George Barnsley & Sons Ltd specialised in tools for shoe makers and leather workers. The building closed around 2004.


  • Deva, August 2, 2016 @ 13:34

    Recently I bought in Melbourne (Australia) Trash and Treasure market,a shoe hammer head with writing ” Ä (shoe mark) GEO BARNSLEY & SONS, SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND, 1. I am a collector of antique and unusual tools of all sort. Could anyone tell me how old this hammer is.Thanks

  • David Butcher, February 4, 2016 @ 13:08

    I recently purchased what was described as a leather workers tool at an auction. The tool is T shaped and has wooden handles at either end of the T bar and a single wooden handle at the base of the T. The main upright of the T consists of a flat steel bar about 2 inches wide with with sharpened edges running either side for the full 15 inch or so of its full length. Having got the tool home I discovered that it was stamped G Barnsley. The tool was bought in Shropshire, I live in Barnsley and worked for many years in Sheffield. The tool appears to be some sort of scraper , but I wondered if anybody knows what particular purpose this tool was used for.

  • Terry Firmin, January 18, 2014 @ 12:55

    A friend who new that I trained in a saddle a bridle makers some years ago just presented me with an old box ant to my delight there was a brilliant old adjustable creasing iron an some crew punches by George Barnsley . Having given up this trade some years ago but due to go back and use my skill I was trained to do I was delighted to hold and feel those tools again , quality .

  • palo, June 3, 2013 @ 17:04

    yesterday I purchased a file from the carboot sale, with a G. Barnsley stamp, it is beautiful (I like old tools) and very good quality, the steel is in suberb nick although it’s clear that it isn’t new.

    what a moving set of photos. it is sad, all that industry, men working, making things that other people use to earn a crust or complete a task. the silver lining is this evidence, these photos.

  • Mike, June 22, 2012 @ 23:55

    It is interestering to read the above comments on Barnsley tools .One of these stretching tools has come into our hands in New Zealand , so there must have been a good export business at one stage although the tool that we have could have been
    brought down here by a trades man at some stage.
    It is black and has the same marks as Robs one ,A shoe and the Letter A next to it with a spring action .I wonder how many of these tools are around still ,may become a collectors item one day
    Does any body know the correct name for these tools?

  • Lesley, April 25, 2012 @ 09:04

    My Mum worked at Geo. Barnsley’s for quite a number of years, leaving on retirement round about the mid 80s. Her name, Florence (Flo) Wade who sadly died in 2007. My Dad also worked there for a few years after being made redundant from Daniel Doncaster’s where he was a boilerman. Mum sometimes took me to work with her and I have very fond memories.

  • Bill Watson, May 7, 2011 @ 19:15

    Hi I worked for Geo Barnsley & Sons for about six years leaving in the early 1990,s.I was a scale tang cutler but I also did taper grinding and inspection.I remember many happy times there.I remember my colleagues mentioned above I also had some very interesting chats with Mr Henry Barnsley.I took early retirement in 2006 after spending 16 years at Richardsons (laser) Ltd.I often wondered happened at Barnsleys I always assumed that after the Globe works was modernised the company would move to new premises.

  • Mel Ripley, January 10, 2011 @ 23:35

    hi, i worked at george barnsley & sons from 1978 -2003 & was the last employe to work for them. i was a handtool maker & also did hardening on a lead furnace,over the years & redundancy to fellow work colleagues i ended up doing all jobs they did . i.e forge work.stamping out blades,grinding, setting machines,temp blades ,& many other jobs the list goes on.i had a very bad accident at work in jan 2003 & av not worked since , i have some very good memories of my time there

  • david vaughan, November 16, 2010 @ 20:25

    i worked for george barnsley from 1985 to 2001 and i knew henry barnsley very well along with his son andrew who took over the running of the buisness,both were very good to work for and i enjoyed all the time i worked there. they made a vast range of tools that were used all over the world. i wouod be interested to know of anyone from the time i worked there. very sad to here of its demise some years ago. i still visit the area from time to time for nostalgia.

  • M Attard, October 7, 2010 @ 19:38

    We use this tool to stretch out areas of the bunion when adapting orthopedic footwear as Mr Barnsley described.

    Our tools are over 30 Years old and still going strong

    In fact I found and old shoe box full of Barnsley tools last year hidden in a shoe polish machine they are now out of retirement and working again.

  • C.R.Barnsley, September 12, 2010 @ 17:54

    I am now running Geo. Barnsley & Sons Ltd at the same address as Woodware Repetitions Ltd, 47 Mowbray Street Sheffield S3 8EN 0114 2726060 e-mail

    I will be happy to try and help any query, PS the tool with the ring etc is used when the shoe maker or repairer wants to press out the leather because of a bunnion for example.
    Kind Regards C R Barnsley

  • MAC, August 31, 2010 @ 19:33

    Sean, See you have a Geo. Barnsley tool catalogue. I have an unidentified Barnsley tool, perhaps you can help identifying it.
    Total length 13 cm, wooden handle 9cm long, metal shaft squarish with 6mm conical point on end at right angles to shaft. Conical end has 2mm hole through both itself and shaft. Maybe used for threading in some way. Thanks for helping if you can.
    regards MAC

  • Sean, May 23, 2010 @ 13:25


    I have a Barnsley’s catalogue from the late 90s or early 00s when I visited the premises to buy a bridle cutter’s knife… I can dig it out when I get a moment if you like. The tool you describe sounds like something I’ve seen for stretching leather though, but not sure what the correct name is.

    Yours Aye,


  • Rob, May 11, 2010 @ 10:45

    Its nice to be the first.
    Where can I find a list ( and pref pics) of the tools made by Barnsley & Sons?
    I am a leather worker in Australia , and I have been given a leather/shoe making tool that I can’t seem to identify.Even some of the experienced shoe makers / repairers can’t seem to identify it.
    Its a scissor/spring action type tool,approx 15″ long, one ‘arm ‘ has a ring approx 1-1/4 ” at the end, and the other ‘arm’ has a round ball approx 3/4″ that goes inside the ring.
    There is a marking on one of the arms, the letter ‘A’ with a pic of a shoe right next to it, and the number 17 on the back ( batch # perhaps?)
    Some suggestions that I’ve had, ” for making buttons for button up boots”
    Or, ” for pressing eyelets” ( its a bit big for that)
    I have tried moulding ( moistened) thin leather with it, the end result is a piece of leather in the shape of a round ball.
    I can only guess that its for moulding/shaping a particular part of a boot or shoe (?)
    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks and all the best,

    PS ( nice …., but sad pics)

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