‘Nanostructure – impact of processing within a fibril’ was the title of Clark Maxwell’s lecture. His lecture introduced the idea of X-ray scattering as a biological research tool, and he gave examples of applying the basic principles of X-ray scattering to investigate leather processing, concentrating on changes in the hide structure during liming, and chrome tanning.

Red Rot is something that has been prevalent in leather-backed library books for many years. In her talk about Acid decay in Leather’, Karen Vidler spoke about its causes, the work that has already been done on the subject, and where she hopes her PhD studies, which she is doing at the University of Northampton, will lead.

‘Communicating Colour’ was an interesting lecture by Tracy Cochrane, from the Society of Dyers & Colourists. She spoke of how humans perceive colour, and after making some of the audience feel foolish thanks to the Stroop effect, she presented a number of case studies concerning colour.
We probably all suffer from information overload, whether it becaue of too much twittering, Facebook or e-mails. However, in a thought-provoking lecture: ‘Leather Industry Information – its vulnerabilities’, Karl Flowers pointed out that the leather industry is in danger of losing much of its information. He asked whether there was a complete run of the JSLTC in one place, for instance, and said that as it is not available online to any large degree, the information within it is ‘lost’ forever. He suggested this was also true for much of the research done by the industry, and questioned why tanneries seemed insistent on such secrecy.
Leather Committees and Standards’ was the final lecture of the day, given by John Hubbard from Satra. Given the nature of the subject, Hubbard’s delivery of the subject was enlightening. He gave an overview of how the SLTC Technical Committees, BSI, CEN and ISO are related; which official methods are formulated by each group, and how they are inter-related.

The conference, although sparsely attended, was an enjoyable event, which was followed by a dinner dance at which David Sherwood, from C F Stead, succeeded Christine Ohren-Bird as the Society’s President.