Westmorland Sheepskins was started by my father, Howard
Heaton, around 1980 in the old county of Westmorland in the North of England.
This was an off shoot of the family business ‘Heatons’ that had spanned across
decades in Leeds.
According to the history books, Heatons of Leeds was founded by William Heaton in 1899. William made ladies suits and coats from premises on Kind Street in Leeds. However, according to Doreen (my gran who also worked at Heatons), Henry Heaton (my great great grandfather) started the business in 1915. I must remember to find out the facts once and for all one day soon!
Crispin House (as it is known today and shown in the picture), was built in 1911. Before this it had been called Heatona House (from around 1924) after Heatons had moved into the building around 1914 and opened in 1916. We thought Crispin House was now luxury apartments but according to chat on the SecretLeeds website the apartments didnt sell and it was turned into a luxury hotel called the 'Ellington'. It looks like the economy at the time could not support another hotel like this in Leeds and closed down. The building we think is now empty - does anybody know any different?
(The image of Crispin house is from of the Leodis website)
The business then passed down the chain as far as Howard, who worked at the factory on North Street up until Heaton’s closed in the late 1970’s. Heatons was one of the Leeds tailoring companies which contributed to the Citys' fame for ready to wear clothing. Kind of a big deal considering the city’s history we think we and we are proud to have been part of it all.
After Heaton’s closed down, my father went off on his own path, starting Westmorland Sheepskins and here we are now with this new venture.