POSTED ON Two items are below from my Northampton blog
2009 Centenary events start to take shape
It’s more or less July now and the weather for Wimbledon is better than normal. We are sitting in the garden catching the strains from Glastonbury. Not a bad way to spend such a dry sunny weekend, albeit curtailed midway to get to the airport for the next African trip. Yet it is July 2009 that we need to start planning for. We need to get the 17th to the 21st of July 2009 in our diaries since those four days will form the height of the centenary celebrations for leather in Northampton. Before you ask what the actual celebration relates to the opening in September 1909 of the National Leathersellers College in Tower Bridge Road in London. This replaced the arrangement which had been in place since the 19th century in Herold College and more importantly was itself replaced in the 1970s by the Leathersellers Centre in Northampton at a time when the Leathersellers lead the funding for locating all leather teaching around that which was already taking place in the then Nene College.
17th to 21st July 2009 events
So how will 2009 look? The degree ceremony will be on the Thursday followed by evening events that will probably include a fashion show that will have been seen in part at least at the Hong Kong APLF. On Friday the University will unite with Leather Wise to run the second edition of their very successful “beast to beauty” conference which deals with issues and new technologies from all stages of the value chain. This got a wide audience of important industry people from raw hide supply through to brands and retail.
Saturday will see the Campus open and many areas in Northampton with leather connections such as the shoe museum in town. There are now about 100 leather businesses in the Northampton area large and small, and the town and county are much more interested in building on this. Their interest is not just from a heritage point of view but more for support of a knowledge cluster focused around the University as the anchor, and with design, technology and advanced retail (as opposed to factory outlets) involved. So as well as seeing old haunts some new things should be worth have a look at. Saturday evening will be the major dinner event and there will be a lot going on around that.
London in Mind
For those who trained in London, and many others interested, Sunday will relocate to London with the day spent exploring all the old points of interest, many serving alcohol, around Tower Bridge Road and Bermondsey. Net yet finalised is a concluding event most likely at Leathersellers Hall, recognising that the Leathersellers Company have been the key benefactor who made all their money out for 600 years of the leather industry and have spent much of the last 100 generously putting much of that back.
Everyone involved is really keen that all alumni and friends should be able to take part in these events, and to make it worth coming from a long way off to take part. So two things are needed. First is that you put the dates in your diaries and that if you are travelling from afar build your family holiday or business trips around them. Second is that if you have suggestions for elements you would like added, things you want to do or so, I am sure that this is a good time to let Debbie Greaves (firstname.lastname@example.org) know.
Remember that the definition of alumni and Corium club membership has been extended to include all London, Northampton, and Leeds graduates and friends and associates are going to be welcome also. If you know of alumni who are missing from the list then Mitch Smith is the contact Mitch.Smith@northampton.Ac.Uk
29th June 2008POSTED ON
Wise word at Leathersellers prize giving
Last Friday was the annual prize-giving at Leathersellers. The numbers were a little smaller than usual because a last minute date change left some students stranded working in Holland. The Vice Chancellor, too, was missing on holiday.
The B.Sc. students were Naveed Aamir, Furhan Masood, and Waseem Salem and the Leathersellers certificate students were Angkana Laoveerakul, Chalida Chaiyoslap, Nabeel Javed and James Muirhead. Mark Colyer from the magazine Leather International was present to give the Leather International Award to Thomas Kilee from Kenya. Congratulations to them all.
The guest speaker was different this year. Dr Tilman Taeger will be well known to many who read this column. He is head of basic innovation and technology management for leather in BASF‘s performance chemicals unit although this will change as he coming up to retirement. His talk covered three major areas
the need to treat each hide or skin as an individual and avoid making plastic, which was the fault with leather 25-30 years ago when we enjoyed making corrected grain leathers and box calf which was so heavily coated the consumer thought they might as well buy plastic
the importance of replacing inorganic chemicals in processing with biochemical materials
the importance of making a piece of leather that is good enough to last a long time and people will want to keep. At the same time to consider leather and leather goods from a cradle to cradle point of view. Look at the raw material, look at the leather in the drums, make real leather and think right down to how the consumer will use the leather in the final product
Dr Taeger also talked about the new innovative Steron finish which BASF launched last year and for which they are building a pilot plant. This was designed to help with automobile leather where a permeable highly breathable leather is often required, This would normally require a perforated leather – which is often to be found in cars these days – or almost no finish which will not work in this sector. Steron is a semi-laminate system, which puts pigmented polyurethanes on a release paper and via a system of post preparation evaporation is wafer thin and highly permeable, yet meets automobile requirements.
I have provided a podcast of Dr Taeger’s talk (mp3 12.5MB). I was sitting at the back of the room so it is not the best, as he spoke quietly without a microphone. It is short though and if you put the volume high and persevere for the first few seconds I think you will hear it fine on your computer or iPod. Well worth listening to.
10th June 2008