Sunday, 17 January 2010

Chances would be a fine thing

The former Chances Brothers glassworks in Smethwick (discussed earlier here) has been in the news again.
In August, the Express & Star reported that the current owner of the property, Anthony Copeland, a developer, suggested that the Grade II listed building would not now be converted into appartments as planned but the site would be used for a new-build business hotel.

Although a new build hotel would most likely be of the brick-and-gable-roof style of building so much loved by ring-road hotel architects in recent years, it would at least protect the remaining structures from being altered drastically. That might save them until some time when more appropriate and sympathetic conversion or adaptation might be feasible. However, the Express & Star also reported that the developer had been working closely with English Heritage and been very taken by the heritage of the site - good news indeed.

And this week, the Express & Star reports (not available in online version) that the task of archiving Chance Brothers history is now well under way. Sandwell archivist, Laura Brett, is part way through the mammoth task. The company gifted more than 1,000 cubic feet of archives to Pilkingtons who bought them, and around one third is expected to have been catalogued by this summer. Laura reports "there are many amazing things amongst the archives".

Laura will give a talk on these archives this coming Thursday at Smethwick Library at 2.30pm. Undoubtedly well worth going! However, you can also get a good feel for what is going on from Laura's Chance Archives blog.

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