A Lingering look through glass factory windows

Looking out of the National Glass Centre, Sunderland

Looking out from the National Glass Centre, in Sunderland

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.

Keep an eye on the boats while you admire the glassware

You can keep an eye on the boats while you admire the glassware

I know someone who loves owls!

I know someone who loves owls!

Part of the fascination is watching the glass workers ply their trade.

Behind glass, of course!

Behind glass, of course!

There's bound to be an element of danger

There’s bound to be an element of danger, isn’t there?

The building itself is quite interesting, and there’s a restaurant looking out onto the riverside.

Just a few more reflections

And in the vestibule, possibly my favourite thing- this suspended glass sculpture.

Let's raise a glass!

Let’s raise a glass!

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.


  1. Wow, your photos are fantastic …. love that you have let the harbor and boat be a background. Amazing pieces … did you buy any. Now I know where I will take you when you come to Sweden – the kingdom of crystal … http://www.glasriket.se/en – English link. You will love it. Thanks for taking me along … I really enjoyed the visit.


    1. Oh, that would be so nice! I’ve always had a soft spot for glass. Mam used to keep glass bells and a lot of exotic bits in her china cabinet. No, I didn’t buy- did you see those price tags! No wonder they don’t charge admission, but it was such a fun post to do. Thanks for keeping me company, Vivi 🙂 Laundry done? I’m just back from t’ai chi.


  2. Now that is a place for me to go to. If not, you made a really outstanding tour for it. Loving all the displays. When I was in Japan, there are certain places where people can pay to make their own drinking glass and keep it.


    1. I’m sure I saw a link to somewhere in California where you can do the same thing, Rommel. Not necessarily a glass, though I admit, I’d find that very useful 🙂 I really love glass, especially the coloured variety.


  3. Very beautiful images where processed glass. I think it is a large job to create a glass, but to be craftsmanship, skill, patience and lots of love.
    Thank you for sharing these images so beautiful in art glassware!
    Have a wonderful day, restlessjo! 🙂


    1. I can’t remember too much but they are black and white filaments of some sort which turn as they catch the sunlight, Sue. See Robin’s comment (it’s the first). He was obviously a good boy scout. The glass sculpture is brilliant! I have some more shots from different angles but didn’t want to overload this post more. If you follow the glass centre link within the post you might get a better answer.


  4. Such a fantastic place Jo ! I really enjoyed this post .. I do hope people really make the most of the free entrance and support local talented artists . Who isn’t amazed at a piece of molten glass being ‘blown …


  5. ancora una interessante ed affascinante passeggiata fra le tue vele, i vetri ci stanno proprio bene là in mezzo!
    passa una buona sera!

    still an interesting and fascinating walk through your sails, the glasses are really good there in the Middle!
    passes a good evening!


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