Employment of Children in the Button
the premises of Hammond Turner and Sons were inspected to
check on the conditions under which children were working.
The 1833 inspection was limited to the one report
given above. I have transcribed the full reports from 1841
and 1864, retaining the contemporary punctuation.
Just in case you find it confusing, prices,
wages etc are expressed in pre-decimal Sterling, using pounds
(l.), shillings (s.) and pennies (d.) - there were twelve
pennies in a shilling and twenty shillings in a pound - and
the expression &c. means etc.
The reports refer to button manufactories in
Birmingham owned by various people:
1841: Mr Chatwin, Mr
Thomas Hasluck, Mr
Elliott (Regent Street), Mr
Aston (St Paul's Square), Messrs
Smith and Kemp, Mr
Thomas Bullock, Mr TW
Button Trade 'AB'.
1864: Mr William Aston
(Princip Street), Messrs
Dain, Watts and Manton (Regent Street), Messrs
Smith and Wright (Brearley Street West), Messrs
J&T Chatwin (Great Charles Street), Messrs
Iliffe and Player (Newhall Street), Mr
J Cope (Cottage Lane), Mr
E Lepper (Aston Road), Messrs
Thomas Bullock (Cliveland Street), Mrs
S Rowley (Clement Street), J
Watson (St George's Street), William
Lane (New Summer Street), Messrs
G Layton (Little Charles Street), Mr
S Darlaston (Branston Street), Mr
J Matthews (New John Street)
The reports of which these are transcriptions were purchased
from the excellent historical documents website www.lightage.demon.co.uk
I am compiling a list of the people named in these reports
- watch this space if you have an ancestor who worked in the
button trade as their name may be in the list.
It must be said that these reports are more
interesting from a social history point of view than for the
button-making details they contain! They make very sad reading
- children were employed in this industry, as in so many others
at the time, in conditions that were hard and with very long
working hours. The inspectors pay close attention to the morals
of the workers as well as to the provision, quality and privacy
of privies in these factories.