A Restoration Love Story

Recently, we received a repair enquiry from a gentleman called Jim concerning his beloved Porter bag (nowadays more recognised as a small Clipper), which was in need of some refurbishment after decades of daily graft. In due course, a very well-worn bag arrived here at Tusting HQ. So far, so normal, but less usual was the touching letter that accompanied the bag – the letter illustrated beautifully the depth of feeling Tusting owners often develop for their bags.

Too good not to share, and with Jim’s permission, we publish it here to share the joy, together with some photos of the bag, both before we got to work on her (she’s called Matilda, by the way) – and after we were done.


“This bag is affectionately named Matilda. We first met on Fortnum and Mason’s third floor over two decades ago. This is where her story began in earnest in the real world.

I almost lost her as soon as I found her. After having strolled around Sir John Soane’s Museum, Matilda, me, and a friend soon sauntered arm in arm around Lincoln’s Inn Fields. My friend and I left the Fields without Matilda. I travelled across London to my Kensington flat and five hours later, in the late evening, realised that I had left Matilda under the park bench in the fields. Next day, thinking that she was lost forever, I returned to Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and surprisingly, found a gardener on duty. I told him the story, and in a thick accent, cockney at its best, he said “you’re a lucky man, mate, an old bloke turned that posh bag into me yes’dy afternoon. Come with me.” He took me to a small gardening shed. There, amongst the spades and secateurs, was Matilda. He retrieved her, and softly said “yeah, you’se a lucky one, that kind of thing never happened to me b’fore.” I graciously thanked him and, with Matilda tucked under my arm, I wondered off into the early morning fog, embracing London.

In Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, I stood in a ridiculously long queue full of respectful Chinese citizens, waiting their turn to enter the mausoleum of Mao Zedong. Two soldiers with rifles strapped on their shoulders approached me pointing at Matilda, and expressively said that I was to open Matilda for a security inspection. I immediately complied. Soon Matilda and I stood alongside the casket encasing Mao and reflected on the terrifying national trauma that such a mortal being could impose on his homeland. Matilda seemed to sigh.

On a street corner in San Francisco, California, a lovely lass, standing at a zebra crossing alongside me, looks down at Matilda and chats me up. Says the bag fondly reminds her of the leather bags French postman carried during the 1980s. I introduced Matilda to her and this started at tete-a-tete over glasses of wine. 

Ohhh, the stories Matilda could tell. Tusting does not just make bags, it helps make stories in the drama of life.

Our earlier email correspondence sums up the facelift that Matilda needs. Have a closer look and let me know the details. I am in Norway right now, but need Matilda mailed to my next top, which will be in the United States.

Cheers, Jim”



Matilda Side View Before"
Matilda fron underneath, before"
Binding completely worn through"
Matrilda's rear view before"
MATILDA's Ticket"
Matilda during repair - stripped down to her component parts"


Side View of Matilda After"
Matilda from below, after"
Matilda Side End After"
Matilda Binding Detail After"
Matilda's Rear View After"
Matilda Ready for Home"


To find out more about our repairs and restoration service, click here.


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