Explore our upstairs space, walk up the glass stairs to discover more about glass-makers of yesteryear.
Discover a small display of Stuart Crystal glass. Read historical information about the great glass-makers of their time including John Northwood and Thomas & George Woodall. The Stuart Crystal Gallery is so called because Frederick Stuart came to work at the Red House Glass Cone as an eleven year old boy and, in 1881, he purchased the lease on the Red House Glass Cone.
There is also a montage of black and white photographs depicting working life at the Red House Glass Cone. See how difficult and unpleasant the working conditions must have been inside the Cone in its heyday - hot, dirty and noisy with long hours and little pay.
Finally, sit back and choose from several short films to watch. Learn about the glass making process and other highlights relating to the Red House Glass Cone.
As an 11 year old orphan, in 1827, Frederick Stuart entered the employment of Richard Bradley Ensell at the Redhouse.
He remained in the glass industry, learning glass cutting and establishing himself as a commercial traveller. In 1881, glassware from the Redhouse was marketed under the name of Stuart and Sons. During the next twenty years William and Robert Stuart became major innovators of intricate Victorian coloured glass, producing between six hundred and a thousand designs per year. Frederick Stuart Jnr had a flair for chemistry and produced colour mixes for many local manufacturers.
Frederick died in 1900 at the age of 83.
The 1900's brought many changes to the business.
Leading glass-makers, Alan Stanier and Will Wusselbee, created flowing Art Nouveau forms with delicate coloured trails. The earliest of these pieces are on a par with Tiffany and Lalique, but were marketed anonymously, unsigned as 'Glass of English Manufacture'.
Several decorating workshops joined the organisation. Ludwig Kny and John Hambrey added individual and lively styles.
In 1914, with an increased demand for light bulbs and items for the War Ministry, Stuarts acquired the adjoining White House from Mssrs. Webb and Corbett, who had owned it since 1897.
The Stuart Crystal name first appeared in 1927 and the name 'Stuart' was etched on every piece produced.
In 1934, Harrod's mounted an exhibition 'Modern Art for the Table' which included pieces from Stuart Crystal.
Stuart's workforce was depleted by the Second World War. During WWII, glass-makers worked in the three pot furnace in Vine Street producing aircraft landing lights, cathode ray tubes and valves for radar as well as other electronic and chemical equipment.
The company remained in the hands of the Stuart family until 1995 when it was sold to Waterford Wedgwood plc.
Discover some of the Stuart and Sons pieces in the collection.
There is only a glass staircase to this gallery currently. There is no lift.