My last post featured William Tickle and Mary Ashall. They had ten children, seven of whom were sons. The two oldest boys, John ( b.1819) and Peter (b.1821), both followed their father’s footsteps and became ships’ carpenters. Their third son, Jame (b.1823), took a different path as a glassmaker. A fourth son, William (b.1829), died in childhood. The fifth and sixth sons, Henry (b.1831) and a second William (b.1833), entered the glassmaking trade like their older brother, James. Finally, Joshua (b.1838), appears to have been apprenticed as a ship’s carpenter but later he, too, was later employed in glassmaking.
In the 19th century St Helens was a centre for the glass industry. Glass making had been carried out there from the early 18th century but it boomed in the later part of that century. There were a number of small bottle-making factories, but the largest glassmaking company was the St Helens Crown, Plate and Sheet Glass Works, later Pilkington Brothers.
St Helens Crown, Plate and Sheet Glass Works
The St Helens Crown Glass Company was established in 1826 to produce glass for windows. It was capitalised by members of the most influential local families – the Pilkingtons and Greenalls.. Crown glass was an early type of window glass, created by hand-blowing the glass into a ‘crown’ or hollow globe, which was then flattened.
The company also produced plate and sheet glass. Plate glass was made by pouring molten glass onto metal tables or plates and rolling it flat before leaving it to cool. It could be made in various weights or thicknesses. Sheet glass was produced by drawing glass from a molten bath into large thin sheets of film. Sheet glass is less strong and less transparent than plate glass.
William Pilkington, one of the original shareholders, travelled all over Britain and Ireland to sell St Helens glass. By 1849, William and his brother, Richard, were the last remaining financiers. The business became Pilkington Brothers and went from strength to strength. By 1869 Pilkingtons employed over 2000 people and was a flourishing business, producing more glass than anywhere else in the UK.
The Tickle brothers are shown as glassmakers in censuses from 1841 onwards, but there are no details of exactly where they were employed and little information on what their specific jobs were. Henry and William Jnr are both shown in the 1851 census as glass maker printers, so they were possibly involved in making patterned glass. Joshua, the youngest son, has his occupations listed in 1861 as a crown glass maker.
I’m still working on the descendants of all William’s children and they will be added to the database as I find out more. My next post is about one of William’s grandsons – John Joseph Tickle