The National Glass Centre, based in Monkwearmouth in Sunderland; on the former site of J.L. Thompson and Sons shipyard.
Officially opened in 1998 by HRH Prince Charles it was the first recipient in the North East of a major Lottery Award.
The centre is currently managed by Sunderland Culture a company created to bring together some of the most culturally important assets in Sunderland.
Why is this Glass stuff so important?
Saint Benedict Biscop was an Anglo-saxon abbot, he is also the founder of the Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Priory. Back in the late 7th century, Biscop brought a team of glaziers from Gaul (France); together they produced stained glass for Bishopwearmouth Monastery, St. Peter’s Church. The same techniques were used to also produce the glass for the aforementioned St. Paul Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Abbey; this is the same Abby related to St. Bede who is regarded as the greatest Anglo-saxon scholar.
In the 18th century the North East of England had some of the largest coal fields and coal was exported in massive amounts, from many ports on the coast.
This made it a prime spot for coal powered industry, with this and high-quality sand Sunderland glass was known throughout the country.
Some big names still known today had production facilities based in the Sunderland area such as:
Arc International (Now Arc Holdings) who specialise in glass tableware.
Also the Corning Glass Works, the company behind the well known brand Pyrex and for Gorilla Glass, used on many mobile and tablet devices.
Glass Making Demonstrations
While not done in the same style coal fired furnaces, you can still experience the 1000C furnace heat while also watching the expert crafting team produce stunning pieces.
Information on times is available on the Sunderland Culture, National Glass Centre website
What else is on at the National Glass Centre?
While there are Permanent exhibitions about the heritage of glass making in the area; including audio visual displays. The Centre also has exhibitions on more specialist topics that change throughout the year; these can be easily found in the National Glass Centre – What’s on webpage and can easily be searched by date.
What about four legged visitors?
At Tithe Barn Cottages we do welcome pets (with well behaved owners), so it is important that locations we recommend visiting; also allow our canine friends.
National Glass Centre welcomes guide dogs
– National Glass Centre Website