Nail making was a well-established trade in the Black Country; at its peak around 1820 there were over 50,000 nailers at work in the area.
Principal centres were Sedgley, Gornal, the Lye, Halesowen, Oldhill and Dudley. It was essentially a cottage industry, the nailers worked for middlemen known as ‘foggers’, or as outworkers for firms such as Eliza Tinsley.
Conditions tended to be harder than in the chain making industry with many more women and children employed.
The nail shop on site here was constructed sometime around 1880 in Chapel Street, Halesowen and was still operated by its last owner Mr Sidney Tether as late as the 1940s.
Originally there would have been four nailers working inside, two at each hearth, but as the nail trade declined two of the olivers were removed and replaced by an anvil so that some general forging could be done.
See live nail making demonstrations at BCLM.