Glass Reflections
Cambridge 7th to 9th September

Presenting Author:
Craig Kennedy

article posted 24 Feb 2015

Craig Kennedy

Craig Kennedy received a degree in biochemistry from the University of Stirling and a PhD in structural biophysics from Cardiff University, examining the deterioration of collagen within historic parchments. This work married high-end scientific analysis (synchrotron radiation, neutron scattering, etc.) with the practical needs of conservators working on ancient documents. Further work at Cardiff included examination of the structure of cellulose microfibrils from wood and higher plants such as celery, sugar beet, tunicin and flax, as well as analysis of historical materials such as silk, paper, leather and glass. The effects of cleaning and repairs on historical materials was a major feature of this work.

Dr Kennedy joined Historic Scotland in 2006 and became Head of Science in early 2007 and Senior Conservation Scientist in 2011. As well as managing the science unit, Craig has supervised research internships, and co-supervised a number of studentships with Universities in to areas relating to historic building deterioration. The research carried out during this time included on-site analysis of Historic Scotland's Properties in Care as well as supporting and carrying out fundamental research in to building material decay and conservation.

Dr Kennedy was a member of the UK National Heritage Science Strategy steering committee (2008-2010) and member of the National Heritage Science Forum transition board (2012-13), an Observer to the Icon Scotland Group (2007-2013), a member of the British Standards committee B/560 Conservation of Tangible Cultural Heritage (2007-2013), an Observer to the Scottish Government CAMERAS board (2010-2012), and is currently a member of the AHRC's UK National Consultation Panel for Cultural Heritage and Global Change.

In August 2013 Craig joined Heriot Watt University's School of the Built Environment as a Senior Lecturer.

Skills and materials used in the development of Scottish window glass

Craig Kennedy
Heriot Watt University,
School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society,
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS

Glassmaking was well established in Europe before the industry emerged in Britain. Skilled European glassmakers were lured to Britain to work in glasshouses. In Scotland, families of glassmakers were recruited from Europe and from English glasshouses. This gave the early Scottish industry a workforce consisting of skilled migrant glassmakers working alongside and training unskilled Scottish labourers.

Attracting foreign workers continued past the early establishment of the industry: when the Alloa Glassworks was founded in 1750, skilled workers from Bohemia were recruited to supervise the building of the glassworks and to train local workers in their art. In the early 1800s a school for glassworkers was founded at Verreville, Glasgow, to train local workers without the need to import skilled labourers.

By the late 1800s British glassmakers, including from Scotland, helped to establish the Japanese glass industry, much like the European glassmakers did for Scotland two centuries before.

As well as importing skilled labour, materials for glass production were sourced both locally and from abroad. Coal was readily available in Scotland, as was sand and kelp, though other raw materials were imported. Through time, the places from which materials were sourced expanded to include America and Asia as well as Europe. This presents an image of the Scottish glass industry as a locus where skills and materials were brought from around the known world to create a unique product which was then exported.

The evolving nature of the Scottish glass industry over time, in conjunction with technological advances, has allowed for the final glass products to have developed. Elemental analysis indicates a strong similarity between Scottish and English glass, emphasising the homogeneous nature of the material during the period of the emerging British state.