic names associated with glass. But all is not lost. Innovation, artistry and industry can still be found in the area.

In 2012 Stourbridge not only celebrated the 400th anniversary of the start of the glass industry in the area, it also marked the 50th anniversary of the Studio Glass Movement, in which artists use glass as their mode of expression to produce individual pieces. Stourbridge has become a Mecca for the movement and its practitioners. There is more than a rich past. Plowden & Thompson in Wordsley still makes specialist glass equipment, whilst Tudor Crystal offers thirty per cent full lead crystal-ware; and there are numerous skilled craftspeople remaining, ranging from engravers to furnace technicians.

Broadfield House Glass Museum, in Kingswinford, holds one of the finest collections of Stourbridge Glass in the world, and has hothouse facilities where resident glassmaker, Allister Malcolm, conducts demonstrations and undertakes commissions. Red House Glass Cone, Wordsley, is an internationally-acknowledged attraction, being one of only four complete cones left in Britain. It also has hot glass facilities.

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