Stourbridge Canal, Dudley, West Midlands (3. Site of Dovey glassworks)
Royal Geographical Society
3. Site of Dovey glassworksFénykép: Society Royal Geographical, Royal Geographical Society
There were so many glass companies based here that the area is now known as ‘the Crystal Mile’. The term ‘Stourbridge Glass’ is quite ironic because there never was a glassworks in the centre of Stourbridge. Most of them were sited along the canal between the villages of Amblecote and Wordsley. The term originated because most of the glassworks owners and officials met in the Talbot Hotel in Stourbridge High Street. You might be wondering why Stourbridge developed as a glassmaking area. It was the Romans who first brought glassmaking to Britain but the industry lagged behind most of Europe until the second half of the sixteenth century. This was when glassmakers from the Continent came to England with the encouragement of the government. These European glassmakers settled in the forests of south east England which provided fuel for their furnaces. All this changed in 1615 when King James I became concerned about rapid deforestation and banned the use of wood in glass furnaces. A new fuel was needed and the Stourbridge area had ideal natural resources. The glassmakers from the Lorraine region of France who moved here were attracted by rich deposits of coal and fireclay for lining furnaces. Glass is made by heating sand with potash and other ingredients to a very high temperature. Transporting heavy raw materials for glassmaking and distributing fragile finished goods were both very difficult on the poor roads of pre-industrial Britain. The arrival of the canal made a huge difference and glassmakers were quick to concentrate their glassworks along its banks. This spot was where James Dovey established a glassworks in 1790. It was one of the first to use a steam engine for the “manufacture, cutting and grinding of glass”. Directions Continue along the towpath for about 100 metres until you reach Neville Garratt Bridge.
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