The other day I decided to continue my exploration of the industrial heritage of Northern England and after a quick “Google” and follow research I came up with the World of Glass Museum at St Helens in Lancashire (it says Merseyside but try telling that to a St Helens resident!). A 45 minute drive and I was entering the free car park at the side of the museum and then entered through the huge conical building at the front.
The museum has two great galleries to explore:-
Glass Roots Gallery – explains the history of glass with artefacts dating back to Ancient Egypt from 3000 years BC. With Glass from all around the world across many centuries, you can see how glass has played a very important part in our everyday life
Earth into Light Gallery – tells the story of what made St. Helens great from its humble beginnings to its rise a world leader in Glass making. But St. Helens isn’t only Glass, there was a thriving coal community. Plus you can find out what the connection is between a cold remedy and classical music.
Ever wondered what life was like in a Victorian town? Step into St Helens past and relive life in the town in the last century.
The highlight of any visit however, is the glass blowing / shaping demonstration which is simply astonishing in terms of skill and craftsmanship. To see the blower start with a blob of molten glass and then through a process of shaping, immersing in the furnace several times and handling the molten glass is impressive to say the least, the final result is a bowl of beauty and I am still trying to work out how he shaped the edges into a waive like shape. I sat mesmerised for the best part of 40 minutes and the only thing I could think to say on leaving was “wow”. I will be returning to see further demonstrations.
The museum sits at the side of the old Sankey Canal and believe it or not, has its own little vineyard outside the café (soup and sandwich excellent value), you can even sit out in the good weather (not often you can say that in St Helens!).
You need two to three hours to get the most out of a visit and at the moment you pay for admission and then get free admission for as many visits as you want in the next twelve months, which is staggeringly good value.
I would strongly recommend a visit to the museum but try and ensure that you visit on a glass blowing demonstration day and you will be nothing less than extremely impressed.
Below are some of the photographs I tool in less than ideal conditions and with a subject constantly on the move, hence the less than brilliant quality of the photographs.
Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2018