03 August 2015

My Mulberry Agenda history and repairs by Anita

As mentioned in my previous post, I am very fortunate as my Mum-in-law's neighbour gave me a Mulberry Agenda. The phone conversation went a bit like this:
  • "My neighbour has given me an old Filofax for you and she doesn't want anything for it" - woo hoo! 
  • "It was a bit dirty, so I gave it a wash and tried to give it a bit of a clean with furniture polish. Umm, it's changed colour" - uh oh...   
The exterior colour had been the same as the interior, but I think the leather was so dry that it just sucked up all the polish. It still felt very dry and was looking a bit unloved. 

Looking under the secretarial pocket, you can see what the wonderful leather was originally like.

The original owner had purchased it from the Mulberry factory shop in 1990 and had used it for many years. I wonder if it had been banished to a shed as it smelled faintly of woodsmoke, and had some furniture tacks in the pocket (large safety pin in photo for size reference).

I contacted Mulberry to ask if they have any information about this particular model and this was their response:
'Regrettably, our photographic archive does not stretch back that far but I can see that there were textured leathers used around that time in the production of agendas which were labelled as Reed Leather, Cane Leather and Bamboo Leather. This may be one of those leathers but as there are no photographs available, it is impossible to ascertain'.

Due to the A6 paper size, I just couldn't see myself using it and gave it to the lovely Jane. She kindly sent me updates as she had taken it to a boot repair shop to see if they could do anything to help. The outside has been dyed a lovely chocolate brown, has been cleaned properly and conditioned to within an inch of its life.

After realising that A6 paper size might be better for me, I couldn't wait to dive in and start using it once it arrived back in the UK. However, probably due to old age and two lots of international shipping, it had developed a tear in the leather at the spine and was definitely getting worse with use .

After previously getting my A5 Ascot repaired, I thought it was worth a try so popped into town with it. Unfortunately the shop I used before has closed down, and the other two immediately said that they couldn't help. I offered to remove the ring mechanism, but the more traditional shop of the two said that the metal inside the spine would prevent them from putting it on their machine.

I came to the conclusion that I would start to use it anyway, but was disappointed. And then I wondered about if there were other places that might offer leather repairs. I came across an equestrian shop ('saddlers and riding outfitters' as they describe themselves) that I had visited when I was a kid as I used to ride quite a bit and my sister had a pony. The initial response was very different from the shoe repair places as he confidently said, "Oh yes, I'm sure that we can do something with that".

I collected it today and don't think that I could be any more delighted with their repair.

restitching inside

The patch matches the colour and smells wonderful!

I know that the patch might not be for some of you that like your binders in perfect condition, but I love that this all just adds to its history and character.


  1. Congratulations. I completely agree, the repair patch gives character and history. It was a wonderful gift to begin with, but now it's even more of a prize.

  2. You're right - we should celebrate an item's history and story. Too often, people would throw this away, despite its general quality, just because it's not perfect.

  3. I love it after the patch. There are lots of leather treatments to keep it soft, subtle and to nourish the leather. Most are based on lanolin and really do help to preserve the leather and enhance the colour. I am soon envious of this old stager.

  4. Thank you for posting this! I recently bought a Mulberry Planner a5 size on UK eBay. It has the same leather texture as yours. I contacted Mulberry for some information about its origin and history, but they replied that they couldn't find any. So I very much enjoyed reading your post with all the information! I also asked them if they could replace the KRAUSE ring mechanism, which is sadly completely broken... The planner is very beautiful and I would love to use it. However unfortunately Mulberry said there was nothing they could do, because the organiser is old!!! To my great happiness I read about your solution with the equestrian equipment. I will see if I can find one in Sweden where I live. However I would like to ask, do you know where I can buy a KRAUSE ring mechanism? There are some ring mechanism for sale at eBay but they are unbrand and I would prefer KRAUSE, I have heard that they are high quality.

    1. Hello Christina
      Yes you can buy Krause rings from Van der Spek. But you might have to email Petra with the size details and she will give you a price etc.

    2. Thank you Steve for your reply:-) Unfortunately Petra don't have the Krause size, ie ring spacing, I am looking for... Do you know if there are any other online possibilities to buy Krause or Koloman Handler?

    3. She will not have one with the same ring spacing as the Mulberry A5 which in fact uses the same ring spacing as a personal. But you might be able to change the ring mech to be the same spacing as a Filofax and other brands.

      But when you say the ring mechanism is broken, what is wrong with it?

      Have you seen this post: http://philofaxy.blogspot.com/2015/08/fixing-ring-gaps.html