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Explore the Cone

A painting of Wordsley showing the many glass cones in the area
View of Wordsley from Dob Hill by HLI Pratt, 1846

 

Lying in the heart of the Stourbridge glassmaking industry, the Red House Glass Cone was built at the end of the 18th century and continued to produce glasswares until 1936. Reaching 100 feet, glass cones within the Stourbridge area were commonplace. Today, it is the only complete glass cone in the area and one of only four left in the United Kingdom. Glass manufacturing was once the lifeblood of the local community and a significant part of Britain's manufacturing strength. We welcome everyone to explore this rare structure and learn about the industry, people and products of the glass sector.  

The lehr at the Red House Glass Cone
The lehr at the Red House Glass Cone

 

The rich natural resources, such as the fireclay that lined the furnaces, made this area a perfect location for glass making. Colemans Glasshouse, Lye, was probably the first glasshouse in the district, constructed in the early 1600s. These were not cones, which did not appear in Britain until the late 1600s. Cones were the next step in glass making technology. Transforming the glasshouse into a chimney increased the temperature of the furnace operated inside it.

The industry prospered and glass from the Stourbridge district is recognised as amongst the finest in the world and has been used countless times as gifts for royalty and dignitaries. To learn more about the industry follow this link.

Charlotte demosntarting in the hot glass studio at the Cone
Glass blowing with Charlotte Hughes-Martin

 

Enjoy the exhibition galleries which tell the story of glassmaking in the area and the history of this unique glassworks. Glass and archive material from the Stuart collection which spans over 100 years is also on display.

Visit our temporary exhibitions which showcase the talents of local artists exhibiting in a variety of media.

The Cone gift shop sells a wonderful range of products including jewellery, blown glass and kiln-formed pieces. There is also an inspirational range of gifts, books and novelty toys for children.  

Standing inside the Cone and looking up
Looking up!

 

Today visitors navigate their way around the structures, exhibitions and displays with trails, audio guides, guide books, text, images, tours, demonstrations and school workshops. Vintage films and images from the collections are shown to demonstrate the manufacturing artefacts. Wander through the glassworks and explore such features as the underground tunnels. It is a taste of what the site was like at its peak. 

A spiral staircase allows you to ascend through the core of the Cone onto a viewing platform where you can marvel at the scale and enormity of this amazing structure.  Look up and you will be impressed by its scale and you can imagine what it would have been like to work here.