Once upon a time I used to do outfit posts, these days its a matter of chucking my camera in my bag and grabbing impromptu photo opportunities between appointments. This one was taken by an undertaker taking a cigarette break between funerals!
|The bronze saddle, some of Walsall's street art, dedicated to the town's leather industry|
Its been said that Jon and I are Walsall's unofficial ambassadors, forever bigging up our much-maligned home town on my blog. My affection for our town hasn't gone unnoticed, we're currently helping out with a project which, hopefully, I'll be able to reveal the details of very soon.
With two vintage fairs booked for this weekend I've been so busy that I haven't worn lipstick or gone further than the wheelie bin since Sunday night but, as part of the project, we needed to meet up with a few people in town today.
And in-between appointments we popped to Walsall's Leather Museum to see something I'd fallen in love with on the Black Country Echoes festival website.
This! Made in 1969 by Walsall Leather Company, Tarantella, this gorgeous suede jacket really should be mine.
The factory started, like many, in the back of a house by Edna Kirby. Tarantella had a largely female workforce and became internationally famous for their leather gloves supplying companies like Marks & Spencer.
Unusually for the time, Edna Kirby valued her women workers, allowing them to continue working after they married and had children, even providing a crèche. However, in August 1970, after introducing family planning clinics for her workers, the story was picked up by the national press and the workforce was portrayed in a negative light, causing great upset for her female staff. Edna's reasoning behind it was quite simple, she'd lost many skilled workers through unplanned pregnancy, which was a blow to the factory when so much time and expense was lost spent training them.
Edna sold the company in the early 1970s after pressure to pay her workers by the day rather than by piece work. The workers were kept on but the quality of the materials decreased and the company closed two years later.
|Wearing: Second-hand skinnies, Vintage blazer, 1960s Tootal scarf, contemporary wool flat cap, Clarks' boots|
Although I've been to the Leather Museum before (including attending a shoe-making workshop) I couldn't resist admiring the array of handbags and luggage made in Walsall.
That snakeskin vanity bag, the gents top hat case, the places that suitcase must have been!
A variety of Walsall-made leather goods,
These boots were a common sight when I was growing up.
Hardy Amies wallets and Asprey of Bond Street, high end leather goods which started life in Walsall factories.
Contemporary leather including bags by Anya Hindmarsh and gorgeous hand made silver jewellery by our friend Jolene Smith.
Fashion bloggers go berserk over Mulberry, don't they?
Walsall-made dog harnesses from the early 20th century. The bull dog doesn't look very impressed.
Suzanne - look, pugs!
I love this - proper pride in this factory's work.
If, like me, you're a fan of the TV show Salvage Hunters, you can imagine Drew going wild over the original factory equipment in these workshop installations.
When I first started work these clocking in machines were still widely used.
Sadly we didn't have time for a guided tour or a panini in the coffee shop but we'll be back. Its a short walk from our house and over the road from Second To None, Walsall's legendary vintage emporium!
|Wearing: '70s Psychedelic skirt by Jeannie Jersey, Finish-made 1970s suede boots, 1970s green suede jacket, 1960s felted wool hat, 1950s beach bag|