History of William Webb, Jr. & Edward Webb
William Webb, Jr. was born in 1801 and was the son of William Webb, Sr. and his wife Mary nee Hancox. His younger brother, Edward Webb was born in 1810.
Holloway End Glasshouse – (Edward Webb & Joseph Webb - cousins, 1844 to 1853)
Holloway End Glasshouse (existed) was established by 1639 and possibly as early as 1623. Prior to the Webb brothers, the operators of Holloway End Glasshouse were Thomas Littlewood and John Berry under the firm name of Littlewood & Berry. Littlewood retired from the firm in 1833 and died in 1844 at the age of 75. In 1843, the glass trade was extremely depressed. Littlewood and Berry took extreme or drastic measures to save the business. They were accused of an attempt to evade the excise duty then in place on glass. The penalty they received was to be banned from participating in any trade upon which a duty was payable.
On September 29, 1844, Edward Webb, the younger brother, formed a partnership (E. & J. Webb) with his cousin Joseph Webb and took over operations of Holloway End Glasshouse, Amblecote. Both Edward Webb and Joseph Webb were cousins to Thomas Webb, who at that time operated the Platts Glassworks. Edward had previously been a farmer and his cousin Joseph had worked as a packer for the firm of Webb and Richardson at Wordsley Flint Glassworks. In 1841, Joseph had also worked as a clerk for his cousin Thomas Webb at the Platts Glassworks. At the inception of the partnership, it was agreed that Joseph would make the metal and Edward would handle the commercial or business activities.
At the time the Webbs took over the operation of Holloway End Glasshouse, trade unions were just beginning to establish themselves in the glass trade. Obviously, there was significant antagonism between employer and employee at this time. Labor relations were strained for every glasshouse. In October 1850, Joseph and Edward Webb dissolved their partnership. Edward’s interest in milling was causing some disagreement between him and his cousin Joseph. Joseph left to take on Coalbournhill Glassworks, which was vacated by Joseph Steven. This left Edward Webb in sole control of Holloway End Glassworks. In 1853, Edward Webb left Holloway End Glassworks. The glassworks operation was taken over by William Richardson and Elijah Smith under the firm name of W.H., B & J. Richardson at the Wordsley Flint Glassworks.
White House Glassworks – (Webb Brothers, 1852 to 1897)
In June 1848, William Haden, Benjamin and Jonathan Richardson, owners of White House Glassworks, ran into financial difficulty. They were in debit for £4,450. To raise money they mortgaged the glassworks to William Webb, Jr. for £3,000. On February 14, 1852, W.H., B. & J. Richardson were declared insolvent. William, seeing an opportunity, asked his younger brother Edward Webb to leave the Holloway End Glasshouse and join him in a partnership in White House Glassworks. Edward Webb and his cousin Joseph Webb were running Holloway End Glasshouse at this time. Edward Webb was becoming more interested in milling than in glassmaking and at White House he had the benefit of two businesses side by side. William Webb, Jr. conveyed the Richardson mortgage(r) on White House to his brother Edward and William Blow Collis. He then purchased the unmortgaged portion of the glassworks from Henry Edmunds, the assignee of the Richardson estate for £4,680.
William Webb, Jr. died in 1866 at the age of 65. At that time, he was no longer active in glass manufacturing; instead, he ran a business as a miller with his brother Edward Webb. He left his estate to his brother, nephews and nieces. His nephew, William Webb Boulton of Audnam Glassworks (Boulton & Mills), was named one of his executors but revoked his executorship. It appears he had a “falling out” with his nephew. Boulton blamed William for the breakup of Holloway End partnership between Edward and Joseph Webb when William worked there.
After William’s death, Edward Webb brought his two sons, William George and Edward, Jr. into the business. The firm then traded as Edward Webb and Sons. They exhibited at the Wolverhampton Exhibition in 1869 and received accolades. We know from these records, that Edward Webb and Sons produced “details and decorations, whether engraved, cut, or blown on given evidence of the most perfect mastery over the material, and distinct perception of the best art qualities, as well as top in the master of decorations, always a most difficult point to attain.” Another statement said: “It is needless to remark on the quality of the metal or its purity of color, since in this respect it is all that can be desired.”
Edward Webb, Sr. died in 1872 and was described as a glass manufacturer, farmer, miller, seed and hop merchant carrying on business in a co-partnership with his two sons, William George Webb and Edward Webb, Jr. Edward Sr. left his portion of the ownership of White House Glassworks in trust for the benefit of the children and grandchildren of his daughters. The operation of the business was carried on by his younger son Edward Webb, Jr. His older son William George Webb pursued a military career. William George rose to the rank of Colonel and later was appointed as a Member of Parliament between the years of 1900 to 1905.
In 1876, the business was described as Edward Webb–flint and colored glass manufacturer and sole patentee of the improved process of printing on glass. In 1881, Edward Webb, Jr. described his occupation as a seed merchant.
Arthur John Nash was the Works Manager for Edward Webb, Jr. Nash was responsible for many of the new designs created at White House Glassworks. In 1882, Nash patented Vasa Murrhina glassware. This was not a new style, since a similar patent had been secured by William Webb Boulton (Boulton & Mills) of Audnam Glassworks in 1879. In 1883, the firm of Edward Webb advertised the use of gold or silver foil between two layers of glass called Oroide and Argentine, respectively. Nash was responsible for both designs. In 1883, Worcester Ivory Glass was introduced. This glass imitated Worcester porcelain. In 1885, Edward Webb introduced Dresden Cameo to imitate Dresden porcelain. By 1888, the Webb brothers Edward and William George were extremely wealthy and influential. In addition, they were both Justices of the Peace.
In 1887, Arthur John Nash, Webb’s Works Manager left the White House firm to join Thomas Webb & Co. Ltd. at Dennis Glassworks. Latter in 1895 Nash left the Webb firm and migrated to the USA. Nash set up shop in Boston and then latter joined Louis Comfort Tiffany with his sons, Arthur Douglas and Leslie Nash.
Deprived of their talented manager, Whitehouse Glassworks was not the same. So in 1897, they ceased glassmaking and leased out the glassworks. Whitehouse Glassworks was first leased to distant cousins Thomas Ernest Webb and George Harry Corbett of the firm of Thomas Webb and Corbett Ltd. (Webb-Corbertt) of Edward Webb. The new firm started trading on January 1, 1898. Thomas Ernest Webb was the oldest son of Thomas Webb of the firm Thomas Webb & Sons.
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