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One of the trade romances of the war is the rise of the fancy leather goods industry hi Great Britain. Prior to the war Germany practically monopolised the. markets of the, world for leathergoods, such as Ladies' handbags, lettercases, purses, writing-cases, and other articles in. general'by both sexes. Germany gave' employment to at least 30,000 workers in this industry alone, and commanded an. annual turnover of not less than '£5,000,000. .Now all that is changed, and the fancy leather goods traders in Great Britain have seized to the full the opportunity which the war afforded them of securing the trade for Great Britain. The difficulty in the past had been to catch up with the foreign competition, which had had a long start. They made the attempt, and firms which be-fore the war were doing a modest business in a quiet way are now firms of importance, with largo turnovers. Ahich of the credit for this is, due to the- National Leather Goods Manufacturers' Association, incorporated with tho London Chamber of Commerce. This organisation, which before the war had a small' membership, has now become a very important trade association.

It got to work upon the task of seeming the tradu with energy and enterprise, realising from the outset that the main question was. one of trade education. Classes were formed for the technical education, of the younger people, and the Cordwainers' Company gave valuable assistance, placing their technical colleges and teachers at the disposal of the association. Classes for wounded soldiers wore started, and in .a variety of ways information of value in the building up and development of the manufacturing side of the trade was disseminated. The result h; that the English worker, designer, and manufacturer have-- proved second to none, and the quality of Ikitish-made leather goods to-day is exceedingly high. The work is light, clean, and interesting, and provides employment for large numbers of girls and young people. The Government has interested itself in the development. Sir Albert Stanley, Mr G. H. Roberts, and :!>r. Addison attended a representative meeting of the trade in connection with the formation of an industrial council, and promised support. The prospects for the future are very bright, for in our colonies alone there is a great market, which was at one time largely in the hands of the Germans, but will never be so again.

The manufacturers of fancy leathers, metal:' frames, locks', fittings, and all incidental's connected with the industry all mean trade, and in Birmingham and Sheffield groat preparation's are being made to moot the requirements. The leather goods- traders are looking' forward to the future with confidence, but they maintain strongly that it is absolutely necessary for the progress of the trade- in Great Britain that there should be a restriction on all competing imports, otherwise, they kiv, it will he impossible, to keep up the present wage rates and produce an article which--will •compete, and win in any market in the world.

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Bibliographic details

A TRADE ROMANCE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9597, 29 April 1919

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A TRADE ROMANCE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9597, 29 April 1919

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