The development of the glass industry on the rivers Tyne and Wear, 1700-1900
The subject of this thesis is the development of all branches of the glass manufacturing industry on the rivers Tyne and Wear, including the glass works at Hartley on the Northumberland coast and Seaham Harbour on the Durham coast, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The account of this development is primarily descriptive and is based on separate, chronological accounts of each of the three branches of the glass industry: flat glass, bottles, and flint glass or table-ware. The fortunes of the individual north-east firms are treated in some detail and the thesis also establishes a broad chronology of the growth and decline of the industry within the region. There are two major areas of analysis: firstly, the influence of the region's economic structure on the development of its glass industry; and secondly, the effect of excise taxation, between 1745 and 1845, on the British glass industry as a whole (abrief history of the glass excise with particular reference to the role played by north-east glass manufacturers in shaping its legislation, is included). The main conclusion of the study is that the regional context was a fundamental influence on the growth and decline of the north-east glass industry during this period. During the eighteenth century the glass industry was encouraged by the regionts natural resources, its established Predominance in the London glass trade, and the presence in the region of complementary industrial and commercial activities. As changes in the nature of glass manufacturing rendered these favourable regional conditions less significant so the north-east industry declinedý and its decline can in large part be explained by north-east manufacturers' continued but misplaced confidence in the regionts traditional strengths, and their consequent failure to adapt to the changing circumstances of the industry.