Collection Care blog

Behind the scenes with our conservators and scientists

13 February 2017

Understanding leather - from tannery to collection

Five days Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training for Conservators (10 -12 participants only).

The logo for The Leather Conservation Centre. The image is of a stylised plant in black, on a green background square. On a wider white square, underneath and below the image, are the words 'Conserve & Care' and underneath that in a bolder font, is 'The Leather Conservation Centre' in green. The Logo for the University of Northhampton. The image consists of the logo image itself, in a guitar pick-like shape, in black with white curved parallel lines inside. 'The University of Northampton' in large capitalised font and underneath in smaller lower case font is 'institute for Creative Leather Technologies' all on a white background.

Main Subjects

  • Understanding Leather
  • Understanding the threats to the preservation of leather in your collection

The course is a mixture of theory and practical (tanning, handling different leathers and examining deterioration problems).

Each aspect of leather production is explored in both a theoretical and practical way, and explained in relation to deterioration processes and resultant care and conservation problems.

Participants will have opportunities to try some of the production methods using both modern and traditional techniques.

Experienced professionals are on-hand to answer questions and the course takes place in an informal group, where students are encouraged to take part and get involved.

A photo displaying leather and various accroutrements. Resting on a table is a core or roller covered in fine lambs wool. surrounding it are various types and shapes of leather. In the centre is a black tool, square on one end, but with a gauge within.


This course is aimed at conservators, curators and other museum professionals with responsibility for collections which include historic leather items, who wish to understand (a) leather making processes and (b) common deterioration problems found in historic leather objects.

Those who attended the course in previous years found it to be immensely useful as well as enjoyable.

To be held at:

The Leather Conservation Centre & Northampton University’s Institute of Creative Leather Technologies,
The University of Northampton,
Boughton Green Road,
Northampton NN2 7AN

Dates - Monday 26 to Friday 30 June 2017

Cost - £495 tuition only. There are a few bursaries available for students on recognised conservation courses which will bring the cost down to £295.

An accommodation list will be available.

NB The course will not run with less than 10 participants.

For further information or to book a place on this course please contact - Yvette Fletcher, Head of Conservation, The Leather Conservation Centre on email [email protected].

Lab coats, gloves, boots and other necessary PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) will be provided.

Please note the course does not cover conservation treatments or techniques (please visit the West Dean website for information on CPD course on conservation of leather).