THEY’RE a clever lot on the Norfolk Broads Forum. Earlier this week I asked what the strange objects were on this photo showing the old Edwards & Holmes shoe factory on Drayton Road. The answer? Animal skins.
Read these comments posted on the NBF website and you can almost smell them drying in the breeze. Stale urine baths? Nice.
“Being outside a shoe factory, my guess would be animal skins being prepared, perhaps oiled to make them waterproof. The racking at the back looks like it is a drier.Tanned leather is usually a pasty grey white colour before it is dyed ready for production.”
“Could well be 'greenhides' drying. We used to have a proper tannery in Canterbury (and boy did it stink) and the hides after the basic tanning are a slightly greenish tinged cream colour. (we used to buy the rejects up at £10 a hide for making leather stuff for re-enactment). The tanning was done the proper way using oak galls and stale urine baths, and proper messy it was too.”
“Totally agree with the previous posters. In the late 60’s I used to work in the east end of London. In the road that I worked there was a traditional tannery, I think it was called Braybrooks. On a summers day the smell was overpowering and boy the liquid that ran out into the road (no pavement or proper drains) used to rot the bottom of your car out while you watched. None the less it was a fascinating process to watch although doing it looked hard work.”