27 Nov 2022

Hambleton’s day trip to Sunderland Glass Centre was our third and final visit of 2022

The Centre opened in 1998 and is a celebration of glassmaking and its history and the retention of skills and techniques.  This National Centre was chosen to be close to where glass making started in Great Britain, at nearby Jarrow Priory, Monkwearmouth which was built in 674 and the remains of which are incorporated into the current St Peters Church.  Here in 690, St Benedict Biscop introduced glass making into Britain, by hiring French glaziers to make the windows for the Priory.

We travelled up the A19 in very heavy rain, glad to have a coach to take the strain.  On arrival we were invited to view the current exhibition of exquisitely delicate glass flowers. Then it was on to live and impressive demonstration of flame working glass objects followed by the art of glass blowing and how colour is added.  An exact number of pages of water-soaked local newspaper were used to hand shape these very hot objects.  A truly awesome display of skills and techniques kept alive and taught in conjunction with the University. Thereafter we toured the well-presented “History of Glass” museum.  A very well hosted and informative visit!

Thereafter it was the very short coach ride to  nearby St Peters Church on the site of the Ancient Priory where it all started.   Apart from the glass connection, this Priory was where the Venerable Bede entered the Church. He then spent his life, writing his prolific works both here and the later twinned monastery at Jarrow.

 Here we took time to absorb the history and look at the impressive large stained-glass window containing some of the oldest glass in the UK, Then. we were had an additional treat. Not one but two of our number, who are highly competent organists gave us an impromptu recital. Ex Chair Helen Proudley began followed by current Committee member Clive Harries who ended our experience with a resounding rendition of several pieces including Bach Fantasia in G Major.

A grand day out indeed and we look forward to our 2023 programme of visits.


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