William Sykes, the son of blanket finisher Joseph Sykes and his wife Catharine, was born in Earlsheaton in 1852. In 1874 William married Louisa Abstemia Crabtree of Liversedge and, against the advice of his father, with his own and his new wife’s savings, he purchased a saddlery business and carried on his trade in these premises
William Sykes had been a saddler’s apprentice, but by the 1881 census he had expanded his saddlery business and was now also a football manufacturer employing three apprentices.
William Sykes died in 1910 but his sons Henry Osborne and William Oates Sykes continued and expanded the business worldwide.
The company went on to have a factory in Twitch Hill before commencing the building of premises at Westfield Road which became known locally as ‘Sykes’s Folly’. These buildings were bought by Readicut when Sykes moved again in 1935, this time to Albion Mills at Horbury Bridge. The company turned its hand to manufacturing for the war effort, making items such as butts for Lanchester sub machine rifles. In 1940, the company was bought by Slazenger.