Record Details

NHER Number:13795
Type of record:Building
Name:19th century leather factory


This large building was built around 1874 and was Skipper's Leather Factory and perhaps later a soap factory. The building has three storeys and is built of red bricks in a half H shape plan. The west end of the wings are more ornate than the rest of the building. The factory is now used as a store. The adjacent Malt House Cottages are in similar style. In January 2010 a level 2 historic building survey was undertaken to record the building ahead of proposals for conversion into a residential property.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 9942 1298
Map Sheet:TF91SE

Full description

June 1978. Visit.
Large building, probably a grain store for maltings. Three storeys, red bricks, half H-shaped. Plain with large central doorway, but west end of wings more ornate with pedimented window and decorative courses on south wing, and white brick painted headings on both wing windows. Now a store. Malthouse Cottages attached in similar style.
E. Rose (NAU), 27 June 1978.

In actual fact this was built in 1884 as a leather factory, and later became a soap factory.
Information from Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society.

Rev Armstrong entry for 15th May 1874 refers to a visit to this factory, Skipper's Leather Works. The entry notes that it is 'worked by a hundred men, by steam' and is a 'new feature' of the town.
E. Rose (NLA), 15 September 1997.

Clearly therefore the Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society date must be incorrect assuming (S1) is referring to the same factory. The arrangement of the south wing west gable wall is a triple slit between two pointed windows at ground and first floor, the pediment above the slits being at first floor level. There is a single slit in the gable. All the arches and courses are of coloured bricks. The gable wall of the north wing has had its central area rebuilt with plain window openings.
E. Rose (NLA), 22 March 2002.

January 2010. Building Survey.
Level 2 Historic Building Survey undertaken ahead of works to convert the building into a residential property.
Apart from the shell and internal floor spaces very little evidence remains for the earliest use of the building c. 1875 onwards as Skippers Leather Factory. The earliest building was designed to facilitate the movement of goods and materials and was constructed next to the railway so goods could be transported to and from the factory by train. The arched entrances to the building would have allowed horse-drawn carts to enter to the west and depart through the opposite wall. In 1893 a stable had been provided to the north-east to accommodate the working horses. It I not clear whether the northern wing of the building was originally divided from the main north-south structure but by c.1890 a dividing wall was established. The northern wing was subsequently used as a granary until the 20th century. Much of the surviving evidence relates to the occupation of the building by the company Hobbies tool manufacturer and later use as a warehouse by CMC Carpets in the 20th century. It would appear that the last of the equipment and machinery was removed from the building during its conversion to a warehouse in the second half of the 20th century.
See report (S2) for further details.
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2011.297 or NWHCM : 2016.70).
S. Howard (NLA), 18 August 2010. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 27 April 2019.

The site is marked as a Leather Works on the 1st ed O.S. map (S3).
W. Arnold (HES), 14 Febuary 2011

Monument Types

  • HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • WAREHOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • LEATHER FACTORY (19th Century - 1870 AD? to 1900 AD)
  • TANNERY (19th Century - 1870 AD? to 1900 AD?)
  • GRANARY (19th Century - 1883 AD? to 1883 AD?)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N and Wilson, W. 1999. Norfolk 2: North-West and South. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 294.
---Photograph: Phelps, A.. 2010. PNV.
<S1>Publication: Armstrong, H. B. J (ed). 1949. A Norfolk Diary. Passages from the Diary of The Rev. Benjamin John Armstrong. p 180.
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Phelps, A. 2010. The Former CMC Warehouse, Dereham, Norfolk: A level 2 Historic Building Survey. NAU Archaeology. 2226.
<S3>Map: Ordnance Survey. 1824-1836. Ordnance Survey First Edition 1 inch..

Related records - none

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