THE LAST REMAINING CURRIER
At HANSON OF LONDON we do our very best to source locally, but more important than this is our uncompromising commitment to using the finest natural materials. We are fortunate in England to have a rich tradition of leather working. While most have disappeared, a few tanneries still exist in the UK and in addition one currier who keeps alive the centuries old tradition of dressing leather by hand. This currier produces the most refined vegetable-tanned English bridle leather in the world, which is renowned for its stunning polished finish and durability. The art of currying leather requires manual labour, a range of specialist hand tools and rare skills learned over many years of apprenticeship. We spent a day with the owner absorbing his lifetime of knowledge and expertise.
Hides are sourced from English, Irish and Catalonian cows depending on the required thickness. There are many stages of quality control, beginning with the first inspection made on the rounding table. Here the leather is weighed and examined for imperfections.
Rounding table where hides are first inspected.
Curved clickers knife used in cutting leather.
After this the hide is shaved and cleaned for re-tanning. Hides are placed in large rotating cylinders containing a mixture of tannins and fatliquors, which ensure the leather is supple and ready for the next stage called the “currying process”.
Large rotating cylinders for re-tanning hides.
Hides are hung out to dry after re-tanning process.
After the currier handsets the grain of the leather, the hide is then hand-stained and allowed to dry naturally. The final process is the application of greases. This labour intensive process involves the hide to being ‘fed’ a blend of natural fats, oils and waxes to give the leather a luxurious polished finish.
A craftsman pebbling a blend of natural tallow and waxes into the grain of a London Tan hide.