In 2010 something amazing came into my life.
The above photo shows the first set of stained glass windows I ever acquired. One day I was at the local dump when I saw some fool throwing them away. I rescued as many as I could out of sentimentality, not thinking of monetary value. It snowballed from there. As a hobby for the next five years I bought and sold sets locally. In 2010 something else came into my life. Ten years on…
…I make a living collecting people’s old windows from around Britain and selling worldwide as antiques.
Read on for more information about:
- Domestic stained glass
- Rescuing neglected windows
- A small business
- Some personal history
- Practicing what I preach
- A view on PVC windows
- Making use of everything
- Links to related topics
Domestic stained glass
It saddens me to see British pre-war housing mutilated with plastic toy windows and doors. (For more information about why I think plastic windows are inferior please see my FAQs.) People my age usually associate stained glass with churches/cathedrals. Many British people have no understanding that between the late Victorian period and the 1960s it was common for our housing to be fitted throughout with lead patterned windows with either stained or just interesting textures of clear glass. It is not understood because most of it has gone.
This was a defining feature of Britain’s suburban architectural landscape. I think this particular period of stained glass artisan craft should not be forgotten.
Rescuing neglected windows
I devote my life’s work to saving old windows and distributing to people around the world who care.
I am like a foster parent rescuing neglected beauty. I give the tired wooden frames a roof until I can find them a new home. Even if windows are falling apart because the frames are rotten I take dismantle because I know someone will want the glass for spares or creative projects because it was discontinued from production decades ago.
A small business
I am based in Harrow but enjoy travelling the country to source and deliver stock. It is also flexible for childcare.
This business might sound romantic but I am up until late in the night administering my business or packaging, drive hundreds of miles and have the challenge of storing architectural salvage in one of the most expensive cities in the world for real estate.
Some personal history
Prior to discarding holiday pay, sick leave and a final salary pension scheme I worked for ten years in universities as a quality assurance manager and I have been through the magic doors of Stars in their Eyes!
Practicing what I preach
My 1920s house still has wooden windows and its original leaded lights . I started obsessing with the maintenance of these long before dealing in window glass.
People often look at my house and say “I’m suprised you have no stained glass in your windows”. Actually each of my toplights contains a simple lead pattern including a diamond-like shape filled with a small piece of red arctic glass. Although arctic was one of the most common types of glass used in the old days it is hard to find in colours.
My windows will ‘see me out’ unlike PVC (putrid vicious crap) which soon fades and needs replacing after 20-30 years.
My obsessions do not stop! There’s the cleaning of the glass from the inside. Every three years or so I remove all the secondary glazing. Dust gets in as it is not airtight (I would not want it to be – old houses need to breathe!)
A view on PVC windows
This maintenance is hard work. Each time I do it I wonder why bother. Then I compare one of the houses nextdoor to me …
… I don’t think there’s any comparison. If I had to have these plastic contraptions I would not bother to have the lead pattern imitated with whatever has been stuck to one side of the glass. Incidentally the house originally had a more intricate floral design. But the PVC window company looked at mine and concluded it would be simpler to copy the diamond-like pattern. Also note all sections of the bay window are smaller. This is always the case. It is to accommodate the thickness of doubleglazed units and consequently there is limited opening capacity. I don’t like PVC but this is a particularly nasty example. The landlord stripped all original features and sodomised with the cheapest synthetic materials he could get away with. No one’s home. It is a cash-cow.
Making use of everything
I don’t like anything going to waste:
Levers and handles are not listed on this website. Instead please go to my Ebay account.