Belts, Breeches and Boots
Not only were the Welsh cattle destined for the meal table; William Brooke estimated that in 1798 a total of 600 million pounds of beef were consumed in England; but they provided over the centuries materials for the tanners, whitamers, pouchmakers, girdlers, glovers, corvisters, curries and others.
To cater for local demand for leather, tanyards were to be found throughout the land during the period 1500 -1850. They were sited close to a running water supply, a supply of oak bark for tanin used in the curing process, using skins from the slaughtered cattle. They would have been close to the grazing areas with the cattle killed by the local butchers, using a pole-axe. No humane killing in those days. They were kept well away from local villages because of the foul smell associated with the trade.
In 1816, the Little London site on Redhill common in Surrey had two tanyards nearby. Londons' tanyards were located in Bermondsey, just south of London Bridge. The growth of Bermondsey was due to the leather trade which was flourishing in the early part of the 17th century, and during the great plague Londoners fled to the tanning pits for refuge. Its location was due to the supply of water which was available from the tidal stream of the Thames; twice a day. In 1703 apprenticeships were available for a period of seven years. There were some thirty tanneries and the trade here was more extensive than in any part of the country; along with the allied trades. The prevailing south-westerly winds took the smell across the Essex marshes, but with a "north-easterly" London's pollution could be experienced as far south as Selborne in Hampshire, according to Gilbert White, writing in his diaries in the late 1700's.
The drovers had few personal possessions, like most people in those days. Their prized possession must have been their watch. Early travellers would have relied upon the clocks on the church towers, for the time of day. They carried their money and personal belongings in a leather purse. Clothing would have been what was in vogue at the time for the rural classes; always leather boots, leather gloves, breeches and overcoat, with a shirt of linen. Leather hats would have mirrored the style of the period, with a style of "bowler" hat in the 1800's. They carried whips of leather or whale-bone in the later time, and may have smoked a clay pipe. We don't know what cooking utensils they may have carried with them. They no doubt carried a first-aid kit of some sort; people relied upon herbal remedies at the time to cure most ailments. A " miracle cure" which is still available is Morris Evans's oil, which can be drunk, used as an antiseptic, and will oil harnesses.
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