Someone contacted me last week looking for old eggbutt bits to use as curtain tie-backs (or more accurately drape tie-backs, they were in the USA) This sounded like an interesting idea & got me looking around the web for equestrian-themed interior design – after all, it works for Hermes & Ralph Lauren…




This hessian / burlap drape or blind idea came from Pinterest, but I can’t find the original source to acknowledge

There’s quite a lot of it about – done well it can look fantastic & be rather witty, but I suspect it would be easy to have too much of a good thing

This idea for towel holders comes from the Arizona- based interior design company Lizard Flats

A simple mullen mouth snaffle used as a towel ring found on Etsy

British Military bit    Household Cavalry bit

An ex-Household Cavalry man once told me that the pieces of equipment most often kept by men leaving the cavalry were the “Peninsula” troopers’ bits & that they were used as loo roll holders. At the time I couldn’t quite see how this would work, but thanks to the internet all has become clear.

This one appeared on Etsy

Another example from Pinterest, wouldn’t you worry about splinters ?

There are whole blogs devoted to the subject :

There are instructions for making this stirrup towel holder at

And while we’re on the subject of stirrups…
Hermes clock and barometer in stirrups
A desktop clock and barometer in Cadre Noir stirrups by Hermes

Iberian box stirrups converted into lamps
Iberian box stirrups converted into lamps at Shades of Light

And you’ve probably heard about an “armchair ride” – how’s this ?
Leather saddle armchair

More details at Restoration Hardware , and here’s another view :

Leather saddle armchair

There’s an awful lot of horse related decoration out there, without even starting on hunting-themed ceramics or the whole area of prints & paintings.

(Sorry, due to huge amounts of spam I’ve closed comments here, but please feel free to contact me by email or comment on Facebook)


Copes safety stirrup in action

This image attracted me to the Project Gutenberg Ebook of Alice M. Hayes’ “The Horsewoman, A Practical Guide to Sidesaddle Riding” (The whole text can be read here )

The front page of the book tells us that it is the 2nd edition, published in 1903, it was edited by Capt M. HORACE HAYES, F.R.C.V.S. (Late Captain “The Buffs”, Author of “Points of the Horse,” “Veterinary Notes for Horse-Owners,” “Riding and Hunting,” etc.) and that Mrs Hayes was also the author of the intriguingly titled “My Leper Friends”.

The chapter starts:

both for men and ladies, have been in existence for hundreds of years.

slipper stirrups
Fig 18 & Fig 19 Capped and Slipper stirrups

Apparently the first variety of this contrivance was the capped stirrup-iron, either simple (Fig. 18) or in the form of a slipper (Fig. 19), which was provided with an arrangement on its sole that prevented the toe of the slipper from yielding to downward pressure, but allowed it to revolve upwards, and thus to facilitate the release of the foot, in the event of a fall. The simple capped stirrup was used by ancient Spanish Cavaliers, and is still employed by many of their descendants in America.”

(The author does not show us these stirrups but I assume she means the Iberian “box” stirrup :

Portuguese Box stirrup
Estribo de caixa – more details here

or Latin American stirrups, sometimes called “Conquistador stirrups”

Brass conquistador pattern stirrups
“Conquistador” pattern stirrups – more details here

or tapaderos :

Monkey nosed tapaderos
Monkey nosed tapaderos – more details here

Back to Mrs Hayes:

“In apparent oblivion of these facts, the Christie stirrup (Fig. 20), made on the same principle, was patented about four years ago.
Christie stirrup
Fig 20 Christie stirrup

Besides its undue weight (1¼ lb. as compared to the ½ lb. of the slipper stirrup), it has the further disadvantage of allowing the possibility of the toe being caught between its bars (Fig. 21).

foot caught in stirrup
Fig 21. A foot caught in a Christies’ stirrup

Latchford safety stirrup
Fig 22. Latchford safety stirrup

Want of neatness appears to have been the only cause of the abandonment of the capped stirrup, which is certainly safer than any of its successors, the first English one of which appears to have been the Latchford safety stirrup (Fig. 22). It consists of two irons; the small one, which is placed within the large one, being made to come out the moment the foot gets dragged in it, in which case it parts company with its fellow, and is then liable to get lost.

Latchford safety stirrup
Parts of Latchford Safety Stirrup – see more about this stirrup here

Scott Safety stirrup
Fig 23. Scott safety stirrup – see an example here

The Scott safety stirrup (Figs. 23 and 24) has not this fault, for its inner iron always retains its connection with the outer one, and can be replaced without delay, if the lady after her tumble desires to remount.

Scott safety stirrup showing release mechanism
Fig 24. Scott safety stirrup open

The Latchford, Scott ordinary, and Cope safety stirrup (Figs. 25 and 26) open only one way, so that the foot, when correctly placed in any of them, may not be liable, as in the event of a fall, to be forced through the outer iron, in which case the lady would almost to a certainty get hung up if her saddle was not provided with a safety bar. In these stirrups, the side of the “tread,” which ought to be to the rear, is generally indicated by the fact of its being straight, while the other side is curved (Fig. 24). This is done in the Scott stirrup, by the word “heel” being stamped on the rear part.

Copes safety stirrup
Fig 25. Cope Safety Stirrup – see another example

Copes safety stirrup in action
Cope Safety Stirrup releasing the rider’s foot

The chief faults of so-called safety stirrups are as follows:—

  1. They may catch on the foot, on account of getting crushed by coming in violent contact with a tree, wall or other hard object, or by the horse falling on his near side. When I was living in India, I had a Scott safety stirrup jammed on my foot in this manner, by a horse which I was riding, making a sudden shy and dashing against a wall. The iron was so firmly fixed to my foot by this accident, that it could not be taken off until, after much pain and trouble, my foot was freed from both boot and stirrup. Had I been unseated, I would probably have been killed, because my saddle had not a safety bar.


  2. Those which open only when the foot is put into them in one way, are apt to cause a fatal accident if put in the wrong way, which may easily happen from carelessness or ignorance. The methods (straight edge of “tread,” or word “heel”) used with these stirrups, to indicate the proper side on which to put the foot into the iron, may convey no meaning to persons who are not well acquainted with the details of side-saddle gear, and in moments of hurry and excitement may be easily overlooked.


  3. Any ordinary safety stirrup which is used without a safety bar may cause a lady to get “hung up,” if she is thrown to the off side and her heel gets jammed against the saddle in the manner shown in Fig. 28.


  4. A fall to the offside
    Fig 28. A fall to the offside

  5. If the outer iron is small in comparison to the size of the foot, the rider may easily get dragged.


  6. If the outer iron of a Scott’s reversible safety stirrup is large in comparison to the size of the foot (as in the case of a young girl), the rider may get dragged in the event of a fall, by the foot going through the stirrup. Accidents caused by a foot going through a stirrup have often occurred to men from falls when hunting and steeplechasing.


Some ladies think it “smart” to ride with a man’s ordinary stirrup iron, or (madder still) with a small racing stirrup, attached to a leather which does not come out. I once saw a lady who adopted this senseless plan fall and get dragged. By an extraordinary piece of good luck she was saved from a horrible death by her boot coming off.


All that can be said in favour of safety stirrups, is that they are less liable to cause accidents than ordinary stirrups. The fact remains, that the danger of being dragged by the stirrup can be entirely obviated only by the use of an efficient safety bar.”


And so ends the chapter.

Alice M. Hayes sounds like a remarkable woman, and I really want to believe that she posed for those photographs of falls herself…


Book about antique hitching posts

However specialised your field of collecting, someone somewhere in the world probably shares your passion . I was delighted to find this book : “Horsing Around – 19th Century Cast Iron Hitching Posts”, it’s a catalogue of an exhibition of (surprise, surprise) hitching posts from the collection of Phil & Bunny Savino at the Albany Institute of History & Art in 2008. It focuses on American hitching posts, which were commonly freestanding cast iron posts; in Europe tethering rings or finials were more often attached to pre-existing walls, posts or pillars. The hitching posts were decorative as well as functional, common designs were horse heads, patriotic emblems such as the flag or an eagle, dogs, snakes, people and geometric or architectural shapes. Their makers are rarely identified and they fall into the category of “Folk Art”

Victorian horse head tethering posts
French Horse butchers sign
A French Horse Butcher’s Sign

I had bought the book in the hope of identifying the pair of horse heads shown above, I found one example in it that was similar but not identical . These are probably English and would have been placed on top of pillars or posts in a yard. The vendor described them as “19th Century cast iron horse heads possibly from a horse butcher’s shop”. I’m sure that’s wrong, I sold a French Boucherie Chevaline zinc horse head model a few years ago – it was much lighter in weight so that it could be hung on a wall & didn’t have bit rings (I suspect that thinking about one’s favourite riding horse before tucking into a steak doesn’t help the appetite )

Victorian horse head tethering posts

Christies sold a very similar white painted pair in 1999. They described them as “A pair of English white-painted cast-iron horse head tethering-post finials Circa 1870. Each with two rings in its mouth, on a circular base 10 in. (26 cm.) high”. They can be seen here

Victorian horse head tethering posts

The horse heads are made of cast iron, each was originally cast in two halves – a seam is just visible along the back of each mane. There are defects around their bases, presumably from when they were removed from their posts or pillars. The quality of the casting is very good and the details of the manes, eyes and even facial blood vessels are clear. The bit rings are in good order & still move freely. They have been painted gloss black, there are a few very small chips in the paint. They stand 10½ inches (26cm) high, and they are very heavy

Victorian horse head tethering posts


I found myself in Kineton yesterday. And where did my thoughts wander? Did I appreciate the 13th Century church , and the village green and pond? Or the late summer sun shining through the trees?

Kineton Village Green
Not so much – I was thinking about nosebands – more specifically Kineton nosebands, and how a piece of tack designed to help stop the unstoppable might be associated with the place.
Fulmer snaffle

It doesn’t end there, many bits are named after places. In some cases the reason is recorded, the bit now known as the Fulmer Snaffle was once called the Australian Loose Ring Cheek Snaffle. It was adopted and promoted by Robert Hall of Fulmer School of Equitation in the Buckinghamshire village of Fulmer.

Kimblewick horse bit

The Kimblewick was developed from a Spanish bit by Lieut-Col. F.E.Gibson for Phil Oliver, who lived in the village of Kimblewick in the Chilterns. According to Elwyn Hartley Edwards in his book “Saddlery” others copied the design and called the bit a “Kimberwick” – so now both names are used. The Uxeter bit (which is basically a Kimblewick with slots in the bit rings) sounds like it should be named after a place, but if it is I can’t find it – maybe it’s a contraction of Uttoxeter ?

It is possible that this military bit design, the Universal Pattern (so called because with its reversible mouthpiece and choice of curb rein position it can be adapted to suit many horses) Portsmouth bit was originally called a “Port Mouth” bit , there may not be any geographical link at all. It is also known as an elbow bit & sometimes an Ashleigh bit.


Other designs are older and their links to place names have probably been lost. Here are a few, I have probably missed loads, please let me know by email or Facebook

Liverpool bit
A Liverpool Bit


Weymouth bit
A Weymouth Bit


Decorated Buxton
A Decorated Buxton Coaching Bit


Banbury Weymouth
A Banbury Weymouth Horse Bit


A Rugby Pelham
Rugby pelham


Scorrier or Cornish Snaffle
Cornish or Scorrier Snaffle


Scamperdale Pelham
Scamperdale Pelham


Tattersall Bit
Tattersall bit


Cheltenham Gag
Cheltenham Gag

These are bolas, or, more accurately boleadoras :

vintage leather gaucho bolas

They came from South America. Similar arrangements of throwing stones and ropes were originally used by the indigenous people, but after the arrival of the Spanish they were adopted by the gauchos. They were used for hunting and herding – the balls would be swung around to gain speed and then released, wrapping themselves around the quarry animal’s legs. Charles Darwin describes the process better than I can in his diary entry from the Beagle on 8th September 1832 :

“… The Gauchos were very civil & took us to the only spot where there was any chance of water. — It was interesting seeing these hardy people fully equipped for an expedition. — They sleep on the bare ground at all times & as they travel get their food; already they had killed a Puma or Lion; the tongue of which was the only part they kept; also an Ostrich, these they catch by two heavy balls, fastened to the ends of a long thong. — They showed us the manner of throwing it; holding one ball in their hands, by degrees they whirl the other round & round, & then with great force send them both revolving in the air towards any object. — Of course the instant it strikes an animals legs it fairly ties them together.”

He also quite charmingly describes his own efforts at throwing them :

“One day, as I was amusing myself by galloping and whirling the balls round my head, by accident the free one struck a bush, and its revolving motion being thus destroyed, it immediately fell to the ground, and, like magic, caught one hind leg of my horse; the other ball was then jerked out of my hand, and the horse fairly secured. Luckily he was an old practised animal, and knew what it meant; otherwise he would probably have kicked till he had thrown himself down. The Gauchos roared with laughter; they cried out that they had seen every sort of animal caught, but had never before seen a man caught by himself.”

Maybe I’ll just keep mine for display.

vintage leather gaucho bolas

Very early examples often took the form of a simple stone with a groove cut around its middle which would hold a rope or cord. Many were made of stones wrapped in wet leather or rawhide which would shrink around these weights as it dried. The weights above are covered in lizard skin and their ropes are made of twisted rawhide. There are some very ornate examples made from ivory and silver which were intended for parades & display, not for use.

Not all bolas have three weights, apparently they can have eight or nine, but the more common arrangements are :

  • One weight : Bola Perdida – a lost ball, appropriately named because this is a single weight thrown at one’s quarry, so quite likely to be lost
  • Two weights : Avestrucera or ñanducera
  • Three weights : Boleadora or Tres Marias (Apparently the “Three Marys” are named after the three stars in the belt of the constellation Orion)

In the boleadora one weight is usually lighter than the other two and has a shorter rope – the smaller weight is held in the hand and used to sling the bolas. The disparity in weights and rope lengths helps the bolas to spread out & inflences their trajectory. In the example below there is a single larger, heavier weight on a longer rawhide rope. I suppose it was made to suit the individual gaucho who used it.

vintage leather gaucho bolas

vintage leather gaucho bolas

There’s a video (with a splendid beard) here (not wild about the bird welfare apect, but it seemed unharmed)


Several years ago I had an interesting whip, it was black and made of a length of wood or vine, the three branches of which twisted around each other. It can be seen at I had bought it as part of a small collection of sidesaddle whips, and never managed to identify it.

So I was surprised to find another two very similar whips at a local auction last year

Twisted wooden whips

I was still pretty clueless about them.

Until today. I was researching some spurs, using the marvelous French museum online database “Joconde” (the French name for the Mona Lisa). As so often happens when searching for things on the internet, I wandered away from my original search. I was happily scrolling through the results for “fouet” (most of which were kitchen balloon whisks ), when suddenly I saw my whip.

It was in the collection of the Pithiviers Museum of Art & History, which has an ethnographic collection. It was donated to the museum in 1910 from the collection of Louis Gosse (1876 – 1939). The piece originated in the High Ubangi region , the Ubangi river is a large tributary of the Congo.
I still haven’t identified the type of wood or creeper, or the function of the whips, but at least I have somewhere to start…

African whip

I found another example at Brooklyn Museum, not much extra information there – it is described as a plaited twig whip from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was collected on the 1922 Museum Expedition, Robert B. Woodward Memorial Fund, along with many “chicottes” – whips made from twisted rhino hide. There are many disturbing accounts of the hide whips being used on people, but I have not found any descriptions of these lighter twig whips being used for this purpose, which is sort of comforting. Sort of.

Congolese whip

Ubangi whip


Illustration of Greyhound with whip

Thanks to the work of the Gutenberg Project I have been reading “The Young Lady’s Equestrian Manual” , an anonymous 19th Century publication, now available for all to read at The book starts :
“The following pages contain a Treatise on the Art of Riding on Horseback, for Ladies, which originally appeared in the Publishers’ well-known Manual of elegant feminine Recreations, Exercises, and Pursuits, The Young Lady’s Book; with, however, various additions to the Text, and a number of new Illustrations and Embellishments.”

It discusses the use of sidesaddles, and remarks on women who rode astride in other countries and other times. I had to remind myself that this book was written when the vast majority of fashionable women would ride sidesaddle “The present graceful, secure, and appropriate style of female equestrianism is, however, materially different from that of the olden time. In by-gone days, the dame or damosel rode precisely as the knight or page”
Interestingly the author points out that Chaucer’s Wife of Bath in the 15th century wore “a paire of spurrés sharpe” , implying that she rode astride.

It goes on to discuss the selection of a horse, stable management, correct riding attire, and much else.
Anyway, I thoroughly recommend reading the book (link above), although possibly not following the whip care suggestion in the illustration above – I suppose it might explain the sheer number of dog-chewed whips that I come across…


I bought one of these whips years ago at the sale of the contents of Dr Potter’s Museum of Curiosities at Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. It was an extraordinary sale, full of natural history specimens and ethnographic objects from around the world as well as bizarre taxidermy tableaus – read more & see images here or here

Lacebark whip

Old label on whip

The whip had an intriguing half-label attached. It read “Lace T… Bark and remaining ….. whip”. I spent a while trying to research it, but could not find much infomation.

A website visitor told me that the fibres were produced by “ponding” – the soaking and punding of the wood in water, which sounded reasonable.

I had almost forgotten about it until I saw another example at auction a little while ago. This one was in better condition with a lace-like ruff surviving at its top.

Lacebark whip
After some more reading I found that the full name of the wood is Lacebark. Wikipedia tells us that “The lace-bark tree is a tree native to Jamaica, known botanically as Lagetta lintearia, from its native name lagetto. The inner bark consists of numerous concentric layers of interlacing fibers resembling in appearance lace. collars and other articles of apparel have been made of the fiber, which is also used in the manufacture of whips”.

There is also an interesting paper about the plant from Kew Gardens here

The “ruff” is quite soft and does look convincingly lace-like .

Lacebark wood


Lacebark lace from wood

I have seen other examples of lacebark items including more whips, collars and slippers in a few online museum collections. There is also an old report from The Advertiser Late Evelyn Observer

“June 3rd 1938 in State Library of Victoria

YARRAMIBAT Gifts Mrs. 1W. Le Francke, of Yarrambat, presented a whip made from the lace tree of Jamaica-a valuable gift-for the school museum. Other gifts are: Mrs. Warren, cross-section of motor – tyre showing construction; Mr. H. Allen, beautiful pieces of coral and many shells; Mr. Carter, many pictures of overseas towns; Mr. D. Claude Robert son (Melbourne), six new tennis balls for children’s tennis.” I find myself imagining a somewhat bemused reaction to this selection of gifts…..


The Weald & Downland Museum near Chichester in Sussex is a fantastic place. Not only are there over forty rescued and reconstructed buildings, they also run courses teaching traditional skills and crafts – everything from making natural dyes, through polelathing or coppice management to ploughing . It was probably predictable that the heavy horse driving day would be the one that I booked for a friend as a gift. Obviously I couldn’t just let her go alone, I had to go too, to keep her company. Honest.

Learning to harrow with a Shire

This excellent day course was taught by Mark Buxton, ably assisted by some really hardworking volunteers. The horses were both Shire geldings, Mac & Major. I hadn’t previously had much experience with Shires (Well, except for that one time during a “seeing practice” stint as a veterinary student….. I was given the task of removing a front shoe from a lame Shire horse. In an ordinary yard the experience would have been merely back-breaking, but this was at some sort of theme park farm, so a fairly large audience gathered to witness my struggle. Things like that make you look at farriers with renewed respect).

We were shown how to put their harness on & took turns at learning to drive with a roller and a chain harrow. Ominous warnings were given about not letting the harrow get tangled up (hence my preoccupied expression in the photo above).
I was really impressed by the sensitivity of both horses to the voice, particularly the voices of strangers. And they were far more energetic than I had anticipated, any lapse in concentration could find the driver sprinting behind the harrow. They also did some fairly fancy lateral work when turning at the end of a line – I asked how they were taught to do this & apparently it just came naturally …. I could wish that some riding horses I have known were that smart.

After lunch, (perhaps predictably a Ploughman’s), we took it in turns to drive the pair of horses pulling a wagon. Compared to the power of an engine it might not sound that much, but a real two horsepower was pretty impressive.

So now all I have to do is figure out how I justify booking the ploughing course, or maybe the logging with heavy horses.

We were also lucky that the museum opened its archive on the day when we were there. They have been given a lot of rural bygones and antiques over the years & haven’t anywhere to exhibit them permanently. So, there is a store of old tools etc in their administrative building that opens on certain days. They have a fine collection of bits, horseshoes, horse brasses, and even more lawn boots than I have.

Old lawn boots
Old horseshoes

Old horseshoes : note the heart-bar shoes and the wavy-edged examples

dravelling snaffle

Old bits, including a dravelling snaffle

Old horse bits

And more bits

horse brasses

Horse brasses & harness

Piece about bells

A note about the latten or team bells

Latten or team bells

Latten or Team bells

Team bells

Team bells


Here’s a framed collection saddle labels that I bought last autumn. I guess that it came from a saddler’s shop and the labels came from old or broken saddles. They make fascinating reading and I couldn’t resist researching some of the makers a little.

Saddlers labels in a frame

Running from left to right and top row to bottom the labels read :

J. A. Barnsby & Sons “Saddlery for All Nations” Walsall & London
Barnsby saddles are still in business today, the company’s website tells their history from 1793 here

Andrew Watt & Sons, Saddlers, Edinburgh
I have found records of some saddlery by these makers from the 1920′s and they appear in a court case in 1911 dealing with a fraudulent sponge salesman. (details here )

Label from saddle by Wilkinson & Kidd

Wilkinson & Kidd, 5 Hanover Square, London. Established 1786
Wilkinson & Kidd are recorded in Dickens Directory of London in 1879 by Charles Dickens Jr – the publication only listed tradesmen / shops which had a Royal appointment. Wilkinson & Kidd are listed along with Cuff & Son of Curzon Street, Musson & Son of Arabella Row, Peat & Co of Piccadilly and Whippy, Stegall & Flemming of North Audley Street. (As an aside, Charles Dickens Jr was the son of Charles Dickens the novelist.) Wilkinson & Kidd are also listed amongst the “First class harness makers” by Athol Maudsley in his 1888 book “Highways & Horses”.

The company was bought by Champion & Wilton in 1901

Gidden , Streatham St. London WC1
W.H.Gidden were established in 1806 and are still operating today. According to their website the Duke of Wellington went into battle against Napoleon in 1815 in one of their saddles. The company was bought by Schneider Boots in 1999.

Bulman, Maker, Beverley
Bulmers Directory of Beverley in 1892 lists : “Bulman, Thomas – Saddler – North Bar without”

Gidden, Streatham St. London WC1
Gidden also bought the saddlers A McDougall in 1959

Parker & Parker, 10 & 11 Upper St.Martins Lane, London WC
There have been other saddlers using the name Parker – George Parker & Sons, and Parker Bros, but I cannot find a link between them and this precise address. George Parker & Sons are registered at 12 Upper St Martins Lane in 1927. Interestingly Latchford, the loriner is listed at 11 Upper St Martins Lane in Dickens Directory in 1879.
Getty images have a picture of Parker Bros saddlery in 1890 here, but it may not be the right Parkers.

J & J Johnston Saddlers & Harness Makers, 1 Bridge Street, Kelso
There are advertisements for J & J Johnston’s harness and saddlery in 1861 and 1862 issues of the New Zealand newspaper The Lyttleton Times. Also James Johnston is referred to as commissioner of another saddler’s estate in an 1878 edition of the Edinburgh Gazette.

Made Specially for Holbrow & Co by Barnsby, London
Holbrow & Co of 40, Duke Street, St James were better known as fishing suppliers, but they were also mentioned in Moray Brown’s 1895 book “Polo”

F.V.Nicholls, Jermyn St, Haymarket, London SW, Horse clothing, saddlery, harness whips &c
F.V.Nicholls advertised their “New level-seat sidesaddle with Adjustable Third Crutch & Other Improvements in the 1881 edition of “Ladies on Horseback, Learning Riding & Hunting” by Nannie Power O’Donoghue (what is it about 19th century author’s names?)
In the 20 November 1886 edition of “The Spirit of the Times”, a New York newspaper, another advertisement appears for the level seat saddle as well as safety stirrups and dog and horse muzzles.
It is possible that this F.V.Nicholls was also the owner of “Thibet” an entrant in the 1897 Kennel Club Show.

And that’s the end of the first row, on to row 2

D.McDougal, 17 Finsbury Pavement, London
McDougal is recorded in the 1872 records of the Old Bailey, giving evidence against a lodger who had bounced cheques all over London

E. Hollingshead & Sons, Makers, Melton Mowbray
There are still secondhand Hollingshead saddles around. The shop still exists, but seems to be a general leather goods store.

F.E.Gibson (Saddlers) Ltd, Newmarket
Founded in the early twentieth century by Colonel F.E.Gibson, this company is still going and have a website here

Army & Navy Company Stores Limited saddle badge

Army & Navy C.S.L. , Makers, 105 Victoria St., Westminster, London SW
Army & Navy Company Stores Limited were formed by a group of army and navy officers in 1871, their first shop opened in 1872 supplying firearms, clothing and saddlery. The name was changed in 1934 to Army & Navy Store Ltd. The company was taken over by the House of Fraser in 1973.

Bartley Bros & Hall, Saddlers, 20 Portman St., Portman Square., London, New York
I have seen a brooch in the form of a spur stamped “Bartley Bros & Hall” and “Eglentine”, but I am not sure of their link to the Eglentine trademark. The New York branch of the company advertised in the New York Herald in 1912. The company also appeared in a Tariff Hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee of Ways and Means in 1913 over various containers of leather goods, presumably imported from England.

Parker Bros. Saddlers, Little St. Andrew Street, London WC
Thomas Parker trading as Parker Bros, 7,8,9,10 Little St Andrew Street and 5,6,7 Lumber Court was declared bankrupt, this was reported in the London Gazette in 1911.

George Parker & Sons Saddlery, Established 1851
There is a 1911 catalogue online here , at this time George Parker & Sons were operating from 17,18 &19 Upper St Martins Lane WC2, but they had been at 12 Upper St Martins Lane. I think that the company ceased trading in the late 20th century but have not found an exact date.

Peat, Saddler & Harness Maker, 173 Piccadilly, London
The company held a Royal warrant & was mentioned in Dickens’ 1879 directory and “Ladies on Horseback”. The Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice ordered the sale of the business and the leasehold on 16 July 1884 following a court case against Latchford – presumably over a debt to the loriner.
There was a saddler called Peat in nearby Villiers Place between 1838 & 40, recorded in John Tallis’s London Street Views – a relative?

Moss Stone & Co Ltd “Eldonian” Walsall England
This company are recorded in the “Saddlery & Harness” trade journal in July 1903 : Messrs Moss Stone & Co of the Imperial Saddlery Works. The firm has patented a sidesaddle, “The Climax”…

The Eldonian name was bought by Jeffries in 1987

G.Aldridge & Son est 1879, Reading
Now a luggage shop in Friar Street, do have a look at their history page including a marvellous photo of an elephant being fitted with a leather boot here (Please be patient, it’s a slideshow)

Parker & Parker, 10 & 11 Upper St Martins Lane

George Parker & Sons, Saddlers, Eng
Sale Agents Edmondson & Co, Valparaiso, Chili

And that’s how Chile is spelt on the label. Edmondson & Co are mentioned in the Kelly directory of 1903

Ford Saddler, Ledbury
The Ledbury portal website has an article on shopping in the town in the late 1930′s by Pip Powell. He describes “Mr Ford in New Street, a brilliant saddler and harness maker…”

Perrott Bros. Saddlers Kingsbridge
Perrott Bros Harness makers, Fore Street appear in the Kelly directory around 1923

Nijmeegsche, Nijmegin, Zadelmaker

Shepherd & Son, Saddlers, Brackley
Still there.

Bainsbridge & Co Ltd, Trunkmakers & Saddlers

W.H. Wright, Saddler & Harness Maker, 40 Brompton Rd., London SW
I cannot find any references to Wright, but interestingly this address was home to the Hunt Servants’ Benefit Society.

Wilkinson & Kidd, 5 Hanover Square, London, Established 1786

George Curnew, Saddler & Harness Maker, 18 Upper George St., Bryanston Sq., London W.
The London Gazette of July 5 1898 reported
“Partnership between George Curnew and William Augustus Edelston carrying on business as Saddlers and Harness Makers and Cycle Warehousemen at 18 & 18A Upper George Street, Bryanston Square, Marylebone under the style or firm of Curnew and Edelston has been dissolved by mutual consent and as from the twenty fourth day of June 1898… and that in future such business will be carried on by the said George Curnew”

E.Hollingshead & Son

J.Brown, Saddler, Harrogate
Tennants Auctioneers in Yorkshire sold a sign last year (2011). It was a cast iron figure of a jockey holding a wooden plaque which read “J.Brown & Co Saddlery, Quality saddles, bridles, halters, blinkers, traces, reins, harnesses. 37 Chapel Street, Harrogate”

The North West Tannery Co. Ltd., Cawnpore
This company was established in 1881 in what has been known since 1948 as Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh in Northern India. The Tannery company amalgamated with several others including the Cawnpore Woollen Mills and Army Cloths Manufacturing Co.Ltd in 1920 to become the British India Corporation Ltd.

Giddens of London, 74 New Oxford St., London WC1

Parker Bros. Saddlers, Little St.Andrew St., London

A. Pariani Selleria, via Filodrammatici 6, Milano
Founded in 1903. The famous showjumper and trainer Toptani acknowledged Pariani’s to be the first spring tree saddles to embrace Caprilli’s “il sistema”. The company still exists and has a website

Wilson & Son, Saddler Redmile
Wilson, George is recorded as a saddler and parish councillor in Redmile in 1899, by 1904 he is “saddler, harness maker and cowkeeper”. In 1932 Wilson, Geo. & Son, saddlers & harness makers are recorded, complete with phone number

Smith, Englefield & Co Ltd, Saddlers, Estd. 1843, Nottingham
Still producing leather goods in Nottingham

A.McDougall & Son Ltd., Saddlers, 22 City Road, Finsbury, London EC1
Established in 1770, McDougall bought Owen & Co in the 1940′s, they were bought by Gidden in 1959. I have taken these dates from Nick Creaton’s saddlery museum pages :

Made in England for John S. Garrett Jr., West Chester
Importers of Best Eng. Saddlery

I can find a reference to Garretts Harness Store in Polk’s directory 1932-33

James Fo**, Saddlers, Wetherby
The plaque is rubbed, but I’m assuming this is James Fox Saddlers who have been established in Wetherby for over one hundred years.

Beasley Saddler, Northampton

Rice Bros Saddlers, Uckfield
Rice Bros began in 1895 as saddlers, later they became coachbuilders and dealers in agricultural machinery & finally motor engineers.

Leslie Gordon Stevens & Co. Ltd., Saddlery, Horse Clothiers, Earlsfield, London

J.H. Bouman, 66 Denneveg 66, Den Haag

Newman **wood ***estone

Hervey, Saddler, Romford
George William Hervey, is recorded as a saddler, High Street, Romsey in the 1874 Post Office Directory and Kelly’s 1882 directory

**ederick Lee, London & New York

Saddle label from Argentina

Lacey & Sons, Sarmiento 562, Buenos Aires
Founded by a famous 10 handicap polo player Lewis (or Luiz Lorenzo) Lacey , these sporting equipment dealers are mentioned in W.T.Blake’s 1953 travel book “From Sea to Sea in South America”. They stopped trading in 1958.

W & H Gidden Ltd., Streatham Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1
Harness, Saddlers & Leather Goods Manufacturers since 1806

J. E. Dunn, Saddles, Harness Maker, Kenilworth

Turf & Travel inc the Emeston Saddlery Company
Saddlers & Horse Clothiers, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire

H & A Bartley Saddlers, 20a Portman St., London W & New York

W.Mayhew Ltd., 62 Seymour St., London W.
Royal Warrant to Her Majesty

Mayhew started in the early 1880′s from this address. They stopped trading in the 1940′s. Miss Mayhew gave the company patterns and records to Major Wilton of Champion & Wilton. (Information from Nick Creaton’s saddle museum page)

A McDougall & Son Ltd., Saddlers, 201 Upper Thames Street., London EC4

C.M.Smith & Co, Late Rumsey Saddlers, 62 Park St, Bristol
A saddler William Rumsey appears in Pigot’s Directory of Gloucestershire 1930 at 17, North Street Bristol, and Rumsey is mentioned in Slater’s 1868 directory of Bristol saddlers etc. Smith saddlers are listed in Park Street in 1900, but at number 22, not 62.

Bartley Bros & Hall, Est 1795, New York, London

Distas Limited Sporting Saddlers, 53 Walm Lane, London NW2
I have seen “Catalogues of Hunting and Racing Requisites” from 1930 and 1931. On 10 February 1950 The London Gazette reported that the company had been dissolved

J & J Johnston Saddles & Harness Makers, 1 Bridge Street, Kelso

The North West Tannery Co., Makers, Cawnpore

J.E.Dunn, Kenilworth

Mount Farm Stables Saddlery Store, Penn, Wolverhampton

Ford Saddler, Ledbury

A. Davis & Co, Saddler, 10 Strand, London
There are various adverts for A. Davis & Co in Australian newspapers in 1870, the Spirit of the Times (New York) March 1875, and the Gentleman’s Newspaper 1894

Estd. 1845, Andrews Saddler, Oxford
H.Andrews, Saddler & Harness Maker is recorded at 141 High Street Oxford between 1861 and 1891. There is a picture of the shopfront on an English Heritage webpage

A.S.Tanner, Saddler, Malmesbury

Wilson & Son Saddlers, Redmile, Notts

Antique Saddle Label

Sowter & Co., 10 Symon’s Street, London SW3
Hunting Saddles, Harness &c &c
Saddles for the East & West Indies

Sowter were established in 1848, they were bought by Harry Hall in 1967

Made in England by Butler Bros (Walsall) Ltd, established over a century
In January 1895 Saddlery & Harness Magazine reported that “Messrs Butler Bros of 48 Park Street Walsall are dissolving their partnership. One brother Henry Butler is taking the Australian branch of the business and the other brother John Edward Butler is taking New Zealand.”. However, a 1967 Butler Bros calender hangs in Walsall Leather Museum

W.R.Box & Co, 68 Dame Street, Dublin, Saddlers & Harness Mkrs
Box & Co exhibited in the Irish Exhibition of 1864, advertising that they were established in 1810. The company moved to Dame Street in 1903 under new management

Wilkinson & Kidd

Grubb, Saddler, Fenny Compton
Oliver Grubb and his sons Oliver and Walter were recorded as harness makers in Fenny Compton in the 1891 census

Deluxe Saddlery, Baltimore MD
This saddlery is now closed, it seems to have been in business from 1950 -1978, a websearch finds many affectionate references to it in various fora.

Custom Saddlery made for Boots & Saddles (Horsham) Sussex, England
I’ve found a couple of secondhand saddles for sale, but no real information

Smith, Englefield & Co. Ltd., Saddlers, Estd 1843 Nottingham

Cochran & Co Hunting Saddles Leamington

Oswald Bailey, Saddler, Monmouth
There is an Oswald Bailey outdoor clothing company established in 1906 with branches around the UK

Robert Johnston Ltd., 103/105 North St., Belfast

Made in England for John S.Garrett Jr., West Chester, Importer of Best Eng. Saddlery

Vintage saddle label

Whippy Stegall & Co., 457 Oxford Street, London
English Heritage’s archive records Benjamin Whipp(e)y, saddler as resident on North Audley Street from the 1790′s, the company became Whippy Stegall & Flemming and Whippy Stegall & Co and occupied the address until World War II when the building was damaged by bombing.
Whippy Stegall & Co were bought by Champion & Wilton in 1947

D. Mason & Sons, Birmingham
This company dates back at least as far as 1870, it started as J.Mason & Sons. An 1891 edition of the Saddlery & Harness Journal reported that “D.Mason & Sons of Bath Row, Birmingham win government contract”.
I have seen quite a lot of military equipment by this maker, dating up to the 1940′s.

Plaque from Champion & Wilton saddle

Champion & Wilton Saddlers, 36 North Audley St., London
The company was established in 1786 by Matthew Wilson in Oxford Street, in 1825 it became Wilson & Wilkinson. There were serveral mergers and buyouts until Gidden bought the company in 1961. For a better history look at Nick Creaton BHSI’s website

Miles & Son Saddlers, Dorchester
Listed in Kelly’s Directory 1915

Gidden, Streatham Street, London WC

Army & Navy C.S.L. Makers, 105 Victoria St., Westminster, London SW

Equipements pour Officiers, Paul Goujard, Rue St Nicolas, Saumur
I cannot find any references to this saddler, but presumably they supplied the Cadre Noir . (The Cadre Noir is the French national school of equitation – a bit like the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, but with much better uniforms.)

Sydney Ingham Saddler, Salisbury

Thomas Berney Saddler, Kilcullen
Founded in 1880 by Peter Berney, this saddlery business is still going strong. They have a rather good Website

F.W.Mayhew, Royal Warrant to the King, Seymour St
This is a later label, the previous one showed a Royal warrant to the Queen (Victoria), this is likely to refer to Edward VII or George V.

Frost Saddle Manufacturers, Saddle No.3549, Bawtry & York
There is a racing saddlery company “T.Frost (Bawtry)” founded in 1804, they have a website here

Grande Selleria Suggessori, ***itta D. Carlett**, Roma via dell umilta 27
I can find the road, but no reference to the saddler.

Army & Navy Cooperative Society Ltd., Makers, Victoria St., London
Perhaps an earlier label, it takes the form of a brass star

Label from Edwardian saddle

Owen, By Appointment to Her Late Majesty, Saddle & Harness Makers, 62 Duke St., Grosvenor Square, London. Saddle & Harness Makers, Whips, Spurs &c. And for Exportation
Founded by Henry Owen before 1839 the company was bought by A.McDougall & Son who were in turn purchased by Gidden in 1959. This label is probably Edwardian (1901-1910), referring to the late Queen Victoria.

Saddle badge from Rock Island Arsenal

Rock Island Arsenal 1914
Located on Arsenal Island, originally known as Rock Island, on the Mississippi River between the cities of Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Illinois. Rock Island arsenal produced military leather accoutrements and field gear between the 1880′s and 1940′s.

Norman Saddler, 5 North Street, Taunton
An Ernest Edward Norman had saddlery shops in Taunton and Minehead. A dividend notice from the company was published on 25 September 1925 in the London Gazette.

Jennings Saddler, Salisbury

Edward Mason, Saddler & Harness Maker, Gravesend
Medway Council Archives hold a receipt from Edward Mason, Saddler, 81-82 New Road, Gravesend, dated 11 January 1910

Whippy Steggall & Co, North Audley Street, London

Myers, Maker, Richmond Yorkshire

J.W. Warner, Saddler, Rugby

Andrews, Late Denyer, Saddler, Oxford
William Denyer is recorded as a saddler and the publican of the William IV at 57 Holywell Street, Oxford in directories from 1841 and 1851. In 1861 Denyer is recorded at 141 High Street, Oxford. Andrews also appears as a saddler at 141 High Street, Oxford between 1861 and 1918.

W.W.Bridge Saddler 23 & 24 Wormwood St., London EC

Bliss of London Est 1840
An article about the company in Saddlery & Harness February 1892 was titled “Bliss & Co, Pioneers of the Trade No.7″. Bliss of London are still active and about to launch a website, they do have a Facebook page

J.E.Dunn Saddle & Harness Maker, Kenilworth

Moss Bros of Covent Garden, Saddlers

Orpwood, Gold Medal Saddles, Bits for Pullers, Non-Slipping Reins &c., Court Saddler, Oxford
Orpwood saddlers are recorded at 19, Cornmarket, Oxford from 1872. Initially William Samuel Orpwood , between 1880 and 1890 the widowed Mrs Emma Orpwood and her children including in 1881 William, aged 14 and a saddler’s assistant. From 1899 to 1914 William Samuel Orpwood (presumably the son) ran a saddler’s at the address.

Hijo de Salvator Deltell, Casa el Valenciano en via ****, Madrid
A current Madrid shopping guide shows that this shop still exists at Ribero de Curtidores 16 and was established in 1880.

D.McDougall, 17 Finsbury Pavement

Tompkins Saddler Bicester
The London Gazette of 28 October 1879 records that the partnership was dissolved between William Tompkins & William John Tompkins (Tompkins & Son) and all business was taken on by Mr John Tompkins of Sheep Street.

Equestrian Breakable Head Tree

Butler Brothers Makers, Established a Century, London & Walsall

A.Ogilvie & Co., Late Mirrlees & Co., Glasgow
On 12 March 1859 the Lyttleton Times (New Zealand) carried an advert “Superior hunting saddles, horse cart harness &c from Messrs Mirrlees & Co, Buchanan St. Glasgow. Well known in the Australian colonies for their superior workmanship”

A.J.Garnett, 5 Goswell Rd and 75 & 82 Long Lane, City, London EC
The Evening Post of 23 December 1919 records that Henry, Frank and Arthur Garnett were jailed for between six and eight months for filing fraudulent tax returns between 1910 and 1917. They seem to have recovered from this setback, there are many patents filed under the name A.J.Garnett between 1926 and 1946, mostly for improvements to travelling cases.

Champion & Wilton, Late Wilkinson & Co., 457 & 459 Oxford St., London

Boyce & Rogers, Saddlers, Newmarket
This shop featured in the 1954 film “The Rainbow Jacket“, the film shows a stuffed horse in the shop – “Robert the Devil”, the 1880 winner of the St.Leger. “Robert the Devil” now resides at Gibsons saddlers, who bought Boyce & Rogers in the 1960′s

A. McDougall & Son Saddlers, 22 City Road, Finsbury, London EC1

J.A.H. Jeffries & Sons, Saddlery Manufacturers, Walsall Eng
Established in 1820 and still going

Champion & Wilton, 457 & 459 Oxford St., London

Saddle label from Laird

Laird, Cape Town
Still going

Geo. Parker & Sons, London, Established 1851,
Hunting Saddles, Harness &c &c,
Saddles to the East & West Indies and South America

They seem to have expanded their territories since the earlier label

Champion & Wilton

Andy Watt & Sons, Saddlers, Edinburgh

Peat saddle label

Peat, 50 Jermyn st., Late Piccadilly, London
Peat were recorded in Dickens Directory of 1879 at 173 Piccadilly, so the move to Jermyn Street must have been later. The company appears in a list of Tradesmen with a Royal Warrant in the London Gazette on 2 January 1906.

Gibson & Roberts, Saddlers, Dundas Street, Edinburgh

**** Uckfield

Robson & Coupe

Barnsby & Sons, Walsall & London

Ch*****e Saddle & Saddle Tree Manufacturer, Walsall

A Falcon Quality Product for Huntersfield, Banstead Surrey
There is a Huntersfield Farm Riding Centre in Banstead

F.E.Gibson (Saddlers) Ltd., Newmarket

To Her Late Majesty, Owen & Co (Saddlers) Ltd

Andy Watt & Sons, Edinburgh


A. McDougall

Made Specially for Holbrow & Co. by Barnsby London

Peat, 173 Piccadilly

Moss, Stone & Co Ltd, Eldonian, Walsall England


Boots & Saddles, Horsham