The Button Book

Thomas William Button's account book - 1922 to 1942

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The Button account book
The Button account book
An inside page
An inside page

9th Feb 2018 email from Chris Rockett:

"I believe my late father found this book while working on a pub in the village of Earith, Cambridgeshire . Not sure how the book found its way to Cambridgeshire but my father gave it to me when he could not find an owner at that time, about 30 years ago .

I think I mentioned i am a retired joiner who had a small business, very similar to what Mr Button had in Tharston, so i was total absorbed in reading the book's contents and eventually stored it away.

We have just returned from a few days away in Suffolk at Corton village and funnily enough we had a day going round the small villages on an ancestors hunt for my wife ancestors and on our return I remembered the book and thought i would look to see what addresses where listed ,thinking their might be some Suffolk ones. It was then I got lucky and just put Mr Buttons name and Tharston village and your site came up with the answers. Mr Button had not written his name any where in the book, the only clue I had is a small receipt, separate from the main book, with Mr Buttons name from a bee keeping association.

That is more or less the story of the book"

... and after meeting Chris in Tharston Church he handed the book over to us and so this is how we now have the book in our possession ......
Chris Rockett and Michael Duffield looking at the Button account book
Chris Rockett and Michael Duffield looking at the Button account book
The book contains details of the work undertaken by Thomas William Button's business, including job details, times taken, materials used and costings, and some details on payments.

A few entries from the book:

Please note that these are transcriptions and are correct in content but not in format - the total costings per line and final amounts would have been in currency columns.

Entry for transcription below
Entry for transcription below
The late Mr Hylton - funeral expenses
Feb 16th [1922]
Making Oak Coffin with brass shield - £7 5s 0d
Enshrouding with Cotton Wool - 2s 6d
2 Mourning Coaches - £2 0s 0d
Hearse - £1 4s 0d
Church Expenses - £1 0s 0d
4 Bearers @ 5/- - £1 0s 0d

£12 11s 6d

Ledgered Page 2

Mr A Gowing
April 1923
To Heating Iron Castings of wheels and making axles
interchangeable. Making new shaft and Painting
Making 2 new boards with spokes
to distribute manure and Painting 2 coats
13hrs @ 1/2 (15/2) 2½ hrs @ 9½d (2/-) - 17s 2d
8ft6 2½ x 2½ (3/3) ash shaft - 3s 3d
9ft 1 x 9 (3/4½) 6 lb 3" wire nails (2/-) - 5s 4½d
4 ¼ bolts (4d) 1pt parrifin (2d) 2 lb paint (1/8) - 2s 2d
£1 8s 0d
Paid by Cash July 10th 1923

Whilst these two items above have not been especially selected for any particular reason, it is interesting to note the hourly rates charged and the costs of materials.

A list of surnames of people for whom work was completed and the page numbers in the accounts book:

Alexander 8, 22
Avis 3
Barnes 18, 19
Baxter 1
Brighton 6
Brown 21
Bussey 2, 11
Chenery 8
Copeman 7
Dunthorne 7
Durrant 4, 25
Falgate 2, 9, 18

Formby 1, 15, 23
Garrould 1
Gowing 4, 6, 12, 24, 24, 24
Hubbard 6
Hylton 1, 1
Jones 24
Larkman 8
Loades 21
Ludkin 18, 18
Neal 20
Quantrill 5, 19
Rodwell 3, 20, 22, 22

Salter 14
Smith 2
Stimpson 10, 19
Stonex 22
Tharston Church 16
Tharston School 17
Tweed 1, 6
Wade 3
Walpole 2, 4
Weeding 22
Whincup 13

Please note that this is only from the first 25 pages of the book and will be added to as the book is researched.

Inside the book were some oddments of papers, etc. .....
Found in the book was a photograph of Thomas William Button with a wagon, standing outside his workshop on the eastern side of Chequers Road, opposite to his home.
A letter from the Timber Control Department detailing the forms and procedures for the acquisition and use of timber during the war years. WW1 had severely depleted the woodland stocks and users were required to apply for the right to buy and use wood of all kinds during WW2.

Why this account was not in the book we don't know.

Mr. Feaveyear was from Topcroft so Thomas travelled some way to jobs, Topcroft being about 7 miles from Tharston.

Interestingly it was written on the plain reverse of a piece of information on painting - whether this was from wartime (the accounts dated 1939 and 1940) is unknown but it appears to be stressing the importance of 'saving money' and 'economy'.

Thomas was a member of the Norfolk Bee-keepers' Association and a receipt for 9/6 for membership for 1943 was found in the book.

Norfolk & Suffolk Journal & Diss Express - 4 Jun 1948 had a newspaper report of a lecture and demonstration of swarm control which was held at his apiary.

And a piece of his blotting paper he had used!