I’m going to take this opportunity to talk a bit about the building that Shakspeare Glass inhabits. And I don’t just mean the bricks and mortar, but the soul of the building, the people within it.
You’ll know fairly well by now the two glassblowers – Will and Johnny, who are inadvertently the faces of SG Headquarters, but we’ve also got Rebs who fastidiously finishes the pieces, Kate, Mary, and Sharon, who head up the Gallery and coffee shop, flanked by Paige, Wallis and Amy.
Upstairs, there is and historically has been a varied and vibrant community of artists, conservators, makers, writers, and white-collar workers, who all together create a happy and colourful place to work.
The building itself was built with the arrival of the railway, most probably by the Bradfords. William Bradford, born in 1750, was the first of the family to start trading in anything other than farming, and he lived in Thorney.
He established the firm Bradfords in 1770 in the hamlets of Thorney and Pibsbury, initially selling lime and limestone to farmers, before diversifying into coal, agriculture and building materials.
How do I know all this? There’s a poster on the stairs.
The building has been the home to the only sievewright in the country, our Steve Overthrow, who started up here and grew his business before taking new premises; to the other Steve, clock maker and restorer, who outgrew the building and is now based in the centre of town.
Our beloved bookbinder and conservator Paul Taylor worked here for many years before he passed away. His spirit of laughter and joy remains forever within the corridors of SG HQ.
Beky works away at conserving some of the most culturally important pieces; ceramics, glass, and other materials, while Ashar and Jennifer work in their glorious mess of colour; oils and pastels respectively from their river-view workshops.
We’ve the editor of Somerset’s most read newspaper working from here, Andrew Lee at the Somerset Leveller.
I sit and type and muse about these wonderful characters; alongside writing for magazines and providing PR for businesses.
The views across the river offer some of the best in Langport, and you’d be hard pressed to find a nicer place to work or a nicer bunch of people.
I’m bias; but then I can be. I’m the one writing it!
To finish, I can announce some rather good news for you, as well.
There’s a rare opportunity to have a little piece of this space at SGHQ. So if you’re looking for something a little less corporate; more artistic and holistic; then come on in. The water’s lovely.