Here we showcase 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.
R. C. Norman, Melbourne:
Richard Charles Norman was born in Middlesex in 1874. He was a tailor in Melbourne from at least 1903 and died in 1943.
Reg Taylor, Moonee Ponds:
Unfortunately, the only record I could find was of the sale of the business.
Richard Finch (1830-1910) was one of the earliest settlers of Beechworth. He came to Victoria in 1854, lured by the gold rush. He would set up as a clothier and tailor in Ford Street soon after, and later be joined by his sons, Willie and Richard. After his retirement in 1902 his sons continued the business until at least 1928.
R.W. Raby, Melbourne:
Robert William Raby was a tailor and outfitter in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne from at least 1894. Around the years of 1896-1905 his business was known as “Raby and Co.” then he was in partnership with Alexander Wilson as “Raby and Wilson” from around 1909-1913. After that he operated as R.W. Raby until his death in 1939.
Samuel Holden, North Fitzroy:
Samuel Holden (1869-1935), then later his son Samuel Garth Holden (1894-1958), were tailors with a shop in Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy. Samuel senior was listed in local directories as a tailor from 1888. It seems he had some employment issues;
Shierlaw & Co., Adelaide:
The Shierlaws were a Scottish family who came to South Australia around 1852. Three bothers, George, William, Joseph then later a nephew, Mr F.B. Shierlaw, ran the tailoring firm of ‘Shierlaw & Company’ from 1860 until around 1920. Shierlaw and Co. were tailors, outfitters and merchants who had a large mail order business. They supplied uniforms for South Australian military forces from around 1877. They also supplied uniforms for the railways, the Cadet Corps and the police. For many years they were the governments sole supplier of uniforms. In 1906 when they opened a new store of “excellent design” in Gisbourne, New Zealand.
Sinclair’s Pty. Ltd, Melbourne:
Arthur James Sinclair started a tailors and costumers around 1910. It must have been a bit posh as it was known as ‘Sinclair’s of Collins Street’. The business went into liquidation in 1938.
S.J. Dalley, Melbourne:
Samuel John Dalley (1868-1923) operated from the first floor of the Finks Building around 1901-1905.
The Finks Building stood on the corners of Elizabeth and Flinders Streets, opposite the station. It was one of the tallest buildings erected in the boom-time of the 1880s in Melbourne. In 1898 a fire nearly destroyed a whole city block, including this building. It was rebuilt some years later, but the original ornate roofline was not restored. The building was finally demolished in 1960.
S. J. Derrett, Bellinger:
Samuel John Derrett was born in Queensland in 1886. His father, a chemist and optician, moved the family to Sydney around 1900. Sam went into partnership with Claude James as ‘Derrett and James’ from 1911 to 1914, when he moved with the rest of his family to Bowraville, advertising as a ‘tailor, hatter and mercer’. He moved to nearby Bellinger by 1915, although he continued to visit Bowraville professionally once a fortnight. He moved to Sydney for the years 1930-34, but perhaps he didn’t enjoy city life, as he moved back to Nambucca Heads, operating as a storekeeper until he retired around 1958. He died in Coffs Harbour in 1961.
Southwell Coultas & Co, Melbourne:
The above indicates the beginning of this high class tailoring firm that would including royalty and other leaders. They started in 1875 Swanston Street, but moved to Collins Street later that year. In May 1881 it was reported that “the shop and land in Collins-street, between Swanston-street and Russell-street, with a frontage of 33ft, in the occupation of Messrs Stokes and Martin, was sold to Messers Scourfield and Coultas for 3712 pounds 10 shillings”. (Presumably this is why Stokes and Martin moved from 100 Collins Street.) Robert Scourfield left the partnership in 1889 to run his own establishment, which however amalgamated with the original firm in 1897 after the death of Mr Southwell Coultas in 1895. (After Mr Coultas death there was an extraordinary court case, with a lady suing his estate for ‘breach of promise’, claiming he wooed her and told her to stop working, when she did not realise he was already married.) Mr Scourfield died in 1909, having retired to Woodend.
The firm traded as ‘Southwell Coultas & Co’ from 1889 until 1896, then as ‘Southwell Coultas Ltd’ it went up for sale in 1909, but continued trading and was registered as Southwell Coultas P/L in 1926. Then from 1962 until 1993 the firm traded as Southwell Coultas and Co. P/L.Therefore, this button dates from 1889-1897.
Syd Ingerson, Adelaide:
Philip Alfred Sydney Ingerson (known as Syd) was born in South Australia in 1882. He worked for Parker & Co, tailors and outfitters in King William Street, Adelaide. Early in January 1906 he opened a store in Argent Street, Broken Hill known as ‘The Don Tailors’
By around 1923 he had opened a second store back in King William Street, Adelaide and in 1925 established a new company, ‘Ingerson Limited’, with the Adelaide branch trading as ‘Syd Ingerson’.
In 1942 Ingerson Ltd was fined under the ‘Control of Clothing (Male Outerwear) order’ for making a suit with too much material …
The firm moved to Gawler Place in 1953.
T. H. French, Melbourne:
Thomas Henry French was born in Cambridge, England in 1854. I don’t know when he came to Victoria, but he was married here in 1883. In 1916 he was listed as working from 291 Swanston Street. He died in 1917 at the age of 63 years.
Walter Ernest Thurling ( 1898-1933) and William Herdam Hamilton (1864-1917) traded at 45 Elizabeth Street from around 1895-1912. After that, Walter worked for Southwell Coultas, another Melbourne tailoring establishment, whilst William changed career and worked as a traveling salesman.
Vereys operated as “tailors for men who care” from around 1909. In 1929 they moved across the road to new premises. The business closed down in 1953.
W. Balfour, Genelg:
Walter James Balfour(1888-1961) moved around quite a bit. After leaving the employ of William Bros he partnered with Alfred Ray Norman as ‘Balfour & Norman’ in 1914-15 in King William Street, Adelaide, before working for L.S. Starr in Glenelg from 1916.
In 1920 he started on his own Glenelg working from Moseley Street, then in 1923 Jetty Road, then in 1929 in Piere St, then in 1929 Rundle Street then a detour to Broken Hill in 1930 before going back to Jetty Road in 1931. He moved to Whyalla from 1940-49 then on to Port Augusta. Therefore the button dates c. 1920-1940.
W. Beckefeld, Albert Park:
From 1921 until circa 1933, the premises of William Frederick Beckefeld’s tailoring business was in Bridport Street, Albert Park.
William Chorley, tailor, came to Australia from England in 1883. ‘Chorley & Co. Tailor and Robe Maker’ in George Street, Sydney, became renowned and specialised in formal court dress and service uniforms. The firm continued until 1980. See also http://www.bchg.org.au/index.php/en/people/individuals/a-f/56-chorley-w-xxxx
William also ran a military uniform tailoring firm (see Kitchener & Co on this page).
Published in The Sun (Sydney), 29th January 1950.
W. Colyer, Adelaide:
William Colyer (1864-1933) took over his father’s business in 1891.
His father, George (1822-1897) had arrived in Adelaide in 1857 and operated as a tailor in King William Street at several locations. Around 1910, William moved to Pirie Street. He advertised at that location until 1924.
W. Croft, Wollongong
W. D. Fetherston, Sydney:
William Daniel Fetherston, tailor, advertised from 1919. The business was bought by Farmer’s department store in 1930. He died in 1954.
W. Gribble & Co, Ballarat:
W. Gribble and Co., tailors, were located at 27 Sturt Street, Ballarat. They used material from the Ballarat Woollen Mills for their expertly cut suits. They bought out an existing business in 1887 and were still trading in 1954.
W. G. Scates, Swanston St. Melbourne:
William Gardiner Scates was born in Ballarat East in 1892. He became a tailor with outlets in Swanston Street and also Footscray. He died in 1973.
W. H. Bladwell, Goulburn:
William Henry Bladwell, from Bath, Somerset, opened a tailoring establishment in Goulburn in 1882 in conjunction with his father. This firm ran until around 1950.
Myles Pennington Whiteside, born in Lancaster, England in 1831, arrived in Melbourne in 1854 and moved to Ballarat the following year. He opened his own tailoring and general mercery establishment in Ballarat in 1865. In 1867 he was described as a military tailor. Around 1891 his son Norman Ernest Whiteside joined the firm, now called Whiteside and Son, then after his death in 1908, Whiteside’s.
William Henderson, Sydney:
William Henderson was a warehouseman/merchant whose company, William Henderson & Co., Pitt Street, Sydney, supplied military and government uniforms and buttons by tender in the 1880s to 1890s.
Wiseman Bros., Melbourne:
In the 1880s Albert and Walter ran a business in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, as soft-goods warehousemen. Along with their brother Arthur, they were well regarded as philanthropists.
W. J. Armstrong, Warrnambool:
Unfortunately, only 4 years of local newspapers from Warrnambool are available on Trove, so all I know is that Mr Armstrong moved from Kepler Street to Liebig Street in 1918.
W. McElwee, Melbourne:
William Colin McElwee (31/10/1889-1978) advertised as located at Union House, 284-6 Little Collins Street around 1930-33. The eight story Union House was built in 1922-3 and demolished in 1939 to make way for the extension of G. J. Coles Bourke Street store, now occupied by David Jones.
W. Monckton (a.k.a. Mockton or Moncton), Fitzroy, Melbourne:
Walter was born in Fitzroy in 1856. Around 1870 he was apprenticed as a tailor, and with his brother John continued in this trade until retirement. He first traded from Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, and later in Flinders Street, Melbourne. He emmigrated to Surrey, England some time after 1919 and lived out his years there.
This reference came from a 1913 street directory;
W. Morrow, Port Pirie:
William Morrow was born in Bairnsdale, Victoria in 1872. He became a tailor in Port Pirie from 1891-1915, when he became a member of the South Australian Parliament until his death in 1934. He had been a local councillor and mayor in Port Pirie, and was prominent in the South Australian Churches of Christ.
Woulfe & Son, Brisbane:
Patrick Woulfe (1888-1948) set up his tailors establishment in Adelaide Street, Brisbane, in 1913. He was a successful businessman. By 1939 he employed 400 people with outlets in other Queensland cities. The family continued with the business after his untimely death, with it finally being wound up in 1972.
W. P. Manson & Co, Melbourne:
In 1922 William Peter Manson finished his partnership of ‘Woods & Manson’ and bought a tailoring business at the corner of Bourke and Queens Street. He registered it as a propriety limited company in 1929 along with George Thomas Pender Gibbs. it was still trading in 1954.