Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Leading York glazier celebrates 40th anniversary
BUSINESSES are often born out of a passion, though few dedicate as much time and research for the benefit of the industry as Barley Studio has over its 40 years.
Celebrating four decades in business this year, glazier Keith Barley has not only worked on scores of historic and new stained glass projects but has established a new method for glass preservation.
Mr Barley started his career in the stained glass trade at the age of 16, when he began an apprenticeship working on York Minster, becoming the first apprentice of the York Glaziers Trust.
Showing a young entrepreneurial flare as well as a talent for the trade Mr Barley left the Trust in 1973, aged 21, and set up his own glazing business, which he ran from his home in Hull Road, before moving to his current premises in Dunnington.
Mr Barley said: “I don’t really remember why I went into business on my own. There wasn’t really any question of another option, it was just what I wanted to do.
“I worked from home and a rented garage, then 35 years ago I moved here. I only owned half the site at the time, however I have extended ownership as the years have gone on.”
Mr Barley eventually took on the entire site, and this year has embarked upon an extension project with a new purpose-built studio, giving the business, which now employs seven people, room to expand in the future.
Through the work of Mr Barley, Barley Studio has won a reputation in the industry, winning contracts for prestigious conservation schemes.
A 13-year project at St Mary’s Church in Fairford, Gloucester, in which Barley Studio conserved, restored and protected all 28 windows, saw the business win a National Award for Conservation, the only one ever to have been awarded in the stained glass discipline.
This year Mr Barley and his stained-glass artist Helen Whittaker, with whom he has worked since 1998, collaborated with Royal Academician Hughie O’Donoghue to create two new stained glass windows for Westminster Abbey to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Throughout Mr Barley’s career he has had an interest in the decay of glass and how to prevent it. Following a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to tour Europe he researched methods of isothermal installation before putting together his own method to ensure air flow at the correct temperature to prevent condensation on the glass.
Mr Barley has since freely passed on his expertise, which has been adopted by many leading cathedral glass conservation studios.
He said: “I have always done it for the benefit and preservation of stained glass windows, which I love. I have created this business from that.
“We are currently succession planning, and I would like to see Barley Studio continue to grow and offer more to the preservation and creation of new windows.
“The training of others is also very important to me, and bringing on apprentices, and that has seen things go full circle for me really as the current glazier at York Minster was trained by me. Now he is working where I started.”