Stained glass window designs saved by funding

An example of a church window design.
An example of a church window design.

Thousands of a Lancaster firm’s designs for stained glass windows which feature in historic buildings throughout the world will be preserved thanks to a grant won by Lancashire County Council’s Archives Service.

The £3,000 cataloguing grant from the Business Archives Service will allow the records of Lancaster-based Abbott and Company, a specialist manufacturer of the colourful windows, to be documented and kept for future generations.

Example of an Abbott and Company glass pub installation.

Example of an Abbott and Company glass pub installation.

The company was founded in 1860 and produced tens of thousands of pieces of both secular and ecclesiastical stained glass, many of which can still be seen in churches, hospitals, town halls, pubs and country houses nationally and internationally.

Thousands of watercolour designs which were used to present an initial design to the client, usually in pen, ink and watercolour, are contained in the collection.

Cutline drawings, which are full size designs used for cutting the glass shapes, day books giving details of the particular job, financial ledgers and business letters are also included. The collection also contains detailed documentation of individual artistic works, vital for the preservation and restoration of windows designed by the company.

For those pieces that didn’t survive, or are in need of repair, the archive often provides the only evidence of what they looked like and how they were made. Many other church, building control, architectural records and photographs, stored at Lancashire Archives and in many other libraries and archives nationally, are linked to this collection.

An example of stained glass in a home.

An example of stained glass in a home.

County Coun Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “It’s fantastic that our New Light through Old Windows project bid has been successful with the Business Archives Council.

“I know that a high standard of applications was received nationally, so we’ve done exceptionally well.

“It is vital that we do all we can to preserve this collection. It provides useful information to anyone interested in the development of stained glass design and manufacture.

“It serves as an important record of a small, specialist and important industry that flourished in Lancaster in the 19th and 20th centuries.

“It is a vital resource for those interested in the history of Lancaster during this period. The work we can now do will contribute towards an understanding of the role of stained glass in the history of domestic and public architecture.”

The project will start on September 1.

The Business Archives Council is a charity which aims to promote the preservation of business records of historical importance and to supply advice and information on both business and modern records. They also encourage interest in the study of business and archives history.

For more information visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/archives, telephone 01772 533039 or email record.office@lancashire.gov.uk.

More information about the Business Archives Council is available at www.businessarchivescouncil.org.uk.