Thank you for these replies. helpful, unhelpful and critical! May i just explain the reason for this little museum :mus:.
I have been connected with glass for over 50 years (I started aged seven in the packing dept on Saturday mornings at 2/6d (about15p) for a morning's work; dodging the factory inspector's visit (luckily seldom on a Saturday!) but holidays as well.. (shades of Kingsley's Water Babies!), when I was sent to play!" in the sand pit!
I celebrate this year, 40 years, working in glass, including working in France for St Louis, Baccarat, and the French Glass Federation. I have visited over 48 glass factories - I will not bore you with the list -in the UK and Europe, most of which have now closed. (Sorry this may sound like bragging but it is the truth!)! I also knew, as colleagues and friends, Geoffrey Baxter (I went over to Whitefriars in Harrow about twelve times between 1970 and 1980 when they closed and bought about 8 paperweights directly from Geoff,), Frank Thrower of Dartington (one of the most charming talented and self effacing people I have ever met), Michael Harris, highly talented soft spoken charmer, Ronnie Stennett-Willson, (back in the 1970's), and most of bosses of the British Domestic glass companies between 1970 and today. I wish to pay tribute to them in the Museum.
I also chaired the Hand Made Glass Section at the Glass Manufacturer's Federation from 1982 to 1986, and was a member of The Council until it moved to Sheffield, when I stepped down, due to distance. I also chaired the Science Museum Glass Gallery from 1979 to 1989, and am still chair of the British Glass Education Trust since 1979! So glass is important to me, it keeps me and my family clothed, housed and fed, this is not a hobby!
It was NOT my original idea to set up a Museum. Andy McC in writing his Miller's Guide of 20th Century Glass, and meeting me for the first time asked,
"Stephen, why do you not collect glass?"
"Are you mad, I am surrounded by it all day long, give me a break!"
"But you have known all these guys, you are the last link left!"
That last remark never occurred to me so starting with 30 inherited pieces, I started collecting what I liked and regard as typical of everyday use... not the stuffy Museum pieces at auction, glass of the people, used and loved by us our parents and grandparents.
So blame Andy he has broad shoulders!
My aim is not just to display British glass from the 20th century. We have researched in detail over 80 British companies, written, briefly their histories, displayed them on a map of the UK, and recorded the reasons for the decline of the British Industry.
(For instance on Tuesday the grand daughters of two glass makers from the Albert Glass Works in Vauxhall in the 1870's are coming to show me pieces of glass made there and inherited by them, plus records that may fill in another small pieces of the missing jig-saw of the past!)
Sadly I believe it will never recover, BUT on the brighter side there are some great glass artists and studios and I venture to say the British, ( I shall not name names...!) are among the best in the world, (We do show examples from about 10!).
Andy and I believe we have a unique resource, the ability to both visit a glass museum and see glass still being made near London (yes, both Caithness and Dartington do this!). But they do not illustrate, inform and perhaps educate people into the beauty, talent and range of British Domestic Glass. Come and see it - special offer up to Christmas of Â£2.50 a head (free if if you spend Â£25 in the factory shop!) - and then please pick it to pieces! We learn from constructive criticism, we learn little from praise or flattery! As French writer Georges Duhamel said, "Conserver c'est encore creer" ("To conserve is still a creative act".)
For instance, we have just learned that Len Kempton, who left our company in the late 1930's and died in 1993 (I think!) was a pioneer in the New Zealand Glass industry and made glass well into his Eighties! We have the NZ press cuttings and photos to prove it!
Angela, any interest?