Company Philanthropic Activity

Image: The Spon Lane Schools, Smethwick built by Chance Brothers, Glassmakers (1845) from an original design in watercolour. James Frederick Chance, A History of the Firm of Chance Brothers and Co. Glass and Alkali Manufacturers (London, Spotiswoode, Ballantyne and Co Ltd, 1919).

Image: Local Studies and History, Birmingham Central Library

The Chance Company engaged in local philanthropic activity. It built a school within the factory grounds, which not only educated the boys and girls of employees but also the children of the local area. A fee of threepence per week for each scholar was charged but for boys, “whose parents were well-to-do people”  the fee was sixpence a week.  The Chance family met the salaries for the masters and female teachers as well as providing housing.

The endowment of West Smethwick Park, the building of St. Paul’s Church in Smethwick (now demolished) and the opening of the first convalescent home in “the rural green fields of Quinton” were examples of activities to enhance local facilities.


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