The excellent pure supply of water from the Homewell spring in Havant helped to provide the town with many industries such as parchment making, tanning and leather glove making.
One of the oldest was the skilled craft of parchment making, which is reputed to have gone on here for a thousand years. The water that was used here in the process of parchment making, helped to produce some of the whitest parchment in the country.
Havant parchment was used for many official documents, including, it is said, The Treaty of Versailles, signed by European countries to formally end World War I (Great War) in 1919.
Tannery and Parchment Works
There has been a Tannery and Parchment Works in Havant for over 150 years. Little is recorded of its early life, but we know by 1847 the tannery was being run by Edward Stallard and it continued as a family business until it closed in 1936.
Tanning is the name of the process that creates leather from animal skins (usually hides). Here the worker is 'fleshing' the skins. All remaining flesh had to be removed from the skin by hand using a long scraper-like tool so all that was left was the skin.
Stent's Glove-making Factory
One of the men who originally worked with Edward Stallard at the parchment works was Alfred Stent pictured here on the left in about 1908.
He continued to develop the industry and in 1916 set up a leather manufacturing factory in West Street, Havant. This was the start of the glove making industry, which at one stage employed over 100 people.
From skins to gloves
Drying the skins
Skins of all kinds were used here to make a variety of gloves, including tiny gloves for children to long evening gloves for the ladies. Here the animal skins have been laid out in field of Brockhampton Lane, Havant, nearby to Stent's factory to dry and bleach in the sun.
Her Majesty the Queen had riding gloves made here. During the Second World War (1939-1945) the company manufactured flying suits, mittens and a variety of other leather items for the military. The picture on the right shows workers at Stent's in 1935 using pedal-operated sewing machines to stitch gloves. The Stent family glove making business finally closed in 1960.
This theme will be expanded with more information and links to images in the coming months.