Our history

The original Tannery was founded by John Holmes in 1799 and quickly established a wide reputation for Sole and Strap Butt leathers. In 1850 his methods became world famous when he patented an improved method of tanning driving belts for machinery. During the last century, it was the only full hide tannery in the City of Hull.

It was acquired in 1935 by Barrow Hepburn & Gale who had interests in the dressing of leather. Following the Second World War an extensive modernisation programme resulted in the complete rebuilding of the limeyard and tanyard making them the most modern in the UK and this was followed by the rebuilding of the drying area and offices leading to an expansion in production.

The production of leather for the spinning and weaving industry was transferred from James Bailey of Denholme in 1956. Later the business of Henry Hall of York, who were curriers, sole tanners and oil seal producers, was introduced onto the 13-acre site and also the production of shoe upper leather commenced. Holmes Halls Tanners was formed.

Expansion continued and Holmes Halls Tanners Ltd was one of the most versatile Tanneries in the UK equipped with some of the most modern machinery and using the latest technology, It employed over 300 people, with a weekly input of approximately 12,000 hides with all the hides having a common beamhouse procedure before being selected for their optimum use.

The vegetable-heavy leather department was well equipped for pit tanning hides and laid out for ease of control and economical working. The vegetable tan production produced sole leather which was sold all over the world, and retanned leathers for bridle and belting.

Wet blue leather was also produced and sold mainly to other tanneries or dressers for further processing into either upholstery or shoe-upper leather. The finished leather department produced both corrected and full grain leathers for shoe uppers and also a variety of other finished leathers, both chrome and vegetable-tanned, for the fashion accessory market.

The original Holmes Halls Tanners entered into receivership in 2000 and ceased trading, a fate that has befallen almost all of the UK Tanning industry today.

In 2001 the company was bought by a consortium for the continued production of wet-blue bovine hides and the name changed to Holmes Halls (Processors) Ltd.