Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,363 pages of information and 245,904 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Nazeing Glass Works

From Graces Guide

of Broxbourne, Herts. Telephone: Hoddesdon 2446. London Office: Bath House, Holborn Viaduct, EC1. Telephone: Central 2921

1612 The first glass factory was opened in Vauxhall, Surrey, by Sir Edward Zouche - this became Vauxhall Glassworks, later known as Dawson, Bowles and Co. Dawson, Bowles and Co continued in business until the 1780s.

1860 Charles Henry Kempton married Caroline Hall in Southwark[1], the daughter of Henry Hall, a glassblower of Southwark.

1869 Kempton set up in business selling lamps in Oakley Street, Vauxhall.

1874 A second works was opened in Vauxhall Walk, for producing gas globes and fittings. The flint and coloured glass were the main products at this time.(NB Not sure this is consistent with the 1880 event).

Late 1870s: Kempton set up a factory in Wickham Street, Vauxhall, where he manufactured flint glass

1880 Charles and his sons started the Albert Glass Works in Vauxhall Walk - at some point the business became Charles Kempton and Sons

The Wickham Street works closed some time later.

Charles Kempton’s sons William, Charles and Richard continued the business at Vauxhall.

After Charles Henry Kempton's death in 1899, the business continued to be run by his six sons, but by 1917 declining trade forced them to go their own ways. They all remained glass makers (see below).

1920 The rapidly expanding electric light bulb industry was becoming the major industrial glass user at this time, so Richard moved the glass works to the Abbot Bottle Works in nearby Rockingham Street, which was renamed the Southwark Glass Works.

1928 Richard and Reginald, together with Richard's younger son Cederic, moved Southwark Glass Works from London to Nazeing, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. They were joined by three other family members: William's sons Len, Charlie and William jnr.

The business was known as Nazeing Glass Works from this point onwards. These works were very basic and comprised a shed in a marshy field with a coke fired skittle-type furnace holding about 200 kilos of molten metal. The annealing oven was a hand-operated conveyor, and there was no mains water supply. Most of the early production was hand-blown, decorative, coloured glassware.

1930s Financial difficulties almost caused the company to fold but another electric lamp manufacturer took a share for glass rod production. These rods were drawn by a boy running across a field with the hot glass.

1939 a Belgian glassblower was employed and stemmed glasses were then made in the continental style.

WWII. War production was directed to ships’ signal lights and semaphore lenses for the Admiralty, and lamp caps for the Ministry of Aircraft Production. The shed was upgraded to Nissen huts and army surplus tents and, by the end of the war, the factory was producing glass for many government departments.

Post-WWII. A serious flood almost ruined the factory, but production was restarted after a few months of repair work. Expansion brought the development of single pot brick furnaces to replace the original and these gave the factory a much greater flexibility in production. A major retail outlet was Elwell of Harlow, Essex. Examples of Nazeing are often found with an Elwell label.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Hand Made Original and Artistic Glassware, Coloured and Crystal Tableware, Rods, Lighting Glass, Plated Fancy Articles and Metal Mountings for Glassware. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1135) [2]

2008 Nazeing Glass Works Limited now operates from purpose built buildings on the same site. Typical products include bulkheads, wellglasses, marine and ship lighting, aircraft and airport runway lenses, exterior light fittings, laboratory glass, nosing glasses, reproduction bottles and glasses, traffic light lenses and other precision coloured glass through hand-blown glasses and glassware, cut lead crystal, to lighting and custom ashtrays.

The other sons:

1917 Charles Henry Kempton jnr. continued the business as Lambeth Glass Works.

1917 William Kempton joined Edison Swan at their electric lightbulb factory at Ponders End in Middlesex, managing the glass making plant.

Henry, Albert and Andrew Kempton started a separate Vauxhall Glassworks.

1924 William Kempton died.

1939 Charles Henry Kempton jnr. continued to be recorded as a glass blower[3]. He died in 1941.

  • Note:
    • The company has its own website: [1].

See Also

  • [2] Nazeing Glassworks Limited by Frank Andrews

Sources of Information

  1. BMD
  2. 1947 British Industries Fair p198
  3. 1939 register