Saving Iconic Chance Brothers Glass Works in Smethwick

Saving Iconic Chance Brothers Glass Works in Smethwick

After months of preparation and behind-the-scenes discussions CGWHT officially launched on Monday 23rd May 2016.

We are happy to note this date in perpetuity since we believe the historians of the future will look on this as the starting point for one of the greatest transformations of the iconic Chance site since 18th May 1824 when Robert Lucas Chance purchased the works of the British Crown Glass Company, thereby setting the wheels in motion for a company that was to become the largest glassmaker in the land.

Chance Glassworks is a Scheduled Monument on Historic England’s ‘Buildings at Risk’ register, with with a complex of Grade II listed buildings in tunnels in serious decline and a raft of canalside buildings that are presenting an increasing threat to public safety. The site simply must be saved.

The site has been derelict for over 35 years and it is our intention to regenerate the current eysore into an iconic industrial-heritage site, creating a multi-use facility for the benefit of the whole community.

Proposals have already generated public support and the granting of substantial exploratory funding and received expressions of further interest from a wide range of potential backers and development partners. Most significantly, the Trustees of CGWHT are acting in a philanthropic charitable capacity on a not-for-profit basis.

There are still have a number issues to resolve, not least the relocation of the Skip Hire company to safeguard jobs and allow them to continue to operate in a more suitable location, but looking beyond this we can see the potential for a wonderful story emerging here, a story that could tell the tale of how this abandoned corner of Smethwick could be rejuvenated by a redevelopment of international significance.

Ways to help

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Chance Glass Site

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Learn more about the fascinating history of Chance Brothers

Glass and Glassmaking History West Midlands
Glass and Glassmaking
Special issue

Toby Chance reveals the importance of Chance Brothers and the story of this Black Country business.

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Chance Brothers
Pioneering glass technology

In this short programme, Dr Malcolm Dick, Editor of History West Midlands discusses the growth, achievements and decline of one of the Black Country's most important manufacturers.

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  Chance Brothers – Pioneering glass technology

The race to illuminate the world Read about how Chance Brothers saved thousands of lives at sea
Lighthouses: The Race to Illuminate the World
Toby Chance

The Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace, 1851: James Chance, of the glass-making firm Chance Brothers, is nervously showcasing a new lens, that, unknown to him, will revolutionise lighthouse production, propel his family business into a position of world leadership, save countless lives and have far-reaching consequences for trade, empire and the world.

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