Ref NoMS 175
TitleJohn Hardman and Company and Hardman Powell and Company, Stained Glass and Metalwork Manufacturers
Date1811 - 1981
DescriptionThe records within the collection maintain a similar arrangement as used by the company itself. The major series within the collection are the Accounting and Financial and the Operational records. The Accounting records include sub-series such as the Glass Sales Ledgers, Metal Sales Ledgers and Decoration Sales Ledgers. The Operational records are divided by function into those representing Brasswork, Decoration work, Glasswork, Metalwork and General operational records. Within this series information related to specific orders and commissions will be found, such as the information relayed in the Stained Glass Cost Sheets series. Also within this series the sub-series of Incoming Correspondence can be found. Within the Branch and Agency series, records relating to Hardman offices outside of Birmingham can be found, notably London House and Dublin House. The Special Correspondence series includes records relating to specific projects such as Westminster, but also records of the important contribution John Hardman and Company provided to the International Exhibitions of the 1860s, held in London and Paris respectively.

The records relating to John Hardman and Company are listed under the reference MS 175A. Those records relating to the metalwork firm of Hardman Powell and Company (from 1883 onwards) are listed under the reference of MS 175B.
FormatCubic metres
AccessConditionsAcc. 2006/094: Open
Acc. 2012/016: Open
AdminHistoryJohn Hardman and Company was founded in 1838 by John Hardman (1811 - 1867) and Company in partnership with Augustus Welby Pugin. Manufacturing was something which ran in the Hardman family as John Hardman senior (1767-1844) was a partner in Hardman and Lewis, a button making firm based in Paradise Street in Birmingham. John Hardman junior joined his father's business at the age of 18. In 1838 under the guidance of Augustus Pugin (1812 - 1852), John Hardman junior formed John Hardman and Company, producing ecclesiastical metalwork. Pugin was an architect, writer, and designer who specialised in the Gothic Revival style. Pugin lectured in the history of medieval architecture at St Mary's College in Oscott and it is here that he first encountered John Hardman junior. Pugin and Hardman were to form a lifelong friendship and later were related to each other through the marriage of John Hardman's nephew, John Hardman Powell to Pugin's eldest daughter Anne in 1850. For further information on the Hardman Family and Augustus Pugin, please refer to the respective entries on the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Records in the archive exist from the formation of John Hardman and Company. The metal sales ledgers (MS 175A/3/3/1/1 - Metal Sales Ledger 1838) and metal sales day books (MS 175A/4/4/3/1 - Metal Sales Day Book 1838) highlight the first orders the firm completed. The Hardmans were the most prominent Catholic family in Birmingham and played an important role in the religious and civic life of the city. It was discussions between John Hardman junior and Augustus Pugin that led to the idea of a Catholic cathedral being built in Birmingham, and that idea culminated in St Chad's Cathedral being built in central Birmingham, between 1839 and 1841. The firm was based at Newhall Hill in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, until 1979 when the firm transferred to Lightwood Park. The present day firm have since returned to the Jewellery Quarter. At the start of the 20th Century the firm acquired a London base in addition to Birmingham House and had offices in Piccadilly, London. There are a number of deeds and premises records relating to both Birmingham and London House found under MS 175A/7 Premises and Property Records.


By the 1850's the firm had established itself as the premier metalwork firm in the country. Hardman had been represented at a number of international exhibitions such as the 1851 London Exhibition, 1853 Dublin Exhibition, the 1862 London Exhibition and the 1867 Paris Exhibition. Documents relating to the firm's presence at the 1867 Paris Exhibition exist, including the official invitation the firm received to exhibit items at the exhibition (MS 175A/11/2/2/2). An advertisement in the 1859 Catholic Directory noted some of the awards Hardman had received such as the prize council medal for ecclesiastical metalwork at the 1851 Great Exhibition (MS 175A/5/1/2).

In the 1880's some significant changes occurred within the firm where the production of stained glass and ecclesiastical metalwork was split. John Hardman and Company continued to produce stained glass, but under the name of Hardman Powell and Company metalwork production was moved from Newhall Hill to King Edward's Road. Records relating to Hardman Powell and Company start are listed under the reference MS 175B to help distinguish records relating to John Hardman and Company (listed under MS 175A), who continued to produce stained glass. There is no indication in the records as to why the split occurred. Records for Hardman Powell and Company cover the period from 1883 to 1919. Metal Order Books (MS 175B/4/1) and Metal Sales Day Books (MS 175B/4/2) demonstrate the orders Hardman Powell and Company received. In 1919, the stained glass and metal decoration businesses were reconstituted under the name of John Hardman and Company and metalwork was reunited with glass production.


From 1845 onwards the firm started to manufacture stained glass, under instruction from Augustus Pugin. Pugin saw glasswork as an integral part of the interior of a church and wanted Hardman to produce stained glass to his specifications. The process in which stained glass was produced involved fitting together a number of mosaic glass pieces, prepared from cartoons of the overall design. Pugin was the firm's chief designer until his death, but he had worked with his son Edward Pugin & John Hardman Powell, his son in law, in order for those two individuals to be trained to create high quality cartoons after his death. Pugin drew most of his cartoons from his home in Ramsgate and corresponded with John Hardman by letter about the final product. There are numerous bundles of correspondence between John Hardman junior and Pugin found in the series MS 175A/11/1/2. Pugin letters also appear in the main sequences of correspondence such as the incoming metal (MS 175A/4/4/4), incoming glass (MS 175A/4/3/22) and incoming glass and brass letters (MS 175A/11/1/1). The majority of the stained glass orders the firm received related to churches and convents. However a number of secular orders were undertaken by the firm, such as work completed for the New Palace of Westminster, following the fire in 1834 which gutted the original building.

When consulting some glass records is it possible to make cross references between different series of records relating to one particular commission. Cross references can be made between Rough Glass Day Books, Glass Sales Ledgers, Glass Bill Books and Stained Glass Cost Sheets. For more information on how to make these cross references please see the series level description for the Rough Glass Day Books (MS 175A/4/3/8).

Westminster & St Chad's Cathedral

Sir Charles Barry had been commissioned to design the New Palace of Westminster and sought the assistance of Augustus Pugin to complete the interior designs for the building. When Pugin was appointed under government contract he drafted in John Hardman and Company to produce the metalwork and stained glass for the building. The first glass day book (MS 175A/4/3/7/1 covering 1845 - 1854) includes many entries relating to Barry's Westminster project and there are a number of incoming letters from Barry to John Hardman and Company, found within the series MS 175A/11/1/3. Barry letters also appear in the main sequences of correspondence such as the incoming glass letters. John Hardman and Company worked on a number of famous projects in and around Birmingham such as St Chad's Cathedral and the Convent of Mercy in Handsworth. References to work completed on these projects appear in several sequences of records such as the Stained Glass Cost Sheets (Series MS 175A/4/3/12).

Hardman Abroad

Hardman were also successful in completing a number of orders abroad. By 1841 Hardman's had established an agent who operated in Ireland and in 1853 a Dublin branch of Hardman's was established. John Hardman and Company was able to extend their influence to Australia through the emigration of bishops and architects to the country. When in Australia, the English bishops who were aware of Hardman's and Pugin's reputations were keen on importing large quantities of Hardman church furnishings and Pugin church designs. One of the major projects which Hardman was involved in was in supplying stained glass for St Andrew's Anglican Cathedral in Sydney, the oldest cathedral in Australia, where construction work began in 1868. A handful of records specifically focussing on work in Australia exist, such as MS 175A/11/2/4/1, which includes a written plan for windows for St Andrew's cathedral.

In the 1880's, Hardmans sent an agent to the USA to attract orders. Gradually Hardman were able to build their reputation and supplied glass for many buildings across the east coast. Due to the difficulties encountered in corresponding with customers, and the ever increasing number of orders the company received, the company collaborated with the Church Glass and Decoration Company of New York to act as their agents in the USA. There are a number of letter books which relate to clients in America such as series MS 175A/9/2/1 and MS 175A/9/2/2.

John Hardman and company also exported many stained glass windows to South Africa. Records from the archive indicate how the firm was commissioned to produce stained glass windows for many large churches such as Durban Catholic Cathedral and St James church in Cape Town. The large number of orders received from South Africa at the beginning of the 20th century led to John Hardman and Company seeking a partnership in South Africa with a group of agents called Wilks, James and Company, who handled orders placed in South Africa. Correspondence between Wilks, James and Company and John Hardman and Company can be found throughout the Incoming London House series of records (MS 175A/9/1/6).

Following Pugin's death in 1852 Hardman's nephew John Hardman Powell (1827-1895) became the firms' chief designer. Direct Hardman family influence in the firm ended in 1936 with the retirement of John Tarleton Hardman (1872 - 1959). Thereon, running of the firm was placed in the hands of directors such as Patrick Feeney and Tom Farrell. There are some records relating to the firm from the 1950's onwards, but these are scarce as some records were destroyed in a fire at the firms' premises in 1970 and other more recent records are retained by the company which operates under the name of Hardman, Pugin and Powell.

Hardman at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery looks after graphic material from the Hardman Archive. This includes stained glass and metalwork designs, stained glass cartoons and the firm's warehouse books, dating from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century, as well as rubbings taken from decorative and commemorative brasses.

The Warehouse Books were used to record completed objects, usually when they were about to be despatched to the clients. They are a useful record of contracts completed, but the drawings can be in the form of quite rough sketches. The designs were intended to provide clients with an idea of their completed objects, and often provide alternative designs for the same things. They can be more highly finished drawings, but do not provide a complete record of works. Sometimes the firm did not receive the contract from potential clients, and in other cases, the drawings were retained by the clients or disposed of. The brass rubbings are records of completed objects, and illustrate the modest revival in memorial brasses during the mid-19th century, as commemorative windows and brasses replaced memorial sculpture as the fashionable way to celebrate the life of your loved ones in Roman Catholic and Church of England churches.

Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery looks after graphic material from the Hardman Archive.
This comprises:
- Rubbings of memorial brasses, dating from 1841 to 1940.
- The Warehouse and Drawing Office Books for Metalwork commissions, dating from 1850 to 1914. These are organised chronologically
- The Warehouse Books for Stained Glass production, dating from 1866 to 1949. These are organised chronologically, and within each book, by job number.
- A collection of designs for stained glass windows, indexed alphabetically by location, and dating from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century
- A collection of designs for metalwork, indexed by type of object, and dating from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century.
- A collection of medieval stained glass fragments, collected during restoration projects in the 19th and early 20th centuries, leaded up into 20 panels, 600x325mm
- A small collection of designs for church decoration
- The cartoons for stained glass windows produced by the company
- Miscellaneous material, including plate glass negatives, awaiting cataloguing.

Please note that not all of this material is accessible. Due to general condition and smoke and water damage caused during the fire at the company's premises, the cartoons, church decoration designs and some of the metalwork designs are too fragile or damaged to be handled, and are awaiting conservation treatment. The stained glass designs are generally accessible, but may be discoloured and brittle.

To view the accessible material, please contact the Curatorial Services Section in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, telephone 0121 303 8775.

For further reading see:

Michael Fisher, Hardman of Birmingham - Goldsmith and Glasspainter (Landmark Publishing, Ashbourne, 2008) [BCOL 66.6]

Augustus Pugin - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Entry

Hardman Family - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Entry
ArrangementMS 175A - John Hardman and Company

MS 175A/1 Corporate Records

MS 175A/1/1 Deeds, Articles of Association & Partnership Agreements
MS 175A/1/2 Memorandum and Articles of Association

MS 175A/2 Share Records

MS 175A/2/1 Register of Members and Shares
MS 175A/2/2 Annual Returns
MS 175A/2/3 Annual Summaries
MS 175A/2/4 Special Resolutions

MS 175A/3 Accounting and Financial Records

MS 175A/3/1 Decoration
MS 175A/3/1/1 Decoration Sales Ledgers
MS 175A/3/1/2 Decoration Purchase Ledgers
MS 175A/3/1/3 Decoration Petty Cash Book
MS 175A/3/1/4 Decoration Private Ledger
MS 175A/3/1/5 Decoration Account Ledger

MS 175A/3/2 Glass
MS 175A/3/2/1 Glass Sales Ledgers
MS 175A/3/2/2 Glass Purchase Ledgers & Analysis Books
MS 175A/3/2/3 Glass Journals

MS 175A/3/3 Metal
MS 175A/3/3/1 Metal Sales Ledgers
MS 175A/3/3/2 Metal Purchase Ledgers
MS 175A/3/3/3 Metal Journal
MS 175A/3/3/4 Metal/Brass Sales Ledger

MS 175A/3/4 General
MS 175A/3/4/1 Private Ledgers
MS 175A/3/4/2 Supplementary Private Ledgers
MS 175A/3/4/3 Cash Books
MS 175A/3/4/4 Private Cash Book
MS 175A/3/4/5 Petty Cash Book
MS 175A/3/4/6 Expenses Book
MS 175A/3/4/7 Petty Cash Purchases
MS 175A/3/4/8 Balance Sheets
MS 175A/3/4/9 Miscellaneous
MS 175A/3/4/10 Statements of Accounts

MS 175A/4 Operation Records

MS 175A/4/1 Brass
MS 175A/4/1/1 Brass Order Books
MS 175A/4/1/2 Brass Day Sales Books
MS 175A/4/1/3 Brass Estimate Books
MS 175A/4/1/4 Brass Letter Books
MS 175A/4/1/5 Index to Brass Work

MS 175A/4/2 Decoration
MS 175A/4/2/1 Decoration Sales Day Books
MS 175A/4/2/2 Decoration Cost Book
MS 175A/4/2/3 Decoration Letter Books
MS 175A/4/2/4 Decoration Letter Books
MS 175A/4/2/5 Decoration Estimate Letter Books
MS 175A/4/2/6 Decoration Sketch Book
MS 175A/4/2/7 Miscellaneous
MS 175A/4/2/8 Decoration Order Books
MS 175A/4/2/9 Decoration Cash Book

MS 175A/4/3 Glass
MS 175A/4/3/1 Rough Glass Order Books
MS 175A/4/3/2 Glass Order Books
MS 175A/4/3/3 Glass Order Books
MS 175A/4/3/4 Glass Order Sheets
MS 175A/4/3/5 Opus Sectile and Mosaic Order Books
MS 175A/4/3/6 Glass Invoices
MS 175A/4/3/7 Glass Sales Day Books
MS 175A/4/3/8 Rough Day Sales Books
MS 175A/4/3/9 Glass Sales Day Book
MS 175A/4/3/10 Glass Bill Books
MS 175A/4/3/11 Glass Cost Sheets
MS 175A/4/3/12 Stained Glass Cost Sheets
MS 175A/4/3/13 Index to Cartoons
MS 175A/4/3/14 Register of Glass Sketches
MS 175A/4/3/15 Registers of Glass Sketches and Designs
MS 175A/4/3/16 Time Sketch Books
MS 175A/4/3/17 Glass Sketch Books
MS 175A/4/3/18 Text and Inscription Books
MS 175A/4/3/19 Glass Estimate Letter Books
MS 175A/4/3/20 Glass and Brass Letter Books
MS 175A/4/3/21 Slab Glass Department Letter Book
MS 175A/4/3/22 Incoming Glass Letters
MS 175A/4/3/23 John Hardman Glass Indexes
MS 175A/4/3/24 Miscellaneous
MS 175A/4/3/25 Indexes to Completed Glasswork
MS 175A/4/3/26 Report Books

MS 175A/4/4 Metal
MS 175A/4/4/1 Metal Order Books
MS 175A/4/4/2 Metal Invoices
MS 175A/4/4/3 Metal Sales Day Books
MS 175A/4/4/4 Incoming Metal Letters
MS 175A/4/4/5 Incoming Burns and Company Letters
MS 175A/4/4/6 Metalwork Printing Blocks

MS 175A/4/5 General
MS 175A/4/5/1 General Sales Letter Books
MS 175A/4/5/2 General Letter Books
MS 175A/4/5/3 General Twentieth Century Correspondence
MS 175A/4/5/4 Money Owed Letter Books
MS 175A/4/5/5 Foreign Letter Books
MS 175A/4/5/6 J.B. Hardman Letter Book
MS 175A/4/5/7 Register of Letters Received
MS 175A/4/5/8 Registers of Letters Despatched
MS 175A/4/5/9 Delivery Books
MS 175A/4/5/10 Parcel Receipt Book
MS 175A/4/5/11 Cost Books
MS 175A/4/5/12 Miscellaneous Orders and Receipts

MS 175A/5 Marketing and Public Relations

MS 175A/5/1 Catalogues and Directories
MS 175A/5/2 Miscellaneous
MS 175A/5/3 Printed Material

MS 175A/6 Staff and Employment Records

MS 175A/6/1 Wage Books
MS 175A/6/2 Wage Books
MS 175A/6/3 Wage Analysis Book
MS 175A/6/4 Worksheets and Wage Sheets
MS 175A/6/5 Time Sheets
MS 175A/6/6 Workbooks
MS 175A/6/7 Workmen Time Cost Books - Cartoons and Designs
MS 175A/6/8 Workmen Time Cost Books - Cuttings
MS 175A/6/9 Workmen Time Cost Books - Painting
MS 175A/6/10 Workmen Time Cost Books - Glazing
MS 175A/6/11 Workmen Time Cost Books - Decoration, Mosaic, Opus
MS 175A/6/12 Decoration and Fixings Wage Book
MS 175A/6/13 Staff Testimonials
MS 175A/6/14 Staff Record Books
MS 175A/6/15 Staff Time Cost Sheets
MS 175A/6/16 Miscellaneous

MS 175A/7 Premises and Property Records

MS 175A/7/1 Birmingham House
MS 175A/7/1/1 Deeds, Indentures and Leases for Frederick Street Premises
MS 175A/7/1/2 Newhall Hill Documents

MS 175A/7/2 London House
MS 175A/7/2/1 Indentures and Leases for London House
MS 175A/7/2/2 London House Premises Correspondence

MS 175A/7/3 General
MS 175A/7/3/1 Insurance Policies

MS 175A/8 Photographs

MS 175A/8/1 Photo Indexes
MS 175A/8/2 Photographs

MS 175A/9 Branch & Agency Records

MS 175A/9/1 London House
MS 175A/9/1/1 Letters from London House to Birmingham House
MS 175A/9/1/2 Letters to London House
MS 175A/9/1/3 London House Letter Books
MS 175A/9/1/4 Memo's and Letters from London to Birmingham House
MS 175A/9/1/5 London House Memo Books
MS 175A/9/1/6 London House Incoming Letters
MS 175A/9/1/7 London House Sketch Book
MS 175A/9/1/8 London House Burns and Oates Day Book
MS 175A/9/1/9 London House Scrap Memorandum Book

MS 175A/9/2 USA
MS 175A/9/2/1 Roger Watts USA Letter Books
MS 175A/9/2/2 USA Agents Letter Book
MS 175A/9/2/3 USA Glass Order Book

MS 175A/9/3 Ireland
MS 175A/9/3/1 John Hardman and Company Stone Carving Works Private Ledger
MS 175A/9/3/2 Dublin House Financial Papers
MS 175A/9/3/3 John Hardman and Company Dublin House Letters
MS 175A/9/3/4 Letters to Dublin House
MS 175A/9/3/5 Thompson and Earley Correspondence - London and Dublin House

MS 175A/10 Family Papers

MS 175A/10/1 Buggins Family Papers
MS 175A/10/1/1 Correspondence
MS 175A/10/1/2 Financial Documents
MS 175A/10/1/3 Probate Documents
MS 175A/10/1/4 Miscellaneous

MS 175A/10/2 Hardman Family Papers
MS 175A/10/2/1 Family Trees and Probate

MS 175A/10/3 Miscellaneous Personal Papers
MS 175A/10/3/1 Midlands Catholic Reformatory

MS 175A/11 Special Correspondence
MS 175A/11/1 Incoming Letters
MS 175A/11/1/1 Incoming Glass and Brass Letters

MS 175A/11/1/2 Augustus Welby Pugin Letters

MS 175A/11/1/3 Charles Barry Letters

MS 175A/11/1/4 George Myers Letters

MS 175A/11/1/5 Stephen Thompson & Thomas Earley Letters

MS 175A/11/1/6 Miscellaneous Letters Regarding Accounts

MS 175A/11/1/7 Hardman Personal Letters

MS 175A/11/2 Project Correspondence
MS 175A/11/2/1 New Palace of Westminster
MS 175A/11/2/2 Exhibitions
MS 175A/11/2/3 Rugby School Correspondence
MS 175A/11/2/4 Sydney, Australia Correspondence
MS 175A/11/2/5 Miscellaneous Project Related Documents

MS 175A/11/3 Associated Companies
MS 175A/11/3/1 R L Boulton and Sons
MS 175A/11/3/2 British Society of Master Glass Painters

MS 175B - Hardman Powell and Company

MS 175B/1 Corporate Records
MS 175B/1/1 Deeds, Articles of Association & Partnership Agreements

MS 175B/2 Share Records
MS 175B/2/1 Private Ledgers
MS 175B/2/2 Supplementary Private Ledgers

MS 175B/3 Accounting and Financial Records
MS 175B/3/1 Hardman Powell and Company Sales Ledgers
MS 175B/3/2 Hardman Powell and Company Purchase Ledgers

MS 175B/4 Operation Records
MS 175B/4/1 Metal Order Books
MS 175B/4/2 Hardman Powell and Company Metal Sales Day Books
MS 175B/4/3 Hardman Powell and Company Incoming Invoices
MS 175B/4/4 Hardman Powell and Company Incoming Reciepts
MS 175B/4/5 Hardman Powell and Company Received Estimates
MS 175B/4/6 Metal Letter Books
MS 175B/4/7 Incoming Metal Letters
MS 175B/4/8 Hardman Powell and Company Invoice Books
MS 175B/4/9 Hardman Powell & Company General Letter Books
MS 175B/4/10 Hardman Powell and Company Drawing Number Books
MS 175B/4/11 Gerald James Hardman Letter Book
MS 175B/4/12 Hardman Powell and Company Stock List

MS 175B/5 Marketing and Public Relations
MS 17B/5/1 Hardman Powell and Company Catalogues

MS 175B/6 Branch & Agency Records
MS 175B/6/1 London
MS 175B/6/1/1 Hardman Powell and Company London House Sales Ledger
MS 175B/6/1/2 Hardman Powell and Company Memo's from London House
MS 175B/6/1/3 Hardman Powell and Company London House Orders
MS 175B/6/1/4 W.E. Fitzgerald Memo's to London House
MS 175B/6/1/5 W.E. Fitzgerald Orders to London House
MS 175B/6/1/6 H.G. Perkins Memo's to London House
MS 175B/6/1/7 Fitzgerald, Lamb and Perkins Orders for London House
MS 175B/6/1/8 Hardman Powell & Company London House Letter Books
Related MaterialMS 2293: Photographs of the Hardman Family.
MS 4329: Electronic index for the work of J.A.Pippet (1841-1903) at Hardman's Stained Glass and Metalware firm.
CreatorNameJohn Hardman and Company & Hardman Powell and Company
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