The Glove Network visit to Pittards

This was an opportunity for the members of The Glove Network to meet in person and it was a real pleasure to be able to talk about gloves whilst learning about the key processes involved in producing gloving leather. It also provided the opportunity to appreciate why Pittards are internationally recognised as producing the highest quality of gloving leather that is exported globally to produce the finest gloves. Established in 1826, they are manufacturers of gloving leather, premium leather and leather goods.

Debbie Burton, Director of Marketing at Pittards, explained the qualities needed from the initial animal skin and we learnt that the skin of the Hair Sheep, which has been imported from Ethiopia by Pittards for the last 120 years, has unique natural properties, being stronger, smoother and finer than other kinds of sheep skin, making it the perfect starting point.

For some, this was our first visit to a place of leather dressing and tanning. It was fascinating to view the various processes that go into producing gloving leather. The stages are a combination of traditional, artisan leather-working skills combined with the benefits of the latest, cutting edge, manufacturing technology.

An image showing a worker trimming a sheet of leather

On site is the very important Research and Development team and their technical expertise and continuing scientific programme of R & D is the impetus behind Pittards impressive range of performance leathers, that incorporate technical qualities, so highly valued by a wide range of end uses, including sport or protective purposes. The is no other company that can compete in terms of the depth of technologies that can be imparted into the leather during the tanning processes, whilst retaining the appearance of leather.

An image showing a worker shaving a sheet of material using a machine

The marketing of the gloving leather is by end use. Ultimately, what is it for and what properties are required? For example, the end use could specify that the leather must be chemical resistant, fire resistant or abrasion resistant. Another example is the current trend for multi-purpose outdoor gloves that have cross functional properties.

Performance qualities are always kept at the forefront of the leather development, whether that be incorporating oil within the glove to enhance grip, for example necessary for the wearer when holding an ice axe or for less strenuous activities, washable leather for everyday dress gloves.

An image showing a worker checking a sheet of material

The huge surge in demand for golfing gloves and their unique requirement for very specific properties, including water resistance, perspiration resistance and suppleness of the leather whilst being breathable, means that Pittards are at the forefront of developments, collaborating with international golfing brands including Footjoy.

At the end of our visit, we were greatly tempted by the range of gorgeous, luxury leather products available in their on-site retail shop. Gloves in a rainbow of colours and styles; small and large luxury handcrafted leather goods, including sumptuous handbags from the Hill and Friends brand and chunky leather overnight bags and backpacks from the quintessentially English Men’s brand Daines and Hathaway.

It was a wonderful visit which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.



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