Thursday, 20 October 2016
The Tottie Box
Worcestershire Leather Company
Dear new chum Tim Hardy and his team up at Cropthorne in Worcestershire have been crafting leather goods for the past thirty years.
Using the best British materials, everything the Worcestershire Leather Company sells is made by hand, including wallets, belts, bags and sporting goods. I imagine the team wearing brown aprons, sitting and tapping away at their respective benches, aged tools laid out in front of them, their glasses perched on the tips of their noses, rapt in concentration and working their materials lovingly. I suspect there's a Jack Russell or a Border Terrier padding around the premises. Being Worcester, the classic folk song Worcester City will be playing on loop in the background. I hope I'm not overly romanticising this business.
Tim says: 'I have always been passionate about British handmade, superior quality products encompassing the heritage of this country, and try to reflect this in my products by using British leathers, fittings and materials wherever possible.'
The leather worked by Worcestershire Leather comes from J. E. Sedgewick and Pittards of Yeovil. The fittings come from the skilled loriners at the Abbey Foundry, formerly B. B. Stanley Bros. of Walsall.
Tim's early influence was through handling the leather tack used at his father's farm in his youth — his father kept working horses — from which he developed an interest in leather working that was honed through study at the world-famous Cordwainers Technical College, now part of London College of Fashion, training in leather-working.
The Tottie Box
Perhaps nothing better represents Tim's love of craftsmanship and working with the best British materials than the Worcestershire Leather Company's Tottie Box you can see above (and below with their shotgun cleaning kit). The Tottie Box is a mini bar you can carry around with you. The case has solid brass locks, corners and handle plates, with a bridle leather exterior and pigskin suede interior. The interior is fitted out to hold twelve solid silver and gilt-lined tots made by hand in Birmingham's jewellery quarter. The tots are held in a lift-out tray, beneath which is found a cedar-lined cigar box.
I've just finished a generous tot of whisky myself — all this writing about tots left me hankering for a noggin —but I don't think I'm overstating the case when I say that the craftsmanship of something like the Tottie Box represents the greatest expression of the human spirit; art being a revolt against fate and all that, eh what?