Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Ravenhead Glass

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Ravenhead Glass was a glassworks near Ravenhead Colliery on Merseyside

1850 The company was founded by Frances Dixon and John Merson after a move from their earlier (1842) factory at Thatto Heath near St Helens.

1852 this factory was sold to Pilkington and Frances Dixon then acquired a 13 acre site at Ravenhead, building a new gas-powered glassworks.

1913 the company merged with five other glass manufacturers, forming United Glass Bottle Manufacturers

Until 1931 these companies were primarily bottle makers but they branched out into domestic tableware in the 1930s making bowls, jugs and drinking glasses, many of these showing Art Deco influences.

From 1947, Alexander Hardie Williamson 1907-1994) was employed as consultant designer and during the 27 years he was with the company, he created over 1700 designs. Some of these were produced in their millions for public houses and restaurants and included the Paris goblet, the Dimple beer mug and the Babycham-style Champagne glass. He also designed a range of tableware, the Kilner jar and a collectable range of decorated tumblers.

By 1968 Johnsen and Jorgensen were sole distributors for Ravenhead Glass[1].

1972 Hardie Williamson retired. Ravenhead appointed two freelance designers: Annette Meech (who designed the Rosy Tumblers, Apollo and Solar range) and John Clappison (who designed Barmasters, Elegance, White Fire, Topaz, Icelantic, Olympiad etc., and also refined and developed Hardie Williamson’s Siesta range)

1977 Its sales were around £15m

Late 1980s there was a downturn in the company’s fortunes (and various changes of ownership)

It went into administration in 2001 and the factory closed.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jan 22, 1968
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • [2] Competition Commission