Background information | Contact details | rail travel*
*Cucle 5km from nearest station: Avesnes-sur-Helpe


Glass Museum
Sars-Poteries (Avenois)

Sars-Poteries Glass Museum in former Manager's mansion.
The mansion of the glassworks' director is now the Glass Museum

Memories of making glass
Sars-Poteries once had two glassworks: from 1802 to 1937 they employed up to 800 people. Then the world slump and growing mechabisation of glass-making put them both out of business in 1937 - leaving the town desolate.

Their factories had became famous for making milky-glass flasks and ornaments, which are now collectors' pieces.

Now Sars-Poteries is a small country town, its factories and railway station long gone. But it's still famous for glass. Internationally-famous glass artists come to work and display their creations at this museum, in the former mansion of the glassworks manager.

Sars Poteries: glassworks in 1910  Sars Poteries; Industrial scene 1900

Left: This building is Sars-Poteries glass factory in 1910. Girls in their Sunday best pose by the closed gate is closed on their day off. By the chimney there's the tall roof that covers the big kilns.
Right: Industrial scen in Sars-Poteries around 1900.

Sars-Poteries Glass Museum: bottles  Sars-Poteries Glass Museum: display  Sars-Poteries Glass Museum: making art with glass 
Glass Exhibits in the Museum's gallery - making modern art with glass
alongside the products of the old glassworks

Magnet for international glass-makers
Twice a year, the Museum offers a glass-artist of international reputation a 2-month residence, with facilities to work and exhibit. This offers new French artists the chance to learn from the world's experts.

Sars-Poteries: glass workshop  Sars-Poteries: guest glassmaker
Left: The glass workshop associated with the Museum
Right: Guest glassmaker shaping hot glass by hand.
Sars-Poteries: display of beautiful objects made by glassworkers in their spare time
Looking at glassworkers' "mistakes" - a display of objects made in their spare time and hidden from the managers!

Workmen's “mistakes”
Exhibits include objects made by the workmen. When glass was left waste at the end of the day, they would often re-use it during their breaks to make something fanciful for their own amusement and to show off their skill.

These pieces were known as des bousillés, "mistakes", so as not to draw them to the attention of the works' managers. Surviving pieces, kept in the village by the grown-up children of former workmen, were the start of the museum's collection.

How the Museum started
A priest from the mines, Louis Mériaux, discovered this "end-of-day" glassware in the 1960's. He made it famous by showing it in a national exhibition of popular arts. Then he set up a kiln in an old barn as the start of the workshop side of the Museum, involving local people as well as international glassmakers.

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Web links:

Site in English with background information for school parties:

Background information
Industrial revolution

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1,rue du Général de Gaulle  B.P.2
Directions: 5km north from Avesnes
Rough guide to opening: CLOSED Tuesdays
Open every other day 10am-12.30. and 13.30-6pm
(same on weekends and holidays.
CLOSED 1 Jan, 1 May and 25 Dec.)

Information/ reservations:
Tel: 00 33 (0)3

If you are interested in GLASS:

Factory tours of giant modern glassworks, with factory shop bargains:
Crystal glassworks, Arques
History of glass-making and artists working in glass:
Glass Workshop, Trélon
Glass Museum, Sars-Poteries
Glass-blower, Saint Omer




Glass Factory, St Omer © Copyright 2007 Invicta Media. Last updated 8th August 2007