Echoes of the past: Story behind the 10ft thimble!

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A few years ago I was sent this photograph of Christopher Potter Buckton who can be seen standing inside a giant 9’ 6” thimble.

This was an exhibit he had at the 1904 Bradford Exhibition in Lister Park, an event designed to praise and promote all that was good in Bradford’s manufacturing industries.

This was a special occasion in the history of Bradford with this prestigious event being formally opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Christopher Potter Buckton was just one of the many large and small businesses that were at this event.

But surprisingly there was more to the Buckton family than just the manufacture of silver thimbles.

A name linked to a late nineteenth century engine production business at Hipperholme was Buckton and Brown who were based in the Mytholm area of Lister Road, Hipperholme.

Research into the Buckton family reveal there was at the turn of the nineteenth century a Buckton family living at Moravian House in Hipperholme.

This was where the same Christopher Potter Buckton in this week’s featured photograph died in 1907.

During the few years the Mytholm engines were being made the business did produce some vehicles which they called ‘Mytholms’.

The business manufactured four horse power horizontal twin Mytholm engines which were designed by R Reynold-Jackson.

In 1900 the business was taken over by Reynold - Jackson and his Yorkshire Motorcar Manufacturing Company who continued to make the Mytholm engine until c1902 in Hipperholme.

The 1901 census shows a Thomas Potter Buckton (1869 - 1913) was a maker of motor cars.

Whilst in the 1891 census he was shown as a cycle manufacturer.

It was this business that was to grow, take Brown on as a partner and become Buckton and Brown, makers of engines of Hipperholme.

But where does the thimble link enter into this story ? Thomas’s mother Mary (nee Potter), a widow, is listed in the census as a Dealer in Silver thimbles.

Thomas’s brother was Christopher Potter Buckton and is shown as a wholesale dealer of thimbles and fancy jewellery.

It has been well documented about Charles Horner and his silver ‘Dorcas’ thimble - which are collectors’ items. He lived at the corner of St Giles Road and Wakefield Road Lightcliffe.

There are numerous examples of his work all over the internet and a number of books have been written about him and his business which was based at the Mile Cross Works in Halifax.

But a Christopher Potter Buckton silver thimble as yet I have not seen one.

Do you have one of these thimbles? If you’d like to share its history with our readers please get in touch with us by emailing