Here we show-case tailoring buttons, from the individual to large emporiums such as The Leviathan. The buttons are listed alphabetically as the names were printed onto the buttons.
A. Boswarrick, Melbourne:
Arthur Boswarrick, originally from Ballarat, (1867-1944) was a tailor in Sale, Victoria, in partnership with Mr Herbert Phillips. They ended their partnership in 1889, with Arthur continuing alone. Unfortunately the business failed the following year. He moved to Melbourne by 1891 and by 1893 he was advertising for employees for his “Eclipse Tailoring Company” in Sydney Road, Brunswick. He was involved in the local council and also local sporting clubs. His first wife died in 1904 and his second wife in 1909, only days after giving birth. How sad.
A. Bowley & Company, Melbourne:
As a naval and military uniform outfitter in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, they were importing items such as buttons from London from before federation. The company continued to at least 1945, when Alfred Bowley died.
The above button of the Commonwealth Cadet Corps is from Carol’s collection. It dates from 1901-1910 (Edward VII) but is not marked as to where it was made. The infantry button (also from Carol’s collection) is marked BOWLEY & CO MELBOURNE.
From an auction advert.
Above: Carol tells me this style button was for nurses uniforms.
A.E. Barber, Coburg:
Albert Ernest Barber (1891-2973) moved his business to 438 Sydney Road, Coburg in 1935. By 1942 he had moved down the road to 694 Sydney Road, Brunswick.
Alston & Brown, Melbourne:
Mr Alston was born in Glasgow and came to Melbourne in 1852. In 1857, due to the retirement of his previous partner, Thomas Alston went into partnership with William White Brown selling clothing and drapery. They became known as very fashionable, high class drapers in Collins Street until they closed the business in 1888. Mr Alston was to become a director of various companies and public institutions and a J.P. He died on Christmas Day,1907.
The article below was published in the Australasian, 12th July, 1884.
A. N. Lovick, Adelaide:
Allan Andrew Nesbit Lovick was born in Banbury, England in 1880 and died in Adelaide in 1944. A. N. Lovick & Co were tailors located in King William Street from c.1923 through to 1938.
Archer & Cottrell, Richmond:
From around 1911 Denis Cottrell and John Harry Archer advertised as high-class tailors in Swan Street, Richmond. Sadly, in 1912 at the age of only 26 years, Denis died in hospital. Archer continued under the name of ‘Archer & Cottrell” until 1914, then continued as ‘Archer’s’ until around 1937, two years before his death in 1939. He had been a former treasurer and president of Richmond football club, and a life member.
A.S. Austen, Melbourne:
Arthur Scott Austen( 1890-1960) operated his tailoring business from Howey Place, and later The Block Arcade, Collins Street from 1920, after the dissolution of a previous partnership, until 1943. He was very involved in Red Cross and Legacy. In 1946 he joined the Victorian Soldier Settlement Commision.
William George Ashman (1870-1944) started as a tailor in High Street, Eaglehawk circa 1891. In 1908 he admitted into partnership his brother, Arthur Thomas Ashman, as “Ashman Bros. tailors, hatters and mercers”, but by 1915 the partnership was dissolved. William continued as W.G. Ashman “The Northern District Tailors” and Arthur moved to Bacchus marsh to run his own business, although he moved back to Eaglehawk in 1918.
William had some trouble along the way. In 1901 he has to give up all his assets to creditors. In 1909 he was sentenced to 6 weeks gaol for buying gold without a licence; the authorities clamping down on this practice due to its link with gold stealing.
In 1936 William registered a new company of Ashman (William George) and Sons Pty Ltd with his sons William Basil, Eric Raglus, John Osbourne and Charles Kenneth. This business was in liquidation in 2007.
Ben Cohen, Melbourne:
Benjamin Cohen (1853-1935), tailor and outfitter, operated from 252 Collins Street from around 1902, then the Flinders Building in Flinders Street from around 1911. In 1920 he was listed in the Eastern Arcade. The Eastern Arcade no longer exists, but ran from Lt Collins Street to Bourke Street in between Russell and Exhibition Streets. In 1922 a Ben Cohen was arrested for running an illegal betting house in the Eastern Arcade, so presumably in was the same man.
Bidencopes Ltd., Hobart:
Joseph Bidnecope, tailor and mercer, advertised for tailors to work for him as early as 1861. He was born in Poland and moved to Hobart in 1858. The business was a successful fashion house, as well as supplying naval and military uniforms. They became well known for their hats. Two sons would join the business. He was still working when he died in 1915, aged nearly eighty years. His grandsons would sell the business in 1977.
Burkby and Waggen, Sale:
Frederick James Burby and his son-in-law, Vincent St.Clair Wagglen, took over a tailoring business in Sale in 1923.
Less than 18 months later they dissolved the partnership, with Mr Wagglen continuing alone. There must be a sad tale underlying this, as he only kept the business going for another two years before starting again in Sunshine. This business in turn only lasted for around 3 years. In the following years he was separated from his wife then in 1941 he died at the young age of 50 years.
C. A. Jago, South Melbourne:
Charles Arthur Jago (1893-1955), in partnership with his uncle, Holmes Gillman Jago, were merchant tailors in Bank Street. His uncle retired in 1927.
Capon & Montgomerie, Melbourne:
In 1902 Messers Capon and Montgomerie were delighted to announce their new tailoring store in Collins St. Walter William store has previously managed the Mutal Store.
Norman Leslie Mongomerie, supposedly the best dressed man in Melbourne, died in 1926 aged 55 years. After this the business was sold to Walter Arnold Walker who continued trading under the Capon & Montgomerie name, but had to sell everything to pay his creditors in 1927. After his partner’s death Mr Capon continued as an outfitter until his retirement. He lived in Camberwell and died in 1941.
C. Anderson, Sydney:
Charles Anderson was born in 1838. He came to Australia from Scotland about 1880 with his wife Mary-Jane. He established a large hat factory on the corner of Nicholls and Albion Streets, Surry Hills, next to his home, Durham Hall. The business had it’s beginning a decade pre- federation importing hats and was initially called the ‘New Federal Hat Mills of Sydney’. From as early as 1895 he was described as a “military tailor”. The company was registered as ‘Charles Anderson and Company Limited’ in 1903 and was called ‘Anderson’s Industries Limited’, by the time of his death in 1924. They supplied uniforms, trimming and buttons for the armed forces and police. Examples, like the above one, are found in the Powerhouse Museum and Australian War Memorial collections. Here is an exert from N.S.W. tenders showing orders for buttons from the company in 1910.
C. J. Lane, Melbourne:
Charles James Lane (1869-1925) advertised at Flinders Lane in 1888. from 1892-1896 he was the manager of the Woollen department of the Mutal Stores. In 1896 he purchased a mercery and tailoring business at 230 Collins Street where he operated until moving to the corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane around 1917. Circa 1921 he may have sold the business (which was still advertising in 1933) and became a wool broker and importer. He was heavily overdrawn to his bank in 1921-2. In 1924 he sued his bank for damages for erroneously dishonouring a promissory note. Although he was awarded 1000 ponds, perhaps the previous years of stress had taken their toll, for he died the next year, aged only 56 years.
Charles Kelso Moore (1834-1894) was an Irishman and merchant who lived in Sydney from 1859 onwards. His business supplied tenders for the public service and Post Office. He was very involved in public life, running as Major for Waverley, as well as being involved in the New South Wales Rifle Brigade and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.
Clayton and Croucher, South Melbourne:
All I can find is that these gentlemen were tailors/clothing manufacturers operating from the corner of Docas and Clarendon Streets, South Melbourne, in about 1925-27.
Cragie & Co, Melbourne:
William Cameron Craigie senior ran his tailoring concern from 1889 at 265 Little Collins Street. The button is just marked ‘Craigie & Co’ but the business was actually called ‘W. C. Craigie & Co’, and in 1933 was listed as a propriety limited company with his son Alexander Thomas Craigie. It continued after his death in 1936, last mentioned in the newspapers in 1941.
Cramond & Dickson, Warrnambool:
In 1855 John Glass Crammond (1831-1910) and James Dickson ( 1831-1910) started a general store specialising in drapery imported from London. The partnership was dissolved in 1886, with the business staying with the Dickson family until 1974. It was the oldest store in Victoria trading under its original name. James Dickson junior, who married the daughter of the co-founder, would manage the business after his father.
Sadly, the store has been demolished. For further information, seehttp://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/dickson-james-5978 andhttp://www.picturevictoria.vic.gov.au/site/corangamite/wmbl/8723.html .
C.R. Hiam, Balaclava:
Charles Robert Hiam (1855-1924) established his tailoring business in 1887 in Carlisle Street, Balaclava having previously worked for Gissing and Co. He advertised “cricketing and sporting garments made to order” and was at one time “the oldest established tailor in St Kilda.”
C. R. Martin, Melbourne:
Charles Roper Martin (1833-1910) arrived in Melbourne in 1852 on the same ship as my husband’s great-grandfather. In 1885 he established an importing business in Flinders Lane, particularly gold and silver lace. He was a pioneer of the Melbourne Cavalry Troop, and rose to the rank of Commanding officer, retiring with the rank of Major. His interest in military matters extended to importing/manufacturing of military trappings. The button above shows a Queen Victoria crown and was produced for the Queensland Railways. The one below is apparently a Queensland Volunteers uniform button.
David Campbell, Warracknabeal:
David (Davy) Campbell described himself as a Scotsman, but was born in Melbourne in 1875. He came to Western Victoria circa 1899 where he ran a tailoring business, first in Warracknabeal, then Horsham, then Dimboola before moving back to Melbourne. He died in Yarraville in 1945. He must have had quite a sense of humour ( and a ‘thing’ about camels)… just look at his advertising!
Davies & Leon, Melbourne:
D. J. Humphreys, Sydney:
Mr D.Humphrey was listed as a tailor in Sydney from around 1863-1883.
E.J. & D. Curran, Bathurst:
Edward J. Curran (originally Curren) was originally a cutter for W.G. Ward in Bathurst. He set up his own business, Curran and Taylor, in 1892, then E.J. & D. Curran (with his brother Daniel) in 1895, which was very successful.
This remarkable man went back to school, studying science and law, and worked as a Barrister in Sydney. He then studied medicine, and went on to establish the Opthamologly Department at Kansas University, USA, becoming known as “the miracle man of Kansas”, and was a pioneer in the area of glaucoma. He was also the Professor of Human Anatomy and Physiology at the Kansas University. Not bad for a tailor! He died in 1962.
E. THOMAS, St Kilda:
Mr Elijah Thomas, tailor and outfitter of Grey Street, St Kilda. According to the information found in http://www.historyaustralia.org.au/ifhaa/bios/elijah.htm , he came from England around 1900. Three generations of his family operated “E.Thomas Pty. Ltd. Mercers and Men’s Ware” from then until 1980.
F. A. Johnson, Richmond:
Frederick Adolph Johnson was born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1888. From 1930 he lived in Richmond, moving to Morwell around 1939.
F. A. Pearse, Corowa:
Frederick Arthur Pearse (1879-1952) described himself as an ‘art tailor and mercer” in 1912. He re-badged himself as a “Ladies’ and Gents’ Modern tailor” and advertised until 1932.
F. Bourne & Son, Adelaide:
Frederick Bourne was born in 1855 in Kent and arrived in South Australia in 1873. He started as a tailor in 1888 in Adelaide, then in Kadina and Moonta before moving back to Adelaide in 1903. One of his 5 sons, a George Horation Bourne worked with his father and continued the business after Fred died of injuries sustained when a train hit the car he and three others were traveling in. (All 4 men died as a result of the crash.)
George Lawrence Fuller, son of Sir George Fuller (former N.S.W. premier) listed a company of tailors and mercers in September 1932 with a Mr George Newton. Not suprisingly, they were called Newton & Fuller Limited, operating from 84 Pitt Street, Sydney. The name was changed in November 1934 to G.L.Fuller & Co.Ltd, probably to take full advantage of the upper-class value of his name. The company advertised until 1945, after which George became a member of the Stock exchange, and in 1950 joined the partnership of J.Neil and Fuller. Unfortunately, he died in 1953 at the young age of 49 years.
Guest & Glover: Melbourne
Guest and Glover were tailors from around 1930-1952, at first on the second floor, The Block, then later at 234 Collins Street.
George Waldrop started his tailoring and mercers business around 1885. It was taken over by Roger David Pty. Ltd. in 1977.
Haigh Brothers: Melbourne
Haigh Brothers were tailors and outfitters in Collins Street from 1853 through until at least 1926.
Howes and Howes, Sydney:
Howes and Howes opened in Pitt Street in 1889, and started to be wound up in 1971. One of the original “Howes” was Alfred Howes; the other may have been a brother. His father, George Howes was also a tailor in Sydney from at least 1854, and was considered a father of the trade in that city, having trained or employed many of the city’s tailors. He died in 1909 at the age of 81 years. Alfred was born in Sydney in 1864, and died after surgery for appedicitis in 1919. In his will Alfred left the business to be run as a limited company, with his family and old employees as the founding shareholders.
Hughes & Co, Sydney:
Edward Hughes was the owner of this establishment, which operated from Erkine Street, Sydney, from around 1894 to 1931.