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Exhibition on famous Chance Brothers glass

An exhibition highlighting the work of the famous Chance Brothers glass factory in Smethwick has been launched at a Sandwell museum.

The exhibition, called ‘Chance People’, is at Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery in Holyhead Road and shows how the company became one of the largest glass makers in Britain.

The exhibition runs until 28 November. It includes fascinating extracts and photographs from the company staff magazines between 1948 and 1960, giving lots of information about the company and its staff, their hobbies and interest and their life at the factory.

The exhibition showcases a variety of decorative, optical and practical glassware made at the Chance factory.

Robert Lucas Chance began making window glass on Spon Lane in Smethwick in 1824 when he bought the British Crown Glass Company, which had been established in 1815.

His brother William invested in the company in 1832 and it expanded very quickly to become one of the biggest glass makers in Britain.

The Chance family retained ownership of the company until the 1950s and continued to manage the glassworks until they finally closed in 1981.

Councillor Bob Lloyd, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member responsible for culture, said: “The company was one of the many famous factories in the six towns that make up Sandwell today.

“The exhibition highlights the range of glassware it made for household use, as well as lenses for lighthouses, glass used in medical and optical instruments and even the glass in the clock of the Houses of Parliament.”

The exhibition is free and is open Wednesdays and Thursdays 11am-4pm until the end of November and Saturdays until the end of September 2pm-5pm.

For more information visit www.sandwell.gov.uk/museums or call the museum on 0121 556 0683.

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