An interesting overview of the button trade in Birmingham is give in this article, part of the excellent British History Online website. The text is taken from "Economic and Social History: Industry and Trade, 1500-1880', in A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7, the City of Birmingham, ed. W B Stephens (London, 1964), pp. 81-139"

Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham, A History and Guide, is fascinating and answers all sorts of questions about the city.
This entry is puzzling: Home Hitting.—The Rev. John Home, a Scotch divine, who visited Birmingham in 1802, said, "it seemed here as if God had created man only for making buttons."
And this one is a curious insight: Lambert.—Birmingham had something to do with the fattening of the celebrated Daniel Lambert, the heaviest lump of humanity this country has yet produced, for he was an apprentice to Mr. John Taylor, button maker, of Crooked Lane. His indentures were cancelled through his becoming so fat and unwieldy, and he was sent back to his father, the then governor of Leicester gaol. Daniel died June 21st, 1809, at Stamford, where he was buried; his age was 39, and he weighed 52 stone 11 lb. (at 14 lb. the stone), measuring 9 ft. 4 in. round the body, and 3 ft. 1 in. round the thick of each of his legs.

Hammond Turner and Dickinson, Hammond Turner and Sons and Hammond Turner(s) and Bate(s) appears in various trade directories.
This list does not contain every directory entry which mentions the various companies - if you know of one I have missed, please let me know!

I am greatly indebted to Keith Winters for introducing me to his fabulous website which includes a fact-filled introduction to the 1770 directory mentioned below.

Sketchley & Adams 1770 (reprinted 1886)

There is no mention of Hammond Turner (etc) in 1770 but the following entries in this fascinating little book are of great interest.
 

SNOW HILL

No. 15 Pemberton and Sons, Jewellers
No. 65 Kempson, James, Button Maker
No. 103 Pemberton, Samuel, Jeweller

C O L E S H I L L STREET
4 Turner, John and William, Proprietors of the Brass Works

 

GREAT CHARLES STREET
24 Turner, John, Buckle Maker

 

Wrightson's Triennial Directory

1815 
Hammond, Bonham's Executors, Great Hampton Street (for significance, see 'wills')
Hammond, Turner and Dickinson, button makers, Snow Hill

 

1818 
Hammond, Bonham's executors
Hammond, Turner & Sons

 

1823 
Hammond, Samuel, Birmingham Heath (see 'wills')
Turner John and Son, button manufacturers, 100, Snow Hill
Turner John, Birmingham Heath
 
Bragg George, maltster and wine merchant, 94, Weaman Street and Birchfield (see 'wills') 

 

Pigot and Co.'s National Commercial Directory

1828-9
Hammond Turner & Co
 
and Hammond Turner and Sons

 

Wrightson's Triennial Directory

1829-30
Hammond, Turner and Sons, gilt, metal, and pearl button, &c. manufacturers, and pearl-shell dealers, 100, Snow Hill
 
Bragg, George, wine and spirit, merchant and importer, Shakspeare Rooms, New Street
Bragg, George, New Street and Turner, John and William, Snow Hill: all three were listed as Commissioners of the Street Act

 

West's History, Topography and Directory of Warwickshire

1830
Hammond, Turner, and Sons, gilt, metal, and pearl buttons, &c manufacturers, and pearl-shell dealers, 100, Snow-hill
Also listed under MERCHANTS

 

Wrightson's Triennial Directory

1833
 
Hammond, Turner and Sons, gilt, metal, and pearl button manufs. and pearlshell
dealers, 100, Snow Hill
Bragg, George, wine and spirit merchant, 96 New Street
Bragg, George and Turner, John were both listed as Commissioners of the Street Act

 

Pigot & Co.'s National Commercial Directory

1835, PEARL SHELL DEALERS.
(See also Button Makers—Pearl)
Hammond, Turner & Sons, Snowhill

 

1835, BUTTON MANUFACTURERS—PEARL.
(See also Button Manufacturers—Gilt, Plated, &c.)
Hammond, Turner & Sons (& sewing silks, trimmings, &c.) Snowhill

 

1835, BUTTON MANUFACTURERS. GILT, PLATED, METAL, &C.
(See also Button Manuftrs—Pearl.)
Hammond, Turner & Sons, Snowhill

 

Wrightson's Directory of Birmingham

1835
Hammond, Turner, andSons, button manufactureres, Snow-hill

 

Wrightson's Triennial Directory

1839
Hammond, Turner and Sons, button manufacturers, Snow Hill
 
Bragg, George, wine and spirit merchant, 96 New Street (see 'wills')
Titley and Bragg, wine and spirit merchants, 68, New Street
Bragg, George and Turner, John were both listed as Commissioners of the Street Act

 

F White's History and Directory of Birmingham

1849
Hammond, Turner & Sons, button manufacturers and merchants, 100, Snow hill

 

Post Office Directory of Birmingham, Staffordshire and Worcestershire

1850
Hammond Turner & Sons, button manufctrs, 101 Snow hill

 

Slater's Directory of Manchester and Salford
1850
Hammond Turner & Sons, manufacturers of buttons, silks and smallwares, 17 Bread street & Granby row
Also listed under MANUFACTURERS & DEALERS IN COTTON GOODS, GENERAL WAREHOUSEMEN &C.

 

Slater's General and Classified Directory of Birmingham
1852-3
Hammond, Turner & Sons, button mnftrs. & merchants, 100 Snowhill

 

Whellan's Directory of Manchester and Salford
1853
Hammond Turner & Sons, mnfrs. of buttons, silks and smallwares, 17 Bread street

 

Dix's General and Commercial Directory of Birmingham
1858
Hammond, Turner, and Sons, button mnfrs, 99 and 100 Snowhill

 

Morris's Business Directory of Birmingham
1862,
 Button makers
Hammond, Turner & Sons, 100 Snow hill

 

Post Office Directory of Birmingham
1867, Buckingham st. 91
 Hospital street
12, 13 & 14 Hammond, Turner & Sons, jet ornament manufacturers

 

The Commercial Directory and Shipper's Guide
1875
Hammond, Turners and Bate, 1 Mosley st [Manchester]

 

Slater's Directory of Manchester and Salford
1879,
 Merchants
Hammond, Turner & Bate, 1 Mosley st

 

White's Directory of Bradford, Halifax ...1887, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd
Hammond, Turner & Bates, lasting weavers' braid and smallware mfrs. Turvin Mills, and
 Manchester

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About us

This web site has been created by Lesley Close as an on-line museum displaying some of the buttons and other artefacts manfactured by Hammond Turner & Sons (and related companies), button makers of Birmingham (and Manchester), England.

Lesley's interest in buttons started when she saw the words 'button maker' in the 'father's occupation' column of her maternal great grandmother's marriage certificate. After rather too many 'ag labs', vicars and sailors, here was a wonderful change of occupation. She thought she might find a picture of a button: instead, she found a picture of the one-time owner of the business and over 150 different buttons made by the company.

What we don't do

The button-making company Hammond Turner no longer exists - we do not make buttons!