Saturday, 29 April 2017

Paul Simpson - Wild Swan, Doomed Romantic

Doomed Romantic
An English pop singer with a plangent vocal style who wears ties, boating blazers and tweeds was eventually going to be featured on the pages of The Tweed Pig.

Paul Simpson formed The Wild Swans in Liverpool in 1980. At that time, as always, Liverpool was thriving musically. Eric's nightclub was the focus for a post-punk scene that gave us Teardrop Explodes — of which Paul was an original member —  and Echo and the Bunnymen.

Tweed-Clad Frontman
Here's a picture of Paul, with a reticent Julian Cope in Liverpool in 1981, wearing an interestingly baggy tweed suit. Wonder if he's still got it?

The Wild Swans have split and reformed on a couple of occasions, with a subsequent turnover of personnel. Band members have also been involved in splinter projects. The Lotus Eaters was one such project by band members Jeremy Kelly and Ged Quinn, from which we got the timeless The First Picture of You.

Paul dabbled in side projects too. With Ian Broudie of the Lightening Seeds he formed the woefully ignored Care when the The Wild Swans was in hiatus. Here's the video for the wistful My Boyish Days loaded with deliciously windswept and rain-sodden English melancholy. Too good to stay hidden (but ignore the swipe effects).

As well as the Shakespeare reference in the song, I hear Hardy, Wordsworth, Britten and the war poets in those plaintive tones — but then I'm like that.

A huge fan base in the Philippines got The Wild Swans touring up until 2011. In all that time Paul never surrendered to sportswear.

The Heart in the Heart of England Will Never Die
Where to start with your collection? It's going to be tricky. Most of The Wild Swans' back catalogue appears to be deleted and currently changing hands for a fortune. The post-punk/new-wave/jangle-pop sound has come hugely into vogue once again.

Imagine Flowers of England (below) used in the soundtrack to a Noah Baumbach film set in Williamsburg starring Greta Gerwig and you'll see my point. The song is on Incandescent, a 2003 release of unreleased material.

You could start your search here.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Handsome in Pink

The Masculine Possibilities of Pink
Following on from the unfathomable popularity of Laddies in Lavender, and a resplendent Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, it's time for an opportunistic reminder of the masculine possibilities of pink.

Nothing says self-assured more than pink, they say. Ask the great Jay Gatsby when he is wearing his pink suit. Although there is a convincing argument to be made that Jay was likely over-compensating for myriad insecurities. Insecurity is also a good reason to wear pink; re: nothing saying self-assured more than pink.

Our clean-cut American cousins can't be prised out of their Nantucket pinks in summer. Over in Great Britain, to extend the window of wearability, it might pay to think cosier when introducing pink to your timeless wardrobe. Pink corduroy trousers always look spectacular with a navy top half — particularly if you are wearing something like a classic English blazer from chums Benson & Clegg.

A pink cashmere sweater is a tremendous ally. You'll be surprised how often it will end up nestled between the shirt and tweed jacket you're wearing. There's a rule about wearing pink directly against pale Britisher-style skin (as demonstrated here). I forget if it's always a no-no or can be a good idea. I think it's a general no-no. So that's why a sweater in pink is doubly good.

Robert Old V-Neck
You should place the Tobermorey 4-ply cashmere sweater from Robert Old (1909) over a blue shirt and under a green tweed jacket with burgundy overpane checks. What can we say about such a classic v-neck? Only that the 'cashmere connoisseur will appreciate the wonderful lustre, density and durability of this sweater' and the level of mimetic desire it will induce will turn us into a nation of pink sweater wearers overnight. We want what our neighbours want, apparently — so choose your neighbours v. carefully indeed.

House of Bruar Weskit
The dusky rose Barrie 3-ply Cashmere Waistcoat from House of Bruar has a certain Cavalier attitude designed to irk the Roundhead establishment. It's fun to be with in other words.

I'm very much into sleeveless sweaters after the So English man. Sleeveless sweaters sit better under jackets, particularly those with tight armholes. Hardy Amies said something along those lines in The Englishman's Suit.

Huddersfield Textiles Corduroy
Developing a strong sense of masculine pride in your appearance is impossible when you don't possess a pair of pink corduroy trousers. You can deny this until you're pink in the face, but the science is there to back it up.

Huddersfield Textiles have an incredible shade of corduroy available. The 16oz Pink 8 Wale Corduroy creeps close to the shocking pink of Schiaparelli.

With that navy sweater or jacket, your legs can more than take it. Do I hear a rebel yell?

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Silk Knot as a Buttonhole

The Sad Lapel 
If the lapel of your jacket is looking a little forlorn and in need of company — with too much 'open space' - a quick-and-dirty solution to add a little interest is to use a silk knot cufflink as a buttonhole. Like teaspoons, we may not recall ever buying these cufflinks, but have them by the box full, so we may as well make the bounders work harder.

Becoming a Twosomeness
And suddenly the lonesomeness becomes a twosomeness, as dear Nietzsche once remarked when discovering Spinoza. That prairie of a lapel suddenly gets a landmark.

This knot has similar colours to the geometric shapes in the Turnbull and Asser pocket square.

Spinoza said that the world 'would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak'. And to lay off the tweeting. I will say no more on the subject, then. But if you feel this approach to furnishing a lapel is a little too makeshift, stay tuned for a purpose-built idea that might just tickle your fancy.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

MH Guernsey Sweater by Marion Foale

Hand Knit Guernsey Sweater
If you think the Guernsey Cotton Yellow sweater (above) from Margaret Howell looks hand made, you'd be right. You can just tell, can't you? Not just any old hands, but hands associated with Marion Foale.

After studying fashion design at the Royal College of Art in swinging 60s London, Marion opened a boutique with fellow graduate Sally Tuffin on 'Mod Row' — Carnaby Street.  Marion specialises in knitwear, and from her current studio in Warwickshire she engages the services of around three hundred local hand knitters to create her designs. I can hear the click-clack, click-clack of six hundred knitting needles.

I'm fond of the relaxed high neck of the sweater. It's unusual to have such a design in cotton, so we can wear it in summer.

I'm glad they didn't have the model wearing it without anything underneath — they do that a lot. Puts me off. Sweaters, to my mind, should always have something underneath that bridges the neck, a shirt or a scarf or both. Here they're using the Margaret Howell Polka Dot Bandana in silk twill, which is hand printed in England.

What to make of tucking the sweater in? I guess it depends on the sweater and the trousers, and whether you are wearing a jacket over the top and want to get your lengths in sync. I think it can work better with fine guage sweaters (as with a John Smedley Layer). It difficult to pull off though.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Happy Saint George's Day

Quiet Celebration
A Happy St George's Day to all out English readers near and far. Are you doing anything? I know we don't like fuss. We can leave the carnivals to more exuberant nations. To celebrate St George's Day, they had the Feast of Saint George in Trafalgar Square yesterday and English Heritage have a number of events today. My local pub has a special lunch menu and music event. I will probably head down to support it.

If you want to keep your own celebration quiet and simple, why not add a red rose as a buttonhole and join me in spirit with a spirit: our traditional rose martini. You might want to lift a glass for the centuries of countless achievements by your fellow countrymen. Up to you.

We've never shared a recipe for a rose martini. This recipe comes courtesy of Monin (1912), the family-owned French business that makes syrups and liqueurs for cocktails. The recipe is vodka-based and forgoes the typical vermouth.
  • 10 ml Monin Rose Syrup
  • 45 ml Citrus vodka
  • 20 ml Orange liqueur
  • 45 ml Cranberry juice
  • 15 ml Lime juice
Shake and serve with ice.

The vodka and liqueur should give it enough of a punch, but you can adjust according to taste. If we have any bartenders reading this who think they have a better recipe for a rose martini, drop a line below.

As you (inevitably) recline in your armchair after a shaker-full of martinis before dozing off, you might think this was what Milton meant when he said: 'Let not England forget her precedence of teaching nations how to live.' 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Full List of National Trust Pubs

National Trust Public Houses
If I had a tail I would be wagging it right now. The National Trust has provided the full list of pubs they own after the recent post on Saving the British Pub. Thanks very much NT. Much appreciated. I have added links below. Ignoring the teetotallists, tell your friends.

What a magnificent — and hopefully growing — collection of pubs the National Trust have. Examples include most periods of British history. That's the 18th century Spread Eagle at Stourton above. I know this one well, as with the pubs in Lacock, but I'd like to meet them all in person.  In the bottom photo you see a scooped-out truckle of Stilton at the 15th century The Sign of the Angel in Lacock. A very cosy pub indeed. National Trust stewardship is a good sign, you generally find well-kept beer and good food.

Look at that magnificent sky in the top photo. The classic British milk blanket we get for most of the year — a perfect drinker's sky. Well, the weather's too awful to be outside.

Print the List
You can print the list and leave it in your MGB Roadster. When the opportunity arises, throw on a tweed jacket and your Dents Spectre driving gloves (as below) and away you go.

The Spectre gloves are made with unlined hairsheep leather for a tight grip as you hold the wheel (or throttle a would-be assassin).

Make sure to ask for a dimpled pint pot on your visit.

Bankes Arms Hotel, Corfe, Dorset
Bankes Arms, Studland, Dorset
Buckinghamshire Arms, Blickling, Norfolk
Castle Inn, Bodiam, East Sussex
Castle Inn, Chiddingstone, Kent
Cross Keys, Cautley, Cumbria
Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast
Dolaucothi Arms, Pumpsaint, Dyfed
Dolymelynllyn Hall Hotel, Ganllwyd, Gwynedd
Fleece Inn, Bretforton, nr Evesham, Hereford & Worcs
George and Dragon, West Wycombe, Bucks
George Inn, Lacock, Wilts
George Inn, Southwark, London
Hardwick Inn, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
King's Head, Aylesbury, Bucks
King's Mill, Wrexham, Clwyd
M. McBride's, Cushenden, Co Antrim
Manor House Hotel, Studland, Dorset
Marisco Tavern, Lundy Island, Devon
Nelson's Head, Horsey, Norfolk
Old Dungeon Ghyll, Great Langdale, Cumbria
Radnor Arms, Coleshill, Berkshire
Red Lion, Bradenham, Bucks
Red Lion, Broadclyst, Devon
Red Lion, Kilmington, Stourton, Wilts
Red Lion, Lacock, Wilts
Ship Inn, Low Newton-by-the-Sea, Northumbria
Sign of the Angel, Lacock, Wilts
Spread Eagle, Stourton, Wilts
Sun Inn, Saffron Walden, Essex (now a shop)
Swan, West Wycombe, Bucks
The Logan Rock, Treen, Cornwall
Tower Bank Arms, Nr Sawrey, Cumbria
Tyn-y-Groes, Ganllwyd, Gwynedd
Vine Inn, Pamphill, Dorset
Wizard of the Edge Inn, Alderley Edge, Cheshire

Something Nearby
Nothing in your county? Perhaps there should be. Have a word with the National Trust if there's a historic pub in danger near to you. They can't promise anything.

Any comments on (or from) the pubs listed gratefully received below.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Tanner Bates - Leather Bound

Oak Bark Leather Notebook
Gents, our loyal reader from Beirut suggested we take a gander at the notebook you see here from Tanner Bates. The Pen Loop Notebook is available in various leather bindings. Our friend has one bound in oak bark tanned leather supplied by the J. & F. J. Baker tannery in Devon. Pleased as Punch with his notebook, our man marvels at how it 'evokes a certain je ne sais quoi reminiscent of craftsmanship from a bygone era'. It certainly does.

Baker's leather is tanned using using oak bark from the Lake District in a process that takes almost two years. The leather isn't corrected, so there is nothing to hide its natural beauty. Imagine how wonderfully the notebook will age and the patina it will take as you pen your innermost (or outermost) thoughts over the years. And Mark Zuckerberg will have no control over the content — yet.

Tanner Bates was founded by John Haggar who trained in Walsall, the traditional home of English saddlemaking, as a saddler and bridlemaker. Based in Devon, John places high importance — as you and I do — on provenance:

I know the people by name who make my raw materials. The buckles in Walsall and Paris foundries, the leather from Colyton. I even know the man in the Lake District who coppices the oak trees to provide bark for the tannery.

The notebook is available in A5 and A6 sizes, and designed so you can replace the paper with refills should you have a lot to say. The pen loops cleverly keep the notebook closed. You can choose from unlined, lined or squared paper and a ball pen or mechanical pencil from Caran d'ache of Switzerland.

Notebooks in the Movies
A notebook plays a central role in Jim Jarmusch's film Paterson [Amazon]. A charming film about a poetry-writing bus driver. If it hadn't been for the Anglo-Saxon expletives, it could have been one for the family. My niece writes the kind of unfettered poetry only children can write. It would have been nice for her to see it. So close. Anyway, the film teaches a lesson about notebooks. If you are going to fill one with poetry, be careful where you leave it. If you're going to invest in a notebook from Tanner Bates, take double care.

Pocket Money
It's very hard to locate a good coin purse, yet they're an essential for, say, a trip to the coast. You need coins handy for buying ice creams and cockles for a stroll along the beach, renting a deckchair for a well-earned snooze on the prom, and then buying a pint of sparkling perry cider from that excellent pub in Swanage I can't remember the name of before heading home. As you see — essential.

The purse you see here from Tanner Bates is a ruddy marvel. Made from full grain leather, clever folds and well-placed studs create five pockets for your sterling or equivalent. The genesis of the purse is rather interesting too. A customer of Tanner Bates presented an old purse he had purchased in France twenty years back and wondered if they could make something similar.

Hence the Santini Wallet Purse. Plenty of room for those new pound coins being pumped out by the Royal Mint (but maybe not enough room for those £1000 coins).

Friday, 14 April 2017

Easter Carry On

The Trammels of Travel
Easter is Spain for old Tweedy, with its tradition of Easter processions and the community-minded outdoor celebrations of semana santa — and hanging out with the Spanish Foreign Legion.

This year I'm phasing in the tote you see here from Paul Smith (below) in burgundy leather as a carry on bag for the trip to Spain. I think it has the requisite depth and capacity needed for a shopping trip in Madrid.

I studied the fastenings and stitching of the bag with a jewellers loupe, and I am anticipating at least a decade of use. I also calculated that the bag will get better looking the more it is bashed and bounced around through the trammels of travel. It needs some serious ageing — it's almost embarrassingly new.

Have a nice Easter. Tweedy.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Tweed TV: Around The World with Orson Welles

Orson Welles was a little preoccupied with himself, and this is very much his vehicle, but Around the World with Orson Welles — a series of travelogues he made in 1955 — is jolly entertaining. The style of the series, with off-the-cuff presentation and no attempt at hiding the film-making process, has been copied in practically every travel programme since, especially the ones featuring gallivanting chefs. (RIP dear Keith Floyd.)

Orson wrote, directed and presented this fascinating series for broadcast on British TV. He offers idiosyncratic insights into the places he visits, with flashes of the likes of Jean Cocteau and Simone de Beauvoir along the way. Perhaps the most interesting episode is his revisit to Vienna and the locations of The Third Man. The episode was thought to be lost for a while.

Thanks heavens for the BFI who released the series in Blu-ray format.

Progress or Civilisation?
Orson makes some interesting observations visiting the Basque country in the first episode of the series.

Musing on the benefits of travel, he says we should appreciate the best aspects of countries, not seek to compare and criticise: 'If an English boy, for example, has a nice life for two or three years in Tuscany in Italy he isn't betraying his English heritage.' 

Orson thought that the Basques had not been softened by a 'constant movement to easier living by means of the machine.' He says in the programme that he doesn't think that 'progress and civilisation go together particularly.'  Underlining the contentiousness of this statement, he goes on to say: 'I know that's a dangerous thing to say, but I happen to believe it.'  

Whatever would he have made of people living life almost entirely engaged by the insidious virtual distractions of their smart phones? Tweet me your thoughts!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Edward Green Suede Derby at Trunk Clothiers

Good in Suede
The casual style of the Edward Green Dover Split Toe Derby available from Trunk Clothiers works very well in mink brown suede. Northampton shoemakers Edward Green make the shoe by hand on their 606 last, which produces a chiselled toe.

The shoe has the features you would expect from a derby, with open lacing attached on top of the vamp; and from a Norwegian-style split toe, with a seam at the front of the shoe.

Oak bark-tanned double soles have closed channel stitching, as opposed to the exposed stitching of a welted sole you will normally see on a bench-made shoe. It's a cosmetic touch, but it informs us of the level of thought and craftsmanship that has gone into these works of art.

Matts Klinsberg of Trunk
The handsome Mats Klingberg, founder of Trunk Clothiers, talks a little bit about his London shop in the video below. It may be from 2010, but his timeless look is as good today as it will always be. He walks it like he talks it, so to speak. And I think we need to give a round of applause to his nigh on perfect hair cut.

Way back in 2010 — when The Tweed Pig started incidentally — Mats thought British men had lost their way a little in terms of dress sense, despite providing the world with a template for timeless men's style.

Have we regained our poise? I will let you be the judge. Men of Britain — the eyes of the world are watching.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Saving the British Pub

Sterling Efforts from the National Trust
The National Trust have produced a list of their favourite pub walks. The pubs they mention are in their care. I know the George Inn and The Red Lion (above) at Trust-maintained Lacock very well; also the Spread Eagle Inn on the Stourhead estate. I would certainly like to become acquainted with others they own.

Belfast Victoriana
The Trust suggest a walk at nearby Minnowburn before settling down under the gas lighting of The Crown Bar's high Victorian interior in glorious Belfast. Read all about the pub's history at Visit Belfast.

Cotswolds Cultural Hub
After a yomp in the wilds of the Cotswolds — possibly calling in at Hidcote for gardening inspiration — they suggest drawing a chair up to the open fireplace at The Fleece Inn, Bretforton. The pub is also a focal point for folk musicians and morris dancers, so you could time your visit according to what's on.

High Hopes
I hope the National Trust continue to take more pubs under their wing. Pubs are as important to the cultural fabric of this nation as churches. The pub and the church will often be the oldest buildings in a village, and the only two places that still draw the community together after hundreds of years. I wince when I see a historic-looking pub that has closed down in a small place. It's like pulling the heart out of a village.

I have asked the Trust for a list of all the pubs they maintain for you to tick off on your travels around the country. If it arrives, I will post it below.

The National Trust came up with the goods. Thanks National Trust. List below.

Bankes Arms Hotel, Corfe, Dorset
Bankes Arms, Studland, Dorset
Buckinghamshire Arms, Blickling, Norfolk
Castle Inn, Bodiam, East Sussex
Castle Inn, Chiddingstone, Kent
Cross Keys, Cautley, Cumbria
Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast
Dolaucothi Arms, Pumpsaint, Dyfed
Dolymelynllyn Hall Hotel, Ganllwyd, Gwynedd
Fleece Inn, Bretforton, nr Evesham, Hereford & Worcs
George and Dragon, West Wycombe, Bucks
George Inn, Lacock, Wilts
George Inn, Southwark, London
Hardwick Inn, Chesterfield, Derbyshire
King's Head, Aylesbury, Bucks
King's Mill, Wrexham, Clwyd
M. McBride's, Cushenden, Co Antrim
Manor House Hotel, Studland, Dorset
Marisco Tavern, Lundy Island, Devon
Nelson's Head, Horsey, Norfolk
Old Dungeon Ghyll, Great Langdale, Cumbria
Radnor Arms, Coleshill, Berkshire
Red Lion, Bradenham, Bucks
Red Lion, Broadclyst, Devon
Red Lion, Kilmington, Stourton, Wilts
Red Lion, Lacock, Wilts
Ship Inn, Low Newton-by-the-Sea, Northumbria
Sign of the Angel, Lacock, Wilts
Spread Eagle, Stourton, Wilts
Sun Inn, Saffron Walden, Essex (now a shop)
Swan, West Wycombe, Bucks
The Logan Rock, Treen, Cornwall
Tower Bank Arms, Nr Sawrey, Cumbria
Tyn-y-Groes, Ganllwyd, Gwynedd
Vine Inn, Pamphill, Dorset
Wizard of the Edge Inn, Alderley Edge, Cheshire

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Paul Stuart for Spring

Picks from the Paul Stuart Collection
The Paul Stuart spring catalogue for their Phineas Cole line is out.  The collection is as strong and wearable as ever. Our Anglo-American friends include lots of nice touches from the mother country.

Herewith the items I circled.

Crest Tie in English Silk
Paul Stuart excel in the designs of their ties, conveying their brand of radically conservative and distinctive clothes for men. Case in point is the Striped Crest Motif Woven Silk Tie made in the US from woven English silk. The sort of tie that approximates what you might find in a regimental outfitters, with its royal coat of arms and stripes, but it has a modern sharpness about it.

I used to be unsure about ties that looked like club ties but didn't have a club to back them up, but I have now embraced them fully. After all, it's a bloody lovely tie with a super insignia. If you find yourself surrounded at work by flaccid men-children dressed in t-shirts and cargo shorts, this is just the sort of tie with which to dissociate yourself.

Linen Jacket
The Khaki Plain Weave Linen Sport Jacket involves three of the Five Eyes nations in its production: it is made in Canada for America's Paul Stuart from English linen. If a New Zealander living in Australia buys it, we've ticked all the boxes.

With my glasses on, I see double-stitching on the seams,  billow pockets at the hip and a smart peak lapel. Very nice.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Your Thirty Shirt Starter

Made by English Roses
Emma Willis, the Jermyn Street shirtmaker -- ready-to-wear and bespoke -- believes that a man should have between twenty to thirty shirts in his collection. Speaking to Country Life, she says that a collection ought to include 'twelve business, six shooting, two evening and six summer-holiday linen shirts'. I'm way over budget! But that doesn't stop me looking...

Emma Willis shirts are made at their Gloucestershire workshop using Swiss cotton shirting from the likes of Alumo. Have you ever seen such a distinguished looking manufactory as Bearland House (below)?

Knowing your shirt is made by beautiful English roses in the heart of Gloucester is certainly easier on the conscience than trying not to think your shirts might have been made by shoe-less children in a corrugated iron prefab in East Asia. And you can salve you conscience even more by knowing that all the 'trimmings and components' are sourced in England, including real mother of pearl buttons.

They also make the Emma Willis nightwear and accessories at Bearland. The Antique Paisley Smoking Jacket (below) hand-made from soft paisley wool deserves a reem of superlatives written about it, but I need to stop digressing from the point of this post. I include here in case it disappears from sale and we miss the opportunity to show it to you. It's a beauty, no? I'd be happy to be wrapped in that all day up in my eyrie at Tweed Towers.

Building up Your Thirty
Okay — back to Emma Willis shirts. If you're building up your own collection of thirty shirts, let's assume you are covered for the plain white and blue. Next up you should consider the stripes: the Bengal and butcher. The Emma Willis Pink Butcher Stripe (below) is rather splendid. You see a blue fellow in the top photo.

Emma Willis shirts are cut by hand and constructed to pattern. The seams are sewn with eighteen stitches to the inch and collars are 'hand trimmed before turning to ensure clean cut, sharp points'.

They won't disappoint.

Style For Soldiers
Everything about Emma Willis, the business, is perfect, but there's more. Emma is personally involved in the charity Style for Soldiers, a splendid rehabilitation programme at Headley Court in Surrey that provides work attire for injured Armed Services personnel. Emma provides bespoke shirts, and, where needed, 'a hand carved ebony walking stick with a buffalo horn handle, and silver band engraved with their regiment and initials'. 

What an absolutely first-rate cause, for which we can (and should) assist.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Tanning in Devon

Since Roman Times
After a minuscule amount of investigative work, a reader from Beirut and I established that J. & F. J. Baker  — the UK's last remaining oak bark tannery — were the makers of the Russian leather used on Crockett & Jones' Radnor 4 Derby Boot.

J. & F. J. Baker has a long history. They say a tannery has been on their site in Colyton, Devon, since Roman times. The Baker family acquired the existing tannery in 1862. Andrew Parr (top photo — by Paul Glendell Photography — and right in the photo below from 1979) is the fifth generation of the family to head the business. I thought you would like the old-school jackets in the photo below.

The Tanning Process
J. & F. J. Baker know they can't cut corners when it comes to producing the best leathers. Tanners undergo a lifetime of training, during which they are imbued with the skills and practices passed down by the long line of tanners who have worked on the site over the centuries, ready to pass on those skills to the next generation of tanners  — a continuity of invaluable knowledge that is killed stone dead the moment a plant closes.

Oak bark tannage is a 'long, gentle process that protects the natural fibres of the hide'. Baker's curriers 'finish the leather by hand with our own special blend of natural oils and greases that protect and feed the leather whilst simultaneously emphasising the natural grain and colour'.

This fascinating video provides more depth on the tanning process:

The Products
Baker's leather is used by the likes of Globe-Trotter in the manufacture of their suitcases, and by Northampton's shoemakers for their footwear and accessories.

I have mentioned that I like to see labels for the names of mills and finishers of the cloth used in the production of suits and jackets, but it would also be nice to see the names of the tanners used to make the leathers used in shoes. I was pleased to see Clarks have started doing this. It's all about the provenance and making it easier to support UK manufacturing.

Splendid Leather Flooring
J. & F. J. Baker also produce leather for flooring. I have made up our minds on this, gents — we simply must have this in our studies. Imagine? They say that leather flooring, originally used in ballrooms, adds 'distinction and character', and its softening effect helps create 'an insulated retreat'. I'd say! We all need an insulated retreat now and again.

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