A MAJOR 18-month restoration project is to start at Wordsley’s historic Red House Glass Cone this week.

Work will include internal and external repointing of the entire Grade II listed structure from top to bottom with authentic lime mortar in a project which will see Dudley Council spending £1.5million.

Vegetation and root growth sprouting from the cone, a scheduled ancient monument, will be painstakingly removed, with bricks replaced and the structure re-mortared.

There will also be new drainage created around the building and access to the tunnels will be opened up.

Inside the cone the internal gantry and lift will be removed to create a more open accessible space. A new lift will be put in place by the visitor centre to allow wheelchair access to the upper level where a viewing platform will allow people to see into the cone and hot glass studio.

The council has worked with an historic architect and Historic England to secure the appropriate permissions to start the sensitive works which will use authentic techniques and materials to remain true to the cone’s history.

Councillor Paul Bradley, deputy leader of Dudley Council, said: "We know people feel very passionately about the cone as it’s such an iconic part of the skyline and is a striking backdrop to people’s everyday lives as they walk to school, take the dog for a walk or just stroll along the canal.

"We’re so pleased to be delivering this ambitious project and restore the cone to its former glory.

"People will see fencing and scaffolding going up over the coming weeks and months but we are very much still open for business and hope to see lots of children and families heading our way over the summer break.

"The hot glass studio itself will be shielded during the works, allowing it to be safely reopened to the public while the work is ongoing.

"The studio will be updated with an eco-friendlier kiln and the whole unit will be made more visitor friendly. It will also be accessible from the interior of the cone once all works are complete."

The shop, visitor centre, coffee house and craft studios will remain open throughout the works.

The cone, which has been closed to visitors since the pandemic due to its condition, stands at 100 feet high and 60 feet wide at its base.

It was built between 1788 and 1794 and is only one of four surviving glass cones in the UK. It is also the best preserved.