Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Hay and district
Victorian school days
  We're off to the bark harvest...  
  One of the more unusual reasons for not going to school in 1890 is shown in this entry from the Log Book of Llyswen National School.
This refers to the annual 'bark harvest' when the bark was stripped from trees - preferably oak trees - so that it could be collected for use in the preparation of leather hides.
The bark was collected in the Spring when it was easier to peel as the sap was rising in the trees.
Late Victorian tannery
9th May
School diary entry

This was written in the Llyswen Log Book in May -
9th May 1890 - " The attendance has fallen off this week. Many of the boys have been kept from school to work at peeling bark, from trees which are being felled in the neighbourhood. Average number present 37.4".
The bark from the oak trees was later crushed or ground up, and the leather skins were soaked in water with the bark mixture to release the tannin which it contained. The process was called the 'bark tanning' of leather.
The photograph at the top of the page shows a tannery at Rhayader in the early 1900's.

Back to Hay schools menu


You can't have my bark !
Link to sources
Back to top
Go to Hay menu