harold leather boot making history


The Harold Boot Company History

Harold Boot beam press

factory

shoes

workers

The Harold Boot Company has been specialising in well made and dependable Australian made footwear for over 100 years. We choose the highest quality material and employ the finest craftsmen to produce a truly Australian boot to suit your needs. All our products are made with you in mind. Your needs are what direct us to produce a boot for every use and occasion. When you look for strong and durable well made boots the Harold Boot Company continues its History of putting all our experience into making them for you.
The Harold Boot Co can be traced back to the 1400's in Leicestershire England where Ian Harold's ancestors were bespoke boot makers.At the beginning of the 1700'S the family employed over 40 hand shoemakers making quality boots and shoes of the time. At the start of the industrial revolution the family started a very modern factory for its time. The factory prospered and the family business continued to grow.

In 1878 John Harold took over the running of the factory from his father Alexander. He had the first of 4 sons in 1882 (Frederick Harold). By the turn of the century the factory had survived the depression of the 1890's. It had been a hard struggle, but determination and reputation carried the business through. At this time the factory was having trouble getting raw material supplies of good quality leather for their production and they had noted that there were abundant supplies of leather being produced in Australia. In 1912 it was decided to send Frederick out to Australia to start a factory, making traditional footwear to send back to England for the family to market.The company thrived both with exports and local sales.

With the onset of the First World War the Australian operation went into war production mode, manufacturing footwear for the Australian military. When the war was over most of the contact with the mother country was lost. Two of Frederick's brothers migrated to Australia and Harold's continued to expand making traditional footwear. This tradition has carried through to the current day; being continued by Frederick's son Alexander and to this day by Ian Harold the grandson of Fredrick.

In 1982, Ken Watkin, whose family has a long history in the leather industry, approached Ian to make a range of specialty mountaineering walking boots, and in 1988, Ken and his wife Carol bought the business from Ian. Over the ensuing years, the company has consolidated its range further and the factory now specialises in producing traditional English footwear, Australian country footwear, Jockey boots and Sport riding products, and over the last 6 years has trebled its production capacity in an endeavour to increase its' export capacity.
Since this time in 2008 after 90 years in the old Factory at Abbotsford the Harold Boot Company moved again to its new premises at 170 Perry Street Fairfield.

In May 2014 the whole factory was again moved to Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam. We did this as we were unable to get staff and supplieis in Australia. The raw materials and manufacturing style have not changed only the location.

This being the 6th move by the company since 1650.

Ian Harold is still to this day in charge of the factory's production. Continuing a proud tradition and maintaining a firm commitment to quality, durability and style that is rarely seen in todays market place.

MANAGERS KEN AND CAROL WATKIN.

HEAD OFFICE
P.O. Box 20
Abbotsford. Victoria. 3067
Australia
Phone (61) 03 9486 3880