SADDLER'S STOOL

Contributed by Patsy Garrard

This saddler's stool came from the workshop of my grandparents' saddlery and sports business, Wright Brothers in Bank Street, Ashford, Kent. It is a link to the time after the First World War when my grandfather employed three ex-soldiers (Mr Skip, Mr Woods and another) and trained them as saddlers. They had lost the use of their legs during the war. My grandfather had also served in the trenches, including at the Battle of the Somme where he was a motorcycle despatch rider. After the war he was involved in founding the Royal British Legion in Ashford.
Two customers of the shop during the inter-war period were H E Bates, who used to call in regularly to talk with my grandfather, and Noel Coward, who would come into town with his parents. While his mother liked to be seen out and about with her famous son, his father liked to stay in the shop to watch the saddlers at work.
During World War Two my grandfather was asked to go India to manage the army harness and saddlery factory in Cawnpore, now Kanpur. My grandmother and mother ran the shop in his absence. He became ill after choosing to cycle in the heat to save fuel rather than be driven, so he returned to Britain. He died in 1953.

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