SHOES, Searchers of Leather. An interesting collection of ten letters relating to the work of Searchers of Leather, travelling around the ‘northern circuit’ in the early 19th century. They are acting under the authority of John Raine, of Lancaster. They mainly relate to the case of the seizure of shoes from the shop belonging to Mr J. Hardy of Alnwick. “ J. Hardy respectfully beg to be inform’d by Mr Thorp when the Ladies Slippers and Childrens Shoes carried away from his shop by the Searchers of Leather (very unwarrantably J.H. conceives) are to be restored to him... [14th March 1806]. The regulations stated that: “ No person shall ingross Leather to sell again, under the penalty of forfeiture; none but tanners are to buy any rough hides of Leather, or calve-skins in the hair, on pain of forfeiture; and no person shall forestall hides, under the penalty of 6s. 8d. a hide. Leather, not sufficiently tanned, is to be forfeited. In London the Lord Mayor and Aldermen are to appoint and swear searchers of Leather, out of the Company of shoemakers, &c. and also triers of sufficient Leather; and the same is to be done by mayors, &c. in other towns and corporations; and searchers allowing insufficient Leather, incur a forfeiture of 40s. Shoemakers, making shoes of insufficient leather, are liable to 3s. 4d. penalty.” The other letters are: Dear Sir, I am much obliged for yr., in respect Mr D. Smith’s buss., the cause has been delayed by an unfortunate accident which happened to one of my little girls who set fire to herself & in putting out the flames I have got my left hand burnt a good deal.... [R. Thorp to Mr Raine, 7 March 1806]. Letter from Mr Thorp to Mr Raine detailing the activities of the ‘searchers’ and their seizures of leather from shops. [13th March, 1806]. Letter from R. Thorp to Mr Raine regarding the case of Mr Hardy’s shoes. [14th March, 1806]. Copy note from Mr Hardy to Mr Thorp [ [March 14th, 1806]. Copy note from Mr Thorp to Mr Hardy [ [March 14th, 1806]. Letter from R. Thorpe regarding the case of Mr D. Smith. [20th March, 1806]. John Raine, letter to Robert Thorp of Alnwick, concerning legal points on tradesmen selling shoes. [30th March, 1806]. Letter from Mr Thorp to Mr Raine detailing his interview with Mr Hardy regarding his shoes. [7th April, 1806]. Draft letter regarding the business of Mr D. Smith. [18th October, 1806].