World's largest collection of leather artefacts comes to Northampton's high street

Queen Victoria's side saddle.
Queen Victoria's side saddle.

Fragments from Tutankhamen's tomb, sections of a 9th-century koran and Queen Victoria's own saddle will form part of a unique leathercraft display in Northampton town centre next month.

The National Leather Collection will debut in the Grosvenor's Centre on September 9 after 40 years in storage and features the world's largest treasury of historical leather artefacts.

An open day from February saw a chance to preview many pieces from the collection.

An open day from February saw a chance to preview many pieces from the collection.

The collection, which includes pieces from prehistory right up to modern day, has reportedly been "in boxes" for decades but is now ready for display for the Northampton public.

Victoria Green, administrator for the National Leather Collection, said: "This is an incredibly exciting display. It has something to impress everybody. Leather is in everything and it's amazing to see how much of a part it has played in history.

The collection moved to the Grosvenor Centre in 2016 and has been fundraising to prepare the items for permanent display.

It was established in 1946 following the work of John Waterer, who passion for leather led him to collect thousands of unique items in his lifetime and create a library of over 3,000 volumes on leathercraft.

An ancient Egyptian shoe from Tutankhamun's tomb.

An ancient Egyptian shoe from Tutankhamun's tomb.

Other artefacts include the travelling casket of King Charles V, a 17th century Scottish century and a Victorian-era set of pince nez glasses with a carry case.

The exhibition, which is a Heritage Lottery Fund project, will debut at a "soft opening" on September 9 with free entry as part of Heritage Open day.

Victoria said: "We hope one day the exhibition will be able to become a free, permanent feature of Northampton."

The National Leather Collection have also launched a crowdfunding page to raise money for new display cases for its exhibition.

A fragment from a 9th century koran.

A fragment from a 9th century koran.

An African arrow quiver.

An African arrow quiver.

The team behind the exhibition's debut at the Grosvenor's Centre.

The team behind the exhibition's debut at the Grosvenor's Centre.