A bad start to 2009

Richard GravesThis has been a tough year so far with a lot of problems. We have our economic meltdown and without question the leather industry in a year’s time will have a different look about it. But the year has also been tough on a personal level. I have spent the last three weeks in hospital after a car accident and will be on my back for a month or more ahead, and one of our good colleagues from Pittards, Ron Smith, has also suffered very badly in a traffic accident earlier in the year.

Yet the shock for us all was the unexpected death of Richard Graves last week. For all the time I have been visiting the BSLT over the last few decades Richard was the familiar face that gave the place its character and continuity. Fiercely supportive of his students Richard has a multitude of friends amongst alumni worldwide and was well known for his gruff outspoken manner. He has been absent from the School for some months having taken early retirement and it is a great shock that we will not be seeing him around in the future. Dr. Wilkinson will be able to provide further information for those who want further details.


On a brighter note everyone is gearing up for the trip to Hong Kong for the APLF show. The Vice Chancellor will be present along with a lot of other University staff and the Corium club event while remaining true to its traditional format will be a major centenary event and the best place to meet up with all your colleagues. APLF this year celebrates its 25th year and this looks like being a busy and important moment for the industry. Everyone needs to get the best information on what is likely to happen and this fair has always been one of the best for getting a world overview.

Mike Redwood

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Meeting Fred Shortland

It was 35 years ago when I first met Fred Shortland wandering about in Mexico. I was working in El Salvador for ADOC, one of my best ever employers and still a great company and Fred was in the chemical supply industry. So it was quite amazing to meet him again after what must have been at least 15 years at the Lineapelle Trend show in London. This was an excellent little set up as a small number of Italian tanners and textile producers were given access to design students and designers who were attracted by both the stands and fashion forecast presentations. In a difficult economic environment and excellent idea, in some ways like the old road shows Stahl used to do in the UK or when Clarks used to invite a few tanners to show in a hotel in Street.

Anyway meeting Fred, an alumnus of course, was an unexpected benefit of going along, and it is good to see that he is still in business. Hopefully we will see more of him as the centenary events unfold.


So while Fred was in rude health some of you will know that I am now trying to type this on my back as I have had to have quite serious spinal surgery after a car accident on the way to Heathrow. For 48 hours it looked like I might get away with it but the CT scans and x-Rays showed one vertebra broken in three and not inclined to heal correctly. So my back is full of titanium nuts and bolts holding the bits correctly together and I am flat on my back for the foreseeable future. I will still be working and in touch, as well as writing the blog, but I will not be at APLF and Lineapelle is looking doubtful. Very many thanks to all those who have been so kind as to call and send good wishes.

Anyway the invites are out for the Corium Club event in Hong Kong on the 31st and if you are going to be there you must attend, as it will be a famous event.

The fair itself is going to be important as many people are attending in order to gauge the state of trade and how the industry is going to look in six and twelve months time. Some good seminars have been organised.

Mike Redwood

5th March 2009