Media File
Harry J. Powell
Date: 1852–1922
Biography: Harry James Powell (1853-1922) was educated at Trinity College, Oxford where he studied chemistry. In 1875 he joined the family glass-making business, Whitefriars Glass. (His grand-father, James Powell, purchased the firm in 1834, and with his two sons made it a going concern). Although products ranged from the purely functional to the decorative, the firm was particularly successful in the manufacture of stained glass windows for the then burgeoning trade in church restoration. Whitefriars received commissions from many of the leading architects and designers of the day, including William Morris’s company. Harry Powell introduced new innovations, perhaps the most important of which was an opalescent glass that became a hallmark of the firm’s art glass tableware. In addition to these more avant-garde products Whitefriars also produced glassware based on historic styles echoing a broader interest in the revival of traditional craft. In 1919 the firm was renamed Powell & Sons. Harry Powell was also politically active, and in 1889 was successfully elected to the London County Council representing Dulwich. He also served as governor of Dulwich College from 1898. In 1919 he retired from business. He was made a Commander of the British Empire for his services during World War I, which included the firm’s production of glass used in the projecting horns of marine mines. He died at his home in Dulwich and is buried in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.