T he Leather & Grindery Supplies are a friendly family run shoe repair supply business based in New Malden, Surrey. We supply shops throughout the UK and overseas with Shoe Repair Materials, Shoe Care Products & Key Blanks. Our customers range from Shoe Repairers, Dry Cleaners, Hardware Stores, Locksmiths & Laundrettes. We also stock a large range of leather ‘Off- Cuts’ in various colours & thicknesses that attract the interest of Fashion Students, Reenactment enthusiasts & basically anyone interested in repairing “ that old bag ”. What ever your requirements are, we will always be happy to greet you with a warm welcome & friendly advice if needed.
The Leather and Grindery started in business in 1950 in small premises with one small van. So far the company has only existed for two generations although the family connections with leather covers four generations, ever since Alexander Pengilly left the little Cornish fishing village of Coverack in 1883. He was a shoemaker and opened a shop in Isleworth. At the time only affluent families would have shoes made to measure and Alexander would have been mainly occupied with shoe repairing. He was always close to poverty, although, like most men in Victorian times, somehow managed to support a large family. Whenever more leather was needed, his son, Alexander Herbert, also destined for the leather trade, embarked upon a regular trip to collect a couple of ranges of leather. This meant a walk of five miles each way to Twickenham to the nearest wholesaler.
These were the days of hard graft and twelve hour working days, not that far removed from today. Alexander Herbert had a strong urge for self-improvement and, to this end, he took evening classes in typing and shorthand and, having ambitions of becoming white collar worker, he became a clerk amongst a million others, travelling to the city of London every day, working for a tea merchant. Business experience convinced him that a far better route to happiness would be, after all, to become a self-employed shoe repairer. Alexander Herbert eventually opened a shop barely big enough to swing a cat, but at the time of his retirement, he had managed to amass a total of five shops.
The Leather and Grindery was started by Sid Pengilly, Alexander Herbert’s son, when he came out of the Army. Every small parade of shops had one or two cobblers amongst them at that time. There were probably a hundred in the Kingston and Richmond area alone. Kingston also supported four busy wholesalers and a tannery, all long since closed down. The Leather & Grindery gradually grew and Sid took on more staff to fill a void left by other wholesalers going out of business.
The company was founded in a small garage on premises at the rear of Sid’s father’s New Malden shop. Over the years a total of six of extensions have been added in order to accommodate the growing business which often leaves customers with a sense of having been lost in a maze. This has all been possible due to the purchase of various connecting plots during the war.
Three of Sid’s six children, John, Tom and Pat went on to work in the shoe trade. John now owns and runs grandad’s last shoe repair shop in New Malden. After learning the shoe repair trade, Tom and Pat joined the Leather & Grindery around 1980 and took over the company after Sid’s retirement in 1998. We have expanded the business by calling on new customers and taken on more staff. At present our customers stretch as far afield as the Isle of Wight, the Shetland Islands and even Japan.