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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, October 28, 2005
    Blown away

    Family half-term trip a few miles up the road to St Helens World of Glass. An educative and entertaining afternoon. There, walking the network of tunnels which used to act as exhausts for the vast, roasting furnaces, and later scanning the town's vast central area of white-box superstores, previously all glassworks, brickworks, and smelting works as far as the eye could see, I realised just why St Helens was then described as 'the most appalling town of all', a landscape of hell. The flames - the heat.

    St Helens wealth increased as the glass barons found ever-more efficient ways of making the temperatures rise, and rise. Like a cloth-capped Roman elite, St Helens people used to dip in the waters of the glassworks cooling tanks, where tropical fish thrived. Northern damp regardless, it must have been by far the hottest town in Britain.