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Author Topic: Glassmakers: Cook from England  (Read 1220 times)

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Offline Martin Brown

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Glassmakers: Cook from England
« on: January 12, 2007, 09:19:11 AM »

I live in the UK. This is a long shot, but I was wondering if any of you knew of any glassmakers called Cook who moved to New Zealand and were probably active somewhere between 1890-1940 (sorry I can't be more precise). The unimaginative family  naming conventions makes William or Robert good candidates, but I'd be interested in any Cooks from England in the glass trade.

I am trying to trace the Cook glassmaking clan from their origins in the NE of England and around Edinburgh in Scotland. They also spread out and settled around Stourbridge in Worcestershire and Manchester in Lancashire from 1850's onward. I am unsure where the ones who went to NZ actually sailed from. I only have very limited anecdotal evidence (essentially family legends) that they went to NZ (and possibly Australia too). I would love to find some hard facts. Even better a picture of anything they made. I have tried searching, but a much more famous Captain Cook swamps me.

Please can anyone shed any light on their existence and works? In the UK they covered a range from bottles to complex decorative glass ornaments.

Thanks for any hints, help or enlightenment.

Best regards,
Martin Brown


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Re: Glassmakers: Cook from England
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2007, 09:57:16 AM »
There is mention of a Michael Cook and the Freemans Bay Glass Works, here:
Failing that, hopefully Angela may be able to help you.
Le Casson
Moderators, please could you move this to main board, as it needs the exposure?

Thank you, moderators.

Offline Sue C

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Re: Glassmakers: Cook from England
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2007, 02:25:28 PM »
Hi Martin, there was a Robert cook, glass maker in Newcastle,
Robert Cook-glassmaker (1780-1834)
Baptised 9th July 1780 All saints Newcastle,
Died 25th October 1834
Buried Ballast Hills cemetery, Newcastle,
I beleive the church is still there, you probably know all this anyway, but good luck in your search, the only other thing i could find out was that he was manager of the Broad Crown Glass Company :-\


Offline Martin Brown

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Re: Glassmakers: Cook from England
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2007, 10:28:53 AM »
Thanks Sue & Le Casson for some very interesting leads. The Freeman Bay Glass works sounds a distinct possibility with the same MO of employing the entire family in the works. The hot glassworkers seemed to die relatively young in the UK but the manager lived a longer life. They also seemed to either work away from home sometimes or spend a longish period as apprentice or journeyman at another glassworks (from Census data).

The Robert Cook (b: 9th July 1780) you mention in Newcastle is new to me and before the time that I can as yet trace back my ancestors. But he is a very likely candidate. My earliest determined ancestor is a Robert Cook (b:1816) in Gateshead (South bank of the Tyne) rather than Newcastle (N bank). And I had been concentrating on Durham county records. But there are still plenty of gaps in the online Cook tree for my lot to fit under. I have so far only visited Durham records office in my research. Northumbria records office which covers Newcastle was closed for 3 years renovation work until very recently.

In case anyone else is interested this part of the glassmaking Cook family tree (not my work) is online at .

And the monumental inscriptions

I'd be very interested to know how they got on in New Zealand. Or any other pointers. Thanks again for the very helpful replies.


Offline nigel benson

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Re: Glassmakers: Cook from England
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2007, 05:17:22 PM »
Hello Martin,

This piece of information may not be pertanent as the spelling of Cook includes an "e", but just in case I thought you might find it useful.

Taken from Jason Ellis's excellant book "Glassmakers of Stourbridge and Dudley 1612 -2002", pub 2002, Jason Ellis, page 353:

Chapter 35, Castle Foot Glassworks Dudley:

"Castle Foot Glassworks stood on the corner of Downing Street and Tower Street, at the foot of Castle Hill. Two possible dates are suggested for its establishment. 1780 or 1789. Sadly, records from this period are deficient. The first reference occurs in an 1818 Dudley Trade Directory, listing Cooke, Price and Wood as cut glass manufacturers at Castle Street. An identical listing appeared in 1820(2).
The partners in this concern were Benjamin Cooke, Joseph Price and James Wood. Little is known about them, but in a deed dated 26th May 1820, James Wood glass manufacturer, became a trustee of the Independant Chapel in King Street, Dudley. The difficulty in tracing the partners' descent could be because they were nonconformists.

They disolved the partnership in 1820 with Cooke and Price leaving the firm."

(2) - Lewis's 1820 Worcestershire General and Commercial Directory.

There is then a quote from the document disolving the partnership, in which James Wood takes on all liabilities, followed by the remainder of the chapter about the succeeding company, Guest, Wood and Guest.

Hopefully this might give you other leads, including the nonconformist 'problem' I'm afraid.

Good luck with your quest, Nigel

Offline Martin Brown

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Re: Glassmakers: Cook from England
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2007, 09:13:23 PM »
I don't seem to be doing this right. Todays posting have also vanished along with replies I have read.

Clicking on "quote" here seems to produce a message which appears and then spontaneously vanishes again along with all replies that it has picked up :(

It might also be to do with the "warning this topic has not been posted to for 120 days" which still appears now as I am posting this msg. And I know I have posted 3 times this week and received 3 replies!

Anyway in answer to the Manchester branch of glassmaking Cooks question my best guess at the moment (which fits with family legend) is that they were in business on their own account with a sales outlet run by a very distantly (if at all) related William Cook from St Lukes, London. He had a showroom in central Manchester by 1883 and then vanished again mysteriously. In the trade directory online at:

(sorry about the hugely long link but it might work)

His private address and business entry are in Slater's Directory of Manchester & Salford, 1883. [Part 1: Alphabetical Directory] on page 84 “CON TO COO” But to see this page the only way I have found that works is a search on Cook Slaters, 1880’s and then flick through the matches to reach the page.

I know next to nothing about this particular William Cook (census searches for his parents failed) and although the name is suggestive and he is in the glass trade it might just be a coincidence.

I should perhaps add that I live in North Yorkshire so visiting Whickham, Durham and Northumberland isn't a problem. I also visited and photographed the recent historic Gateshead glass exhibition at the Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead (including some very old and unusual friggers and rare material from private collections). Sorry but I don't have permission as yet to make any images publically available.

Martin Brown

Offline Della

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Re: Glassmakers: Cook from England
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2007, 09:20:32 PM »

Hi Martin,
You are doing everything just fine~!

Read this post for more information as to what is going on, here in the twighlight zone  >:D ;)
Enjoying being in the Midlands.......some people are just amazing....


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