High quality leather was produced in Canterbury using Blean oaks for some 200 years. Mature standard oaks were flawed to remove their tanbark. The fluting at the base of the trunk was removed by axe before the tree was felled, then the bark removed in 3 ft lengths. It was stacked to dry before being taken to the tannery in Canterbury. The trunks were carried by cart for milling at Cheyney’s Yard.
The tannery provided quality upholstery for some important ‘seats’, including the House of Lords and Roll Royce. It stopped using oak bark in 1953 and finally closed in 2003.
With thanks to the Blean Heritage and Community Group