A historic former glassworks in the Black Country which supplied windows for the Houses of Parliament will be the subject of an in-depth research project to discover more about its impact on the area.
A grant of £48,200 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to Birmingham-based built environment charity Made to examine the history of the Chance Brothers Glassworks in Smethwick.
Made will oversee the 18-month project which will look at the impact of the Grade II factory on the region as well as investigating its national and international reach.
The glassworks, off Spon Lane South and visible from the M5, was considered to be a Black Country stalwart and globally renowned for its glass products, which ranged from homeware to the windows for the original Crystal Palace (see gallery above).
The firm went on to specialise in optics, creating a new lamp for lighthouses which it is believed revolutionised global maritime and shipping, with Chance Brothers glass still in lighthouses across the globe.
The family-run company was also known for being a benevolent employer akin to the likes of Cadbury, providing technical colleges and a chapel for its employees.
Made said it was hoping to hear from former staff and their relatives to hear stories of what life was like and the projects and products they worked on.
Along with a largely derelict seven-storey building, the heritage of the company is now all that remains of the firm.
Made is planning to collate all the information relating to Chance Brothers into one publicly accessible archive to ensure the legacy is retained and remembered for use in arts, events and educational projects called Chance Brothers Glassworks: Everyone's Story.
Community programmes manager Sally Robertshaw said: "The Chance Brothers were highly influential company with an enormous regional, national and international reach.
"We hope to create an archive to celebrate its history and ensure its legacy is remembered.
"To this end, we will also be engaging the community with events and arts to tell some of the stories we've learnt and try to reinvigorate regional and national pride in this amazing manufacturer from the Midlands."
A series of walks and talks, a heritage open day and family activity day will be held as part of the project, starting with an event on November 24 at the Brasshouse in Smethwick which will outline its aims and how people can get involved.