R. J. Draper & Co Ltd
1930'sThe company was founded by Richard J Draper, who after many years in India and Canada had become involved in the 1930’s with a Glastonbury glove maker, Harry Cox. His success in marketing the products, particularly gloves for industrial use, led to him taking over the premises and setting up his own company in 1937. The original buildings were a former chapel and cottages dating back to the medieval days of Glastonbury. Mr Cox’s original company was started back in 1911.
From working on Government contracts and supplying safety asbestos and leather protective wear, the business was gradually extended to make use of the available raw materials of sheepskin and leather. A pool of skilled local labour, with specialists experience drawn from generations of working with sheepskin, encouraged the development of the footwear business. By 1946 suede and sheepskin slippers were being made, as well as leather and suede sandals with crepe soles.
1950'sIn 1952 the footwear manufacturer of the local firm Bailey’s was taken over and the Bailey’s brand was used for several years on sheepskin boots.
The present chairman Richard D Draper joined his father in 1955 and it was at this time that new Italian vulcanising machinery was installed for sheepskin boot making.
During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the company became a major boot supplier to the U.S.S.R and extra factory facilities were taken over in Clevedon and Bristol. By now about four hundred people were employed in manufacturing Draper sheepskin products.
In 1959 the manufacture of sheepskin clothing was started at Glastonbury and soon the Clevedon facility was also used to cope with the demand for sheepskin coats.
1970'sThe third generation of the family came into the company with Nicolas R Draper, in 1979. He is the present Chief Executive and is responsible for our retail outlet and web site, which is housed in one of the oldest original listed buildings on the Glastonbury site.
Present dayToday the company is still very much a traditional family concern, with four generations of the family having been involved with the company. We now produce an average of 1000 pairs of sheepskin slippers and sheepskin boots a week, twenty five percent of which is exported to the highest quality accounts throughout the world. The Glastonbury premises, extended in 1962, are situated in the shadow of the famous Glastonbury Tor.
The ‘’Draper of Glastonbury’’ range consists of luxury sheepskin boots and sheepskin slippers that are still hand made in the Glastonbury Factory using the finest materials and skills available and are sold throughout the world.