Born in London in 1925, he moved with his family to Leeds in 1940 and in 1943, he joined the RAF for training as Air Crew. For the rest of the war, Leslie served operationally in Europe and the Far East.
Leslie Silver OBE founded the "Silver Paint & Lacquer Co." SPL, as it became known in 1947 when he left the RAF. Using his gratuity and a loan, Mr Silver, manufactured nitro cellulose thinners, mainly for the car industry.
In the 1950's the product range was extended to include decorative paint products.
Initially SPL was based in Leeds, but by the 1960's the factory lacked sufficient space and in 1963 moved to larger premises in Batley. In 1976 and 1981 respectively the company took over the Leeds Paint Manufacturing Company and Bestobell Paints. In 1982 the company was renamed Kalon. The word is derived from Greek and means "for the greater good". It represents the company's diversity of ideas and activities.
In 1982 Leslie was awarded the Order of the British Empire and named Yorkshire Businessman of the Year in 1983. During his long service in the paint industry, he held national office as:
It was the first time any one individual has served as President of the four associations relating to the Surface Coating industry.
1983 once again saw the company on the move, this time from Batley to the much larger (and current) premises off Huddersfield Road in Birstall. In 1985, Kalon acquired Leyland Paints. The 'reverse take over' led to the flotation of Kalon on the London Stock Exchange and the formation of Kalon Group PLC.