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Smallbrook Studio

Smallbrook Studio

About me

merchant and glazing contractor with his own stained glass studio. Upon my return from Austria, I decided to start my own glass studio in imitation of a studio potter - Eric Leaper - who I knew in Cornwall.


After the usual false starts and a move to the Isle of Wight, I lit my first glass furnace in 1972 in Freshwater and later moved to Alum Bay. Now nearly twenty years ago, due to ill health, I sold the business and took early retirement. Alum Bay Glass is still going stong and is one of the few hot glass studio/workshops still operating and most certainly the longest continuously running in Britain.


For a while my health did not improve but then happily took a turn for the better, the problem then was that chronic poor health is a very expensive minority passtime and my financial resources were very depleted but feeling better, I decided to try and boost my meagre income and where better to start than my interest in model railways, which had for so long been my hobby and relaxation and so Smallbrook Studio was born.


I started with 4mm scale plaster building kits but soon found that sales were limited to customers requiring a layout, space on their layout and a liking for my models. I started to exhibit at shows and helped fund them by selling off some of my unwanted models, amongst these where a few 7mm narrow gauge models that I had made, these sold quickly and I then knew the direction I needed to take......

Hello, my name is Michael Rayner and I was born during the War close to the Sou' Western Main Line in Surrey. At a very early age, my Mother lifted me up to show me a passing express train and I can honestly say that I have been 'hooked' ever since.


After school in London and Cornwall, I was apprenticed as a trainee engineer with Rolls Royce at their oil engine division at the Sentinel Works, Shrewsbury, there, amongst other things, I learnt to use all the machine tools to be found and, of course, all the hand tools.


In time I found that I needed more fulfilling employment than the day to day work in an engineering factory and I left to spend the next few years in various different employments. One employment was building houses for Yugoslav Volksdeutch refugees in Northern Austria. One of the locations where I worked had a closed and abandoned glassworks and this set me thinking as to how glass was made - my Father was a flat glass