Redfearn National Glass, 1970s

redfearn-glass-york-c1977-andy-tuckwell.jpg

[Photo: Andy Tuckwell]

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

And some bottles … and a jar … (2018 update)

This page, as it originally appeared, was just that photo and caption above. I added it in November 2011, seven years back, one of the first postings that was more blog-like and open to comments, after an overhaul of the website. (I’d been online here for seven years before that, without a comments facility.)

Thanks to everyone who has added the comments below since then, particularly those remembering working here. Sorry I haven’t been able to reply to them all. But a recent comment/query from Daniel reminded me that I really should get around to adding photos of three bottles I have, which were made here in the 1970s and 80s. Below my photos are photos Daniel sent me of the small jar he has which appears to have been made here at an earlier date, when the factory was the National Glass Works (York).

Three bottles given to me by my stepdad, John Jones, who worked at Redfearns:

Redfearn Glass, GMF visit commemorative bottle, 1976

Redfearn Glass, GMF visit commemorative bottle, 1976

Bottle made at Redfearn National Glass Ltd, for 1977 jubilee

Bottle made at Redfearn National Glass Ltd, for 1977 jubilee

Bottle made at Redfearn National Glass Ltd, for 1977 jubilee

Bottle made at Redfearn National Glass Ltd, for 1977 jubilee

Bottle made at Redfearn National Glass Ltd, for 1981 royal wedding

Bottle made at Redfearn National Glass Ltd, for 1981 royal wedding

Bottle made at Redfearn National Glass Ltd, for 1981 royal wedding (detail)

Bottle made at Redfearn National Glass Ltd, for 1981 royal wedding (detail)

And Daniel’s jar:

national-glassworks-york-jar-daniel-australia-1024

national-glassworks-york-jar-detail1-daniel-australia-1024

national-glassworks-york-jar-detail2-daniel-australia-1024

Daniel’s bottle has an N in a diamond shape on the base. A website on glass bottle marks has some information (thanks to Mike in the comments, who originally suggested this link):

N in a diamond……………National Glass Works (York), Limited, Fishergate, York, Yorkshire, United Kingdom (c.1930-1967). Known as York Flint Glass Company, founded circa 1837. Incorporated as National Glass Works in 1930. National merged with Redfearn Glass Works in 1967. York factory closed c. 1984?? Exact stretch of years of usage of the N-Diamond mark is unclear, but it was surely in use at least during the 1950s and 1960s. Additional info on dates of usage of the mark is sought from readers!
(source)

— a photo alongside has the accompanying caption ‘(As seen on base of kitchen canister or spice jar)’. This might be what Daniel has? His example seems to have ended up in Australia.

Further information

On this site, see also: glassworks clock

York Press – LOST YORK: 53 photos of Redfearn National Glass (3 Oct 2016)

. . . . .

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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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24 comments

  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 , d1ver701@aol.com 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.
          Lisa

        • ernest smith , yes I still have mine

          I a m trying to trace Peter Coates, we had walking club, Group Four Walking Club.
          Happy days

        • ernest smith , yes I still have mine

          Richard John, you would maybe remember John .C Wilson I can visualize his office now, where he use cellatape bits of broken bottles on to a mold,he had one all made up, when some came in slammed the door back and send his bottle flying,
          all John said was” dash jigger”

        • ernest smith , yes I still have mine

          I think us sorters only got 2 empty bottles,
          I believe there is one in the St Vincent Arms at Sutton-on-Derwent
          we got 2 decanters as well but no stoppers
          any body out there that use to be in the walking club
          Ernie smith

  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). https://www.glassbottlemarks.com/bottlemarks-4/

    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.

    https://cyc.sdp.sirsidynix.net.uk/client/en_GB/default/search/results?qu=National+glass&te=CALM

  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.

  9. John maddison

    I worked at Refearns from 1969 to when it closed in 1983 started as packer and then became a sorter, worked on group 3 to start with and then moved to group 1, then moved to hot end and became an operator then moved on to the mould change, from there I moved to the furnace until it closed.

  10. That comment regarding the pictured jar; ‘As seen on base of kitchen canister or spice jar’ looks like a Shippam’s paste jar that was made during my time working there (1978-1980). Accept the one pictured is a lot older, but it looks almost identical to the one during my time there.

    • Thank you for your reply. it does look very similar to the shippams paste jar so I’ll have a look in that direction and do some research thank you

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