William Lazenby 1853 – 1903 learnt his stained glass skills in Birmingham. He founded the Bradford Stained Glass Works at 26 Northgate in 1884.
It is a hardware shop now opposite the Oastler Market. There are still traces of the original stained glass workshop with the skylight which illuminated the glazing benches.
When his brother William left Bradford George traded under his own name
William died when he was only 49 years old and his son George carried on the business at Northgate. It expanded to 26-34 Northgate and traded as William Lazenby and Son. George’s young brother William Jnr.was apprenticed to the firm when he was old enough. When war broke out in 1914 William joined the Northumberland Fusiliers and went off to the First World War. Returning to the Northgate business after the war William married Emma Holdroyd and he decided to leave the Bradford Stained Glass Works to his brother George and move to Scarborough to start his own business.
George moved from Northgate to larger premises off Cutler Heights, Bradford and started trading as Lazenby Leaded Lights.
In 1924 there was a building boom on the East coast and William and a former fellow apprentice Allan Booth opened their firm ‘Lazenby and Booth’ in King Street in the stables at the back of the George Hotel. They made leaded lights for windows in the new houses being built along the coast as well as continuing traditional stained glass in churches in the area.
William had a young family, Jack, Allan and Raymond. The partnership with Allan Booth had been dissolved after a few years and Allan Booth returned to Bradford
When they left school William’s sons Jack and Allan went to Art school and then they were apprenticed to the family firm. ‘William Lazenby and Sons’ operated in King Street until William retired in 1960.
This precipitated a move to larger premises in Albermarle Back Road. Jack and Allan worked in partnership until 1966. The brothers split the partnership. Jack sold the Albermarle business to Bradford Glass and Allan set up his own stained glass business in Hampton Road, Scarborough working with Ernie Hodgson who had worked with the old Lazenby firm in King Street since 1924.
Stained glass was not popular in the 1970’s and churches were being pulled down and stained glass windows were thrown on the scrap heap. Allan was the only craftsman in the north of England making leaded lightsand he diversified into double glazing to supplement his income. Just as stained glass was in its’ death throes there was a sudden huge revival at the beginning of the 1980’s. It started in America and Americans went mad for stained glass. They had their heritage of Tiffany lampshades but they wanted to make traditional leaded windows. In this country we saw what a fantastic heritage we had in our stained glass and there was an explosion of interest in the art and the craft.
In 1982 Val had an ‘Epiphany moment’ and her eyes were opened to stained glass. She had been brought up with stained glass since she was a child but thought it was old fashioned and outdated. Suddenly she saw it was beautiful and skilful and she wanted to learn all about it.. She left her teaching post and was apprenticed to her father in his business to learn all she could about stained glass over the next seven years. Ernie’s granddaughter Wendy joined Val. Together they learned their stained glass skills from Allan and Ernie.
In 1992 Allan retired and Val moved the stained glass business to purpose built premises at Killerby, Cayton where her husband Simon Green farmed. They had room to expand from the cramped workshop in Hampton Road. Val and her team made stained glass lampshades and decorative items as well as continuing trading under the Lazenby name for design and manufacture of leaded lights and stained glass.
When Allan died in 1994 Val brought the two businesses together as the ‘Stained Glass Centre’ and they extended the showroom to display all the glass items and opened as a visitor centre with a Tea Room. Val gave talks to school children, and groups like the WI, Rotary, Church groups spreading the word about stained glass and welcoming people to the centre to watch them making the windows and lampshades.
Val offered weekend courses in stained glass and students stayed in guest accommodation in the farmhouse.
Val and her team continued to make stained glass windows for churches and homes in the area and throughout the country.
Today the fifth generation of the family are at the helm of the business. Val’s daughter Becky and daughter in law Emma are propelling the Stained Glass Centre into the 21st century. Emma worked alongside Val for several years with her lampworking business and now concentrates her artistic skills on glass fusing and kiln work. She runs courses in the classroom and students are welcome to stay in the guest accommodation Killerby Cottage Farm. In the workshops the team are still working to produce stained glass windows, lampshades and mirrors. Visitors and customers are always welcome to the showroom and tearoom to see how the Lazenby Stained Glass business has evolved in one hundred and thirty six years