One of the Black Country’s most significant historic sites has received a major boost today, with news that it has been named on Britain’s Top 10 Most Endangered Buildings List.

Chance Brothers Glassworks in Smethwick, which in its prime employed 3500 people and supplied specialist lenses to 2300 lighthouses across the world, has been selected by The Victorian Society as a Grade II listed building in real danger of being lost forever if action is not taken.

The Chance Heritage Trust (CHT) has welcomed the news and hopes it will act as a high-profile catalyst in unlocking capital investment funds to rescue the buildings and move the £multi-million project forward.

CHT, which has been driving the regeneration vision for the brownfield site for the past five years, hopes to build a new urban village that will provide over 20,000m2 of development space for business, leisure, much-needed housing and the installation of a 30-metre-tall lighthouse in recognition of its historical past.

“Chance Brothers Glassworks is 200 years-old in 2024, so it is very fitting that we get this perfect birthday present at a time when we need to be back on the local, regional and national agenda,” explained Mark Davies, Chair of the Chance Heritage Trust.

“The Victorian Society’s Top 10 Most Endangered Buildings List is led by Griff Rhys Jones and commands high profile media attention that will give our funding bids a dramatic boost.”

He continued: “Agencies and stakeholders, such as the West Midlands Combined Authority, Sandwell Council, Historic England and Canal & River Trust all agree something needs to be done, but support stops short of the capital funding required to move it forward.”

“This must change. We only have to look at what has happened to the Crooked House, just a few miles away in Dudley – once it has gone, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get back.”

Funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England has been secured to resource the CHT for the next three years and this will support the retention of key staff to progress work with stakeholders to realise the scheme.

The focus is on bringing buildings back into use over the next five years, with 500 jobs set to be created if plans are realised.

These include a mixed site of residential, enterprise, cultural and leisure space and an iconic 30-metre-tall lighthouse and original lens from Trinity House – a stunning reminder of the world class innovation and connections of the Chance Brothers Glassworks to communities around the world.

Tonia Flannagan, a Director on the CHT Board, went on to add: “The gates were officially locked 43 years ago and with every passing week, the site becomes more dilapidated and a potential safety risk.

“It could be so much more. With the right targeted capital investment, we can create a place of pride as one of the most historic heritage sites in the Midlands, a spectacular tourist site and, importantly, a space that will create vital local employment.

“However, to achieve this we must move past words of support to committed capital funding and we call upon strategic stakeholders to make the right decisions now to ensure this is only a temporary stay on the Victorian Society’s Top 10 Most Endangered Buildings list.”

James Hughes, Director of the Victorian Society, concluded: “Chance’s story is unique and fascinating. It is one that is told through the fabric of its site, which is in part what makes it so precious, and the need to save it so pressing.

“All strength, therefore, to the Chance Heritage Trust and its ambitious regeneration scheme. Those in positions of influence should take note and must do what they can to support and realise the Trust’s vision.”

Chance Heritage Trust has been supported so far by the WMCA’s Community Renewal Fund and the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership via Sandwell Council and Power to Change Homes in Community Hands programme.

For further information and to become a shareholder, please visit or follow on Twitter or like