This glass house is known to have been in use before 1641, when it was owned by Sir Bevis Thelwell, who had been a partner in a glass making enterprise 30 years earlier. In 1651, two merchants Richard Batson and Edmond Lewin obtained a twenty-five and a half year lease on the property and later sub-let it to practical glass makers. It was the subject of a Chancery Law suit between them which dragged on from 1657 to 1663. By 1677 Batson had dropped out and Lewin was apparently making bottles (but probably elsewhere). Lewin was probably one of the four furnace masters mentioned by Alberti, the Venetian ambassador in February 1673/4 as wanting to prohibit the import of Venetian glass. On 1st April 1678, Michael Rackett 'Master of a Glasshouse...for making white and green glasses in the Minories without Aldgate' made an agreement to supply the Glass Sellers Company to regularly supply them with 'white glasses'. From 1661, this glass house supplied the newly-formed Royal Society with glassware and it was one of two glass houses mentioned by the scientist Robert Hooke in his diary. He visited it on Thursday December 4th 1673 and again on Tuesday January 1st 1677/8, but on the latter occasion the fire was out (probably due to the change over between Lewin and Rackett at the end of the lease). It is also a likely source of information for Christopher Merret in 1662 when he was compiling his notes on his translation of the Italian glass making work by Neri. In December 1680 Michael Racket was recorded as shipping glasses to Jamaica. He was last mentioned working there in 1691. In 1692 Robert Hookes and Christopher Dodsworth and their shareholders bought-out a number of London glass houses, including one "manufacturing green glass at the Minories outside Aldgate". On 16th March 1699/0, the Flying Post mentioned that this glass house was making drinking glass and all other sorts of glasses and it was then owned by "Craven Howard Esq. and other trustees". Earlier that year it had been advertised to be let.
Racket was the Anglicized form of the Italian Rachetti, the name of a famous glass making family from Altare. A John Racket married in London at St Gregory by St Paul in June 1660. Michael Racket had children christened in St Mary Whitechapel (close to the Minories glass house) in 1660, 1662, 1671, 1673. Cesar Racket had had sons christened at the same church in 1649 and 1653. Another glass making family name appearing in records of the same church is that of Holmes. Relevant entries are common throughout the seventeenth-century, but it is doubtful if all of them were glass makers.
In this illustration taken from Ogilby and Morgan's City of London Map, 1676, the chain line represents the boundary of the city of London. It is interesting the way that it skirts round what was probably the glass house (it is possible that glass houses were not permitted in the city because of the fire risk, and there were certainly regulations to control businesses that created smoke and fumes that might annoy their neigbours). The shape of the building shown here is at variance with that shown below in the 1669, but there are doubts about the detail accuracy of the above map. It is possible that information for some areas that were not burnt in the fire were taken from an earlier pre-fire map that was never fully published.
This illustration is taken from John Rocque's map, 1746. Here the dotted line shows the city boundary.
The enlargement above shows the Minories glass house from a map drawn to show the devastation caused by the 1666 fire of London from "Samuel Pepys and his world", p 81 (illustration of "An exact Surveigh of the Streets Lanes and Churches within the Ruins of the City of London"; engraving by John Leake after Wenceslaus Holler, 1669). The form of this glass house has considerable similarities to that at Kings Lynn and that shown on a trade card, and it is likely that this building is roughly contemporary with the glass house at Blackfriars, i.e. c.1668/9.