Sunday, May 12, 2013

William Walker & Sons Ltd.

William Walker & Sons Ltd. was a manufacturer of leather belting and other leather accessories. The company was founded in 1823 by William Walker in the Lancashire town of Bolton. The original tannery was in King Street and the output was chiefly clog and shoe leather. Walker saw great potential in the manufacture of belting for driving the new machinery in cotton mills and engineering works that were springing up throughout Lancashire. Operations were transferred to Ridgway Gates Tannery in 1828. Rose Hill Tannery was opened in 1850 and grew to become one of the largest and most efficient tanneries in the UK and William Walker & Sons Ltd. became one of Bolton's major success stories. The company made high-grade leathers for a wide range of products including shoes, handbags, belts, hats and briefcases.

In c.1970 William Walker & Sons Ltd. was acquired by another leather merchant called the Barrow Hepburn Group plc. The Rose Hill Tannery was closed down in 1978 and in 2008 it was demolished.

The Rose Hill Tannery in 2007

by Mark Matlach


  1. my Grandad worked here,loved his work,so sad it isn`t there now,neither is the house where he lived with my Grandma on George Street.

  2. I thought you might be interested in this surviving legacy of the firm in London: