Haden glassmakers

Three branches of the Haden family were involved in British glassmaking:

The Hadens of Wordsley (in the Stourbridge glassmaking district) had been glass-cutters since at least the 1820s. In 1859 William Hamlet Haden (1821-1866) entered into a business partnership named “Parrish, Lowe & Haden” in New Street, Wordsley, where they cut and engraved fine lead-crystal glassware. His son George Joseph Haden (1851-1903) moved to Birmingham in about 1872 where he worked as a glass-cutter until he was able to fully establish himself as a bicycle maker.

James Speed of Scotland (1834-1908) was a flint glassmaker who was born near Glasgow. He worked in Edinburgh and Bathgate as a skilled artisan making fine lead-crystal glass until he moved to Dudley,  part of the famous Stourbridge glassmaking district, about 1872. The reasons for his move south can only be guessed for now, but it is possible that he had been invited to develop his skill in making window glass at nearby Chance Brothers factory  before going to take up a post abroad. Japan wanted to introduce western glassmaking skills into the country and a group of Japanese officials visited Chance Brothers’ factory in 1872 to discuss how this could be done. From 1879 to 1883 Speed worked at the innovative glassworks at Shinagawa, Tokyo, training many Japanese apprentices in sheet and flint glassmaking. Chance Brothers may have agreed to show him the latest sheet glass techniques before he went to Japan. After his return to England in about 1883, he is known to have worked as a glassmaker and glassworks manager in Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Joseph Patrick Lawley (abt. 1844-1916) was born in Queens Co. (now Co. Laois), Ireland and emigrated to Britain following the Irish Potato Famine. He settled in Birmingham where he was a chandelier-maker and publican until he established a prosperous coal merchant business in the city, J.P. Lawley Ltd.

Glass and bicycles, the twin industrial heritage of the Haden family