St Helen’s History Discussion Group

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Cannington Shaw, in Ravenhead, St Helens, at the end of the 19th Century, was the largest glass bottle making factory in the world, exporting all over the world. This year it has made the Victorian Society’s National Top Ten Listing of buildings most at risk. English Heritage class it as an Ancient Monument because of its historical importance.

Four years ago ‘The Friends of Cannington Shaw’ evolved, and this year they formed an arts sub group to give fresh ways of telling the stories of glass bottles and Cannington Shaw bottles (which have wound up in the Australian Outback and even some Ghost Towns in the Wild West).

When does history record the first message in a bottle? Why were the skills and technology required to make glass closely guarded by the Romans? Why did  Queen Elizabeth 1 create an official position of “Uncorker of Ocean Bottles”, and decree that anyone else opening the bottles could face the death penalty?

How can these and other tales be refreshed and reinvigorated by the arts?

Call Chris Coffey on 01744 817130, or email if you are interested in joining the discussion.

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HOP Network Coordinator

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