|History of Leather Education
Prior to independence, tanning activity in India was limited and controlled by a few British managed tanneries. First World War was indirectly responsible for the emergence of institutions for training of technicians needed for the supervision of the leather production needed by army in India. The first tanning school was established at Madras in 1914. Then came other schools at Kanpur, Kolkata, Jalandhar etc.
These tanning schools provided vocational training. The need for a professional degree in leather technology was recognized, just prior to the dawn of independence. University of Madras felt the need. There were philanthropists to support.
With the munificent donation of Rs.5 lakhs( in 40s) from the great philanthropist Dr.Alagappa Chettiar, the university of Madras established Alagappa Chettiar college of technology in 1944, to offer different courses in technology. Courses in leather and textile technologies were introduced from 1945 in the University of Madras. These programs of two years duration after bachelor’s level education in basic science led to B.Sc (tech) degree. In the same year, the then Vice Chancellor of University of Madras suggested that Central Leather Research Institute be founded in Madras as a constituent laboratory of CSIR. Council of scientific and industrial research, New Delhi supported the leather technology program by offering a block grant of Rs.60000/- from 1945 onwards.
As the college buildings were not ready yet, the classes for leather subjects were held at the institutes of leather technology premises at washermanpet, Madras. The leather technology department shifted its head quarters from washermanpet to Guindy in 1951. By that time Central Leather Research Institute had been founded. CLRI was born on 24 April 1948. Prof C.Seshachalam Choudhary had been appointed as a special officer to establish CLRI. He sowed the seed. By the year 1951 he had died and Mr. Siviah Choudhary, Principal of ILT, Washermanpet was appointed to link education with research. Dr. A.L.Sundara Rao Planning officer, Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) helped in conducting the classes. Twin objective of education and research were combined in one body, Central Leather Research Institute.