Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Crystal and Cobs

Off this morning for more visits.  This morning after a squeeze turn around at the end of the basin under the Bonded Warehouse, a preserved building form the past where goods where stored. 

The Bonded Warehouse at Stourbridge.

We headed back up the Stourbridge Arm to a Glass Museum.  It was the old Webb Corbett Crystal factory.  

Before I was married I visited this Stourbridge factory with my mum and watched the master glass blower sat in his chair blowing blobs of red hot glass into vases, decanters and glasses.  It was a seamless exercise watching his team of 4, 5 or 6 assistants handing him whatever he needed, not waiting to be asked or anything.  Thirty three years ago or almost, I chose a Webb Corbett design and it went onto my wedding list.  I have a small collection, I would have had more had not my helpful husband some years later when I was pregnant with our third child and cleared up for me one Sunday Lunchtime and not put three of the set into the dishwasher…..  

It was an odd feeling to be back in the same place but its all a museum now.  The rest of the site has been obtained by the Glass College so now there is small units with own works in and teaching going on which was wonderful.  We talked at length to a volunteer who told us all about archaeological digs on the site looking for the earliest evidence of glass works going back to Tudor times, however the “Modern” day glass works and cutting was thought to be started in Stourbridge by French refugees in the mid 1700’s.

Back to the boat to make a start on the Stourbridge Flight of locks, 16 of them.
Although they are a bit rickety clickerty the scenery is varied with traces here and there of the previous uses. 

This warehouse's days are numbered

Its on the edge of this Barratt Homes development

There must have been a reason it wasn't converted into modern apartments

Just through this bridge and there is the other place I wanted to go to. The Red House Cone.  The last Cone today in Stourbridge, the home of English Lead Cut Crystal.  

Behind the "Lark" on the back of the boat look carefully to see a dark area on the outside wall (Not by the tiller) this is where they believe boats entered the works see next photo 

Boat entering the site to bring in coal and ship out the crystal wrapped in straw.

Inside the Cone

The crystal was checked in here and the excise man worked out the tax due. A dark room with poor light to spend hours in each day.  

Onwards out into the sunshine.

Nice view back down to The Red House Cone.

The Flight continues.  When we reached the top it was later on in the afternoon, I was a bit tired, and we wanted to moor, but there wasn't really anywhere.  The top pound was mostly brick and concrete edging, no rings to be had and no where to put stakes in.  I was a bit sad to see The Delph Flight ahead, I really didn't want to do them tonight but if we had to then we had to.  So up the first one and there were places for at least three boats. Hurrah.

Moored up.  Isn't that Delph Road over there?  Yes it is, Well get your hat and coat and lets go to The Bull & Bladder again (See yesterday Reader).
We walked there, all the tables were full so we went into the bar section. All the men turned to stare at us as we came in, then most of them smiled and started chatting and recommending places to visit when we get to Birmingham proper.
I like them Black Country folk.  

Supper was a Cob at the pub, that is a massive roll, crusty but soft, packed full, and that "Bloody Fantastic" beer.


  1. Did you see the glass net curtains in the cone? Fabulous craftsmanship.

    1. That warehouse is listed and is going to be converted into flats.

  2. I am delighted to hear it is listed and will be saved. I fear haste should be made as there were large holes in it.