Call for trades to help with key heritage project

Published: Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Tradespeople have been urged to volunteer on a project which will see an internationally important historical collection go on display in Northampton.

The National Leather Collection is currently being catalogued while work takes place to give it a worthy home within the Grosvenor Centre.

And anyone with skills in plumbing, electrics, plastering and decorating could help bring the project to life over the next three months.

The plan is to create a museum which will be free to enter, offering a resource for anyone interested in all things leather.

But visitors will not only be able to look around, there will also be a host of activities to engage in, from watching craftsmen at work to designing and creating some beautiful items.

Philip Warner, the collection’s curator, said: “We are operating on a shoestring, which means we need all the help we can get.

“The Grosvenor Centre has been absolutely fantastic, offering us a disused space which was formerly offices but has been disused for a good many years.

“It will become a fantastic venue but we have a great deal of work to do if we are to get it into a serviceable state to welcome members of the public.”

Northampton's connection to the leather and footwear industry was established over 900 years ago and it is still a cultural centre for the material today.

The University of Northampton is a world leader in the teaching of leather technologies and the quality and design of men's welted footwear from the town is unrivalled.

Northampton Borough Council is currently the collection’s guardian and the opportunity to put such an important collection on display in the town centre is one not to be missed.

Council leader, Cllr Jonathan Nunn, said: ““The National Leather collection contains some absolutely startling pieces, from vellum fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls to a leather wallet made for Samuel Pepys in 1687.

“Plans to put it on display couldn’t come at a better time, while the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is undergoing a major extension and renovation.

“We are lucky to have such an extraordinarily important collection at our disposal and I’m sure it will prove an enormous draw for visitors from all over the country.”

Anyone who feels they may have trade skills to offer, or even enthusiasm and a willingness to help decorate can call 01604 745681.