Penrose Glass Kogarah marks 100 years in business

Then to now: Nigel Penrose and his son Michael at their family business, which marked 100 years in 2019. Picture: John Veage
Then to now: Nigel Penrose and his son Michael at their family business, which marked 100 years in 2019. Picture: John Veage

The past century has been a glass half full of memories for the Penrose family, with the other half yet to come, if tradition is anything to go by.

For 100 years, a Kogarah business has been owned by the same family. In 2019, it marked the major birthday of when doors first opened.

Penrose Glass started in 1919 by Albert Victor Penrose and his wife Catherine. They opened their first rented shop at Rockdale, before being able to buy it in the 1930s. Back in those days, deliveries arrived by horse and dray.

Four generations of the Penrose family have been involved in the business and 30 team members are part of the group as it now exists.

Nigel Penrose 'senior' took the reins in 1947, and later his son, Nigel 'junior', joined in 1970, followed by his brother Scott nine years later. Nigel junior has managed the company since 1989.

The business in its early days.

The business in its early days.

Nigel's great-grandfather was a glassblower in England. As a child Nigel recalls watching his father delicately cut glass by hand - a time before technology took over.

"As a little bloke I would watch my father at the table all day," he said.

"In those days one builder built a home. They'd come to us and stand around waiting for their windows to be glazed."

Nigel took a turn to working in land subdivision, but admits that "glass always ran through the veins".

"It's a hell of an achievement and I'm very proud," Nigel said.

"My father says he can't believe that he's been alive for 90 of those 100 years."

Nigel hopes his son Michael will carry on the name in what has become a long established family hub.

"I'm fortunate to have a son who is able to take things over," he said.

"He's got three children and his eldest daughter, Savannah, works with us during the school holidays. I thought how good it would be if a girl becomes the owner one day. I'd like to see this continue down the family line."

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