The first of our homages goes to the Leather Satchel Company. There is a genus of Chap which clings to the disfigured belief that transporting one’s everyday flotsam & jetsam in a carrier bag is both practical and appropriate. It is not. Such malodourous thinking incited the rise of the male Tote Bag – or as your gran called it, a shopping bag. And for the man who utilizes either, or both, articles, these words will have little value or resonance. For any sense of personal dignity has been dislodged by a sartorial death that is black, silent, and terrible.
But for the rest of you, your belongings are in for a treat. The Leather Satchel Company is in its 50th year, and England’s oldest surviving satchel maker. And while, in the current fashion climate, the term ‘Classic’ is often overused and inappropriately attached, it would not be disingenuous on this occasion. For they produce a range of satchels that would not look out of place slung over the shoulder of a child of the 1930s. Unlike the school kid of today, who is more likely to be seen with an outsize rucksack suspended from their shoulders, and looking for all the world like an upright tortoise.
It was a fortuitous meeting between a leather worker and a headmaster that proved the catalyst for the Leather Satchel Company’s birth. Stephen Hanshaw was exhibiting his leather-ware in London, when local headmaster Mr Collis asked if he could to make satchels for an independent school based in Hammersmith. High demand for the satchels soon saw Stephen joined by his two younger brothers, Barry and Paul, and together they established their first workshop on Smithdown Road in Liverpool. And although now operating out of a workshop in Huyton, it continues to be a family run affair. All the bags are handmade by a tightly knit team of master craftsmen, using high quality leather and, as with all hand crafted goods, once ordered it won’t arrive the next day. It requires making first. But as with anything of value, it’ll be worth the wait.
So, should you find yourself lugging your belongings in something akin to a Greek ruin, perhaps a visit to the Leather Satchel Company will bring you into the world of chaps who carry their belongings elegantly.