Sunderland, where I was born, has a glass making history which can be traced back to 674 AD when the monastery in Monkwearmouth brought craftsmen in from France to create England’s first stained glass window in the small Anglo-Saxon church of St Peter.  Glass remained a key industry in the town for over 1300 years, until the Corning factory (where Pyrex was made) closed.

Glass making in Venice wasn’t documented until three hundred years later, but in response to a ban on furnaces within the city because of the fire risk they created, glassmaking was moved out to the island of Murano.  Some believe that this was actually a means of preserving the trade secrets of Venetian glass manufacture, but whatever the reasoning the move allowed the cross fertilisation of ideas and techniques that allowed the industry to flourish.

Murano glass continues to be some of the finest in the world, though for the less discerning tourist who feels they must own some Venetian glass there are plenty willing to supply wares of a lesser standard.



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