The Yorkshire Film Archive collects, preserves, and shows film made in, or about Yorkshire. Our collections are non-fiction, dating from the 1890s to the present day, and providing a rich and visually compelling record of all aspects of lives, cultures, landscape, industries, major events and everyday activities, many of which are available to watch, free of charge, on our website.
This film is part of Free
Romance of Leather
This document of the tannery industry in Beverley in the 1930s gives a vivid picture of leather making, with wonderful shots of this labour intensive and highly skilled trade.
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A beautifully filmed profile of tannery workers in their pre-war working clothing and factory environment, exhibiting the lost skills of producing leather in Beverley. Each stage of the labour intensive process, from raw material to finished goods, is reverently demonstrated at a genteel pace and explained by the narrator in the re-assuring tones, very John Betjamin like, typical of the period.
Local filmmakers Debenham’s & Co., as always, do a professional job of filming an industry which has a history in Beverley going back to medieval times. It isn’t known which company is featured in the film, but the largest at the time was Richard Hodgson and Sons Ltd in Flemingate, founded in 1812, which employed generations of Beverley families. The tanning industry was finally brought to an end in Beverley in 1986 with the closure of Melrose Tanners based in Keldgate. But leather still has its many uses, although a little less romance, and is still made just up the road from Beverley in Driffield.