Bill Larkins was coachman to our great-great-grandfather.
Way back in the late 1800’s when the original tannery was not long up and running, motor cars were making an appearance and our great-great-grandfather was keen to embrace these new and wonderous machines.
However, his coachman, a man called Bill Larkins, didn’t share his enthusiasm. In fact, he didn’t approve of motor cars at all, refusing to drive it when one arrived to replace his horse and coach!
He was so adamant in his refusal that he took up a post in the tannery instead. This photo shows him using a Turner Pinwheel measuring machine which was used to measure the square footage of each hide.
As leather was – and still is – sold in square feet, the exact area of a hide is important and being such a wiggly shape, not an easy thing to measure. So Bill still had an important role in the family business, even if he did end up tending a machine anyway.