A Trip to the Tannery

Every time I go to J Hewit & Sons, my favourite bookbinding supplier, I feel the overwhelming desire to bring a camera, tripod, and a day’s free time. I don’t think I will ever tire of taking pictures there.

I could take the “industrial site” type pictures of all of the machinery they use to dye leathers, or the “variety of stuff” pictures of the rolls and rolls of finished hides, or the “run down melancholy” shots of the light from the dusty windows falling on the worn boards of the upper floor. I’d photograph the staff, who always treat me so well, if it wouldn’t embarrass them.

But I don’t, because I am there to buy. I did take a few shots of the pale leathers they had piled on the Low Value Shelf upstairs.

Edges of a stack of pale goatskin


Taken 7 April 2006

The same grained goatskin, with the marks of the stretching clips still visible.


Taken 7 April 2006

Pale calfskin, un-grained.


Taken 7 April 2006

Maybe I can find a market for a feature article on the company – its history, its processes, its business. I’d love to do it. I’d love to have the excuse!

4 thoughts on “A Trip to the Tannery”

  1. Hi Abi, I would would be very interested in your solution to find the Highest Prime Factor that you have developed for excel. (I do not think that is sad or geeky, just highly creative)

  2. Why there are an infinite number of prime numbers:

    1) All numbers can be factorised using only prime numbers (lemma);
    2) Let P be the set of all known prime numbers;
    3) Take the two largest elements of P, multiply, and add one;
    4) Either you’ve got an new prime number (not already in P) or one of the factors of your new number is a new prime number not in P.

    Therefore there are an infinite number of prime numbers (little black square)

    How did we get onto this?

  3. Among strange comment threads, this is a serious prize contender. What do primes have to do with leather? Is this one of those surreal things that involves, at its extreme, fish?

    Tom, I think John is looking for the highest prime factors of a given number, rather than the highest prime number EVER. I am uncertain how he first found out about my Excel spreadsheet that generates a random number and lists its prime factors, but it may be a useful tool in his arsenal.

    (And it is too sad and geeky. Wanna make something of it?)

  4. I love visiting Hewits too! (Don’t you just love the way you can wander around and no one questions what you’re doing there!) My last visit was just a couple of weeks ago and I had a great time rummaging around the low value skins in the attic. I could spend hours up there. Of course I spent a lot more than I’d intended to, but then I always do. I’m a hobby binder, but I have enough leather here to set up in business! And I agree, the staff are great.

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