The Metropolitan Leather Co Limited was founded 1919 to manufacture leather diaphragms for gas meters.
By 1933 the company was not only manufacturing diaphragm leathers, but was also cutting diaphragms for sale to the many members of the Gas Meter Industry. At the same time, the production of lining leathers and clothing leathers from East Indian Persian Crust was commenced, and the business rapidly expanded until by 1939 the company had filled all the available premises attached to the original Bermondsey factory.
In September 1940, the factory was badly hit with incendiary bombs and alternative premises had to be acquired. In a very short time the business was transferred to a mill in Great Harwood, Lancashire, without any loss in production, and further expansion was made.
During the war period, various productions were carried out for the military, and in 1945 a rapid return was made to the production of meter leathers to fulfil the great demand by the industry to catch up with the repairs which had been postponed during the war-time.
In 1951, the old established company of Broadhead & Conyers of Leeds was purchased to broaden the basis of the production with Kips and Calf, particularly for high fashion finishes for the Shoe and Handbag Industry. In order to increase efficiency, the factory in Leeds was closed and amalgamated with the Tannery in Great Harwood during 1955.
In 1962, it was decided to make available to the trade the long experience of the production of fancy finishes for the Shoe, Equestrian and Handbag Industries.
In 1985, the business was sold to Roy Winnard, who at the time was the Leather Division Manager.
The company relocated in 1990 to Thrapston, Northamptonshire - an area synonymous with the shoe trade, and continued to provide many other related industries with high quality leathers, in particular the equestrian and high end leathergoods market.
Further growth followed, and the company steadily increased its range to meet with demand from both UK and overseas customers, winning several business export awards along the way. Now carrying one of the largest stocks of off the shelf vegetable tanned leathers in the UK, the finishing plant and workforce were expanded in 2018 to cope with an ever increasing workload.
2019 saw Metropolitan celebrating its 100th year in business, and the company goes from strength to strength, introducing its own range of dyes, stains and colourants and also stocking high quality craft tools for the first time.
As part of our centenary celebration, we staged our first open weekend, inviting our customers to see behind the scenes and learn more about our leather production and finishing processes, and see first hand our extensive range of leathers, tools, dyes and stains.
We also invited guest artisan makers and leather craft teachers to demonstrate our leathers in more detail. The event was a huge success, seeing hundreds of visitors over the 4 days, and we will be hosting more events in 2020.