Exterior view of the Tannery
Exterior view of the Tannery at St Fagans National History Museum


This Tannery, from Rhayader, was built in the late 18th century. It was used for converting hides into leather. It was the last traditional tannery to work in Wales and specialised in producing heavy leather for boots and horse harness.

Oak bark was the main ingredient used, being stored and ground into powder in the large barn: the original waterwheel can be seen on the gable wall of the bark mill.

The raw hides were soaked in an increasingly strong bark solution in the pits before being scrubbed on the stone table. They were then dried and rolled flat. The whole process took eighteen months.

Tannery Map Plot

Building facts:

  • Original Location: Rhayader, Powys (Radnorshire)
  • Date originally built: late 18th century
  • Furnished: c.1870
  • Dismantled & rebuilt at St. Fagans: 1962
  • Opened to the public: 1968
  • 9th building opened to the public at the Museum
  • Listing status: Grade 2
  • Visiting information