The site of the Neston Glove factory at the corner of Rough Street was originally used as a coach house in the care of Harry May. Later, sheepskins were ‘dressed’ in preparation for glove cutting. Those employed were known as leather dressers. It is understood that a Mr G. P. Fuller, who wanted to provide some work for ladies to undertake if they did not wish to go into service, established the actual Glove Factory in 1906.
Paul Beard has posted on the web details of an ancestor named Samuel Davis, believed to have been an owner of the property known as ‘Davis, May & Co.’, which first appeared in Kelly’s Directory in 1911. The name changed sometime between then and 1916, when it became known as ‘Neston Glove Factory’. At its height the factory was employing 60 people in the factory and 60 outworkers.
In the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s they were producing superior leather gloves for ladies and gents and had contracts with many of the mail order companies of the day, such as Gus, Kay’s and Dent’s. A local lady who worked in the office there remembers that the last time white, ‘shammy’ leather elbow gloves, were made there were for ladies attending the future Queen Elizabeth ll’s wedding in 1947.
In the 1930s the glove factory had a cricket team, and they practised in the lunch hour in the orchard close by (see ‘Around Corsham’ by Corsham Civic Society).
When the factory closed in about 1965, the building was taken over by Mr. Brixey, who had worked for Dowty as an engineer. Later there was a new owner, Bob Sibley, who dealt in plastics and tyres. On Monday 7 April 2014 the factory buildings containing ten tonnes of tyres were destroyed by fire, and an investigation is currently under way as to the cause. Thus another hundred years of local history disappears and will be unknown to those who come after.