Nazeing Glass Works was started by Richard Kempton and his two sons, when they relocated their small glass works from Southwark in London, to the present site in 1928. Richard was the third son of Charles Henry Kempton who owned The Albert Glass Works in Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth during the late 1880's.
This part of South London has a long history of glass making dating back to 1612 when Sir Edward Zouche started a glass works later taken over by Sir Robert Mansell, Lord High Admiral and then George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (described by Dryden as a "chymist, fiddler statesman and buffoon"), who brought over some Venetian glassmakers and established a plate glass factory. George Ravenscroft, who had received a patent on 16th May 1674 from King Charles II for the invention of lead crystal, entered into an agreement with the Duke of Buckingham "for the better managing and governing of....the manufacture of looking glass plates at Vauxhall". John Dawson, who was an apprentice at the Duke of Buckingham's glass works in 1680 later became manager and entered into an agreement with John Bowles, a famous glassmaker who invented the term crown glass and the company, now called Dawson, Bowles & Company, continued in the ownership of these two families in Stoney Street, Southwark until the late 1780's.
Charles Henry Kempton appears to have become involved in glass making here after marrying the daughter of a glassblower in 1860, as before that he was a grocer's assisstant. After working as a glass works labourer, presumably due to his father-in-law, he left to start his own lamp selling business in 1869 in Oakley Street. Ten years later he moved again to nearby Wickham Street where he manufactured flint glass, and in 1880 Charles and the male members of his growing family (the eldest of which was also named Charles Henry) started the Albert Glass Works.
After Charles Henry Kempton's death at the end of the century, the business continued to be run by his six sons, but by 1917 declining trade forced them to go their own ways. All remained glass makers though: Charles Henry jnr created his own Lambeth Glass Works, William went to manage Edison Swan's glass making plant at Ponders End, Henry, Albert and Andrew started a separate Vauxhall Glassworks and Richard was left to run the Albert Glass Works with his eldest son Reginald.
This continued until 1920, when they closed the Albert Glass Works and bought the Abbot Bottle Works in nearby Rockingham Street, which they renamed the Southwark Glass Works.
It was this business that Richard and Reginald, together with Richard's younger son Cederic, moved from London to Nazeing in 1928. They were joined by three other family members, William's sons Len, Charlie and William jnr,.
The business was known as Nazeing Glass Works from this point onwards.
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