The Lemington Cone

Lemington is situated 5 miles to the west of Newcastle-upon-Tyne city centre. Once a small outlying village it has now been enveloped by the expanding city.

Lemington was already an established coal mining settlement by the early 17th century. The ready access to coal may have encouraged other industries to establish works there. As well as brick & tile works, dye & pigment works, chemical works and the Tyne Iron Works, there was a glass works. [1]

The Lemington Glassworks was opened in 1787 and by the end of the century four large cones had been built to facilitate the making of flat glass. [2]

manufactureofglassGlass: the British plate glass factory, St Helens, Lancashire. Coloured lithograph.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY [3]

Three of the original cones were demolished in 1837 when the Northumberland Glass Company relinquished ownership of the glassworks. [4]

There are records of Joseph Lamb operating the Lemington glassworks between 1833 and 1845.  Then, between 1898 and 1906, they were operated by George Sowerby (cousin of John Sowerby, owner of the Sowerby Ellison works [5]) and his sons.[4]

lemington_glass_works

Lemington Glassworks, Circa 1910.  The large original cone is to the right of the picture. [6]

In 1906 the General Electric Company (GEC) bought the glassworks and converted it for production of glass tubing and lightbulbs.  The glassworks finally closed in 1997 and all buildings except the cone, which had been renovated 4 years earlier[4], were demolished. [2] A social documentary, called Glassworks, about glass production at Lemington, was filmed in 1977 by Amber. [7]

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The Lemington Cone stands 130 feet high and is classified as a Grade II* Listed Building. [8]   It was rumoured to be the largest glass cone ever built, using over 1.5 million bricks in its construction. [5] It is only one of four surviving glass cones in this country.[4]

Lemington Cone is easily accessible should you wish to visit.  The old grounds of the glassworks currently host a Land Rover dealership and, as at February 2019, the cone itself acts as a showroom to Stanegate Stoves. [9] 

If you are travelling by public transport, the number 22 bus service travels from Newcastle City Center to Lemington on a regular schedule.  Although the Glass Cone will be visible in the distance, well before you reach Lemington, the Northumberland Road stop is nearest to the cone. This stop is next to the Asda, which can be seen in the photograph below, to the right of the cone.

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References

[1] Tyne and Wear’s Historic Environment Record

[2] Lost Industries of the Tyne; Alan Morgan, Ken Smith, Tom Yellowly; Tyne Bridge Publishing, 2013; ISBN 978-1-85795-216-2

[3] Wellcome Collection

[4]  Tyne and Wear’s Historic Environment Record : Lemington Cone

[5] The Peacock and the Lions; Sheilagh Murray; Oriel Press, 1982; ISBN 0 85362 197 7

[6] WikiMedia Commons

[7] Amber : Glassworks

[8] Historic England : Lemington Cone

[9] Stanegate Stove : The Cone

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