The time period covered by this report, is from August 1st 2009, through to 31st July 2010; this is the period of our financial year and is the reporting period required by the Charities Commission. To comply with the Charity Act 2006 and Charity Commission Guidance this report must contain a review of the significant or main activities undertaken by the Association to further the charitable purposes for the public benefit. (see cover page). During our committee meetings and email communications the trustees are always mindful that activities will comply with the Charity Commission Guidance on public benefit.
The future of the internationally important glass collections and archives held at Broadfield House, Himley Hall and the library at Coseley, have been on hold for the year, allowing us to enjoy our glass interests; the research and collecting, the meetings, travelling and reading, without the spectre of the immediate closure of the major museum of glass in the country.
The Leader of Dudley Metropolitan borough Council, Anne Millward, voiced her vision last year, “....to have a world glass centre complete with disabled access – not some pet project”.
Your committee, on behalf of the membership, have been part of the continuous pressure from the glass community, especially locally, to have reached the point, in spite of misgivings, where Dudley MBC seem to have accepted the vital importance of the glass heritage to the area and have agreed to work with the glass community to establish a museum attraction worthy of world status.
Last year, I said that “To locate premises and to fund a museum building and fund its ongoing annual administration is a big remit. The hard work really starts now.” Two projects have come out of all the discussions held through last year, both to allow the realisation of the aims of the glass community in the country to keep in touch with each other and to speak with one voice in matters concerning glass. One is the Glass Forum, proposed by the Contemporary Glass Society (CGS); a gathering of voices from many areas of the glass world, especially concerned with glass now and its future direction; our members Alison Hopkins and Bob Wilcock attend their meetings on our behalf; the other is the British Glass Foundation (BGF), who have a particular remit on the Broadfield House collections. Although the plans commenced in our reporting year, the BGF will be fully launched, this November 24th. Our member Maurice Wimpory has been attending meetings and Charles Hajdamach our previous chairman and prospective new president will be on the Committee. With our input into both groups, we are endeavouring to preserve the future of contemporary glass and our glass heritage for our membership.
A great debt of thanks is due to Maurice & Pauline Wimpory who, in addition to their roles as Treasurer and Membership Secretary, have continued their role of mounting our table displays at the specialist glass fairs; representing us at both National Fairs (May and November) at The Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham and the two Cambridge Fairs, (February and September), at Linton Hall. They also attended on our behalf, the new glass fair, “Reflect”, at Kensington Town Hall, London, in June.
We started our year’s events with one of Gaby Marcon’s “special” overseas trips. This time, just over thirty members travelled together in Ireland, from 10th to 15th September, taking in the North and the Republic. We sped off on day one to the new Ulster Museum in Belfast and then spent a memorable evening at the family home of Lord Dunleath. The next day was spent in various artists studios and discovering Belfast. On day three we drove down to the Republic, where we firstly enjoyed the Guinness experience, then were entertained at the National Museum of Ireland and given access to the glass in store. Over the next few days, with wonderfully sunny weather, we enjoyed other glass artist’s studios, experienced Dublin and a privileged visit to The Provost House, a drive south to Jerpoint and spent an evening with the Irish Glass Society. Many of us spent the last morning at Trinity College before the afternoon flight home. Our experience was enhanced by all the contacts with members of the Irish glass fraternity (full report in The Glass Cone. 89).
The year continued with a northern group meeting at Worsley, on 17th October, where, at a well attended meeting, Jackie Fairburn delivered her address on the glass of Greener & Jobling. Peter Beebe completed the meeting, with a talk on silver spoons.
Following our AGM days at Manchester City Art Gallery and then at The Wallace Collection in London, especially taking in all of the problems that had beset Broadfield House, we celebrated our 2009 AGM on 24th October in Stourbridge, at The Bonded Warehouse and then moved on to The Broadfield House Museum to view the exhibition on 20th Century British Glass. Just under seventy members gathered to listen to the presentations. Charles Hajdamach opened proceedings with an intimate view on 20th Century British Glass, he then introduced his new book on the topic, a publication which has rapidly become the standard textbook on the subject. Charles was ably followed by Richard Giles, a specialist collector of paperweights, concentrating on the weights of the 20th century. After a hearty lunch, Stephen Pollock-Hill of Nazeing glass gave us the fruits of his research in to the demise of the British Glass Industry through the 20th century. The venue, the lunch, the presentations and the chance to meet old friends and make new ones, made this a special day (all about Broadfield House in The Cone. 88).
A meeting in the south came early in 2010. We visited the Chelmsford Museum, with its newly opened extension, to view the Tunstill Collection of 18th Century glass. The viewing was made special, as Anne Lutyens-Humphrey opened the cabinets and allowed us supervised handling of the glass (report in The Glass Cone. 91).
The south west, convened by Valerie Humphreys, introduced a new speaker for the Glass Association, our member Geoff Lawson. The meeting, held again at the Clevedon church hall on 24th April, had Geoff give a presentation on the development of Swedish Art glass production in the 20th century and through designers, some of the connections with Italian glass; this was followed by Maurice Wimpory’s new lecture on American glass.
The northern group were next on the Agenda on 15th May, with another new speaker from our membership. Brian Slingsby, the Technical Manager when the Whitefriars Factory closed, gave of his knowledge on “Whitefriars Between the Wars”, using a silent film on Whitefriars production techniques, to provide illustration. Maurice Wimpory followed with his talk on American glass “Tiffany, Steuben, Hawkes and Evans”.
On 19th June, Valerie Humphreys had organised with Pearl Hudson, a GA visit in the south west, to her late husband Frank’s exhibition in Frome, Somerset. A great character, who had attended many of our events, Frank was also an innovative glass artist with boundless imagination. Some of his pieces have since been on view at Broadfield House Museum (an appreciation in The Glass Cone. 92).
The last main event of the year was on 17th July. With the Sunderland Museum and the National Glass Centre, Bob Wilcock was instrumental in organising a day’s events, centred around presentations by Jackie Fairburn and Maurice Wimpory. This highly successful meeting was accompanied by a Special Issue of the Glass Cone “A Guide to Glass in Sunderland” (The Glass Cone. 91). A report of the event appears in The Glass Cone. 92.
A very full year, giving the chance to all of our members, spread around the country, to attend a “special glass event”. Repeating my footnote from last year, talking about the meetings; “....with an organization, it’s the response of the members that determines its success. The committee can only plan. Thank you to all of our membership for your involvement.”
Recognising that our membership see a lot of the value of their belonging to the GA , by the number and quality of our publications, we have kept to the formula of four issues of our magazine, The Cone, each year. During this year we have published editions 89 through 92. Still in full colour and under the editorship of Bob Wilcock, we had two specialist review issues, one on the Glass in Sunderland, to accompany our meeting their in July, the other on the stained glass artist, Harry Clarke.
With content ranging from the ancient through to current studio glass, stopping often at the 18th Century, we have endeavoured to cater for all areas of collecting. As ever, we welcome new contributors to The Cone from amongst our membership; this year Julie Berk gave us a novel article on hyacinth vases.
You don’t have to be a professional writer – if you have an idea, have a go and write it down; the committee and the editor will always help you out.
Due to commitments for the London 2012 Olympics, our Editor is having to resign his position, at least until after the games. He will stay as an advisor, but it does mean we need a new editor. If you think that it’s your turn; if you’ve said to yourself when you read The Cone, “I could do that”, then get in touch with any of the committee, we need to hear from you.
Our triennial publication, The Journal of The Glass Association, volume 9, has been unfortunately slightly delayed, but we are now looking to publish the main volume in time for Christmas, and the accompanying volume, a major work on The Garton Collection, held at the Museum of London, early in the New Year.
As promised, the website has been under revue. Julie Berk has introduced the concept of using a membership section on our website, using a different, online “open” programme called Drupal. This would allow discussions, questions and blogging amongst members; the posting of images would give access to the whole membership to view different types of glass and just a few images each from members could build a record of our events both in UK and abroad. We now think that it would be best to run this from within our present website, which will still be needed for “headline” information to go out to members and non-members alike. The Drupal section is still in its infancy and needs the members’ participation for it to work.
David Hier has improved the functionality of the main website and given a direct link to the Drupal section. We have created two Picture Galleries following up articles in The Cone. The Peter Adamson Large Goblets, with photos from Peter Adamson and The Whitefriars Cloudy White Lattice Glass, with photos from Brian Clarke. Brian’s articles also accompany these galleries. We hope you enjoy them and the added functionality over the printed page that digital images allow. If you have ideas for future galleries, please pass them on to the committee. In the pipeline is an article and the images from the Blackwell exhibition in July 2009, on Whitefriars: “Arts & Craft Glass-makers ‘’. The exhibition featured glass made by James Powell & Sons of Whitefriars between about 1850 & 1920.
All we ask, is that you go “online” to our website to see how the site works and give us your feedback.
Our four annual committee meetings have been successfully continued and apart from one, have been held at The Art Workers Guild in Bloomsbury. Booking a year ahead allows us a keener price for the room hire, so we are already booked ahead for the coming year. Using email ensures that the committee is “connected” with progress on decisions at all times and not just at meeting times. This is working well, cementing the cohesion between the committee members.
Everyone on the committee has now settled down in their roles; all members having put in many hours of their free time, able and willing to work hard and get on with their tasks. We have a team that come up with ideas, support each other, and see the ideas into fruition.
Janet Sergison, who has been representing the South and South-East for many years, is now standing down. I wish to formally thank her on behalf of the whole of the Glass Association, for all her years of efficient and charming service.
This does mean that we need a new rep for the south. Additionally, we still have a vacancy for a representative for the north-east. Please don’t wait to be asked – do come forward.
I’m delighted to be able to say that Jackie is still making progress on her recovery from illness and was able to be a central part of the team presenting the meeting at Sunderland earlier this year.
Without exception, the Committee have “been there” when needed, with advice and solutions to problems. I need to thank Paul Bishop, who took over the mantle as Vice Chairman. He has given me solid back-up and was always available to give of his experience.
Our manner of communication with you, our membership, is a pointer to the continuing success of the GA. If the committee can’t communicate with you and if you, the members, can’t easily communicate with each other, we might as well not exist. We have our main publications, The Glass Cone and The Journal and are now updating our website, to try and make this a two way communication channel, with easier and quicker access to information. Additionally, all of you for whom we have email addresses, will now have had a number of emails from us. We need to increase this both for speed of use and reducing the cost of postage.
If you haven’t had an email from us, we haven’t your email address noted on your membership record – please make sure you inform our membership secretary of your email address . (email@example.com)
The committee offer their time to provide an interesting programme for the year. We hope that we are fulfilling the Association’s aims to provide a variety of educational events and articles in our publications, enthusing old and new collectors, and in the process, enjoying the glass and the friendships.
An outline national programme has been prepared for 2011.
There will additionally be local meetings, especially in the very strong north area.
Here is to another fascinating year.
Brian Clarke (Glass Association Chairman)