Conisbrough & Denaby Main
Heritage Group

Aerial view of Kilner's Providence Glassworks 


Extract from a book about Kilners Glassworks, the book was written in 1894 for the
50th Anniversary of the Company.

In 1863, finding that the works at Thornhill Lees were insufficient to meet the demands of their rapidly
 increasing trade, Messrs Kilner Brothers decided to erect an additional factory and the site at
Conisborough was selected as being in every way suitable for the
manufacture of glass bottles.  It lies close to the South Yorkshire coal fields, is contiguous to the
Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, the South Yorkshire Junction
Railway and the River Don, the railway running on two sides and the river on the other.  The Works cover an area of eleven acres and have a private wharf and railway siding with
several branches.  This enables the raw materials to be economically and readily brought in and the
finished product transported out.  When in full-swing these premises employ four hundred work people.  They are twenty eight miles from the Thornhill Works and about four miles from Doncaster.  Railways communicate with the other Works which are also connected by Telephone.
Mr Caleb Kilner told our representative that during the summer months the work of the glass blower is most severe and the firm do all in their power to mitigate its effects and to improve the conditions of the operatives.  We have built some of the most comfortably arranged furnaces which can possibly be made and they are acknowledged by the men to be the best glass houses in the trade.  The furnace is really apart from the workshop, the air being allowed to circulate freely between the men and the open furnace. 
The warehouse here contains altogether nearly nine thousand square feet of floor space.  Some of this is used for storing pots, other parts for packing goods for export and others for packing goods for home
consumption.  Running round the warehouse and directly alongside of it are lines of railways
Communicating with all the main railway systems of the country. 
The railway truck is run to the side of the warehouse and the bottles are placed therein without them being packed up in any way.  The same truck conveys them right into the warehouse of the firm at Kings Cross.  The goods can then be conveyed from the works to the consumer with the minimum of packing and handling, a great saving of time and
breakages.
In the mould store we could not but notice the great variety of moulds.  More than three thousand moulds are stocked.  Adjoining this room is the Carpenters shop for repairing crates, cases, etc.  Upstairs a room is full of pots in which the material for making flint medicinal bottles is melted.
The firm have here 76 cottages occupied by their work people.

A glass bottle with KBC on the bottom indicates that it was made by  Kilner Brothers, Conisborough.
  

Glasshouse Villa
​Calebs first home before he built Croft House on High Street

Calebs holiday home in Bridlington, 'Conisbro' on Sands Lane

Mr Rich, Calebs driver at Croft House

Dispute at Kilners
5th August 1876
Kilners Dispute
For a fortnight the hands employed by Messrs Kilner Bros who are the largest glass bottle makers have been on strike against using glass stopper presses in the bottle houses and they also wish to cease working at a definite number of bottles and not to continue until the melting pots are emptied.   The men's  Association is supporting them in their demands and as the association is very strong financially the dispute is likely to be a protracted one.  Yesterday as we are informed though not officially that a meeting of the members of the Masters Association was held at The Bull Hotel in Wakefield when the question was thoroughly discussed and ultimately the conclusion was arrived at that the question be submitted to arbitration, the Board to consist of three representatives each from the Masters and men and the Board choosing its own umpire.

  
From a Sheffield Newspaper
 
31st October 1894
Mr Nicholson held an Inquest at Conisbrough on the body of                    Mr Gad Kilner aged 29 of the Conisbrough Glassworks.  On Monday night between eight and half past nine Mr Kilner was out walking with Miss Watkinson of Fern Villa.  He seemed low spirited and complained of feeling ill.  He said he was no use and it was no good his living.  At about eleven o clock that night he went to the room of his brother Mr George Kilner and said he had taken some arsenic.  His brother took no notice at first as he did not believe him but after he had gone to bed he became sick and called for his brother,                  Dr McCall was fetched.  His sister administered an emetic that produced more sickness and when Dr McCall arrived a stomach pump was applied.  Death took place at half past four in the morning from the effect of poisoning.  The doctor said he did not seem aware of what he had done.  The jury gave a verdict of suicide whilst temporarily insane.