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  • Writer's pictureSarah McGill

Britain - a great leather nation

Updated: Dec 16, 2022

A genuinely handmade leather bag is a masterpiece that requires a far higher level of skill to make than those bags that are mass produced. Artisan leather workers are deeply invested in a craft that is steeped in history and has taken generations to perfect.

Every bag is one of a kind. An individual. Each made with a unique piece of leather that will develop further qualities as it ages. Built to last, it's an item that will last a lifetime.

Alder has been named by The Good Web Guide as one of the 'finest leather companies in the UK' and we couldn't be prouder.

This accolade is credit to the expertise of the artisans at Owen Barry that make all of our leather laptop bags, handbags and accessories. The family have been producing sheepskin and leather products for five generations in Street, Somerset.

The proof of the exceptional craftsmanship is in the fact that we offer a traditional lifetime guarantee on all our leather products.

In the U.K. we are a nation that has always valued the protection, warmth, longevity, quality and usefulness of leather.

In 1630 Britain was recognised worldwide for its leather goods and millions of items were being exported with an Englishman and a Scotsman taking their leather tanning and glove making skills to America.

In 1657, leather was listed among the ‘chieffe riches’ of England, second only to wool in importance.

Like London and the Midlands, Somerset is synonymous in England with leather craft skills. Between the 1700s and 1900s a large proportion of the leather gloves produced in the UK were made in Yeovil, Somerset. In 1825 in the Somerset village of Street, James Clark, while working at the tannery owned by his brother, had the idea of making slippers from off-cuts of leather and sheepskin. The famous Clarks shoe brand was born.

Another huge British brand whose roots are firmly in Somerset is Mulbery. Established in 1971, and currently the largest manufacturer of luxury leather goods in the UK, over half of all Mulbery's manufacturing still takes place in the county.

This rich history and the unparalleled skills passed down through generations of artisans are the reasons that Britain is a great leather nation of the world. Leather and leather products purchased from the U.K. come steeped in culture, tradition, heritage, history and exceptional craftsmanship.

Despite the challenges posed by global competition, British leather manufacturing remains an important part of the country's heritage and continues to thrive in the 21st century.

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