Glassmaking in Britain

At the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1837 the glass industry in Britain already had a long history. Various types of glass were being made across the country.

Large quantities fine lead-crystal (flint) glass were being made in Stourbridge, London, the North-East, Scotland and other centres. English, Scottish and Irish cut-glass was famous across the globe. Later in Victorian times, flint glass was being blown and pressed into moulds for mass produced tableware and ornaments.

The future leaders in window glass manufacture were starting to make large sheets of flat glass. Soon Pilkingtons in Lancashire, Chance Brothers near Birmingham and Hartleys in the NE of England controlled the country’s sheet and plate glass industry. They provided glass for roofing and for windows, for homes, factories, public buildings and railway stations.

Other types of glassmaking included glass for industrial purposes (for example for lighthouses), and container ware such as bottles and jars.