In my Monday post A promenade to Roker we took a walk through Sunderland’s ship building past. Though ships are no longer built here, a thriving cargo trade has developed on the River Wear today. The National Glass Centre occupies the former site of J. L. Thompson and Sons shipyard, on the north bank of the river, and is witness to most of the comings and goings.
Glass making was introduced to Britain from France in 674, specifically for the windows of the Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Priory, which stood not far from here. The industry thrived on cheap local coal in the 18th century, and Sunderland gradually established a name for glass. The Pyrex factory was based here until its closure in 2007.
The construction of the National Glass Centre in 1998 was a bold move, part of a regeneration scheme in a declining area. Today the centre is free to visit, with daily guided tours.
Part of the fascination is watching the glass workers ply their trade.
The building itself is quite interesting, and there’s a restaurant looking out onto the riverside.
And in the vestibule, possibly my favourite thing- this suspended glass sculpture.
The National Glass Centre website gives full details of opening times, events and free tours.
I really enjoyed putting this post together for Dawn’s weekly Lingering Look at Windows challenge. Hope you like it too.