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British Industrial History

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Nailsea Glassworks

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Nailsea Glassworks [1]

The Nailsea Glassworks was established by John Robert Lucas in 1788. Prior to this he had leased an established glass works at Stanton Wick in Somerset, and was a partner in the Limekiln Lane Glassworks in Bristol.

The enterprise at Nailsea was established on a new site, thought to have been chosen for its proximity to the necessary raw materials for glass production: stone, lime, sand, clay and especially coal supplies; Nailsea lies at the centre of a small coalfield which is an outlier of the Bristol coalfield. Lucas took as his partners his brother-in-law Henry Pater and William Coathupe.

This partnership was dissolved in March 1793, and Pater was replaced by Edward Homer and William Chance, also brothers-in-law of Lucas. Lucas died in 1828, and his son-in-law, Reginald Bean, took over his share in trust for Lucas's two grandsons.

A new partnership was established which purchased the glassworks, buildings and premises and in 1844 the glassworks became known as Coathupe and Co.

In 1855 Isaac White took over the works, but during the 1850s a gradual decline set in and buildings fell into disrepair.

In 1861 the works closed for several months, putting 200 men out of work, and Messrs White & Co gave up their lease.

The decline was halted for a time by the dynamism of Samuel Bowen, who took over the lease in 1862, but he was forced into bankruptcy, having tried to undercut the association controlling the glass trade.

The works might still have survived, having been bought by Chance Brothers in 1870, but the failure of the coal supply brought an end to the works, and in March 1874 they finally closed.

The land was offered for development in 1889, and again in 1905 when one of the cones was demolished in the hope of selling the bricks. Neither attempt met with any success and the remains of this cone were bulldozed and taken to Filton for hardcore after World War II

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