|Northampton's historic market square|
Welcome back good shoe folk, having just thrown the mantle of winter off its due to be back with avengeance this weekend with gallons of snow predicted for the UK.
Fortunately we snuck in our trip to Northampton at the start of the week...when it was just grey and rainy.... a warm welcome and glimpse of the treasure trove at the National Leather Collection soon cheered us up. Many thanks to Phil and Vicky...
|Leather work courses and activities|
As you can see, the main exhibition is a huge space with a fascinating array of leather items from across the centuries on display...but with 10,000 pieces in the collection it is not where the real treasure lies. Make an appointment with Phil or Vicky to spend time in the archives and you never know what you might discover.
|The trunk room|
|Doe skin covered case....from the days of travel and exploration in style|
|Shoe display models|
|Showing stitch sizes for a customer to choose from|
|Leather detailing and stud work on a coach|
|Leather mirror surround|
The Collection's survival and potential expansion requires continued support from the industry, the Guilds, the Council and the landlord...a not insurmountable task! It's one which Phil and Vicky are approaching with pragmatism, passion and patience.
Investment would see the collection curated, archived and housed permanently in the Grade II listed building next door; with an activity and exhibition space in the existing rooms and crafts studios above.
It's a collection of such size, national and international importance surely it must be preserved and available as a resource...making it a 'must-see' destination for leather professionals, designers, craftspeople and conservators from across the world....like the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto?
If helping with the funding is a stretch I'm sure Phil and Vicky would welcome any volunteers to sort through and help to archive the books. We're certainly going to be heading back soon to do our bit...and obviously lock ourselves away in the archive for a good rummage!