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Leather Museums & Collections
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 This list currently contains 9 World Wide Museums & Exhibition Centers. with Historic Leather Collections. (We have also included a Leather Conservation Service Click here for info) & A restoration Service for Antique Rocking Horses  Note. This one has a Royal Warrent Click Here for info. Also a famous American 'Living Museum'
Colonial Williamsburg is unique & should not be missed, if you can't visit don't miss their site. Click here to view it.

The following Museums are related to the Leather Industry & contain collections from all aspects of these crafts. However most museums will inevitably contain examples of leather artifacts in their collections. Have you any information regarding other collections or even individual items displayed elsewhere, Do you have a collection of old leathergoods? Are you a private collector? please contact me. You could be a link that other visitors are looking for.

No.1}  Walsall Leather Museum. Littleton Street, West Walsall, West Midlands WS2 8EQ. UK. Tel: 01922-721153. Fax: 01922-725827. E-mail: This is an old established museum. Over the centuries Walsall became an established centre for Saddlery & Leathergoods & it still keeps these traditional links. The museum  houses a Unique collection of leather artifacts which trace the development of the above trades. In fact they have a fine example of the true Gladstone Bag It is well worth a visit, find them at, They also have links to The Leather Conservation centre, this organisation offers some useful help & information on the preservation, research & training on leather preservation. A further link is supplied to The Museum of Leather Craft, based at Northampton. For more details on this one please see later entry.

No.2}  Deutsches Ledermuseum Schuhmuseum. Offenback, D-63067, Frankfurter Street, 86. Germany. Tel: 0049 (0) 69829798-0. Fax: 0049 (0) 6910900. E-mail Offenback is the centre of the German Leather Industry & this museum founded in 1917 is probably the largest museum devoted to the leather industry. It houses a fine collection of shoes & leathergoods some of which are very old. They also have a unique collection of leather face masks, for anyone interested in the fascinating subject of the history of leather & the development of the leather industry in Europe then this one is a must to visit. But failing that visit their site at,

No.3}  The Museum of Leather Craft. Northampton. Abington Museum, Abington Park, Northampton. UK. Tel: +44 (0) 1604-838-110. Contact Niel MacGregor Liaison Officer Email:  The museum houses a collection of 6,000 artifacts they consist of: a boot & shoe collection, art collection, archaeology collection, social history collection, natural science collection, leather craft collection & military collection. This is probably the most extensive collection of historical leather items in the UK. Find them at, (Note from Francis: Please ring, or visit the site to check opening hours).

No.4}  The Worshipful Company of Glovers London. This Livery Company owns a historic collection of Gloves which are housed in the Museum of Costume Bath. Contact: The Curator, 4 Circus, Bath Somerset BA1 2EW. Tel: 01225-477752. Fax: 01225-444793. This collection includes a Royal Glove Collection. Find them at, This site is well worth visiting.

No.5}  The Victoria & Albert Museum. Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL. UK. Tel: +44 (0) 2079422000. E-mail: The Victoria & Albert houses an extensive collection of Handbag which trace their origin & development from their inception. Well worth visiting the museum to view, but it would be worth calling them prior to the visit as large museums do not always have all their collections on open display. However most of them are prepared to offer a private viewing provided prior arrangements are made. Find them at,

No.6}  Museum of Arts & Crafts Zagreb. Trg Marsala Tita 10, 10000. Zagreb. Tel: (01) 4554122 Fax: (01) 441058. E-mail: This museum was established in 1880 concentrates on the practice of handcrafts as opposed to modern methods of manufacture. Collections of interest: Books, Painted & Gilt Leather, etc. A Restoration Workshop provides restoration to private sources as well as the museum. An extensive library is also available covering Arts & Crafts. This Museum provide information online about its collections & gives an interesting short history of the Museum. Find them at,

No.7}  Bowes Museum. Durham. Barnard Castle, County Durham. DL12 8NP. UK.   Tel: (01833)690606. Fax: (01833) 637163. E-mail:  This Museum houses a unique collection of Historic Shoes. To access this on the site, click collections, then click advanced search at the bottom of all the options, enter ‘Shoes’ as the key word & click search. This provides lists numbered from 1 to 4 to view the shoes. All thumb nail pictures can be enlarged, well worth a visit Find them at,

 Sturge Conservation Studio. 6 Woodland Avenue, Abington, Northampton, NN3 2BY. UK. Tel: 01604717929. Fax: 08700940055. Mobile: 07970926143.  Contact: Theo Sturge. Leather Conservation & Restoration. The Sturge Conservation Studio offers a specialised service for historic leather. Items treated include gilt leather screens & wall hangings, painted leather, chests, saddles, leather upholstery, boxes, shoes, leather furniture, etc. Theo has 30 years experience & is an Accredited Conservator & a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation. For further Information visit,  

 No8} 'Colonial Williamsburg' A Living Museum. P.O. Box 1776 Williamsburg, VA 23187-1776 Tel: 757-229-1000. This Living Museum is Based on a Colonial Town with Trades & Crafts Performed exactly as they would have been in that early period. All the Craftsmen & people involved are dressed in period costume. There are other living museums in America & elsewhere, we have some in the UK as well. So what is different about 'Williamsburg' Well most of the others are form part of Craft Centers which have had Craft workshops created to represent the period portrayed, they are all fine & have been thoroughly researched some even have Trades People working in them. At Williamsburg the whole Colonial town is there to visit & view as it would have existed during that period. The names of the businesses that existed there & the people who owned them have been preserved with the present Craftsmen & Traders dressing as they would have done in those early days. There are three trades that are of interest to workers in leather namely: Saddlery/Leatherwork, Bookbinding & Shoe Making. There are also many other trades & crafts depicted such as: Fariers, Wheelwrights, Silversmiths, Gunmakers, etc. It does not end there it is possible to book a visit & stay at one of the hostelries & take part in educational studies. To access the Crafts & Trades section of the site; click on 'Explore & Learn' then 'Experience The Life' then 'Trades' There are 18 different Trades & Crafts to choose from including the three leather related ones already mentioned. Clicking on 'Saddler' will take you to some interesting facts & pictures & if you scroll down the page under 'further reading' click, 'Working in Harness' a further interesting article is available with some interesting pictures. Likewise if you scroll down under the other trades further articles are also available giving much more historic details. An interesting one describes the part Ladies played in the early crafts which is an area often overlooked. Keep in mind all the other subjects listed in the left hand column as every thing else that would have been taking place in a small colonial town is portrayed. Don't miss this site it is well worth the time spent delving into its depths & it is a must for the serious historian. Find them at,

 Fine Traditional English Rocking Horses. (By Appointment to HRH The Queen). Kings Lynn, Norfolk. UK. Tel: 01553-670500. Fax: 0871-6619108. email: Contact: Chris Ward. This expert & dedicated Craftsman produces some of the finest Rocking Horses I have ever seen in The traditional Victorian style. He uses top Quality leather for the saddles & bridles, real horse hair for the main & tail & the best brass fittings. A restoration service is also available for genuine Antique Rocking Horses. This site is definitely not one to miss. Find them at, If you are only interested in the restoration service use this URL:

 No.9} The Museum of the master Saddler.. Carlough, Co. Curen, Rep. of Ireland. Tel: 049-9523956-1086-8657033. email: Contact: Robert Steink. This Museum is unique, being the only museum in the world dedicated exclusively to the ancient craft of the Saddler and Harness Maker. The Museum was officially opened in August 2006 The exhibits of the Museum document the various demands placed upon the saddler over the years from farming, sports, military and transport and shows how the saddler has had to adapt to the horses changing role in society. An exciting development for the Museum is the making of a series of historical saddles and other items of saddlery and harness . These include a Medieval saddle with barding, a protective head guard for a pit pony and roman chariot harness.For More Details visit the site, Also see books by rob under; 'Leather Books & Publications' & Makers of Finished Leathergoods'
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