I’m pleased to see there’s a new £5.5m glass museum in South Staffordshire (*) which is having open days and which is only a few months away from fully opening in 2017. To be more precise the new museum is in Wordsley, which is my ancestral village and also where my ancestors engraved glass in the 1800s.

The ‘White House Cone – Museum of Glass’ has been developed by the British Glass Foundation, which has a “making of…” talk on the new museum in nearby Stourbridge on 17th August 2016.

glass

The new museum, which seems to include several maker studios and several galleries, looks very impressive. It replaces the old Broadfield House Glass Museum, which was run down and then closed last September by the Labour-controlled Dudley council. You may have heard a lot about that closure from those moaning about arts cuts, but what they don’t choose to mention is that it’s about to be replaced by a bigger and better museum.

The White House displays the internationally important Stourbridge Glass collection, as well as an upstairs gallery of contemporary work, and takes its place as part of a wider network of glassmaking in South Staffordshire. For more on that wider network visit Heart of England Glass, a low-key but excellently informative new website hub for craft glass makers and glass researchers in the West Midlands. The craft has mostly clustered in South Staffordshire, at Stourbridge and Wordsley (with some makers hanging on in Birmingham, last I heard, where glass used to be a vast industry). Plus there’s glass expertise at Dudley and the Bilston Craft Gallery, and now also a new hot glass degree at Wolverhampton University.

* For me, Staffordshire will always retain its old pre-1911 boundaries, regardless of modern municipal bickering and land-grabs.