Prominent tanner Barry Knight to retire

United Kingdom
Published:  01 April, 2021
Barry Knight

The well-known industry stalwart is to retire from his position of Sales Development Manager for Bristol-based pit-tanner Thomas Ware & Sons.

Knight has spent over 40 years in the leather industry, starting out in 1982 when he left school with no qualifications and joined Joseph Clayton & Sons, a tannery specialising in heavy leathers of all tanning disciplines. Initially working mostly on post tanning, such as
setting out, shaving and buffing, he then moved into the tanning department, working on pits and drums and subsequently becoming tan yard foreman. At the same time, Knight went on to study Leather Technology at Northampton Leather College, a move which facilitated quick career progression through the ranks at JCS and culminated in Knight becoming Sales Director / General Manager at the company. He was also involved with the SLTC Northern Group and at national level and was awarded a fellowship.

In 2010, Knight joined Thomas Ware & Sons as Sales Development Manager to spearhead technical development and grow overseas sales, which within five years had grown from 2-3% to 45%, and as such, the company was granted the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Export Category. In 2014, Knight was elected President of the United Kingdom Leather Federation.

“You might say that I had worked my up from the pits, but actually, it took me a while to get to the pits! Never happier than working on shop floor, sleeves rolled up with dirty hands, creating new leathers”, says Knight, looking back on his career.

He will remain active as a Technical Consultant for Thomas Ware & Sons, “so I am not entirely removed from the trade”, he says.