Edward Moore, Tyne Flint Glass Works, South Shields

In 1836 Ann Moore gave birth to her first son, whom she named Edward.  Her husband, Peter, worked in the Office of Customs and provided a home for the family in the parish of All Saints, Newcastle Upon Tyne. 1

By the age of 15 the family had relocated to Gateshead and Edward was working as a clerk in one of the local glass manufactuaries,2  Sowerby’s Ellison Glass Works on East Street.  According to Sheilagh Murray he was reputed to be “courteous, hard-working and a real gentleman”.3

In 1860 Edward Moore acquired the Shortridge, Sawyer & Co glass house at West Holborn, South Shields.4  He purchased the adjoining Old Hall of the Burdon family, demolished them both and built the Tyne Flint Glass Works on the combined site. 5

The next ten years proved to be a busy time for Edward.  He was married to Barbara Ann Swann in February 1861, and their first daughter, Alice Mary, was born a year later.  At the same time, his business was thriving and his products were being noticed.  In 1861 he registered his first two designs. 6,7 The following year, during the International Exhibition at Crystal Palace, it was noted that his products were “marvellously cheap and technically excellent”, although they also received some criticism for imitating cut glass. 4 By the end of 1865 he was employing over 200 people and had three furnaces working.4,6 His highest accolade was achieved at the end of this decade, when he was awarded a silver medal at the Netherlands International Exhibition of Domestic Economy in 1869.4,6

Edward Moores entry from the 1862 International Exhibition Catalogue

This award appears to have had a beneficial effect on his business, as by April 1871 he is reported to have been employing 529 people.8  Unfortunately tragedy struck his home life, his wife Barbara had given birth to little girl at the beginning of the year9 but Maria died when she was only a few months old.10  Despite this, Edward Moore was chosen as Mayor in June 187115, a position he was then elected to in the municipal elections during November11.  He held the position for a further year after which he became a magistrate (April 1873).  Mr. Edward Moore J.P. was known for his views, considered strange at the time, which regarded the purpose of the Bench to help people better themselves, rather than inflicting punishment. He was known to be a lenient man.15

Westoe.  Where Edward Moore lived with his wife and young family.

Edward became a father again in 1875.  This time his wife, Ann, gave birth to a boy whom they named Henry.12 Little is heard from Edward Moore over the next four years, until the 1879 Sydney International Exhibition.  This didn’t go quite as hoped with criticism being received on the quality of the glass.  It is believed that this inspired Edward to work on the recipes he used for his glass, seeking to produce a higher quality product.4

By 1881, the business had started to slump due to the depression.  The unions were accusing the company of incompetence in organising the works, whilst the company felt the union’s stance on restrictive output was the root cause of the problem. Notice had been given to forty workers and the glass works was left employing little over 200 people again.4,7  Then a disaster occurred.  On 28th August 1881 the largest cone collapsed.  Thankfully, despite people working at the time, there were no injuries.4,6,7

ChimneyCrash PG18810901p56
Pottery Gazette clipping, September 1881.

The cone was rebuilt and business started to improve.  By October 1882 business was booming again, the glass works were operating full-time and two of the furnaces were ready to be relit.4,6,7. It was Edward Moore’s glass-makers who made the most impact at the 1884 Reform Demonstration, in South Shields, as it was surmised that he had provided them with an unlimited supply of material to make glass objects to carry through the parade. Every workman carried an item, such as a candlestick, globe or epergne.19

At this point Edward Moore & Co. started regularly registering new designs for patterns and shapes.  They were producing tableware, such as bowls, jugs and tumblers plus gas shades.6  Applications were made for two patents in 1887, both for glass recipes for new colours.  The colours were opaque; one green, the other topaz.  Edward Moore named the opaque green colour “Eau de Nil”.  However, the opaque topaz, which is more commonly referred to as caramel, was not specifically named by its creator.4

Supplemental pages were issued in the December 1888 Pottery Gazette.  A letter detailing the purchase of moulds from the estate of Joseph Webb of Stourbridge was followed by seven pages of patterns.  The subsequent year saw six more designs being registered.6


A couple of years later, the glass works was hit by a calamitous event.  On Saturday 4th July 1891, a fire broke out at approximately 10pm.  The fire was not fully extinguished until 3:30am on the Sunday morning.  The fire raged for five and a half hours, completely gutting the factory, so that only the five brick cones remained.  The damage was estimated at £45,000 and resulted in 400 redundant employees.4,6,7  It took eleven months for the factory to be rebuilt and production to recommence.4

Edward Moore suffered from a stroke in January 1900, something he never fully recovered from.  On Friday the 4th of May, Edward Moore died at his home; 10 Wellington Terrace, South Shields. The given cause was disease of the heart.  His funeral took place on the 8th of May 1900 and was attended by several respected figures in the glass making industry including; Mr J. A. Jobling, Mr J. Sowerby, Mr A. Dodds and Mr T. Davidson.   He was interred at Harton Cemetery.15

The following year, on 22nd July, a marble memorial tablet was unveiled in the Wesleyan Methodist Church on Chapter Row.  The wording on the tablet read

In memory of Edward Moore, J.P., Mayor of South Shields, 1871 and 1872, who died on May 4th, 1900.

This tablet is erected to commemorate his long and faithful services in the South Shields circuit.

‘They rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.’ 16 

Shields Daily News

His widow, Barbara, and son, Henry, continued to operate the glassworks4,13 until May 1913, when the company ceased trading.14, 17  The majority of moulds were bought by George Davidson & Co, at the Teams Glass Works,3,4 with others being sold at auction.  Adam Dodds from Sowerby’s Ellison Works bought many of the auctioned moulds3, as did Jules Lang from London18. In the 1920’s, several local businessmen came together to re-open the Tyne Flint Glass Works.  However the venture failed, due to the economic depression, and the glass works finally closed its doors.5

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  1. 1841 England Census; Class: HO107; Piece: 845; Book: 8; Civil Parish: All Saints; County: Northumberland; Enumeration District: 17; Folio: 33; Page: 13; Line: 20; GSU roll: 438897
  2. 1851 England Census; Class: HO107; Piece: 2402; Folio: 120; Page: 19; GSU roll: 87080
  3. The Peacock & The Lions by Sheilagh Murray; ISBN 0 85362 197 7
  4. English Pressed Glass 1830-1900 by Raymond Slack; ISBN 0 7126 1871 6
  5. The Rise and Fall of the Glass Industry in South Shields by E.L.Thornborrow B.A.; South Shields Archaeological and Historical Society; Papers Volume II, Number 4; August 1968
  6. The Identification of English Pressed Glass by Jenny Thompson; ISBN 0 9515491 0 3
  7. English 19th-Century Press-Moulded Glass by Colin R. Lattimore; ISBN 0 214 20598 3
  8. 1871 England Census; Class: RG10; Piece: 5032; Folio: 107; Page: 46; GSU roll: 848493
  9. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915;
    Maria Vasey Moore; Registration Year 1871; Registration Quarter Jan-Feb-Mar; Registration district South Shields; Parishes for this Registration District South Shields; Inferred County Durham; Volume 10a; Page 700
  10. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915;
    Maria Vasey Moore; Estimated Birth Year abt 1871; Registration Year 1871; Registration Quarter Jul-Aug-Sep; Age at Death 0; Registration district South Shields; Parishes for this Registration District South Shields; Inferred County Durham; Volume 10a; Page 494
  11. The Sun & Central Press; London, 9th November 1871, p.7
  12. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915;
    Henry Moore; Registration Year 1875; Registration Quarter Jul-Aug-Sep; Registration district South Shields; Parishes for this Registration District South Shields; Inferred County Durham; Volume 10a; Page 785
  13. The Pottery Gazette Diary & Trade Directory 1913; Scott, Greenwood & Son; London; October 1912
  14. Shields Gazette; Wednesday 20th May, 1913
  15. Shields Daily News; 5th May, 1900
  16. Shields Daily News; 23rd July, 1901
  17. The London Gazette; 2nd May 1913. Pg 3191
  18. Pressed Flint Glass by Raymond Notley; ISBN 0 85263 782 9
  19. Shields Gazette; 5th October 1884


  1. Really interesting my great grandfather worked for Moore’s glassworks and I have a few items he made. They include an intricate tiny cream jug and commemorative glass plates.
    He was William Tulip from South Shields.


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