19. Chance Family

Buried at The Birmingham General Cemetery (Key Hill)


K 902 and L 12 Catacomb 4

 

 CHANCE BROTHERS GLASS


Buried in the catacombs at Key Hill is Robert Lucas Chance (1782–1865), The founder of the company Chance Brothers Glass a leading glass manufacturer and a pioneer of British glassmaking technology. Among the projects they carried out were; the glazing of the original Crystal Palace to house the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Houses of Parliament at that time the only company that was able to make the opal glass for the four faces of the Westminster Clock Tower which house the Big Ben.

 In 1897 his son, also named Robert Lucas Chance was interred in the catacombs with his father and his sisters (they were Church of England, he was not), but in 1902, he was moved to an ordinary burial plot perhaps to be buried with his son Sidney and to allow for the later burial of his wife . This is one of the few art nouveau memorials at Key Hill and is very well preserved.

The Reverend Manning wrote of Robert Lucas Chance Jnr :-

"40 years Director of Messrs. Chance Bros., glass works at Spon Lane and of Alkali works at Oldbury. A munificent but unostentatious supporter of all sorts of philanthropic & charitable institutions."

My last church was in Oldbury and the Chance family were patrons of our local Anglican Church, St Michaels Langley and it was known as a Chance Church. Due to the lack of support the church was closed and put up for sale.


The Crystal Palace, built in London for the Great Exhibition of 1851



Click here to view the History West Midlands short film