Navy Leathersmith five-year diary

The blue Leathersmith diary arrived from the UK a day or so ago and I am very pleased. It is still in its original box and has never been opened. I have had a red one in this exact same design and it held up brilliantly. I really like the gold hardware, and the paper is good quality. The interior pages always have 19__, rather than 20__, but that is no problem at all.

These diaries were very popular between the 1950s and 1970s. My first one was a one-year A5 diary when I was a teenager, and I found it hard to keep up with writing every day. After my parents died though, I used my journal to write down all my thoughts and feelings, because therapy was not a thing, and I am not really a talker anyway. I wrote everything down in my diary. After my first one-year diary I moved to five-year ones in A6 size because they were small, light, and portable. I also changed from paper and textile to leather because only leather really stood up to five years of wear.

About 15 years ago I burned all my diaries. I had a huge pile and it felt good to see all the pain and anger (and of course happiness, and love and gratitude) be consigned to the past. I write my diaries just for me.

At one stage you could find plenty of these little gems on eBay and Etsy, but nice ones don’t come up very often these days. I think most of them that are sold these days were unwanted/unused gifts, rather than deadstock from old shops. There is also, interestingly, a market for completed diaries from long long ago. People like to read about other lives I guess.

Leathersmith is still in operation – find them here. This is my favourite version of their diary. These diaries are very reminiscent of Smythson, but Smythson does not offer this splendid week-on-two-pages vertical layout.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

4 thoughts

  1. Your new book is beautiful. That week on 2 pages layout is very similar to the A5 layout from Filofax that I use. That Leathersmith one would be better for me because of the reference calendar at the bottom and it uses a 12 hour clock for appointment times rather than a 24 hour clock. Hmmmm.

  2. Very interested to learn that Leathersmith are still in business. It’s funny that you mention the 19… dates. I want a 5-year diary to record all the family births, deaths and marriages which my parents set down for us, but having to cross out 20… and write in 19… (or even 18….) seems a shame.

    1. I think that would be a great way to use a five-year diary Pamela. Crossing out the dates is no great issue as I have used one as a diary in the 2000s and it went very easily.

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