Red House Glass Cone restoration begins
An 18-month, £1.5 million restoration of the West Midlands’ historic Red House Glass Cone has started. The cone is one of only four left in the UK and is a grade II* listed, scheduled ancient monument.
Dudley Council’s investment will cover the cost of the restoration and ongoing maintenance. It has worked with an accredited historic architect and Historic England to secure the appropriate permission to begin the works. The cone must be restored using authentic techniques and materials.
Work will include internal and external repointing of the entire structure from top to bottom with lime mortar. Vegetation sprouting from the cone will be carefully removed on a phased basis. Bricks surrounding each growth will be taken out, the vegetation and root growth removed, then the bricks will be replaced and re-mortared.
There will also be new drainage around the building and there will be access to the tunnels.
Inside the cone, the internal gantry and lift will be removed to create a more open, accessible space. A new lift will be installed by the visitor centre to allow wheelchair access to the upper level, where a viewing platform will allow people to see into the cone and hot glass studio.
The hot glass studio will be shielded during the works, allowing it to be safely reopened to the public while the work takes place. The studio will be updated with a more eco-friendly kiln. It will also be accessible from inside the cone once all works are complete.
Paul Bradley, deputy leader of Dudley Council, commented, “We know that people feel very passionately about the cone as it’s such an iconic part of the skyline and is a striking backdrop to people’s everyday lives as they walk to school, take the dog for a walk or just stroll along the canal. We’re so pleased to be delivering this ambitious project and restoring the cone to its former glory.”
While fencing and scaffolding will be going up over the coming weeks and months, the shop, visitor centre, coffee house and craft studios all remain open.
The Red House Glass Cone is 100 feet high and 60 feet wide at its base. It was built between 1788 and 1794 and operated for more than 150 years in the historic Stourbridge Glass Quarter. It is located near the Stourbridge Glass Museum, so there are plenty of glass-orientated attractions to see if you are visiting the area.
The Red House Glass Cone is at High Street, Wordsley, Stourbridge DY8 4AZ, UK.
Image: Adele Lavender (left), deputy site manager at the cone with Councillor Paul Bradley. Photo courtesy of Dudley Council.