The Museum was founded in 1946 with funding from the British Saddlery and Leathergoods Manufacturers Association. It hoped to capture the heritage of leather in a way that no one else was doing and showcase leather in all of its forms. Since then, the museum’s collections have grown to over 10,000 objects and 30,000 documents, photographs and books. The collections tell the world story of leather from prehistory to present day, making the Museum of Leathercraft the most important resource for leather history in the UK.
Some of the key elements of our collections are:
- Leather from prehistory and antiquity, including; remains of ‘Tollund Man’, fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nubian undergarments and Coptic shoes.
- Leather panels, including rare early examples of gilt leather and scorched leather.
- Saddlery and tack, including saddles used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
- Gloves dating from the 15th Century to the 21st Century, some with associations to British royalty.
- Leather trunks and caskets associated with European monarchy from the 16th Century – 19th Centuries.
- Fine and designer book-bindings.
- Drinking vessels; primarily bombards, blackjacks, Toby jugs and costrels.
- Native American leather-goods and other cultural material.
- Fur garments and accessories from the 19th and 20th Centuries.