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The Redhouse, Whitehouse and Newhouse glassworks

A Scheduled Monument in Brierley Hill, Dudley

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Latitude: 52.4761 / 52°28'33"N

Longitude: -2.1572 / 2°9'25"W

OS Eastings: 389417.512384

OS Northings: 286471.112412

OS Grid: SO894864

Mapcode National: GBR 45T.YS

Mapcode Global: VH91H.K1F5

Entry Name: The Redhouse, Whitehouse and Newhouse glassworks

Scheduled Date: 13 January 2005

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021378

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35119

County: Dudley

Electoral Ward/Division: Brierley Hill

Built-Up Area: Kingswinford

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Wordsley

Church of England Diocese: Worcester


The monument includes the known surviving extent of buried and standing
remains of Whitehouse and Redhouse glassworks, including the later Newhouse
glassworks. These lie in two separate areas of protection either side of
Wordsley High Street and immediately south of the Stourbridge Canal. The
Whitehouse complex of buildings, including the Newhouse furnace building, are
also Listed Buildings Grade II and based within the second area of protection
west of Wordsley High Street.

The remains of Whitehouse glassworks, including its foundations for the cone,
furnace base and lehr (annealing tunnel) will survive as below ground
remains, which can be partially accessed through a surviving tunnel network.
Foundations of early ancillary buildings including the canal wharf also
survive, incorporated into later buildings on the site. The Newhouse
glassworks survives as both buried and standing remains, some of which are
incorporated into later buildings on the site. Those remains that are visible
include the furnace base and parts of the lehr and glass-working floor and
the rectangular building which enclosed them.

As well as a full range of ancillary buildings, Redhouse glassworks includes
standing remains of one of only five glass cones known to survive in Europe,
standing to a height of 22.4m and 14.2m in diameter. This cone and its
ancillary buildings are Listed Grade II*. The Redhouse site initially made
both broad and bottle glass, while cut glass is mentioned as having been
produced at the Whitehouse site from the mid-19th century and cameo glass at
Redhouse from 1870. Crystal glass was made on both sites during the 20th
century. These sites relied heavily on the canal network for transport
including both raw materials and finished products. The glassmakers were
major subscribers to the initial Stourbridge Canal Company, and wharves
survive at both sites. The industry also relied on good natural daylight for
both checking and finishing products. Many of the early buildings on site
were long and narrow, to incorporate as many dual aspect windows as possible.

Although the earliest surviving records date from 1811, a glass cone is first
depicted on the site of the Whitehouse glassworks on John Snape's 1785 map of
Stourbridge Canal.

In 1788 Richard Bradley a local glass master purchased the site of the
Redhouse glassworks, and constructed the works soon after. The Redhouse cone
is mentioned in documents following his death in 1796. Throughout the 19th
century both the works were owned by various partnerships. An inventory of
1827 taken at Redhouse indicates that it included the cone, with a 10 pot
furnace and 12 glassmakers' chairs, a pot arch (where newly made pots were
dried) and two tunnel lehrs (for annealing or gradual cooling of glass), as
well as a range of ancillary buildings including offices, showrooms and
warehouses arranged in a U-shaped group in the corner of the site against the
road and the canal. During this period the Whitehouse glassworks remained
much smaller, depicted in maps as a cone and single range of buildings along
the road frontage. A detailed plan of the Redhouse site indicates that by
1834 the present arrangement of buildings in the north west section of the
site was already established, whilst the tithe map of 1839 demonstrates that
Whitehouse had been extended, with an additional building along the canal

During the 1850s both Redhouse and Whitehouse glassworks were acquired by
William and Edward Webb, although Redhouse was tenanted by a William
Hodgetts, who had erected cutting shops on the south east corner of the site
by 1856. In 1871 Philip Pargeter, a tenant of Redhouse, reconstructed the
furnace and added a `Frisbee Feed', a mechanical method of introducing fuel
to the furnace, which enabled much higher temperatures to be achieved. From
1881 Stuart leased Redhouse glassworks, forming Stuart and Sons in 1885.

The first edition Ordnance Survey map, 1883-4, shows extensive ranges of
buildings at both glassworks. The Redhouse site remains the larger of the two
complexes with the building layout reflecting that which survives to the
present day. The Whitehouse site included the cone with a range of ancillary
structures on its western and northern flanks and additional ranges of
buildings extending along the road frontage and the canal side. The 1903
Ordnance Survey map shows an additional free standing building at Whitehouse
south of the canal range, and some extensions to existing buildings at
Redhouse. Stuart and Sons subsequently purchased both the Whitehouse and
Redhouse sites after 1914 and the years following the World War I saw
substantial expansions, particularly at Whitehouse.

The Newhouse glassworks was built adjacent to the Whitehouse site in 1925.
Its construction included demolition of buildings north east of the
Whitehouse cone and the erection of a rectangular building, which
accommodated the new furnace. The 1938 Ordnance Survey map shows the
beginning of the Vine Lane glassworks constructed in 1934 further west along
the canal from the Whitehouse site and which grew to incorporate an earlier
mill which lay immediately to the west. These later expansions and
adaptations are not included in the scheduling. The Redhouse cone went out of
use in 1936, although it survived as a standing structure. The Whitehouse
cone was partially demolished in 1940. In 1969 alterations to the High Street
caused the partial demolition of the roadside range of Redhouse buildings and
following a fire, the remnants of Whitehouse cone were demolished in 1970.
The date of the above ground demolition of the Newhouse furnace is uncertain.
In 1984, following extensive consolidation and restoration work, Redhouse was
opened as a museum. Glass manufacture continued on the west side of the High
Street, largely in the much-altered Vine Lane works until 2001.

Redhouse lies within the first area of protection east of Wordsley High
Street. The Redhouse cone lies near the centre of the area. North of the cone
are the remains of both lehrs and exposed foundations of two structures
adjacent to the canal wharf. This includes the remains of a sand washing
plant. The surviving ancillary buildings were largely converted for reuse and
are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these buildings
is included.

Whitehouse glass cone and the Newhouse glassworks lie within the second area
of protection on the western side of Wordsley High Street. Remains include
the buried part of Whitehouse glass cone with its foundations and furnace
base, and the remains of its lehr. Although the cone was demolished in 1970
much of the below ground elements are believed to survive. A small section
can be accessed from tunnels in the basement of the former despatch warehouse
building and the former offices which lie between the Stourbridge Canal and
Wordsley High Street, most recently known as the despatch warehouse, and in
the building to its south west most recently used as offices. Archaeological
work has confirmed that demolition works have involved collapsing the vaults
of tunnels so that debris from the upper levels of the cone would fill the
voids, and indicates that tunnel walls and bases of the furnace are believed
to survive, buried by the majority of material from the entire collapsed
cone. In addition the plant housing, furnace base, foundations working floor,
lehr of the Newhouse glassworks, as well as the canal wharf and service
tunnels for the site, survive as below ground remains partly incorporated
into adaptations of the building complex. These remains are located in the
ground floor and basement of the despatch warehouse between the Stourbridge
Canal and Wordsley High Street and in former offices. The former despatch
warehouse is a brick-built two-storey structure with canal level basements
dating mainly from 1925, when it was constructed to house the Newhouse
furnace. Some brickwork from a much earlier 19th century canalside building
survives in the lower section of the north gable elevation and within the
basement. This is believed to be the remains of ancillary buildings
associated with the Whitehouse glassworks. Part of the circular brick working
floor around the Newhouse furnace can be seen within the ground floor
structure of the dispatch warehouse and is believed to survive intact below
the modern floor level. The base of the Newhouse furnace survives largely
complete, at basement level, in the centre of the building and includes the
fixing remains for a `Frisbee Feed'. This feed was served by a brick lined
tunnel from the canalside and an additional tunnel extended to the north
west, providing access to the base of the Whitehouse cone. These tunnels are
believed to be contemporary with the construction of the Newhouse furnace
circa 1925. In addition a short section of an earlier tunnel survives close
to the base of the Whitehouse cone which is believed to have originally
provided access extending to the canal.

The former office building incorporates remains of several structures,
constructed between Whitehouse cone and the Newhouse furnace. At ground level
on the northern side there is a narrow brick passage with a shallow brick
vault, remains of the lehr associated with the Newhouse furnace. South of
this is the western end of the ramp leading down to the tunnel network. At
ground level the southernmost area includes remains believed to be part of
the kiln associated with the Whitehouse cone. The orientation of walls and
structural elements on the first floor suggests that they relate to earlier
structures and probably reflect the radial layout of ancillary buildings
surrounding the Whitehouse cone.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling: these are the
surviving ancillary buildings which are Listed Buildings Grade II*, the
ancillary buildings associated with the Redhouse glassworks, all modern paths
and surfaces, all modern signage fittings and display material associated
with the museum and the foundations of the modern museum reception building.
The ground beneath all these features is, however, included.

Further structures also excluded from the scheduling are: the first floor of
the former office building incorporating remains of Newhouse lehr (and access
to the tunnel system), all levels above ground floor level of the housing for
the Newhouse furnace, all levels above ground floor level of the ancillary
buildings associated with Whitehouse cone and the floors and walls above
ground level of the former despatch warehouse which includes remains of
Newhouse furnace, however the ground floors, basements and ground beneath
these buildings, are all included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Glass has been produced in England since the Roman period, although field
evidence is scarce until the late medieval period. Wood was the main
manufacturing fuel up to the early 17th century, so the industry was located
in woodland areas, particularly the Weald. From about 1610, production shifted
to the coalfields.
Glass production requires three major components: silica, alkali and lime,
together with colouring material for certain products and decolourisers for
clear glass. Lead was also used in the production of certain types of glass
during the Roman period and after the 17th century. The manufacturing process
involves three stages, fritting, melting and annealing. Fritting was a common
practice before the 19th century involving heating the main glass constituents
to produce an unmolten material for grinding, melting and annealing. Melting
involved the remelting of previously formed glass, and the production of new
glass from raw materials. Until the late 19th century, glass was normally
melted in pre-fired crucibles of refractory clay, on stone benches called
sieges, within the melting furnace. Use of coal as the preferred fuel and
automatic bottle-making machinery in the 1880s led to changes to the melting
furnaces and the use of larger furnaces, hitherto conical structures over
circular furnaces. Regenerative furnaces were developed in the 1860s, and tank
furnaces for bulk melting quickly followed. Flat-glass production methods were
made obsolete by the Pilkington float-glass system of 1959. The third process
is annealing. Because the rapid cooling of molten glass can give rise to
internal stresses, glass was treated in furnaces designed to heat the glass to
a point where deformation begins, then cooled gradually. In the 19th century
conveyors were introduced to take glass through a hot zone into cool air.
Features on glass manufacturing sites include various types of furnaces,
producer-gas plants for the making of gas from coke at 19th century
glassworks, bottle-making machinery, blowing irons or pipes for blowing glass,
glass residues and various buildings used as stores or warehouses. A total of
135 glass production sites (representing about 25% of the estimated national
archaeological resource for the industry) have been identified as being of
national importance. This selection, compiled and assessed though a
comprehensive national survey of the glass industry, is designed to represent
the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional
diversity, and to include all the better preserved glass sites, together with
rare individual component features.

The Redhouse, Whitehouse and Newhouse glassworks form part of a group of
glassworks located around the Stourbridge Canal. At least 30 works are known
to have existed in Stourbridge, one of the most important glassmaking centres
in the British Isles. In the immediate vicinity there were at least six
glassworks in operation at one time. These works have been historically
associated with some of the most famous names in the history of glassmaking,
such as Ensells and Stuarts. They were responsible for exporting glass
workers, masters and techniques internationally and particularly to other
reknowned sites such as Waterford Crystal in Ireland. These glassworks were
also responsible for the experimentation and development of many of the
processes involved in the production of glass; including broad glass, bottle
glass, cut glass, flint or crystal glass, cameo, fancy and coloured

The remains of the Redhouse, Whitehouse and Newhouse glassworks include
evidence from the earliest phases of glassmaking in the Stourbridge area and
industrial period glassmaking in England, through to some of the more
innovative post-war experimentation phases. The variety of preservation
conditions including both buried and standing remains provide an opportunity
to consider the origins, technologies and methods of glassmaking in a variety
of periods. The survival of the Redhouse glass cone, one of only five known
in Europe and the best preserved example in Britain, demonstrates its
continued importance as a local feature and landmark icon representing the
British glass industry.

Source: Historic England

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