Yesterday I gave a talk here at CHAS for the Friends of CHAS and members of the public all about Chances and the project. I had spent the week preparing for and promoting the talk and the collection in the press and we had two visits from the Express and Star resulting in two articles (the second is due to be published soon). It was very bizarre to see my face in paper but anything that brings awareness to the collection is great.
As I said at the end of the talk, the most enjoyable aspect of the job so far is to hear the stories and experiences of people who used to work for the company or grew up in the area and have fond memories of the glass works. After the talk, one gentleman told me that he used to work for the firm that supplied Chances with the coal delivered on the nearby canal. Another lady told me about a sweetshop that the Chances used to own and the very strong smell around the site of the glass works that she can still subconsciously smell sometimes when she is walking round the Spon Lane area.
This week I also received a very lovely letter from a lady who used to live by the glass works. She said that she remembered the visit of the King and Queen very well and actually manged to get a very good view of them when she was 7 years old with the other children from her school. Her grandfather worked on the furnaces and his three sons also worked for the company, one of whom lived in the Chances gatehouse. I also received an email from Alan Dean. Four generations of his family worked at Chances starting with his great grandfather who worked there from 1859 to around 1919 and was awarded a long service medal; followed by his grandfather William Timmins, his uncle Roland Timmins and his cousin Anthony Timmins. There is a picture of Alan's great grandfather's medal below (please note the engraving of the tiny lighthouse at the top of the medal).
Thank you so much to everybody who managed to attend the talk yesterday. For those of you who could not make it, please find a link to the PowerPoint presentation that accompanied the talk below.