Lesley's Button Collection
Lesley collects buttons made by her great great great
grandfather's company, Hammond Turner and Dickenson/Sons/Bates.
These photographs, taken both by flash and in daylight, show
the buttons on 2mm squared paper.
The buttons fall into five categories,
displayed in these galleries:
Dandy and dress
Button manufacturing - Hammond Turner
The conditions of children working in manufacturing
throughout Britain was a cause of concern in the 19th century.
button trade was investigated.
In November 1844 The Penny Magazine published
an eight page supplement entitled 'A day at the Birmingham
factories': the first five pages were devoted to the button
trade along with part of the sixth page. I recently bought
an original copy of this article on ebay and was delighted
to find that it is the source of some illustration I have
seen in many different places. Those illustrations are: Stamping,
pressing and punching buttons - Elliott's factory, Stamping
press for buttons, Soldering
button shanks, Cage
and oven for button gilding and Burnishing
buttons. The article itself will eventually appear here.
Charles Dickens wrote an article about button making in Birmingham
which was published in his magazine 'Household Words' in April
1852. It is not illustrated but it is fascinating and is written
in Dickens' inimitable style.
John Pemberton Turner was the author of an article
which appeared in an 1865 book about the Birmingham and Midlands
Hardware Trade. The whole article appears here.
Hammond Turner and Dickenson/Sons/Bates appear
in various trade directories, gazeteers and books about Birmingham:
& Adams 1770 (reprinted 1886)
Triennial Directory 1815 1818 1823 1829-30 1833 1839
Wills: three Turner button makers, two
Hammonds, also button makers, and 'Miss Hammond', plus George
The first three of these wills are of people who are definitely
related to me. The last three are also relations but the exact
nature of the relationship is not yet clear.
Hammond Turner (my great great grandfather) proved 1841
Hammond Turner (brother of the above, partner in the business)
Turner (father of the above two men, my great great great
Hammond (names the above John Turner as his nephew; John
Turner likewise names Samuel Hammond as his uncle) 1825
Hammond (also named as a nephew by the above Samuel Hammond)
Greenhill Hammond (spinster sister of the above Bonham
Like all wills of the period, they were written by solicitors
who appear to have charged by the syllable ;) Naturally, I
think they are fascinating but there is a lot of stuff like
the 'shall be held in trust until they my daughters hereinbefore
named severally reach the age of twenty one years' to wade
through to get to any button-related items... There is also
a quite mind-numbing lack of punctuation: I have tried to
make the documents more readable by breaking them into meaningful
There are some gaps - just when we think we are getting better
at reading secretary hand along comes a shining example of
poor penmanship which defeats us - but it was fun transcribing
them: no, honestly, it was!
Bragg (my great great great grandfather, father in law
of Samuel Hammond Turner) proved 1852
George Davey Bragg, son of the above and my great great uncle, proved 1900.
I contributed an obituary of George Davey Bragg to this website because it mentions the Theatre Royal in New Street, a place of interest to the website's owner. The obit mentions Samuel Hammond Turner, almost 60 years after his death.