Short Film: The Old Tannery

This is the story of Barry Knight one of the few remaining tanners in the UK. Situated in the centre of Bristol, within the seemingly untouched grounds, lies an old Tannery. Thomas Ware & Sons dates back to the 1840’s, the beginning of the Victorian era, yet their technique and craftsmanship remains unchanged.

This short film, produced by Falcon Productions, is part of an ongoing series, Tales of Forgotten Crafts, which includes crafting clogs and perfecting guitars.

I was struck by Barry’s perspective as a traditional craftsman working in a fast-moving modern world and how one could easily walk by their tannery without a clue of what is going on inside. It reminds me that there is a wealth of leathercrafting resources out there, sometimes hidden in plain sight.

10 replies on “Short Film: The Old Tannery

  • Mike

    Beautifully filmed story. I was recently contacted by a small tannery that I hadn’t heard of before, even after hours scouring the internet looking for new suppliers for my business. It is a shame that there are so many resources that are, as you stated, hidden in plain sight. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
  • George Gerhold

    No mention of what they have done over the years to meet environmental concerns. I believe this is one of the major reasons there are so few tanners left in the United States and they have gone to places with looser environmental restrictions like Mexico, South America and India.

    Reply
    • Fine Leather

      It’s an interesting point, George. I’d be curious to know more about that. Thanks for the thought.

      Reply
    • Meredith Commons Russo

      I wonder what these old great tanneries could do to improve their process to address environmental concerns. I am sure it would add to the cost of the product but this is a fact of modern life and I believe enough of a market exists for environmentally conscious products that they would be ok in the end.

      Reply
      • Fine Leather

        We completely agree. We’re in definitely in alignment with this vision and do our best to support tanneries who are using environmentally friendly practices. Many of our hides come from tanneries that operate under very strict environmental regulation.

        Reply
  • Lloyd

    Hard work makes a great product. The production of many great long lasting goods comes with honest hard work with simplicity of care and noblest. Compare an antique good to today’s good. The craft should be passed by generations or at least taught to those that want to continue the craft. Great video and please pass the art to those that want to learn and continue this beautiful art!

    Reply

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