Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

James Powell and Sons (Whitefriars)

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1922

of Whitefriars Glass Works, Tudor Street, London, EC4. West End Depot at Conduit Street, London, W1. (1922)

  • 1834 Company established.
  • The Whitefriars glassworks, later Whitefriars Glass Limited, was owned by James Powell and Sons from 1834. It produced the highest quality glass until the business closed in 1980. Today, the company is best remembered for its exquisite tableware, bold decorative glass and stained glass windows. It also produced more specialised products such as thermometer tubing, and throughout its history pioneered numerous innovations in glass technology.
  • c1900 At the turn of the century, the Whitefriars factory was between Fleet Street and the River Thames.
  • 1922 British Industries Fair Advert for: Stained Glass windows; Memorial Tablets; Mosaics; Coloured Glasses and Enamels for Artificial Eye Making, etc; Lathe-turned and Bored Cylinders and Rollers; Cut and Blown Table Glass; Art Glassware; Lens-front Thermometer Tuning; Ordinary Tubing in all sizes; Oval and Round Surgical Specimen Jars. Research Apparatus to specifications. (Stand No. G.48) [1]
  • 1923 A new factory was opened in Wealdstone near Harrow, northwest London. The furnaces were lit at the new factory using the flame from a furnace at the old works, which had been carefully carried across London in a brazier. The company also had showrooms on Wigmore Street, which appealed to customers for both domestic and window glass.
  • 1954 Geoffrey Baxter, a well-known glass designer, joined the factory after graduating from the Royal College of Art.
  • 1960s Baxter began to experiment with a new moulded glass.
  • 1963 The company changed its name to Whitefriars Glass Limited.
  • 1967 The Textured range was introduced. The pieces were made in moulds using tree bark, nails, wire and other materials to produce alternative textures to the glass.
  • 1980 Interest rates, high fuel costs and a recession all played their part in the closure of the Whitefriars factory in December. The company records and numerous pieces of glassware were given then to the Museum of London.
  • Also Named:
    • James Powell and Sons
    • Whitefriars Glassworks
    • James Powell and Sons (Whitefriars) Ltd
    • Whitefriars Glass Ltd

See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Whitefriars - Exploring 20th Centruy London
  1. 1922 British Industries Fair Advert clxxviii