leodis logo

Leeds City Council

Open archives compliant site

Supported by BIG Lottery Fund

Enrich UK Lottery Fund

Highbury Works (Former Meanwood Tannery), Green Road


Highbury Works (Former Meanwood Tannery), Green Road
Description:
April 1993. Image shows the frontage of Highbury Works, formerly Meanwood Tannery, situated in Green Road. It was built on the site of the old Wood Mills by Samuel Smith the Younger (1829-1880), father of the Tadcaster brewer of the same name, in 1857. His initials are carved on the datestone above the doorway. New tenants, William Gibson & Son, fellmongers, moved into the premises in 1914. In 1920 the property was sold by the Smith family to Robert Jowett & Sons Ltd. At the time of closure in 1994 it was owned by Robert Barker & Son (Fellmonger) Ltd. This view shows the entrance to Highbury Works including the wages office and clocking-in point. Inside there is a plaque commemorating all the workforce who served in World War I. After 1994 the Grade II listed buildings were preserved and incorporated into a residential development of conversion and new build.

User Comments:

Name:
Michael Griffin

Comment:
I had a summer job here in 1974. In those days if (as a student) you turned down three jobs at the 'employment exchange' you lost your dole benefit. This job however was excluded from that because it was so onerous and smelly and quite frankly dangerous to newcomers. In spite of this I took the job because I lived a few hundred yards away across Meanwood Park, in Weetwood. Although I'd always known it as 'the tannery' the business was Barker's Fellmongers and basically dealt in seperating sheepskin and wool from fleeces (although deer pelts were sometimes handled). Some of the hides came straight from the abatoir (in lorries dripping with blood). These were still warm and very slippery to handle! Other hides came in from Holland and were known as Dutch Hogs. They were absolutely huge, had been salted for transport and when wet weighed a ton (figuratively speaking). Once in a while a buyer would come from a sheepskin coat manufacturer in Somerset (I think). He and Barker's boss would haggle over the quality of each hide, which could be 'white', 'grey' or 'black (ie absolutely pure white, very pure white and white! Hides that you or I would call black were the speciality of another firm. The wool used to be loosened from the hide by steaming but in my time a mixture of sodium sulphide and lime was coated on the reverse side and left overnight. Men on piecework would then strip the wool from the skin using huge spokeshape things over a curved stone. The sulphide/lime was increbibly corrosive. I still have the chemical burn scars. After de-wooling the skins had the flesh (fat) stripped from them which was then rendered down and sold either to high quality lubricant manufacturers or to beauty product manufacturers depending on the state of the market. This was the hardest physical work I'd ever done and although my muscles eventually toughened up, it takes years to harden your skin to cope with such work. I eventually wore a hole thogh the flesh on my little finger, aggrevated by the salt. This became very seriously infected by something from the fleeces and I nearly lost my arm through infection! All the same, it was a fascinating place, not least because of the marvellous people who worked there. One man started as a boy and had been there 50 years!

Date:
11-Feb-2010

Email:
griffin_m_j@btinternet.com

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Edna Dewar (nee Richardson)

Comment:
My father, Frank Richardson, worked at Meanwood Tannery (Jowets)in the early Forties. I seem to remember during WW11, as an air raid warden he had to go up to the roof and keep a lookout presumably for enemy aircraft. The Tannery smell is something one can never forget. The men were such hard workers and wonderful people, as were the women who stayed home and worked hard without all the fancy gadgets we have today. Bless them all.

Date:
16-Mar-2010

Email:
e.dewar@bigpond.com.au

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Brian Doleman

Comment:
My Great Granddad William Wetherill worked here in the early 1900s. 1905ish and I beleive he died as a result of falling in the chemical tanks. I would like to know more if anyone can help. It coiuld have made the local press.

Date:
30-Jan-2011

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Steve Willimott

Comment:
As a result of shell-shock during the war my father was unable to resume his work as bedding buyer at Hitchens department store in Briggate (which later closed). After recovery he worked at the Tannery (Jowetts) during the late 40s/early 50s as a 'puller' stripping the wool from the soaked skins. He then became a 'whizzer' operating one of the giant horizontal 'spin-dryers' extracting the fluids from the wool before it went for washing and baling. The effect of the chemicals and wetness ruined his chest and after some time under treatment he moved to Thomas Danby College as a food technician. Hygienic, healthy and very different from the mill which despite it's official use was always called 'The Tannery'. My brother and I used to operate the small scoreboard at the Cricket Club which faced the pavilion so that people there could see. We had a net on a long pole to retrieve the ball if a six went into the dyke feeding the mill dam.

Date:
19-Jun-2013

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Margaret Leary

Comment:
My father Harry Pinkney worked as a mill wright at this tannery for many many years. Also his Brother George Pinkney worked there as a puller I think, I mean Uncle George worked there but not sure if I have his job title correct.

Date:
15-Jun-2016

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Name:
Smithe33

Comment:
I all the time used to read paragraph in news papers but now as I am a user of web thus from now I am using net for posts, thanks to web. ddeedcggddegdbck

Date:
05-Jan-2018

Email:
Not displayed

________________________________________________________________________________

Buy a copy of this photograph 200939_168610

Select the size, finish and quantity of the photograph you require.  If you require sepia toning please tick the appropriate box. Please note the size of the photographs will be as near as possible to that requested, however to avoid distorting the image sizes may not be exact. VAT will be added to the order at checkout.

Please note there is no negative available for this image there is a one off fee of £3.40 to pay in addition to the usual print costs.
Quantity: Sepia Toning (+50%)
Size Matt Gloss
10 x 8 inches £6.67 £6.67
12 x 9 inches £9.17 £9.17
16 x 12 inches £10.84 £10.84
Add to basket