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The Book of Trades or Library of Useful Arts 1811, Volume 1

This was published by Wiltshire Family History Society, originally printed by W. Flint, Old Bailey, London, for R. Phillips, No. 7 Great Bridge Street. Excerpts follow:

The business of the currier is to prepare hides, which have been under the hands of the tanner, for the use of shoemakers, coachmakers, saddlers, bookbinders, etc.

Currying is the last preparation of leather, and puts it into a condition to be made up into shoes, saddles, harness, etc., it is performed in two ways either upon the flesh or the grain.

In summary, both ways involved soaking the hide and then working either on its flesh or hair (grain) side and much shaving and scouring. The next treatments varied for shoe leather and sturdier leathers. Three more excerpts follow:

Hides are sometimes curried for the use of saddlers and collar-makers ... Hides for the roofs of coaches are shaved nearly as thin as those for shoes...

In many places, the business of the currier connects with it that of the leather-dresser and leather-cutter, who supplies the shoe makers and others with all their leather, black, red, blue, green, etc.

Leadenhall Market is one of the principal marts for leather: and shoe-makers and leather-cutters in the country, who can command the capital, buy the greater part of their goods, particularly their sole-leather, there.


Brentford curriers

Brentford's location close to London, access to the Thames, plentiful water supply and local tanneries, resulted in a number of curriers in the town. This list is a starting point, more names will be added as research uncovers them.

Burness: Joseph Burness was an apprentice of Alexander Wood (see below) in 1803 and lived in Old Brentford at no. 235 High Street in 1841. Searches for 'Joseph Burness' 'Brentford' bring up family details (as at February 2022).

Harris: Henry Harris, born Isleworth around 1815, was a currier at 150 High Street in 1841; his son James Harris born 1847 was a currier in New Brentford in 1871; read more.

Langdon: William Langdon was a currier and leather seller in 1881 at 235 High Street in 1881; he succeeded Joseph Burness.

Wood: Thomas Wood settled in New Brentford by the early 1770s and he, then his son Alexander and two of Alexander's sons ran a curriers from 141 High Street: read more.


Page published February 2022