Wednesday, December 18, 2013


9 TANNERY. The tannery was placed in this out-of-the-way location so that the smell would not annoy anyone living in the Inner Ward, and even now the room smells strongly of urine.

This place is cluttered with stiff dry hides that have not yet been processed. There are several sturdy wooden tables and workbenches. Baskets are hung from the walls, along with objects resembling leather wineskins. Numerous large and small metal vats are scattered throughout the room. Racks hold finished stretched leather and several fur products (coats, rugs, etc.). There are five large glass windows that have hinges located on their tops. These are wide open. They were usually left open, even in cold weather, to alleviate the stench.

The tables hold pestles and hammers for pounding the skin.

The baskets hold dried animal dung and the thirteen "wineskins" actually hold a crude brown hide glue which can be squeezed out like a tube of toothpaste. This is best if applied hot and takes about an hour to set and is usually used for wooden furniture. The glue is vulnerable to wet and excess heat, however, and may fail if exposed for too long to such conditions.

The vats once held animal urine, salt solution, and lime mixtures. Although the liquid contents have evaporated over time, they have deposited foul smelling remnants.

The finished leather and fur are only stored here temporarily. Normally they would be moved to the currier's workshop (Room 59 on the Ground Level of the Inner Ward).

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