Founded in 1870 by brothers, Matthew and William Brooksbank, the Company started in business as "M & W Brooksbank, Tanners". Another brother, Jonathan, was also a tanner, and in 1848 he went to work at the age of seven at Flappit Springs which derive its name from the flay pits where the hides were flayed. By the time Jonathan was 16 he had commenced business on his own account regularly travelling across the moors on horseback to the Lancashire Mills.
SINCE early days the Brooksbanks were yeomen farmers, clothiers, and tanners, the main industries of our region. In the 1887 Directory of Bradford there are the following entries:
- Jonathan Brooksbank, Tanner, Flappit, Cullingworth
- Edwin Brooksbank, Farmer, Cullingworth
- Matthew Brooksbank, Farmer, Flappit Springs, Cullingworth
- M. & W. Brooksbank, Tanners, 22 and 24 Lower Ernest St, Bradford.
"Another family also operated a tanning business in the Flappit Springs area during this period. Records show three brothers, William, Jonas & Jonathan Brooksbank listed as tanners from 1851, and Jonathan was still running the business in 1871 with his father Joseph who had previously been a weaver."