A crystal maker has fired up its furnaces once more after extinguishing them for the first time in 20 years due to the coronavirus crisis.

Cumbria Crystal, in Canal Street, Ulverston, ceased production in March but will begin again on Monday.

Chief executive Chris Blade said it had been able to turn on one of its two main production furnaces - which take two weeks to reach the glassblowing temperature of 1400 degrees centigrade - and bring back about 25 per cent of its workforce of 23.

“Mostly it’s just about getting our glassblowers back to get them to work in small teams with as minimum contact as possible,” said Chris.

He said despite ceasing production for much of the last four months, Cumbria Crystal had put a strong focus on promoting its online sales.

“We have seen a tripling of web sales in the last few months,” said Chris.

“We’ve put additional resource into our marketing for digital and we’ve got a member of staff we employed last year to specifically work on social media marketing.

“I think it’s about the extra money we’ve put into social media and advertising, we’ve had a lot of people buying from the United States and that’s been paying dividends.”

However, while sales direct to customers had continued there had been a severe drop in trade sales.

It had also stopped its visitor experiences, in which people can learn to blow glass themselves, but it is hoped it will be able to open its shop within the next two weeks.

“We are now hoping that all our staff can slowly come back to work safely and help us to focus more on business to customer sales and online sales, that’s where we are trying to put our priorities,” said Chris.

“What we really need is people to come along and buy gifts to help support us.”