Edenbridge before and during World War One

Edenbridge Tannery

The first reference to tanning in Edenbridge goes back to 1447 and it remained the primary industry until the 1970s. Whitmore’s Tannery was greatly expanded in the 19th century and the

During the war the slogan became “Men march to War on Whitmore’s Leather” with an oft repeated local claim being that all men wore Whitmore’s boots during both world wars.

Although Britain had been one of the first to replace leather equipment with material ‘webbing’ it became quickly clear the Mills Equipment Company couldn’t keep up with the sudden demand. A leather version was designed and put into production.

Many women entered the tannery in ‘substitution’ to keep jobs open for family members. By the end of the war women came to work at the tannery from all over the valley.

A memorial (left) can be found on the old tannery site dedicated to the many workers that did not return.