Blue plaque installed at home of industrialist in latest round of honours

A commemorative blue plaque has been unveiled to honour one of our area’s greats as part of a new recognition scheme.

Thursday, 21st February 2019, 9:04 am
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 9:57 am
The Mayor and Mayoress are pictured with Brian Bage, Allan Bailey and John Robinson of the Cleadon Village History Society as a blue plaque is unveiled to glass manufacturer and house builder John Dagnia.

The plaque pays tribute to John Dagnia, who built the Grade II-Listed Cleadon House in Cleadon Village, in 1738.

Dagnia was instrumental in helping to put the area at the forefront of glass manufacturing in the 18th Century - producing a large proportion of the country’s output.

The plaque at Cleadon House

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The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Ken Stephenson, and Mayoress, Cathy Stephenson, unveiled the plaque at the entrance to Cleadon House, alongside members of the local history group and with the support of the current owners of Cleadon House.

The Mayor said: “John Dagnia left a legacy for South Tyneside when he created the magnificent Cleadon House.

“The Mayoress and I were delighted to unveil the plaque in his honour. It is a fitting and lasting tribute to John, the wonderful mansion he created and the important role he played in helping to shape the history of the Borough.”

John Dagnia and his family established a highly successful glass business at West Panns in South Shields.

Cleadon House

The company produced all grades of glass but they were famous for the introduction of flint glass or lead crystal, the quality of which was unparalleled in Britain at the time.

Cleadon House was set in 15 acres of ground that stretched out to the front of the property overlooking a lake, grotto, ornamental canal and a range of rare plants and trees.

Coulthard Park is all that remains of the pleasure gardens today.

John Robinson, Chairman of Cleadon Village History Society, nominated John Dagnia for a commemorative blue plaque.

He said: “The area has lost many of its fine old buildings and mansions. Yet Cleadon House is still standing and continues to hold a prominent position in the village. The house is steeped in history and is an important part of our local heritage. For this reason, its builder John Dagnia is fully deserving of blue plaque recognition.”

The blue plaque to John Dagnia is the latest to be unveiled under a new scheme in South Tyneside in which members of the public were invited to put forward nominations for the recognition of individuals or structures and their importance to the history and heritage of the area.

Last year, blue plaques were placed to commemorate St Hilda’s Colliery Band, which won brass band World Championships multiple times, and Joseph Bede Symonds, former councillor and Mayor of Jarrow and one of the leaders of the legendary Jarrow Crusade.