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Structure Details
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Structure Name: Lemington Glass Works

Description:
 
The only surviving element of this former glassworks site is a large English-bond brick-built glass cone, standing over 35m high, and 21m diameter. To the south and west are five segmental arches, and two smaller arches to the north. A door has been inserted on the northwest side, and the cone is now in use as a showroom.

This imposing structure is one of the most important industrial monuments in the North East.
 

Extant: Yes

Legal Status: Listed Building Grade II*

Location: Lemington, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

Eastings: 418370m (view map)

Northings: 564550m (view map)

Position Accuracy: 100m

Positional Confidence: Absolute Certainty

Street Address
 
The Old Glass Works
 

Post Code: NE15 8SX

Structure Types Identified: ANNEALING FURNACE, GLASS CONE, GLASS WORKS, SHOWROOM, WORKERS COTTAGE

Historical Background
 
The works were opened in 1787 by the Northumberland Glass Company, and at first their four large cones produced flat glass. The location of the works was ideal for river transport and for local coal supplies but sand, alkali, and suitable clay for the melting pots, had to be brought in by sea and river. In 1906 ownership passed to the General Electric Company, who adapted the works for the production of light bulbs and tubes. The largest of the cones remains - one of only four such survivals in the country. It was restored in 1993. Local legend has it that the cone was made from 1 million bricks, although 1.75 million has also been given as a figure.
 

Chronology:

  • 1787   Works opened by the Northumberland Glass Company.
        Entities Involved:
              Northumberland Glass Company: Owners.
  • 1797   Largest glass cone built, using around 1.75 million bricks.
  • 1837   Three glasshouses demolished. Ownership relinquished by the Northumberland Glass Co.
        Entities Involved:
              Northumberland Glass Company: Company closed.
  • 1838 - 1845   Works controlled by Joseph Lamb & Co.
        Entities Involved:
              Joseph Lamb & Co.: Owners.
  • 1846 - 1898   Decline in the glass industry. Operations reduced at Lemington.
  • 1898 - 1906   Works taken over by Sowerby & Co.
        Entities Involved:
              Sowerby & Co.: Glassmaking company.
  • 1906   Works purchased by GEC, who expanded the works and fitted it out for production of light bulbs and tubes.
  • 1950s   Introduction of new furnaces and machinery, followed by a decline resulting in machine production being halted.
  • 1993   Remaining glass cone cleaned and repointed.
        Entities Involved:
              English Heritage: Partly financed works.
              Newcastle City Council: Assisted works.
  • 1997   Glassworks closed. Remaining buildings (excepting the cone) demolished.
Notes
 
'I made several visits to this works while it was working, and was instrumental in the making of a film of the works, including various aspects of commercial glass manufacture, tube drawing by hand, the manufacture of a melting pot on the premises, and the pot changing process, the latter being one of the most ‘gothic' events I have witnessed. The film is called ‘Glassworks' and is distributed by Amber Associates, Side Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne.'
[Stafford Linsley's annotation]
 
  • Additional information about the structure type WORKERS COTTAGE is available.

References:

  • Images of England
  • Pevsner, N., Richmond, I., Grundy, J., McCombie, G., Ryder, P. and Welfare, H. (2001) The Buildings of England: Northumberland. London, Penguin Books, pp.373-374
  • Tyne and Wear SMR

The information displayed in this page has been derived from authoritative sources, including any referenced above. Although substantial efforts were made to verify this information, the SINE project cannot guarantee its correctness or completeness.

 


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Last Modified 26 March 2004
2002 SINE Project, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
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