Red House Cone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Red House Cone as seen from the gates on the A491

The Red House Cone is located in Wordsley in the West Midlands, adjacent to the Stourbridge Canal bridge on the A491 High Street. It is a 90-foot (27 m) high conical brick structure with a diameter of 60 feet (18 m), used for the production of glass.[1] It was used by the Stuart Crystal firm till 1936,[2] when the company moved to a new facility at Vine Street.[3] It is one of only four complete cones remaining in the United Kingdom.[4]

It is the best preserved of only four such structures in the UK and is currently maintained as a museum by Dudley Council. (The other three cones are at Lemington, Catcliffe and Alloa).[5] At the site are 10 independent creative businesses including glass artists, pottery, jewellers, textiles fine art and demonstrations of glass blowing along with a Coffee House and gift shop.[6] Visitors can tour the exhibition and are able to climb a platform to view more closely the interior of the cone. There is a free car park, areas to sit outside and the site offers entertainment for children and occasional events. It is possible to moor canal boats at the site overnight.

Until mid-2009, Stuart Crystal still had their main retail unit on the site, and for many years previously had a factory unit on the opposite side of the road. The firm became part of the Waterford Wedgwood group which was world-renowned, however went into administration in January 2009 meaning the store unfortunately closed.

A 1-acre (4,000 m2) site, on which the cone stands, was sold by John and Ann Southwell and Rebecca Stokes was sold to Richard Bradley, a wealthy glass-manufacturer, on 21 June 1788. It is believed that Bradley began construction on the site soon after purchase, meaning that the cone would date to around 1790. The cone was built by Bradley in partnership with his brother-in-law, George Ensell, for the manufacture of window glass. Ensell installed a moving lehr in the cone, which remains today and is the only surviving one in the world.[1]

The cone received Grade II* listed building status on 23 September 1966.[7][8]

Representation in the media[edit]

The Red House Cone was featured in an episode of BBC Two's Great British Railway Journeys, in the episode Sarah Cordingley taught Michael Portillo how to make a lampwork bead.[9][10]


  1. ^ a b Jason Ellis (2003). Glassmakers of Stourbridge and Dudley 1612-2002: A Biographical History of a Once Great Industry. Xlibris Corporation. ISBN 1-4010-6798-0.[self-published source]
  2. ^ John Butt; Ian L. Donnachie (1979). Industrial Archaeology in the British Isles. Paul Elek Incorporated. ISBN 0-236-40157-2.
  3. ^ BBC Legacies: Red House Cone, Chris Upton (page 4)
  4. ^ Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council: Red House Glass Cone
  5. ^ Trinder, Barrie. Industrial Heritage of Britain (1992 ed.). AA. p. 12.
  6. ^ Red House Glass Cone entry on Culture24 Retrieved 9 December 2009
  7. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1076007)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 March 2008.
  8. ^ Historic England. "Glass Cone At Stuart And Sons Red House Glassworks  (Grade II*) (1076007)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  9. ^ "Dudley borough features on Michael Portillo's TV train show". Dudley News. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  10. ^ Auraunul (2013-01-12), Stourbridge - Great British Railway Journeys, retrieved 2017-06-13

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°28′34″N 2°09′26″W / 52.476168°N 2.157235°W / 52.476168; -2.157235