The yard closed in 1909
and the machinery moved to Ipswich. Parts of the frame of the old buildings
are incorporated into the present Bridge House. The business was owned
by Church`s (now the seed merchants)
Hides came in by road, rail or river(see top left
photograph). The oak bark used in the tanning was brought in by
road and weighed on a weighbridge inside Chambers's present garage. A
small store of bark was kept inside Chambers but the bulk was stacked
at the end of the Croft.
The yard had a steam engine for working the bark-crusher and the stack
was next to the footpath close to the house called St Mary`s,
Wooden vats were set in the ground and the hides were put in with the
oak-tan, lime and water. The treated hides were dried in the timber building
still standing in the garden of Bridge House and visible from the bridge.
The lime and hair residue as used by a local builder as `tan-mortar`.
The tan yard entrance was opposite Chambers (see
bottom right photograph).
The finished "hides"
were transported by "lighter"
on the river down to Mistley.
The alternative route would have been by cart to Ipswich . This involved
an overnight stay, as the journey to ipswich couldnt be completed in a
single day. From Ipswich it is thought the "hides" again travelled
Both routes via Mistley or Ipswich would have taken them by sailing barge
along the North Sea coast, perhaps down to London.
Bures had many small industries
connected with tanning, the manufacture of boots and shoes, gloves and
saddles, book binding and most importantly, a local skill making leather
balls for games. In 1851 Bures had seven shoemakers, three bookmakers,
a bootbinder, a collar and harness-maker, a bookbinder, three saddlers,
and two glovers.
During the 1914 - 1918
war the building was used as a dormitory for German POW`s. For some time
afterwards their names could be seen engraved on timberwork over their
Rear view of
Hides would have been offloaded from barges to the jetty. The road
bridge can be seen to the left.
(courtesy of Peter Richards)
Rear View 2003,
The Tannery works can still be clearly seen to the left of the picture
the Tannery chimney.
(courtesy of John Ineson)
works in the High St, 2003
For a more detailed
explanation of Tanning in Bures, Click Here for Part II