Huge restoration project to start at the Red House Glass Cone

An 18 month intensive restoration project is set to begin at Wordsley’s historic Red House Glass Cone this week.

Dudley Council is investing £1.5million to cover the cost of the restoration and ongoing maintenance. As a Grade II* listed, scheduled ancient monument, the council has worked with an accredited historic architect and Historic England to secure the appropriate permission to begin the sensitive works.

The authority is bound within these to restore the cone using authentic techniques and materials to remain true to the cone’s history. Work will include internal and external repointing of the entire structure from top to bottom with authentic lime mortar.

Vegetation sprouting from the cone will be carefully removed on a phased basis. Bricks surrounding each growth will be removed, the vegetation and root growth removed before the bricks are replaced and re-mortared.

There will also be new drainage around the building and access to the tunnels will be opened up. Inside the cone the internal gantry and lift will be removed to create a more open accessible space. A new lift will be put in place by the visitor centre to allow wheelchair access to the upper level where a viewing platform will allow people to see into the cone and hot glass studio.

The hot glass studio itself will be shielded during the works, allowing it to be safely reopened to the public while the work is ongoing. The studio will be updated with an eco-friendlier kiln and the whole unit will be made more visitor friendly.

It will also be accessible from the interior of the cone once all works are complete. Councillor Paul Bradley, deputy leader, said:

"We know that people feel very passionately about the cone as it’s such an iconic part of the skyline and is a striking backdrop to people’s everyday lives as they walk to school, take the dog for a walk or just stroll along the canal. We’re so pleased to be delivering this ambitious project and restore the cone to its former glory.

"People will see fencing and scaffolding going up over the coming weeks and months but we are very much still open for business and hope to see lots of children and families heading our way over the summer break."

The shop, visitor centre, coffee house and craft studios will all remain open throughout the works. Entrance to the cone is free.

The Red House Glass Cone is 100 feet high and 60 feet wide at its base. It operated for more than 150 years. It was built in the period 1788-1794 and is only one of four surviving glass cones in the UK, and of these is the best preserved.


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