Where have all the traditional crafts gone?

Where have all the traditional crafts gone?

Traditional Trades, Crafts and Industries of Kent and East Sussex. 

Heather Stevenson  has contributed this report on author Richard Filmer’s  most enjoyable talk at the Museum on March 11th. 

Richard Filmer gave a fascinating and most informative talk on the amazing skills of our forebears. Richard has studied local crafts and had many facts and figures on industries and craftsmen ranging from coopers to  gunpowder makers, leatherworkers to stilt walkers, fruit pickers on ladders to wheelwrights and many others in between – quite a variety for our small corner of England. Did you know skilled tradesmen here made the carriage wheels for the Lord Mayor of Londons  carriage and the Queen’s  golden carriage?

In true traditional style our speaker gave his illustrated talk using an old fashioned slide show, with many pictures he had taken over the years. He knew all the characters’ names and even how many stitches were sewn in a locally made cricket ball – what a memory and knowledge.  Woodworking crafts were most popular in this area due to the county being densly wooded. So wood was coppiced and used for all manner of objects:  ladders, stilts for fruit and hop picking, carts and wheels, woven baskets, barrels and cricket bats. Tanning and leatherworking took place in Ashford and Canterbury. High class leather was made for furniture – even that used in the House of Commons and also for bespoke bootmakers.

Richard had a great many slides and was such an informative and entertaining speaker I am sure he could talk to us again. I learnt a great deal as I didn’t know so many trades had existed here but sadly many have now diminished or even gone completely.

 Come and look at the hop pickers stilts when East St Museum is open  and find out for yourself about our ancestors. The museum holds monthly talks, always a chance to hear and learn something new. 

Some photos to remind you of Richard as author Shire publications) nd some of the crafts (courtesy Wikipedia):



First posted in Past Talks on 12th March 2014
Last updated: 9th April 2014