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Report - Hartley Wood Glass, Sunderland 1989

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Caber, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Caber

    Caber 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

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    My father was a stained glass artist and bought much of his glass from Hartley Wood in Sunderland. This was the last manufacturer of stained glass in the UK established in 1895 and had been bought up by Pilkingtons in 1982. Due to competition from European and American companies Hartley Wood were losing money and by 1989 Pilkingtons puled the plug. My father ordered glass from the final batch and I joined him on the trip to collect it. We were directed to the store where the last finished glass lay and picked up what had been ordered.

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    Then we were allowed to wander around the old works. We were followed around by the last paid employee on the factory floor, you can see his wages on the thing to the right of the oil drum!

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    This is one of the many kilns, this one was called the Glory Hole and was used to heat the Muffs as they are blown

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    This is a pot kiln with blowing irons in drums that would have been filled with water to cool them

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    Another kiln that would have contained several pots of different colours

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    These are unused pots that would have the different colours of glass melted in them that would be picked up by the blowers to make the unique mixed colours and streaky effects

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    Yet another kiln, I can't remember what this one was for

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    The cat was still following us

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    There were things just left exactly where they had been used, these are the moulds that glass was initially blown into.

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    This is the level of controls sophistication, paper chart recording pyrometers, and the cat is still checking us out.

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    This was the last stage in the process, the annealing kiln. the muffs, those cylinders of glass are scored and as they are drawn through the machine they split and lay flat forming the glass sheets. It was as if they had just stopped dead and a=switched everything off mid production run as these muffs were ready scored and were heading into the kiln when the line was stopped.

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    The majority of the machinery was moved to the Sunderland Glass Centre where production happened sporadically until 1998 when the University took over the premises. Some of the machinery was then bought by MJR Furnaces who have also tried to keep some production going.
     

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