So, where can I learn more about Chance Glass Works Heritage Trust and its ambitious proposals?
You can begin by browsing this website, which also contains full contact details and our blog. Please tell others about www.cgwht.org and bookmark us on your favourites bar.
Follow us via our official email bulletin The Flash. Join our free, no obligation distribution list by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org and receive the latest news as it happens.
Back issues of The Flash are archived elsewhere on this site; they are accessible free of charge and with no registration required.
CGWHT is proud to be supported by our friends at History West Midlands. This lavish initiative explores the rich and fascinating past of the historic counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. It seeks to uncover the history of the people, ideas and events that shaped the West Midlands and the world beyond. Not surprisingly, this includes the contribution made by the glass industry and there are copious references on various platforms including audio, video and text.
For more on this visit www.historywm.com where you will find: (images courtesy of HWM)
Issues: Number 4 Spring 2014, is devoted entirely to glass and includes a feature on Chance by our Patron, the eponymous Toby Chance.
Podcasts: scroll to Black Country Lives for interviews with Toby Chance and former Chance employee Ray Drury, together with contributions on the nearby Stourbridge Glass industry. Or click here: http://historywm.com/hwm-podcasts/
Films: scroll to Black Country – Chance Brothers: pioneering glassmaking technology on www.historywm.com. Or click image below:
Lighthouses: The Race To Illuminate The World is a book by CGWHT Patron Toby Chance & Peter Williams.
Publisher: New Holland Publishers Ltd; 1st edition (26 Sept. 2008)
ISBN-10: 1847731740; ISBN-13: 978-1847731746
A limited number of copies signed by the author may still be available from West Midlands History; otherwise through Amazon etc.
extract from Lighthouses: The Race To Illuminate The World
West Midlands History also offers Revolutionary Players: making the modern world a lavish website that, as its name suggest, describes the luminaries of the day. Glassmaking features prominently at http://www.revolutionaryplayers.org.uk
This area will be updated as the scope of CGWHT increases; if in the meantime you see anything of relevance pertaining to Chance that we may have missed then please forward it to is at info@cgwht for possible inclusion here and/or mention in The Flash.
— oOo —
(updated ad hoc; most recent is first)
24th December 2018
When it comes to a ‘practical and hands-on’ knowledge of Chance, then it doesn’t come more ‘practical and hands-on’ than this; our friend and supporter Ray Drury was actually the ‘last man standing’ when he looked the gates for the last time way back in 1981. So we are delighted to have received this tale from him which we reproduce here verbatim, unabridged and unedited. It is fascinating stuff. Thanks, Ray.
29th October 2010
Ever wider do our tendrils spread
Yet another example of how one thing leads to another: we received this recently from reader Julia Bird who tells us: “I’m sure you know this but Christ Church Oldbury (of which I am Churchwarden) has a large Chance East Window installed in memory of William Chance 1788 – 1856’. Erm, actually, no I didn’t. But I do now, so passed it on to my fellow Trustees for information. It turns out that our Henry Chance, a direct descendant, is collecting and collating memorials and other legacy items associated with the firm and the Chance family so the information was of great interest to him. Then our Chairman chips in with a contribution regarding Chance glass in Birmingham Cathedral … and so it goes on, all adding to the knowledge pool of this amazing company and the equally amazing family behind it.
Thank you Julia for starting this fascinating thread. Any more out there, anyone? Do let us know.
Editor’s note 3.12.18: Since this was published we have had several more additions to the thread, which is beginning to build into quite a comprehensive tale. Follow the contributions via The Flash, which is archived on this site.
24th October 2010
We have received another fascinating contribution from our good friend and supporter ‘across the pond’ in Canada, Eric Ruff (*). He tells us:
Dear Graham, my wife and I were recently travelling in Ontario when, quite by chance, we saw a lighthouse in a field. It turned out to be the Mariners Heritage Park Museum and was, unfortunately closed. However I managed to take a few pictures. On returning home I contacted the museum’s curator regarding the lighthouse lens and was delighted to find that it is a Chance Brothers’ lens. I’ve put together a file on the light – formerly from False Duck Island in Lake Ontario – not to be confused with Maine Duck Island which is smack in the middle of shipping lanes entering Lake Ontario from the St. Lawrence River. See attached file and photos. Congratulations on having the site cleared. Cheers! Eric.
Eric has kindly included images, a couple of which which are reproduced below, together with a file of information and further imagery. Our thanks, as always, to Eric, together with our appreciation for his interest in our work.
(*) Eric J. Ruff, FCMA, Curator Emeritus, Yarmouth County Museum Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
The pdf file of information is here … False Duck Island Light
9th August 2018
We are pleased to include this detailed document from 2006 by noted local historian Carl Chinn entitled HowWarley Woods became ‘the People’s Park’. It was brought to our attention by Trustee Henry Chance, for which many thanks. It is in itself a document of some significance in the Chance story, referring to one of Henry’s forebears Alexander Macomb Chance, and so merits inclusion in our on-line archives. The circumstances of how we received the document are the basis of a fascinating tale that is described more fully in issue 10 of The Flash, archived separately on this site.
13th July 2018
We have our Chairman Mark Davies and supporters at Sandwell Council to thank for this one; our first image to come our way taken from the north of the site. As per usual, any facts, figures or recollections this image may inspire would be welcomed via our usual address.
PLEASE NOTE: Owing to a change in our recording procedures in August 2018, earlier events from here downwards are in reverse chronological order
Whilst CGWHT is happy to advise its readers of books and other products it exercises no control over copyright. All queries in this regard should be addressed to the respective authors please, not CGWHT.
Two books by David Encil, a publisher with special interest in Chance. Both obtainable via www.cortex-design.co.uk
5th June 2016
We are delighted to have had this link drawn to our attention showing a Royal visit to Chance in 1940:
21st July 2016
And this little gem courtesy of the BBC. Some of our supporters may recognise themselves in an earlier life!
21st July 2016
Herewith the planning meeting held at Sandwell MBC on Wednesday 13th July 2016. It’s the whole meeting so fast forward about 12 minutes for the CGWHT item. Our appreciation to CGWHT Chair Mark Davies for his sterling advocacy on our behalf. (see also CGWHT Blogspot)
10th October 2016
Some excellent images, including spectacular views of the tunnels under the Chance site. (Spotter: Mark Davies, Chair CGWHT)
3rd January 2017
A delightful image has come our way showing the Chance site and the inland waterways that served it. We are advised by our contributor, with due acknowledgement to all concerned, that the image is from Alan H. Faulkner’s 1978 booklet Claytons of Oldbury, a Robert Wilson Publication printed by Chester Printers Ltd., Corby and the twelfth book in a series covering all aspects of boating on inland waterways (Spotter: Eric J. Ruff, FCMA, Curator Emeritus, Yarmouth County Museum, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Web Editor’s note: Narrowboat Dart was built in 1928 in Stoke-on-Trent for the Severn & Canal Carrying Company. She was purchased in 1948 by Claytons of Oldbury. In 1968 she was shortened to 58ft and converted to a pleasure boat, being further restored in 2013 and powered by a Gardner 4LK. Thomas Clayton (Oldbury) Ltd. operated a fleet of wooden narrow boats especially equipped to carry bulk liquid – tar, crude oil and creosote – and all named after British rivers. They were built at different boatyards but maintained at a dock in Oldbury. Due to the the preservative nature of their cargo several still survive. The company continued trading until 1966 and used horse drawn boats in its fleet until the last. Only one unconverted Thomas Clayton horseboat, Gifford, survives. Unconverted Thomas Clayton motorboats still extant include Spey, Stour, Tay, Towy, Severn and Umea.
And in complete contrast, here is a link to a delightful video from Midland News dated 9th August 1967 showing Chance Brothers 40ft replica of the Golden Hind. It is one of a series of gems held at Media Archive for Central England, http://www.macearchive.org/, to whom many thanks for permission to use. Further such videos may also appear here in due course.
4th January 2017
A splendid slide show of Chance imagery courtesy of CGWHT Chairman Mark Davies …
18th January 2017
CGWHT supporter and Chance aficionado Mike Fenton has kindly sent us some imagery and tells us: ‘The Chance Brothers Paraffin Lamp was manufactured between 1889 and 1890 and was used during the construction of the Forth Rail Bridge. The enamel badge was given to employees who carried out essential work during the First World War. The final set shows a medal awarded to a George Allen who was born in 1851 and who seemingly began his work at the age of 15. At the beginning of the 1870s his job title was that of a Glass Polisher, a decade on he worked as a labourer as he did 10 more years later. By around 1910 he was described as a Glass Packer. It appears that George died around 1931 in West Bromwich where he had lived all his life. The final image shows a group photograph from 1916 showing those who were awarded long service medals in that year; it is believed that George Allen is pictured here but he has yet to be identified’.
Our thanks to Mike. If you can identify any of the faces in the picture or offer further information then let us know. More images and fuller reportage will appear in issue 5 of The Flash, out soon and which will be archived elsewhere on this site.
21st January 2107
Yet more intriguing imagery, this time courtesy of our friends at the Association of Lighthouse Keepers (‘Keeping Lighthouse Heritage Alive’) www.alk.org.uk. One particular framed image approximately 2’ square is being generously offered on long-term loan to CGWHT. It is known to have to have hung in the office of Mr Barrett, engineer for Chance Lighthouse Division, and it believed to date from 1954-55. It has since been in the safe keeping of former employee John Fletcher, to whom many thanks. More on this in due course; in the meantime here is a couple of examples to whet the appetite More images and fuller reportage in issue 5 of The Flash, out soon and which will be archived elsewhere on this site.
Editor’s note: since receiving these images we have received further information from Joy Tubby of ALK who tells us: ‘I recently received a letter from John Fletcher. He’s now 85 but we’re hoping he might come to our ALK East Anglian region lunch and visit to Happisburgh Lighthouse in March. He says he is in contact with Helen Chance, who is a friend of Benedict Cadbury, who drives the locos on the Wells and Walsingham Railway, here in Norfolk – he drove the locos for 10 years in the 1990s, and Benedict became a friend. He knew Sir Hugh Chance very much “and because I saw him two or three times a year he called me John (I respected him, so I called him Sir or Sir Hugh). Because I was the top apprentice on the lighthouse side of the company he gave me a 3 years scholarship to get a BSc degree and gave me a good start in life.’ He obviously has fond memories of his time at Chance Brothers!
15th March 2017 DO YOU KNOW WHERE THIS IS?
A delightful film has come our way courtesy of Rob Johnstone. Can anyone tell us the location or anything more about it? Usual address please …
29th March 2017
Oldbury Council Chambers, Freeth Street and the launch of our new promotional video, kindly sponsored by Mike Gibbs of History West Midlands www.historywm.com
19th April 2017
An image from a book, title and author unknown, submitted by Susan Thornhill, who tells us: ‘ My great-grandfather Richard Fancote was working for Chances in 1911. This image was in a Fancote family album and looks looks like it was torn out of a book or pamphlet. I know my mum was born 1925, at 18 Wood Road Smethwick, my mum’s mum was living there 1911 with all her family, including my great grandad who died in 1913.’ Any further information appreciated.
13th August 2017
More gems for the archives …