h1 classbiography William Sykesh1William Sykes was about 23 when he started a saddlers business in Horbury with his new wife in 1870. The business was very successful and after a few years Sykes added footballs to the other leather goods he was producing. Sykes further expanded by selling cricket bats later manufacturing them himself. Sykes managed to get Sir Donald Bradman (considered the greatest batsman to have played the game) to endorse his bats. Sykess two sons later joined the business creating Wm. Sykes & Sons. Around 1940 because of the Second World War Sykes merged with other sporting manufactures to help in the war effort. During heavy bombing in London the Slazenger factory along with the Gradidge factory was damaged. The two manufactures managed to continue production at other plants but the big four (Slazenger Sykes Gradidge and Ayres) decided to combine their resources. After the war they all stayed together and the company known as Slazengers Sykes Gradidge and Ayres was created in its heyday they operated across the world.