Thomas Ware & Sons of Bristol (est. 1840)

The Tale of Time & Standards...

Cruick uses British heritage leather from Thomas Ware & Sons of Bristol (est. 1840) at the core of what we do. The journey to select our tannery wasn’t rushed. For well over a year we tried leather from different world-class tanneries, the very best specialist tanneries from Western Europe, Scandinavia and North America. All of these tanneries were exceptional and individually the very the best in a particular niche, but Thomas Ware & Sons was undoubtedly our match.

We chose Thomas Ware & Sons simply because we believe they produce the world’s absolute finest leather that encapsulates ‘rugged luxury’, the cornerstone of our design ethos. The natural character, lifelong durability, substance and style of the leather just worked perfectly with our skills and unique methods, allowing us to design and make products that don’t look like anyone else’s. 

Peer into the heart of the tannery. Video courtesy of Thomas Ware & Sons Ltd.©

The secret to Thomas Ware & Sons’ leather is simply a refusal to change from a perfection they discovered over 175 years ago. In 1840 a 50yr old Thomas Ware opened his tannery on the banks of the River Avon with his partner Mr. Cox. The tannery operated under the quality law of the British guild of tanners, a law that insisted all British leather should be tanned for no less than a ‘year and a day’ to ensure world-leading quality.

In 1850, with the British industrial revolution steaming forward, the guild’s ‘year and a day’ law was officially abolished to allow Britain’s tanneries to reduce production times and keep up with the appetite of industry. However, Ware and Cox refused to abandon the guild’s law, and while other tanneries reduced quality and increased supply, Thomas Ware & Sons decided to abide by time honoured standards.

More than 175 years of producing leather without compromise has resulted in Thomas Ware & Sons’ unparalleled contribution to history. Leather strong enough to use as engine belts driving the steam trains of 1800’s Britain. In WW2, leather trusted enough for the soles of the British army in the jungles of Burma. Leather so durable the Dutch still choose it to seal the canals of Amsterdam. And now, beautiful, heritage leather our customers can enjoy for their lifetime.  

Today, Britain’s biggest traditional vegetable tannery, Thomas Ware & Sons still calls the banks of the Avon home. They’re still making leather the old way, their way, for a ‘year and a day’, still telling the tale of time and standards.