The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts

 

Falconry furniture making

 

The making of hoods and accessories for the practice of falconry.

 

Status Endangered
Craft category
Historic area of significance UK
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK Probably 8th Century
Current no. of professionals (main income) 1-5
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees
Current total no. serious amateur makers
1-5
Current total no. of leisure makers
51-100
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

The craft of falconry furniture making has waxed and waned with the fashion of the sport. Up until the mid- to late-1600s falconry was practised by most classes. Once firearms became readily available it fell out of fashion and was pursued by a very few enthusiasts for about 300 years. Furniture would have been made by local craftsmen, saddlers, blacksmiths, glovers etc. Falconry underwent a revival from the 1960s onwards, and by this time everyone had to make their own equipment as there was nobody left to learn from. This led to a number of professional makers, most of whom came and went as they were mostly not able to make a living. About ten years ago people started to import equipment from abroad, mostly Pakistan, which has seriously impacted UK makers.

 

Techniques

  • Glove making
  • Fine leatherwork
  • Metalwork

 

Local forms

 

 

Sub-crafts

 

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Most makers are self-taught amateurs. Even professionals, of which there are few full time, are largely self-taught.
  • Many makers have succumbed to outsourcing production to Pakistan or China and selling mail order from home.
  • Imported furniture is often poor in quality and design, but many falconers know no difference.

 

Support organisations

 

 

Craftspeople currently known

  • Ben Long
  • Chris Payne
  • Steve Halsall
  • Kevin McMillan
  • Martin Jones – has reduced his business, stopped producing a full range online and just markets specific items to a high-end London retail trade.

 

Other information

Some falcon owners make their own furniture, generally simple things like jesses. A much smaller proportion make gloves and hoods regularly, although quite a few will have a go once or twice and then give up.

 

References