About Everybody’s Story

MADE received support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for this project to explore the heritage of Chance Brothers Glassworks.

The company was one of the most important industrial employers in the Midlands region, at its height employing 3500 people producing specialist glass at a scale unprecedented in the UK, exporting a wide variety of products, including its famed lighthouse lenses, around the world. The Glassworks, in Smethwick is a building of great historical and cultural significance, these days only a few buildings remain, they are Grade II listed and site is a Scheduled Monument.

This project, delivered from 2015-2017 has acted as an important vehicle to capture and develop interest in Chances whilst producing stand-alone results such as a new website and publication, for the first time telling the story of Chances in an accessible, single account for the many. Through a diverse and creative programme of activities and events the widest possible range of people from the local community and beyond will be able to explore and engage with this fascinating story.

The main outputs of the project:

  • Chances Research Groups – groups of volunteers who will collate and interpret information relating to the company and the site.
  • Lighthouse Links – a programme pairing individuals, groups and schools with lighthouses across the globe and their corresponding communities.
  • Walks, tours and talks – A series of walks exploring the company, the site and the impact it had on the local community, alongside a programme of talks about various aspects of Chances at venues across the Black Country.
  • Workshops and activities – for families.
  • Events – for the general public to find out more about Chances and the project and also events for heritage and built environment professionals.
  • Website – a new website collating existing information and sharing new information uncovered by the research groups.
  • Publication and learning materials – a short publication acting as an introduction to the company and the site alongside a series of resources for schools and local centres.
  • Interpretation policy – for the Glassworks for future use on the site.

About MADE*

MADE is an organisation dedicated to improving the quality of our towns, cities and villages. We believe that a high quality built environment is essential for economic prosperity and wellbeing.

Well-designed places function better, use fewer resources, encourage investment and enterprise, engender social interaction and a sense of community and make people happy, healthy and proud. A high quality built environment is essential to the prosperity of all our cities, towns and villages. In the Midlands there is a lot to be proud of in our historic towns and villages and in some excellent new buildings and public spaces. However, in large parts of our cities and towns we face a legacy of post-industrial dereliction, highway domination, disconnected development, dismal architecture, cluttered and poorly-maintained public space. There is a lot of work to do to put this right.

Our vision for the West Midlands is that our leaders, public sector officers, professionals, developers and residents understand the importance of place and work together to ensure that every change in the built environment contributes positively to creating better places. We want to preserve the best and transform the worst. We want everyone to feel proud of the places where they live, work and play.

To create great places we need to:

  • Consistently raise standards of planning, architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, civil engineering and transport planning.
  • Understand that an appreciation of cultural context and a creative process is essential for making great places.
  • Incorporate an understanding of all aspects of sustainability and the need to address climate change into our design practices.
  • Ensure that citizens can engage in constructive dialogue with design professionals and have a decisive say in the future of their places.
  • Improve the evidence base for the benefits of built environment quality.
  • Encourage debate about design and place and create a clamour for quality places among the public, politicians and the media.

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