Baily’s Factory

Baily’s Tannery and Glove Factory, Glastonbury

Project Summary


To conserve, reuse and regenerate these historic industrial buildings for the benefit of the local community, in the process creating a catalyst to stimulate growth and employment by the provision of workshops and studio spaces, and to provide a learning and display facility for visitors and local residents alike.


Baily’s West after millstream works

Baily’s West after millstream works


Current Position          The two Baily’s Factories were granted to BIRT by the South West Regional Development Agency in July 2011 after many years of negotiations. Along with the buildings came a responsibility to clean and re-model the millstream under the supervision of the Environment Agency, which is now completed. During these operations the opportunity was taken to install corrugated steel shoring to consolidate the foundations of the building.

The roof has been waterproofed, parts of the building have been supported by scaffolding, access doorways have been blocked and the building has been mothballed while BIRT consult with their partners towards the production of a business plan to present to potential funders.

The Building    Baily’s – a 19th century tannery, sheepskin, rug and glove manufactory – developed in the 20th century into the making of sporting goods; Henry Cooper, Mohammad Ali and Floyd Patterson wore Baily’s gloves made in Glastonbury.[i] [ii] Baily’s factories (listed Grade II) dominate Beckery Island, the industrial site of Glastonbury for over 1,000 years, which lies on the southern approach to Glastonbury’s medieval market, abbey and High Street. This industrial zone was also until recently occupied by the Morland sheepskin factory, most of whose buildings have now been demolished. Northover Mill (listed Grade II), which was Glastonbury Abbey’s fulling mill has been renovated by the Trust. The chimney showing on our logo is part of Baily’s East factory.

The Project      Since closure in the 1980s, the factories have been abandoned, slipping into dereliction and contributing to Somerset’s worst eyesore. After losing some 2,000 skilled jobs, Glastonbury has declined from prosperity into deprivation. BIRT’s mission is to reverse this trend.

BIRT’s architects, Architecton, have presented plans for renovations of Baily’s with adaptations for modern use, and commissioned quantity surveyors Press and Starkey to produce costings for both buildings. They estimate that full renovation will cost just under £5,000,000. It is anticipated that the project will be carried out in 2 or 3 phases with the first phase costing up to £2,500,000 to complete.

Baily’s will provide 305.8 m/sq of residential space for a caretaker and student accommodation, 1,500 m/sq. of employment space and 138 m/sq. of heritage space, for which there is a demonstrable demand. A basic business plan suggests rental income of £126,537 pa. An integral aspect of the employment space will be a business nursery, designed to nurture new businesses through mutual support, shared access to office infrastructure and personnel, and guidance and support from external business experts with expertise in various different fields.

Funding and support Glastonbury Town Council supports BIRT through the provision of meeting space, hospitality for guests and office and secretarial facilities. BIRT has enjoyed participation and support from a wide variety of local societies and individuals too numerous to list. Somerset County Council Market Towns Regeneration Fund provided a grant of £10,000 towards re-roofing Northover Mill. The county council also supports our heritage and learning objectives through guidance and direction in applications for grants. The Architectural Heritage Fund has provided support for the creation of the business plan for Northover Mill and the Bailey’s Factories and the Heritage Lottery Fund supported the drawing up of feasibility studies by Architecton. The Somerset Levels and Moors Local Action for Rural Communities provided grants for renovation of Northover Mill. We have also had funding from anonymous private donors.

Beckery Island Regeneration Trust (BIRT)
A not-for-profit company (Charity No. No 5518679)
Objective The Beckery Island Regeneration Trust look forward to a vibrant, sustainable economy in Glastonbury based upon a wide range of jobs – skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled – offered by business of various types – traditional and innovatory; small and large; manufacturing and service-based – housed in historic buildings in communal ownership run for the benefit of the local community.

Track Record BIRT was founded in 2005 with the guidance and support of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, specifically to acquire and manage the heritage buildings on the Morland site. The membership is drawn from participants in a series of public and private meetings held since 2000.
Northover Mill is now being offered for rent as a commercial property, and we have a prospective industrial tenant for Bailey’s East, once it has been renovated.

Future plans An application is being drawn up for a grant to fund a project called ‘Sharing Heritage’, sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund. This project is intended to draw together information from all available sources to write the story of the Bailey’s Tanneries and Glove Factories. Everybody who worked at Bailey’s will be able to record their memories of the industry and an archive of photos, documents, tools and equipment and products will be collected to store and display in the in-house museum and visitor centre.

[i], a Somerset County Council Heritage Service website.

2 comments on “Baily’s Factory

  1. Rob Kinchin-Smith on said:

    Hi BIRT, Charles, Nancy
    So terribly sad to see the images of the fire. I did a pile of work for SWRDA on the Morlands buildings, including writing Conservation Plans for the retained buildings and commissioning archaeological building recording of all buildings on the site. Whilst the buildings study and conservation plans were deposited with Bob Croft and Mendip, I still have the project archive, including all the photographic archive, here in Didcot.
    Can I help in any way?

  2. Geoff Maine on said:

    Very interesting to read what is planned for the Baily’s buildings and the possibility that someone might compile a history of the company.
    I have a very limited connection to Baily’s. My father worked in the Sales Office in the 50’s. In those days the factory worked on Saturday mornings. My father worked Monday to Friday but went into work to check the incoming mail on Saturday. Sometimes he would take me with him leaving me in the typing pool to play on the typewriters whilst he worked. I would have been about six or seven then.
    My father became a commercial traveller for Baily’s in 1956 which eventually meant that the family moved to Worcestershire in 1960. A victim of his own sales success, he returned to Street in 1972 and finished his working life with Baily’s in the Stores Department, retiring in 1973. It would be interesting to see if any personnel files for my father – and possibly my mother who may, also have worked there – exist within the building.
    My best wishes for the future. I sincerely hope that the plans for the buildings come to fruition in the not too distant future.

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