This film is part of Free

The Romance of Glassmaking

Excellent footage from inside a famous London glass-making factory in Wealdstone, showing the manufacturing process and the workers.

1933 37 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for London's Screen Archives


This grainy 30-minute film shows the workings of James Powell And Sons’ Whitefriars glass manufacturers, based in Wealdstone from 1923 to 1980. Much of the focus is on the glass making process, but we also meet the workers and see something of the factory. The company, who were previously based in Fleet Street and associated with the Victorian Arts & Crafts Movement, had originally planned to surround the factory with a village for workers, but this proved too expensive.

Whitefriars was one of London’s best known manufacturers, producing high quality material and were particularly famed for their 19th century stained glass windows. Some of their more beautiful creations are shown at the end of the film. The company continued to produce highly valued glassware into the 1950s and 1960s before business slowed and the factory closed down in 1980. The factory was subsequently demolished. This film is a careful study of the glass-making process, showing how the equipment is prepared and the glass blown and shaped.