The Saddler's Shop

the saddler's shop and workbench

Here all the gear for keeping the horse and his cart together was discussed, argued over, made, bought and mended.

Many customers would call in to while away an hour when in town. However, not many saddlers could talk and use sharp instruments at the same time.

A wise saddler put a shop boy out front and worked quietly behind the scenes so he was not interrupted.

There's something about the smell of a saddler's shop which always makes people draw a deep appreciative breath. The scent of real, English leather is usually delicious to the customers and they want to bottle it and take it away!

Here are leather straps waiting for use, hanging on the rounded mahogany rack above the bench.

A good saddler stored his tools well, to be able to find the right one quickly. It also saved one tool from damaging another one's edge, and of course, it prevented him picking one up by the sharp end by mistake.

There are pricking tools for marking out stitch holes in set ratios (10, 12 or even 14 to the inch); creasing irons to make a neat line along the edge of a strap; and edge shaves to take the "squareness" off the edge of the leather.

Above: the tools of a saddler's shop which closed in Ulverston have been donated to the Museum by Todds of Kendal. The "clutter" on the bench is unusual. It would normally be kept clear for work so leather did not get scratched.