Saturday, 27 April 2013

Button making in Halesowen

In the 1891 Census we discovered 14 year old Caleb Price living with his grandparents in Hasbury, Halesowen and employed as a button factory hand, a trade he was still employed in in 1911.

There were a number of button factories in Halesowen, mainly moulding buttons from animal horn. William Harris was one button factory owner in Halesowen and another, Thomas Coley, had the largest button factory in Britain. Or perhaps Caleb worked for James Grove's company (pictured) in Birmingham Street. Because button making was lighter work than nail or chain making (both common in Halesowen), the industry employed more women and more children who would often go into school for two hours before running off to the button factory.

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