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Brilliant buttons

Our July meeting began with our usual business section followed by hot drinks with cake and a welcome chance to catch up with each other. A large number of donations were added to the collection for our local food bank - thank you for those ladies.

The main part of the meeting was a presentation by Yvonne Brown, Chairwoman of the Birmingham Button Society, telling us all about her passion for buttons. We saw how materials and styles followed historic fashions and members were delighted to be able to have a closer look at her extensive collection. Yvonne explained how buttons had changed over the centuries.

At one point there had been 800 button factories in Birmingham although the best buttons were from France. Materials for buttons included gold, silver, pewter, copper, shell, paste, wood and bone. Of course, the metals were used in buttons for the wealthier members of society.

We learned that buttons were made with shanks so that they could easily be transferred to different garments and that there were specific perfume buttons which had absorbent surfaces to retain the smell of perfume in order to cover any unsavoury smells!


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