Glass melting and annealing workshop; part of Shrigley and Hunt's stained glass manufacturing workshops


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020456

Date first listed: 16-Oct-2002


Ordnance survey map of Glass melting and annealing workshop; part of Shrigley and Hunt's stained glass manufacturing workshops
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lancashire

District: Lancaster (District Authority)

National Grid Reference: SD 47480 61779


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Glass has been produced in England since the Roman period, although field evidence is scarce until the late medieval period. Wood was the main manufacturing fuel up to the early 17th century, so the industry was located in woodland areas, particularly the Weald. From about 1610, production shifted to the coalfields. Glass production requires three major components: silica, alkali and lime, together with colouring material for certain products and decolourisers for clear glass. Lead was also used in the production of certain types of glass during the Roman period and after the 17th century. The manufacturing process involves three stages, fritting, melting and annealing. Fritting was a common practice before the 19th century involving heating the main glass constituents to produce an unmolten material for grinding, melting and annealing. Melting involved the remelting of previously formed glass, and the production of new glass from raw materials. Until the late 19th century, glass was normally melted in pre-fired crucibles of refractory clay, on stone benches called sieges, within the melting furnace. Use of coal as the preferred fuel and automatic bottle-making machinery in the 1880s led to changes to the melting furnaces and the use of larger furnaces, hitherto conical structures over circular furnaces. Regenerative furnaces were developed in the 1860s, and tank furnaces for bulk melting quickly followed. Flat-glass production methods were made obsolete by the Pilkington float-glass system of 1959. The third process is annealing. Because the rapid cooling of molten glass can give rise to internal stresses, glass was treated in furnaces designed to heat the glass to a point where deformation begins, then cooled gradually. In the 19th century conveyors were introduced to take glass through a hot zone into cool air. Features on glass manufacturing sites include various types of furnaces, producer-gas plants for the making of gas from coke at 19th century glassworks, bottle-making machinery, blowing irons or pipes for blowing glass, glass residues and various buildings used as stores or warehouses. A total of 135 glass production sites (representing about 25% of the estimated national archaeological resource for the industry) have been identified as being of national importance. This selection, compiled and assessed though a comprehensive national survey of the glass industry, is designed to represent the industry's chronological depth, technological breadth and regional diversity, and to include all the better preserved glass sites, together with rare individual component features.

The glass melting and annealing workshop which forms part of Shrigley and Hunt's stained glass manufacturing workshops is an outstanding and unique survival of late 19th/early 20th century in situ stained glass manufacturing furnaces.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a glass melting and annealing workshop which formed part of Shrigley and Hunt's stained glass manufacturing workshops. It is located in a cellar at the rear of number 23 Castle Hill, a building which had formerly been the main part of Shrigley and Hunt's workshops. The cellar is accessed via an external `L'-shaped flight of stone steps which lead to the only door. Internally the cellar is tunnel-vaulted or arched, with the concrete floor acting as the arch's springing line, and is constructed of a combination of sandstone and brick. An offset central timber acts as a roof support. The cellar's south wall has a brick-built drain added to its interior while the internally curving east and west walls are featureless. The most interesting features are situated on the brick-faced north wall where four melting and annealing furnaces have been built into the wall. The melting furnaces facilitated the re-melting of previously-formed glass, the production of new glass from raw materials, or a combination of the two activites whereby new materials were mixed with broken glass known as cullet. The glass was melted in crucibles placed in the furnace. The rapid cooling of molten glass gives rise to internal stresses and deformation and, unless annealed, the glass will readily shatter. The annealing furnaces here facilitated the process of re-heating previously molten glass to a temperature below the point where deformation begins. The glass was then gradually cooled thus resulting in a considerably strengthened finished product. The firm of Shrigley, painters and gilders, had late 18th century origins, coming to specialise in stained glass manufacture from 1870 when A W Hunt of London took over. The main building fronting Castle Hill has late 18th century origins and was occupied by the firm from about 1890. It was converted to studios and workshops in which stained glass of a very high quality was made for the national market. The cellar housing the furnaces originally formed the basement of a three-storey building which has now been reduced to a single storey. Glassmaking is thought to have continued here until about the mid-20th century. Number 23 Castle Hill, including the cellar, is a Listed Building Grade II. A number of features are excluded from the scheduling; these include the electricity sub-station, the surface of the yard fronting the west side of the building housing the cellar, a modern timber roof support in the cellar, and a brick-lined drain on the cellar's interior south wall. The ground beneath all these features is included as is the cellar wall behind the brick-lined drain.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 34978

Legacy System: RSM


DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,
SMR No. 15272, Lancashire SMR, 23 Castle Hill, (1997)

End of official listing