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
Sporting 2
Sporting 3
Sporting 4

Button manufacturing - Hammond Turner and general

The conditions of children working in manufacturing throughout Britain was a cause of concern in the 19th century. Birmingham's 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:
Sketchley & Adams 1770 (reprinted 1886)
Wrightson's Triennial Directory 1815 1818 1823 1829-30 1833 1839
Pigot's 1835

Wills: three Turner button makers, two Hammonds, also button makers, and 'Miss Hammond', plus George Bragg

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.

Samuel Hammond Turner (my great great grandfather) proved 1841
William Hammond Turner (brother of the above, partner in the business) 1851
John Turner (father of the above two men, my great great great grandfather) 1840
Samuel Hammond (names the above John Turner as his nephew; John Turner likewise names Samuel Hammond as his uncle) 1825
Bonham Hammond (also named as a nephew by the above Samuel Hammond) 1808
Mary Greenhill Hammond (spinster sister of the above Bonham Hammond) 1822

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 paragraphs.
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!

George 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.

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