Sunday, 5 September 2010

Glass making in Greenwich

Our July talk was a very wonderful discussion on Glass Making in London given by David Watts. Since then some of us have been able to get hold of a copy of his book "A history of Glassmaking in London"
(£25 Watts Publishing)

Part 2 of the book starts with 'Glassmaking in Greenwich' - and perhaps we need to say first of all that this should really be "Early glassmaking" - because of you look for United Glass and/or Kork 'n Seal you will not find them-nor will you find much about the glass making sand quarries in the Charlton area.

David starts his Greenwich chapter by saying that 'information about Greenwich is least satisfactory' - but what he does give us is a series of, as yet unresolved, clues.

He says that the earliest reference he has found is to a grant in 1575 to James Vasselyn to open a house for 'the manufacture of glass in Greenwich'. This is Verzelini who certainly had glasshouses in London and in Kent, but a Greenwich site is not known.

In the 1630s Jeremiah Bagg and Francis Bristow had a partnership for a Greenwich glasshouse - but where this was he doesn't know.

In 1673 John Evelyn records a visit to an 'Italian glasshouse' in Greenwich. Again, David doesn't know where this was and if it was one of those mentionedabove or something new.

David then moves on to Woolwich. This was a glasshouse for broad window glass on the riverfront between the Arsenal and the Dockyard. Sand came from Maidstone and coal from Newcastle.The works was run by members of the Henzey family and come from France, via Stourbridge, to arrive in Woolwoich in the 1620s.

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