Redfearn National Glass, 1970s


[Photo: Andy Tuckwell]

The factory alongside the Foss, pictured here in 1977, closed in 1984.

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  By Lisa @YorkStories 25 November 2011 To link to this page's proper location please use the > permalink

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  1. Andy Tuckwell

    It was a great place for a student to get holiday work as it paid really well – £100 a week in 1979 when my rent was £5 a week! The site was really tightly filled in with machinery as they had been there for ages and squeezed in higher capacity equipment. It ran continuously making millions of ordinary bottles and jars, just stopping for a week at Christmas. Molten glass dripping down from furnaces overhead into mechanical blowing machines; long annealing ovens; conveyor belts and packing machinery. Noisy, hot and busy, but it was nice to take a break on a night shift and watch the sun rise over the Foss out at the back, then cycle home at 6.00 while the rest of the city slumbered.

  2. iv just got my hands on the factory master clock from this glass works it was removed in 1989 when the factory was demolished ,i would love to hear from anyone that remembers seeing my clock at the factory , thanks ian

    • roy byers

      Hi Ian,I am an interested bottle collector,i came on this website because i worked at National Glass in York until 1970,my Father worked there for 45years.I remember the Master clock when i was a apprentice,i think thats what you have, i punched my time card in it many times before i went into the drawing office to work.Can you scan a picture of it?.Where are you living?i have lived in South Africa for the past 45years.All the best Roy

  3. Roy Byers

    Thanks Lisa for your reply,yes this was the Master clock, we used a punch clock which was connected to the Master it was close to the main gates in Fishergate.I will forward the photo to one of my old colleagues who lives near Capetown i am still in contact with him, also i still have a colleague who lives in Bishopthorpe he would also remember the clock
    Thanks Roy, Potchefstroom, South Africa

    • Gillian Kelly

      I have a framed statement from the Purchasing Manager, Tom Bucknall, if anyone knows if any of his family are still around, or if there is some sort of museum of memorabilia please let me know.

      • Richard John Cameron

        I remember the clock very well. I worked at York NGW commencing 9th September 1956 when I was 24 until 1977 (A few months short of my gold watch. Lol) I still have the two bottles of sherry given to us to commemorate the queen’s silver jubilee in 1977. Still unopened. For my sins, I was in quality control for many of those years.

        • Your comment has reminded me that I also have a couple of commemorative bottles from the glassworks, given to me by a relative – though mine are empty (and were when I got them). I will try to get around to adding photos of them to the page above. Nice to know you remember the clock mentioned too.

  4. I have a little jar with stars around the bottom of it with the “N” in a diamond on the base . I’ve tried researching this but can’t find anything could someone help me if I provide pictures.

  5. Hi Daniel. The glassmaker’s mark that you mention is from the National Glass Works (York).

    Further to the general discussion on the factory, one of my ancestors worked there from the late 1870s until his death in 1914. Henry Casper (born 1860 Friargate, died 1914 Alma Terrace) was initially an apprentice and went on to become a Glass Blower: he was also part of the team that made and installed new Windows in St. Wilfred’s Catholic Church in Duncombe Place. He was followed into the trade by two of his sons; Thomas Henry, who moved to Barnsley at the new Redfearn glass factory; and William who became the Branch Secretary of the Glass Makers Union.

    • Thank you Mike the article you sent through has been the only article I could prior to posting my original comment there just doesn’t seem to much info on the company

  6. Daniel, there are a number of records held at YorkExplore concerning the successor to the National Glass Works (York): Redfearns. A few years ago I remember searching for the location of papers relating to any worker’s records that may b archived somewhere. Unfortunately I can’t remember the exact location of where I traced them to but I have a vague memory of it being Barnsley: possibly a Community College; or some museums trust. Redfearns were a Barnsley company so that would make sense. Good hunting.

  7. I’ll have to keep doing my research then when I have the spare time and remember about it . I’m definitely interested in trying to find out how it may have ended up in Brisbane ,Australia . I had actually dug it Up on a jobsite

  8. David Birch

    I worked part time as a cleaner in the glass factory when I was doing my D.Phil. at York University in the late 1970s. I had a flat close by and my wages from my cleaning work paid the rent. I have happy memories of my time there and of the other (all ladies) cleaners who used to give me mountains of misshaped chocolates from Rowntrees and Terrys where their husbands worked. They all kept me very grounded while I was doing very esoteric research and I will always remember their kindness and support. It was a good place to work.

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