Glass Discussion & Research. No ID requests here please. > British & Irish Glass

Bill Swingewood

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Hi Paul, welcome to the board. Yes you can certainly put a wanted notice on the board - would you use of Market Place forum for it please, and put WANTED at the start of the topic subject line, so it will stand out amongst the for sale items. :)

I am researching the work of a Midlands writer called Archie Hill who mentions a brilliant lamp worker he calls 'Old Billy' who died in the late 1930's. This must be Billy Swingewood - but which one?

From the E&S (7-2-2014) I learn that in 2014 you, Paul, were 47 ( born 1967) and your father John was 74 born 1940.

Henry (John's father, Paul's grandfather) would have been born around 1915 (I think he would have been the gentleman in the photo in the E&S). John grandfather (Paul's great-grandfather) would have been born around 1890 and we know he was still around in the 1940's because he help raise John (per the E&S). I think he would be the young man at the British Industries Fair (probably 1920's).

So back to Hill's 'Old Billy'. I have found his on-line burial record at Amblecote Church and, yes,  someone named William Henry Swingewood, was buried 12 November 1939 aged 68 so was therefore born 1871. Does this mean there were three generations of William Henry Swingewoods?

Also I have thought more about this quote from the E&S: "John Swingewood, now aged 74, was looked after by grandparents Lily and Mr Swingewood senior, who was a renowned glass maker in the Black Country at the start of the 20th century."  This "Mr Swingewood Senior" would have been active rather later than the early years of the 20th Century. I estimated that he was born 1890 so he would not have become well known until perhaps 1925. Which again argues for that Old Billy was from the earlier generation.

If anyone wants to email me at jp AT I can send the extracts from Hill's book that mention Old Billy.

Mod: email address amended to prevent spam harvesting, change AT to @ and close up the spaces to make it usable

See another pic of Bill here

This was the photo that appeared in the E&S on 7 Feb 2014.

I think it might be Paul Swingewood's grandfather who he refers to as Henry (full name William Henry Swingewood) who I guess would have been born around 1915 so would have been around retirement age when Bridge Crystal Glass Co went out of business in 1982.

I am interested in earlier generations. I have seen reference to Bill Swingewood senior who I assume is this gentleman's father (born early 1890's most likely). There is a still older William Henry Swingewood (1871-1939) whom writer Archie Hill refers to as 'Old Billy' and calls 'the giant of glass'. I would like to know more about this character.

See      [especially 5.18 - 6.38]

I now know what happened.

'Old Billy' from Hill's book was born 2 October 1893, died 18 July 1960. This is Paul Swingewood's great grandfather.

Old Billy's father, also called William Henry Swingewood, was not a lampworker he was a bricklayer. His dates were 1867-1939.

Hill's account of Old Billy's death in the 1930's is therefore incorrect. It is possible he conflated Old Billy's character with Old Billy's father's death to bring the story to a conclusion.


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