10 February 2014

Birmingham Objects #2: William Hutton's Handkerchief




















Tucked in the archive I found this handkerchief that once belonged to Birmingham's first historian, William Hutton. It would have probably been made in the mid 1700s, and he passed it down to his son, Thomas. I was surprised by the size of the handkerchief, it was about 1 1/2 metres square, and made from a very fine material, which I presume to be silk. It is lovely that these objects were handed through the generations, although, I personally wouldn't want to be given one of my dad's old hankies! Of course, the Georgian handkerchief could also be worn around the neck, which is probably why it is the size that it is.

William Hutton was very active in Birmingham life during his lifetime, he had moved to the town in 1750 and opened a book, stationary and paper shop on High Street, and was one of Birmingham's many examples of individuals who came to the town with little and did very well for themselves.

You can find out more about him here, he was also a 'commissioner' passing judgement at the Court of Requests, where the fate of debtors was decided.


William Hutton with books, dog, and his home at Bennetts Hill
in the background.

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