‘Drop in orders and customers’ to blame for historic Chesterfield leather firm collapse

Clayton's Clayton Street
Clayton's Clayton Street

A historic Chesterfield firm that has been trading in the town for almost two centuries has plunged into administration with the loss of 14 jobs.

Joseph Clayton and Sons Ltd, which has produced leather in Chesterfield for 178 years and become ‘an important part of the town’s history’, confirmed the news today (Friday, September 21).

The Clayton Street based business has seen through a huge fire in 1913 and the World Wars, but failed to overcome a recent drop in turnover due to loss of orders and customers.

Emily Ball, of business advisory firm FRP Advisory LLP, was appointed joint administrator on September 20.

She said: “We had hoped to achieve a sale of the company, but despite some initial expressions of interest, no offers were made.

“The cash position of the business has meant unfortunately 14members of staff have been made redundant, with 11 remaining to assist us in the orderly wind down of the company.Support is being provided to all affected employees.”

Residents have reacted to the ‘gutting’ announcement and shared their fond memories of the workplace.

Sharon Aubert said: “I’ve know this place since I was a child.

“I walk past it when I go up to my parents’ house. What a shame- this is part of Chesterfield’s history.”

Elaine Booth worked at Clayton’s in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

She said: “I can remember a lot of the men who worked there. Such a shame and feel gutted for all involved.”

Rachel Fitzpatrick said: “What a shame for all the workers. My grandad worked there all his adult life.

“I visited a few years back and some workers still remembered him.

“Going there was like stepping into a time warp.”

Arron Pilkington said: “Started my electrical apprenticeship with this place.

“Some great people working there, always full of spirit. Sad times.”

Joseph Clayton founded Clayton’s when he was 20-years-old within the vicinity of the existing tannery.

The company expanded as the arrival of the railways increased demand and new factories and mills required leather belting for machinery.

Joseph Clayton opened a second works at the Clayton Street site before the original site was closed down.

His sons Joseph Edward and John Morton continued the business.

Clayton’s was later passed to a group of businessmen and employee Harold Birkin rose through the ranks to become manager and introduced exports.

Joseph Clayton prided himself on ‘quality products, a friendly service, trust and respect for customers, suppliers and employees’ which are principles the company upheld until the end.