Personal Leather Histories; Jason 1
Jason's personal history is unique. Born in 1916 in the UK and now a US citizen, he is by far the oldest person ever to write to us because of our leather history. Thanks to Jason we now have this first hand story of how it was to have a leather fetish from the 1920's in England, long before World War II. We are so happy that Jason allowed us to publish his story and show his pictures on two pages dedicated to him.
A biker pic bringing back memories
Thank you, guys, for your wonderful web site! I enjoyed all of it and keep going back to read it again and look at the photos. I especially enjoyed the detailed history section.
I was born in 1916 in the United Kingdom, so I am 88 years young now and have been a boot and leather fan for more than 80 years. It all began for me in the early 1920's, when I lived in the UK, through those early years you described. Then since 1947, I have lived in the United States and built up a large leather collection, which I still wear and enjoy every day here in California.
Left: Jason in the UK in the 1940's.
Right: Jason in 2003.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the biker in the history section. He was a friend of mine! Those pictures were taken in Quebec, Canada where he lived, but I met him several times in New York City in 1956 and 1957. We even used to sleep together in full leather! I am sorry to say, that after all these years, I am not really sure of his name. As a French Canadian, I think his first name was Jacques. He had a delightful accent, very sexy! My friend used to ride his bike down to NYC with his socks as the only non leather item of clothing. As is clear from his poses. He knew how to place himself to show off his leather and other assets!
Jacques, the French Canadian friend of Jason in the
(There is another picture of him on the page 'early history'.)
A fetish for leather starting in the 1920's
But let's get back to those early years. It was not easy to find much leather in the UK in the 1920's and 30's and my first and very early (at the age of 6 or 7), interest was in riding boots and breeches, which in England, after the First World War, were common sights at the time. Also, military uniforms, especially booted horse soldiers and mounted policemen gave me lots of excitement. Some motorcyclists wore long leather coats like early pilots used to wear. Those early air circus pilots were very dashing and exciting to my young eyes. They didn't have leather pants, but wore tight white breeches and shiny boots with their leather jackets and long white silk scarves flying out behind their leather helmets and goggles.
Early motorcycle racers.
Then in my later teens I would hang around places where motorcyclists gathered on weekends and sometimes saw one or two in leather breeches and jackets, but not many. Because of all the rain in the UK most bikers wore rubber waders and other rain gear. I used to hang out at the Speedway near where I grew up in London. I was not interested in the races, but spent my time wandering in the crowd looking for anyone in boots and leather. Oh yes and I fantasized about being picked up by one of them and taken for a pillion ride for mutual sex.
Jason left and centre in cloth breeches, high boots and leather jackets.
Right: French brown leather aviator flightsuit.
I made many visits to Lewis Leathers in Great Portland Street in London, just by the BBC headquarters. In the 1930's the store was called D. Lewis and specialized in leather trench coats for open cars, and also cloth and leather flight suits for aviators. They didn't sell any m/c leather in those days, since nobody wore leather on a bike at that time. Many times I would walk by the store and stare at the leather coats and gloves displayed in the windows, which made me horny and stirred my young imagination. Then finally, I got up enough courage to enter the store to buy a pair of gloves and was overcome by the strong smell of leather. Later, I bought the leather covered helmet you see me wearing above, but it was such a hassle to get it specially made, since they only stocked them in white leather for car racers, and couldn't understand why anyone would want a black one.
Lewis Leathers' Catalogue with leather Civilian Flying
However, just around the corner at 27, Carburton Street, was the S. Lewis shop. No connection, only the same name. They were the only place that made leather pants or breeches for the speedway riders, which was a popular sport at that time. But they only sold stock items. This was no place to have "special" designs made. You would be branded as weird if you even wore leather pants when not on the race track. Hard to believe in today's Internet world, but a reality in the 1930's.
Meeting other leather enthusiasts
So how did those of us with a leather fetish find others with similar interests? For many years in my youth, I thought I was the only one with such strong urges. Then I found some motorcycle magazines had Want Ads in which people advertised leather items for sale. There were sometimes letters from readers advocating wearing leather for greater protection on their bike rides. Reading between the lines suggested that some had the same leather interests that I had. I made several friends through such contacts, but it was a risky business, since it could lead to a trap or even blackmail for being gay.
But through one such contact, I met a leather/rubber fan who was ten years older than me. He became my mentor and helped shape my life and career as we shared out mutual interests in leather. Another contact developed into a close relationship with a London motorcycle cop. At that time, the Metropolitan Police had barracks for their many young unmarried cops. Not only did it provide them with cheap housing, but in their first few years, they were required to live in barracks to be closely supervised. It also provided a large body of cops immediately ready, in case of emergencies.
One of the fellow leather enthusiasts Jason met in the late 1940's
How did I meet a leather loving gay cop in London when being gay was still a crime? Besides the ads in motorcycle magazines, there was a weekly publication called, "Exchange & Mart", which had thousands of items from A to Z, for sale or trade. Thursdays, the day of publication, was a special day for me! I soon found that not all articles offered for sale, were actually for sale. Some leather fans would offer an item for sale and then invite whoever replied to meet them. Sometimes this lead to a gay contact, otherwise the advertiser could "change his mind about selling", if the guy was straight or not to his liking.
To preserve initial anonymity, one needed a secret address which could be obtained by subscribing to British Monomark, Ltd., For a small fee, you obtained a BM Code number at the company's London address, and they would forward your mail. Thousands of people used this system to hide their identity in advertising their interests. One day I answered such a leather ad offering leather breeches for sale, and in due course met the guy at a London pub, which I knew was gay friendly. To recognize each other, we both agreed to wearing a long black leather overcoat. After we got talking about what leather we liked and owned, he said he lived close by and invited me to see his collection. Imagine my surprise and shock when he took me to the local police station, a few blocks away! But instead of going inside we went to the barracks at the back and up to his room on the 6th floor. Although I was scared I was being trapped, when he opened the door and led me in, I was relieved to see he really was a leather fan.
London leather friends in the 1940's, some of whom were
His bed was covered with a leather sheet on which was a pile of leather clothing, and in an open closet there was more leather hanging up and boots of all kinds on the shelves. I eagerly accepted his invitation to try on some of his leather which was an arousing experience. This initial meeting lead to many more, including times when I stayed overnight encased in leather before taking off on our bikes for an early morning ride. It also allowed me to be introduced to other cops in the cafeteria, and on one occasion in the communal shower room. It was a surprise to realize that some of these young guys were also gay, but on reflection, if you were careful and played it cool, the fraternal nature of police supporting each other gave some protection for being gay.
1939: first leather breeches
I bought my first leather breeches from S. Lewis a few weeks after WW II started in September 1939. I knew the war would make it impossible to get them later so I spent most of my savings to buy them while they were still available. They were the standard design made for the dirt track riders with a zip flap front. Very thick leather and heavy cloth lining and padded knees and double ass for protection on the track. I still remember the powerful smell of leather in that small shop, and on the new pants, as I took them home and hid them in my room, since my family would not understand why I got them. Later that night, I took scissors and cut out the lining and much of the padding before I put them on and felt the smooth leather next to my skin. Needless to say, as I put them on, I was very aroused. I still have them, 65 years later, but no longer wear them since I have many other favorites now.
Jason in his first 1939 breeches.
I wore those breeches as often as I could during WW II on my Ariel motorcycle, hoping to attract other interested guys. They did provide quite a few opportunities for sexual contacts with some of the huge number of military from many countries who were gathering in Britain for the battle to regain Europe. At night, with a total blackout, it was easy to find a dark spot for a 'quickie' and the zip flap front of my leather pants was a great advantage.
Getting leather friends
Shortly after the war in Europe ended, there were quite a few leather items brought back to the UK, by returning troops as trophies, and I eagerly bought a lot of boots and leather and then re-sold or exchanged them. I made several contacts this way. Also, with so many military motorcycle riders everywhere, most weekends there were race meetings and 'Scrambles', the forerunner of today's Motocross, which attracted large crowds to cruise for possible leather contacts.
One of these lead to a close friendship with a handsome young soldier who was interested in my leather breeches and was later converted to a total leather slave.
From young handsome soldier to a full leather slave in
just a couple of years.
There were increased opportunities for leather contacts through motorcycle mags. Some of these were thin suggestions of leather, rubber and uniform fetishes which caused me to masturbate a lot. That was another way I met some other leather fans. There even was this lesbian leather gal I was corresponding with. She lived in the Hague in the Netherlands and later sent me this picture of herself and some gay leather friends when they went to a motorbike race meet somewhere in Holland in 1947.
Left: The Netherlands 1947; gay leather friends.
Centre and right: 1930's, secretly photographing a handsome lad at the race-track.
As I said earlier, during the war it had not been possible to get any new leather and I spent a lot of time searching newspaper ads for any used items. In time I had quite a small collection, but as soon as the war was over, I went searching to have leather items made to my own ideas. With Europe in ruins after the war, I turned to America where leather was easily available. So in 1946, I wrote to the "Motorcyclist", which was published in Los Angeles. My letter was a request for any info about where I could find a leather shop that would make me a one piece black leather flight suit. I had found a French one of thin brown leather, but wanted a heavy black one with some "special" features.
Although I sent my letter Airmail, I knew it would take ages to get there and just as long for a reply, that is, if I got a reply at all. Imagine my surprise, when, in just a week, I received a three page reply. It was clear that the writer of this letter was heavily into leather, and reading between the lines, he was letting me know he was more than into leather for protection on his Harley. He ended by suggesting I should reply to his home address and not to his office. In the next months, we exchanged photos and developed a strong leather friendship. One of my pictures ended up on the Cover of the Motorcyclist for June 1946. I was reading a copy of the Motorcyclist with the Houses of Parliament in the background.
Left: Jason on the cover of the Motorcyclist, June 1946.
Right: another picture from the same series.
Then in March 1947 with the help of my new friend, I was able to visit America. At that time travel between the US and Europe was very restricted and mostly only for military personnel returning home from the war. But I got there. In the US I was able to buy a leather shirt made of deerskin and wore it all that summer in the UK before I emigrated to California.
Jason in his deerskin leather shirt, UK 1947.