Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bevington & Sons

Bevington (1772) was the co-founder of the Neckinger Leather Mills in Bermondsey Surrey, at one time the largest leather factory in Europe.

The photograph below was taken in 1862 at Neckinger Mills. It shows John W. Bevington, James B. Bevington, Samuel Bevington, and Horatio Harris, another of the partners or owners.

Neckinger Mill was originally a paper mill where many new inventions were made, including extracting ink from recycled paper. The building is best remembered however, as the biggest leather mills, owned by Bevingtons & Sons from the 1800s to 1980. The mills covered a vast area including not only the existing building but the whole area around the Neckinger Estate. Here they produced light leathers such as Morocco leather and seal-skins for shoes and fancy goods. During WWII, women played a key role in this process, the fish oils they used during the glazing process apparently enhanced the beauty in Bermondsey women's skin and hair.

Bevington’s re-located from Bermondsey to Leicester in the 1980s where it is now a specialist division of Milton Leicester Ltd., producing hand-crafted leather goods.

By Paul Green

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