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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Looking Back Through Time

I've just come back from a holiday in the beautiful Moselle Valley in Germany, a famous wine-growing area. It was much warmer than in cloudy Cheshire! I don't know where the summer has gone.

If you have a glass-making ancestor, there are tips and hints for tracing your family tree in 'Looking Back Through Time', my latest feature for Discover My Past England. Glass was needed for the many new factories of the Industrial Revolution; the growing armies of workers needed houses to live in, too, further boosting demand for glass. 

Tyneside glass-makers dominated the UK’s window glass production for over two hundred years. By the early nineteenth century, ‘two-fifths of the whole glass manufacture of the kingdom’ was made there. By the 1830s, there were over 120 glass houses in Britain. Glass-makers faced competition from the Continent. When customs duties on glass were axed, cheap foreign glass flooded the home market. Firms such as Pilkingtons at St Helens used new technology to cut costs and improve quality. Pilkingtons’ works produced 150 tons of glass weekly by 1854. Traditional crown window glass makers like those on Tyneside were left behind.

Images: The Herbert-Cowper memorial window in Westminster Abbey. Colour lithograph for Sunday at Home, 2 June 1877.
Glass seal of the British Plate Glass Manufactory, Pictorial History of the County of Lancashire, 1844.

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