Jan 19 2013

Cannington Shaw Glass Works

The towns (St Helens) pre-eminence as a glass making centre was further emphasised by the rapid development of local bottle making. This branch of the industry started to expand rapidly about 1870 and in the following 30 years the three firms at St Helens made great progress. By 1889 Cannington, Shaw and Company were employing 870 people at their Sherdley Glass Works, Nuttall and Co. at Ravenhead, 450, and Lyon Brothers of the Peasley Glass Works about 200 (ref source 1) Lyon Brothers became a limited company in 1886 with a share capital of £60,000 (ref source 2) They attempted to reduce the wages in the following year by introducing foreign workmen whom they brought over specially from Sweden. The arrival of the Swedes was the signal for a strike of the local bottle makers and within a fortnight the foreign contingent was on its way home again, its repatriation having been financed by the bottle makers union (ref source 3) Lyon Brothers Ltd showed a loss of £200 on this year’s working and the deficit grew to £2,600 in 1888 (ref source 4) In October, 1890, the Lyons finally admitted defeat and went out of business, their Peasley Glass works being purchased by Cannington, Shaw and Company (ref source 5) In 1892, when Cannington, Shaw acquired limited liability with a share capital of £250,000 (ref source 6) they were employing 1,188 men and women (ref source 7) it was described later in the same year as the largest works of its kind in the world (ref source 8)

Although bottle making machinery had already by the end of the 1880′s reached the stage when it could be used commercially, the Lancashire bottle makers resolutely refused to countenance it’s introduction into their district. When in 1897 Cannington, Shaw and Co finally decided to install machinery at Sherdley, the union at first forbad its members to work in the factory. But it was a little late in the day for such demonstrations. Negotiations followed, and three months afterwards the union agreed to the introduction of bottle making machines “so long as they are not injurious to us as workmen” (ref source 9) This new machinery caused the proprietor of a local engineering firm to enter the bottle industry. John Foster, who had served his apprenticeship at Robinson and Cook’s and had been in business on his own account as iron founder and engineer first at Grove Street and then in Atlas Street, obtained the British rights for a semi – automatic bottle making machine. The bottle manufacturers, however, were very reluctant to use it, so Foster, rather than admit defeat, erected one in part of his works. The venture proved a great success, so much so, in fact, that he was later able to take over the vacant Union Plate glass works nearby for bottle making purposes.


Reference Sources…

A Merseyside Town 1870 – 1900.

1. St Helens Lantern 15,22 March 1889.
2. St Helen N 23 Jan 1886.
3. The Lancashire Glass Bottle Trade, St Helen Lantern 3 February 1887.
4. St Helens Lantern 31 October 1890.
5. The Lancashire Glass Bottle Trade.
6. Chem Trade Journal 13 February 1892.
7. Royal Commission on Labour Group C 1892
8. Chem Trade Journal 12 March 1892.
9. The Lancashire Glass Bottle Trade.


Ref Source London Gazette 27th May 1913

The Companies (Consolidation) Act 1908
Cannington, Shaw And Company Limited.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the above named Company, duly convened, and held at Sherdley Glass Works, St Helens, on the 2nd day of May 1913, the following Special Resolution was duly passed ; and at a subsequent Extraordinary General Meeting of the said Company, also duly convened and held at the same address, on the 19th day of May, 1913, the following Special Resolution was duly confirmed, namely :–

“That for the purpose of reconstitution the Company be wound up voluntarily, and that John Schofield Cannington, of Exchange Chamber, Liverpool, a director of the Company, be and he is hereby appointed Liquidator for the purposes of such winding up”

Dated this 21st day of May, 1913.
J.S Cannington, Chairman.


Ref Source London Gazette

Nuttall And Co (St Helens) Limited.

On account of the recent amalgamation and for the purpose of reconstitution it has been resolved that Nuttall and Co. (St Helens) Limited be wound up.

Notice is hereby given, pursuant to section 188 of the Companies (Consolidation) Act 1908, that a Meeting of the creditors of Nuttall and Co (St Helens) Limited will be held at the offices of the Company, St Helens, on Thursday, the 26th day of June, 1913, at 11 o’clock in the forenoon, for the purposes provided for the said section.

Dated the 14th day of June, 1913.
Fred W. Marsh, Liquidator.


Other Notes.

Cannington, Shaw & Company Limited joined together in 1913 with Nuttall & Company, Alfred Alexander & Company and Robert Cavendish & Son, to form The United Glass Bottle Manufacturers – U.G.B.

Comments are closed.