MSO10428 - 19th Century tannery at Riverside (Building)


Former tannery buildings dating from the mid 19th Century. They were used as an army base during the Second World War. They are now in mixed residential and commercial use. This may be the same site recorded as MSO11559.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

'Tannery' shown on Ordnance Survey map of c1904. [1] 'The Old Tannery' noted on recent map, presumably converted to a private dwelling. [2] Although the leather industry is thought to have had much earlier origins, the former tannery, whose buildings survive, was founded in the mid 19th century. Oak-bark tanned leather was produced in quantity, although the trade began to decline after the 1914-18 war. Extensive former Tannery buildings, originating from the mid 19th Century and now in mixed commercial and residential use. Built mainly of stone with brick segmental arch openings and some weather-boarding, the original pattern of casement windows with narrow glazing bars have been retained. [3] The Tanyard is first mentioned in 1794 belonging to Abraham Phelps. At one time the tannery was owned by Mr Pearce and then his son, employing about 30 men. The leather was of top quality, used for harness and hunting equipment with a small quantity of best leather for footwear. It closed in the early 1930s and was taken over as a barracks during World War Two. The 58th Company of Royal Engineers occupied the site between 1941 until 1942, when they were sent to India. The American Army later used the barracks and huts for extra accommodation were built in the field behind the tannery. They were demolished in 1945. The main buildings were subsequently used by the Exmoor Engineering Company until that business closed. [4] Two-storeyed industrial buildings once used as a tannery, built in the later 19th Century. Red brick piers and window arches infilled with rubble stone. It was water-powered, the wheel in the part nearest the High Street, and fed by a tailrace. Photos available from the NRHE. [6] It is not clear whether the original post-medieval tannery at Porlock (MSO11559) was located in the same area as the 19th Century buildings recorded here, and is the same site. [7,8] Second World War headquarters of the Porlock Home Guard at the Old Tannery, next to the Methodist Church. The headquarters was set up here in 1940-41. [9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [10,11] The buildings are mentioned in a publication on the industrial archaeology of Somerset. [12] The heritage asset was assessed for inclusion on the Exmoor Local Heritage List in November 2022. It was decided to add the asset to the Local Heritage List. [13]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. c.1904. 1:2500 map, second edition.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2005. Landline Information.
  • <3> Report: Fisher, J.. 2002. Porlock: Conservation Area Character Appraisal. p5, 12, 15, 19.
  • <4> Monograph: Corner, Dennis. 1992. Porlock in Those Days. Exmoor Books. p21-3, 70, 90.
  • <5> Report: Pratt, N.. 2013. Porlock Conservation Area: Appraisal Document. Exmoor National Park Authority. 31, 77, Figure 2.
  • <6> Archive: Council for British Archaeology. 1963 - 1980. National Record of Industrial Monuments. Record Number SO11, MT Tucker, April 1969.
  • <8> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 22 March 2021.
  • <9> Digital archive: Council for British Archaeology. 2002. Defence of Britain. DEB01. S0003044.
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1419041, Updated 15 February 2022.
  • <11> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1568055, Extant 15 February 2022.
  • <12> Monograph: Daniel, P. (Ed.). 2019. A guide to the industrial archaeology of Somerset. Association for Industrial Archaeology. 2nd Edition. p 73, W29.2.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Dove, C.. 2022. Exmoor LHL Panel Meeting 28 November 2022. Exmoor National Park Authority.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Coastal Risk 2014: Flood Zone 2 fluvial
  • Coastal Risk 2014: Flood Zone 3 fluvial
  • Coastal Risk 2016: Flood Zone 2 fluvial
  • Coastal Risk 2016: Flood Zone 3 fluvial
  • DoB Anti Invasion Database UID: S0003044
  • Local Heritage List Status (Listed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NE109
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 NE169
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NBR Index Number: NRI01
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1419041
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1568055
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 19370



Grid reference Centred SS 2886 1468 (41m by 67m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS21SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Dec 13 2023 2:51PM


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