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Discover Prestongrange

The Glass Works and Pottery site

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Walking along the path towards the car park it may be difficult to imagine that a glass factory existed here more than three hundred years ago. Almost nothing remains above ground to show that glass making took place. At the end of the seventeenth century William Morison set up a commercial glassworks here. He was ambitious and initially successful in producing high quality glassware such as spectacle lenses and window glass as well as bottles for the local breweries. German craftsmen were brought in specially to produce more delicate items. Its fine domestic glassware was intended to grace the dining rooms of the Edinburgh salons. As far as we know, no examples of any Morrison glass have been identified.

William Morrison successfully lobbied the Scots Parliament to grant him a monopoly over the industry and particularly his nearest rivals in Leith. Interestingly, William Morrison, was himself a Member of Parliament. However, despite this help, the glassworks was often in trouble. By the mid-eighteenth century the site was a pottery, producing a range of domestic ceramics.

A gable-end behind the cottages at the East end of the site gives a clue as to one of the earlier pottery buildings. Perhaps there, the skilled potters would have made hand-thrown and moulded domestic wares. Certainly broken pieces of eighteenth and ninteenth century pottery still lie scattered on the ground round about. Much of the site is covered by 1980s tree-planting, but it is currently being investigated as part of our Community Archaeology Project.

© 2004 East Lothian Council