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Thread: Medaieval Tannery, Colyton, Devon - April 09

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    Default Medaieval Tannery, Colyton, Devon - April 09


    Further on down the lane from the Currier, I came across the buldings where the leather process begins. My photos really don't do the place justice and it has got to be seen...and heard...to be believed! It was total magic!



    I had difficulty knowing where to place this one as it's rural, industrial, has derelict buildings and also a live, working site. Both the buildings and the working process are traditional, but it hasn't been tarted up like a heritage centre and is pretty much how it would have been during Medaieval times. I wandered around taking photos of as much as I could. I would have asked permission to go in further but everytime I spotted someone they were out of one door and into another with a wave and a cheery hello. I guess they're used to people just wandering in and having a mooch!

    Unashamedly filched from their website...

    "J & FJ Baker is Britain's only remaining traditional oak bark tannery... ...Devon river water, oak from renewable sources, and time dedicated to slow tanning preserve the natural weave of the fibres in each hide resulting in unique hardwearing luxury...
    Hamlyns Colyton has been a tannery since Roman times. Rebuilt over the centuries, the current buildings are set among orchards, fields of grazing horses, and the gentle rolling hills of rural Devon countryside..."

    http://www.jfjbaker.co.uk/

    Weigh bridge and old site office.



    The louvres on the top storeys control and facilitate air circulation for the drying process.













    The raw hides are soaked in lime. This loosens the hair and opens the pores, and While still wet the remaining hair is scraped off.















    More coming up in a mo.
    Last edited by mr_bones; 24th Apr 09 at 06:15.
    "...If we lose our spiritual bond with the land they'll be nothing left of us as a nation..." Phil Rickman.

    I can't read and I can't write, but that don't really matter,
    I come from the west country and I can drive a tractor.


    Website Story

  2. Thanks given by: RichardH
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    Anyone remember the music from Windy Miller? Well, imagine that without the music but with the sound of a running stream and that's what I heard as I headed into the site. And this is the reason why...still powered by water.



    The mill race seen from a window by the wheel mechanism.



    Sorry about the bad quality pic, but you can just about see one of the wheels behind the right hand mesh. This is connected to the shaft at the right of the pic.



    The other end of the shaft, just about seen at the right.



    The stream runs beneath the arch on the left. The sound of that and the clanking of metal on wood was truly delightful.



    The hides are then hung in weak tanning solution in `handler pits', where they are agitated by a mechanism of reciprocating wooden arms driven from beams and shafts in the roof, powered by the waterwheel. The waterwheel also drives a grinder which strips bark from oak branches. After several months, the hides are moved to deep `layer pits' to soak in strong oak bark liquor for nine months. Hand tools are used for setting and staining after the hides have dried and are then dressed with the traditional fish oils and mutton tallow.







    I don't know what these particular machines are used for, but part of the process uses a `bend roller', which is an iron reversing mechanism with a pulley belt. This drives a curved polished roller back and forth across the hide under pressure to produce soling leather.





    The site is beautifully higgledy-piggledy with walkways between the various buildings, several of which have winch housings on the top storeys.













    I really hope you enjoyed that. It was a fabulous explore and I shall be going back again. Whilst there I saw what looked like another mill further up the river and found several other cool things to take pics of...but I'd run out of film, so more visits to the town are definitely on the cards. :)
    Last edited by Foxylady; 22nd Apr 09 at 11:01.
    "...If we lose our spiritual bond with the land they'll be nothing left of us as a nation..." Phil Rickman.

    I can't read and I can't write, but that don't really matter,
    I come from the west country and I can drive a tractor.


    Website Story

  5. Thanks given by: RichardH
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    Thats a very comprehensive and well thought out report Foxy well done. I have seen this process on television and it was a pretty digusting and smelly job! I could almost smell the hides from here!:)
    And a dreadful thing from the cliff did spring. And its wild bark thrilled around. His eyes had the glow of the fires below. Twas the form of the Spectre Hound. 'Ha' yer fa'r got a dickey, bor?' 'Yis, an' he want a fule ter roide 'im, will yew cum?'

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    You've been busy Foxy! Really nice shots there, and interesting stuff. :)

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    This is one of my favourite threads Foxy, looks like nothings changed in a hundred years, proper old industry.

    Looks like it would make a great museum.

    Phil
    Just plain old

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Shuck View Post
    I have seen this process on television and it was a pretty digusting and smelly job! I could almost smell the hides from here!:)
    I did get a whiff by the layer pits but there weren't any hides in there so it wasn't too bad. Yes, I saw the process on TV once...I think it was part of a time-teamy type of programme. Cheers, Shuck. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by channonwindmill View Post
    You've been busy Foxy! Really nice shots there, and interesting stuff. :)
    Thanks, channon. :) It was a good afternoon's explore and I would have continued with some other places but I ran out of film! Will be going back though.

    Quote Originally Posted by shatters View Post
    This is one of my favourite threads Foxy, looks like nothings changed in a hundred years, proper old industry.l
    Cheers, Phil. Oddly enough, I felt as if I was in a Dutch Medaieval village! Fantastic place! :)
    "...If we lose our spiritual bond with the land they'll be nothing left of us as a nation..." Phil Rickman.

    I can't read and I can't write, but that don't really matter,
    I come from the west country and I can drive a tractor.


    Website Story

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    All I can say is WOW! This place looks awesome!

    WE MUST GO THERE!!!!

    Love the pics! You are seriously such a gifted photographer. The angles in these shots are brilliant!
    -Kat


    Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.

    --Marcus Aurelius

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    That's a pretty impressive site! Good pics there :D

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    Lovely photographs. Looks an interesting explore. :)

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    Interesting stuff:)
    ...Hear me now from the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet...

    Neolithicsea.co.uk

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