Of all the astonishing things to find on a quiet Sunday evening is two historical scraps of paper used as separate page markers inside my copy of 'GLASS-MAKING IN ENGLAND' book by Harry Powell. I thought it might interest collectors of Hartley Wood and Powell glass.
Beloved and I are anticipating a house move so I've been making an extra effort to sort and pack things. I copped hold of the Harry Powell Book, was flicking through and noticed a scrap of paper tucked between two pages. I lost the page so held the book upright and gently shook it to release the loose paper. Not one but two torn scraps fell out - I took them up and noticed the tear lines on each scrap matched up. When put together they formed a letter to A. J. Wood Esq., C/o Hartley Wood & Co Ltd., Portobello Glassworks, Monkwearmouth. Sunderland. I was gobsmacked. I'd not read as far as the first scrap in the book which I've had for a couple of years? now.
Then I noticed the inscription inside the front cover of the book - Alfred. J. Wood. 1 Roker Park Terrace. Sunderland Co. Durham. Then I rang Pat Hogan to tell him and he suggested that Alfred Wood could be the 'Wood' in the Hartley Wood glasshouse name. Well then you could have knocked me down with a feather.
Onto the net I went and a BIG THANK YOU TO THE CAMBRIDGE GLASS FAIR ORGANIZERS AND THEIR WEBSITE there was a potted history of the Hartley Wood glassworks. I'll not reiterate what's been written except to briefly say that in 1837 the brothers, James and John Hartley started up their Wear factory in Sunderland. It shut in 1892 but a grandson, James Hartley Jnr. started up again in a bottle place in Monkwearmouth. In 1892 or 1895 (accounts differ) Alfred Wood, a Hartley colour-mixer joined up as a partner. That year their Antique Glass range came out - then - and now Hartley Wood famed for its lovely colours. I read somewhere that Alfred Wood had a secret recipe for a gorgeous ruby red which only he knew and when he suddenly passed away it took a while before the glasshouse could produce that same lovely ruby. Were there any other Alfred Woods at Hartley Wood?
Have a look at the pictures below to see the letter. I've also put in a picture of a Hartley Wood streaky ruby and amber vase (left) next to a Powell streaky ruby and amber vase (right). Harry Powell mentions the works in page 118 of his book but I haven't looked any further yet to see if there's any other references. What a privilege it is for me for this to happen. How extraordinary life is......here's links to the pictures - just scroll on down.........http://whitefriarsorg.org/mf/index.php?showtopic=637