William Howe was the son of J. P. Howe, founder of the Howe & Co. Tannery in High Street Preston. William succeeded in father in the tannery, expanding the business and replacing the original timber factory with a brick building in the 1920s after a disastrous fire.
The company did well under Howe’s stewardship and at its peak employed 300 men. Howe & Co. Tannery specialised in patent and enamelled leathers for footwear and seats for railway carriages and cars. A significant contract for the company was the upholstery for the seats in the old Parliament House in Canberra.
Howe, like his father, played a prominent role in Preston society, including a six year term as President of the Preston Bowling Club. He was also married to the daughter of Thomas Broadhurst, another significant tannery owner in Preston.
Preston Historical Society (1968). Brief biographies of prominent Preston People. Preston, Vic: Author.