Phillips Stick-a-Soles and Heels Man

Phillips Stick-a-sole man at Market Lavington Museum


The Advertising bust, which we call The Stick-a-Sole Man, used to stand in the window Of Ken Mundy’s High Street shop. Ken was a village character who ran his shoe repair and sales business between the Co-op and the newsagents until he retired in about 1980. He is remembered by older inhabitants of the village for his very late adoption of mains water. Even after World War Two, Ken could be seen walking down to Broadwell with his yoke and two buckets to collect his water. Apparently his pigs fared better for mains water was laid on to them, kept in an area off The Clays.

When Ken closed his doors, a local resident bought the Stick-a-Sole Man. Our purchaser had a grandfather who had been a cobbler and people used to ask him if he had been the model for this particular advert (no, he wasn’t). These models were widespread and could be found in cobblers shops up and down the country. Ours, from Market Lavington, spent close on thirty years in Crawley, Sussex before being offered back to the museum at the start of 2009

He’s quite a detailed model, some 22 centimetres tall, standing there, holding a shoe which is fitted with a real, if small, Phillips stick-a-sole.

The Phillips firm was set up by Walter Phillips from Cardiff. It is thought that his stick on soles – to double the life of your shoes, were in use by the 1930s and the advert man, made of a rubberoid material (similar to the soles, perhaps) probably dates from that era as well.


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41 Responses to “Phillips Stick-a-Soles and Heels Man”

  1. joel Says:

    i would like to buy phillip stick on sole and sell in my country kenya.kindly give me whole sale price for export.

  2. 10 000th viewing « Market Lavington Museum Says:

    […] The most popular posts have been the one about a crotal bell and also the Phillips Stick-a-sole man. […]

  3. 2010 in review « Market Lavington Museum Says:

    […] Phillips Stick-a-Soles and Heels Man January 2010 3 comments 4 […]

  4. Heel Nails « Market Lavington Museum Says:

    […] Phillips Stick-a-soles and heels man has proved to be one of the most popular pages on this […]

  5. A cobbler’s last « Market Lavington Museum Says:

    […] last cobbler, Ken Mundy, on previous occasions and some of our cobbling tools, and our wonderful Phillips stick-a-sole man come from his shop. But many of our tools were found in an Easterton cottage once occupied by a […]

  6. Syd Burton Says:

    I had a shoe repair shop in South Ealing London from about 1949-1957 and had a high turnover with phillips stick-a-soles. Repairers were supplied with a set of about 20 or more lightweight card templates to fit every shape sole. From these, we were able to order our stocks . Good old days !

  7. Stu Says:

    My Mum has one of these as my Dad was a cobbler and clogger.Any idea how much the s-a-s man is worth?

  8. Kirsty Says:

    Do you know who the model was for the Stick-a-sole man? I am thinking that it is possibly a “family story” but I have been told by my Mother that it was her grandfather/great grandfather (can’t remember which she said now!!).

  9. Thomas Kurandt Says:

    Tommy K says : 2005 my partner Karen bought me this wonderful “Stick-A-Soles and Heels” man figure in an antiques shop in Leeds. It is in a very good condition! Now it stands on my fireplace and everybody who comes into my house admires it.

  10. Closed | Market Lavington Museum Says:

    […] It may come as no surprise that this carried an advert for Phillips ‘Stick-a-soles’ and heels. We know Ken had the little advert in the form of a cobbler working with ‘stick-a-soles’. You can see the blog post about that item by clicking here. […]

  11. Elisabeth Cheshire Says:

    My grandfather was at one point a director of Phillips

    • marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

      I don’t suppose he ever told you who the model man was based on??



    • Barbara Chapman Says:

      Do you have any information about another advert for Phillips stick on soles. My Dad was a cobbler and had an advert in his shop. It was a vase of roses. When he retired he took up oil painting and copied this poster and I have the picture in a bedroom. If you contact me I could send you a photo of the painting. The original poster has not survived. Dad died aged 92 in 2007.

  12. yvonne Says:

    I have one of these it belonged to my grans brother who was a cobbler.

  13. Paul G Norton Says:

    My great uncle was Walter W Phillips who founded the firm in 1903 that made Phillips Stick-a-Soles (a registered trade name). I worked in the UK sales office for the Company from Jan.1956 to May 1965 at their Western Avenue, Acton London W3 distribution centre. Department. The model was “loaned” to shoe repairers who numbered about 40,000 in the UK in the mid-1950s. The model should have a pair of wire glasses/spectacles. The Company was particularly successful in supplying the “military set” of rubber soles which were used in WW1 in the trenches. The soles and heels were made in their Bromley Street, Dantzic Street, factory in Manchester..
    If anyone wants anymore information please let me know:

  14. nigel Brooks Says:

    my Grandfather had a shoe repair business in Stockport “Brooks Shoe Re-builders” from the late 30s to 70S he had a sticker sole man who was on a high shelf looking over the whole shop,As a boy I was very intrigued by this figure , Today I still have the figure he reminds me of my grandfather, a big character . Its funny tothink there are more of these still surviving,

  15. simon Says:

    can anybody tell me how much they are to buy ?

  16. sue burgess Says:

    We at Cuckfield Museum in Sussex have one of these on loan from a local resident to enhance our current footwear display. He has a pair of wire glasses and is bending much lower over the shoe he is holding – perhaps there was more than one version of the figure?

  17. Caroline wheeler Says:

    Was wondering if there was any information on Mr. Phillips, as he has always been called in my famiy, and as I was researching the net came across this site. My sticker sole man was rescued by my father sometime between 1967 and 1975 – he was about to be assigned to a rubbish dump and then a bonfire outside our local saddlers’ shop, Outrams, in Sevenoaks (now a Loch Fynne Restaurant). My father was manager of Westminster Bank which is located next door – now NatWest. Mr. Phillips has been with us ever since. Though we have no connection with cobblers we have just loved him! He has never had glasses. I was wondering whether to put him into our local auction as part of down-sizing and am now not sure whether I can let him go!

    Caroline, Sevenoaks.

    • Paul Norton Says:

      I am a great nephew of Walter W Phillips who founded Philiips Stick-s-Soles Limited and Phillips Patents Limited in 1903. I worked for the company between January 1956 and March 1965 in their head office sales department, Western Avenue, Acton, London W3. My uncle, Lester H Button, a nephew of WWP, was a director of the company at that time and worked for them for over 35 years. The manufacturing of the stick-a-soles took place in Phillips’ factory in Bromley Street, Dantzic Street, Manchester.
      The company knew of about 40,000 shoe repairers who were called upon by a representative team of 38 sales representatives at least every 8 weeks. A number of these repairers had learned their trade on demob from the services (WWII) and were better at fixing army boots rather than the fine stiletto heels on ladies shoes that came into fashion and onto the market in the 1950s and 1960s.
      The “cobbler” or “Phillips Man” was given to reputible shoe repairers for window display on a loan basis. The ownership retained by the Company. Each model has a reference number and in the 1950s I maintained the register of where each one was in the UK. I cannot recall now how many there were, but I would think about 2,000 or so of them.
      The representatives’ names were Armstrong (Yorkshire), Ashwell (N.London), Barr (N.Ireland), Bond (Essex), Bradley (Lincs), Brockett (Middlesex), Coombs (Kent/Sussex), Copsey (Essex), Coray (SW London), Cutting (SE London) etc. More names known.
      The Company had accounts with wholesalers who were part of the leather and grindery trade. Invoicing was carried out on a Hollerith punched card system from the distribution centre at Acton, London W3
      Not owning a “Phillips Man” myself, I would be interested in acquiring one for old times sake . If I can help with any other information on Phillips please let me know “”

      Paul G Norton JP
      1 The Birches, Brentwood, CM13 2AJ 01277-219839

  18. David Lambert Says:

    An elderly relative recently passes away having been a cobbler for many years. Amongst his belongings we have found 2 Phillips stick a sole men both wearing glasses, a Phillips ashtray & a meltonian man.

  19. Keith Horton Says:

    Hi, I have a copper boot change tray that would have sat on a shop counter many years ago, about 6 inches long, it has a logo on it saying , Phillips guarantee Fair Wear or Free Pair, along with it I have 4 packets of nails for attaching JOY- PED leather-centre heels, The item consists of a model of a boot joined to a round tray into which your change would have been put, Any info on this would be most helpful. Regards Keith Horton

  20. Werner Says:

    I .m interesting in the history of the Phillips Soles and Heels that was set up by William Phillips in 1930.

    Do you have any information ,really about this Man,William Phillips, ,when he was born, living, and death and when was the first Phillips stick on Soles aND heels are made ,and we’re is this company is established ,And who make it today.

  21. Linda Marciniak Says:

    My Mum worked at the Dantzic Street factory when I was a child; probably from the late 1950’s to early 60’s. I remember the smell of the glue on her clothes when she came home and would love to see any old photos from the factory floor.

    • marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

      Thank you, Linda. Market Lavington Museum only collects items to do with our village in mid Wiltshire. The Stick-a-soles man was in our little shoe shop, so is relevant to our musuem, but the factory is not local to us. Maybe one of our readers will have factory photos.

    • Paul Norton Says:

      To: Linda Marciiak

      Good morning Linda. I am unable to send you any photographs of Dantzic Street. I was employed at the Western Avenue Acton London W3 offices and warehouse from 1956 to 1965. I did visit the Manchester factory in Bromley Street, Dantzic Street on a number of occasions. I do not know whether it is true or not, but I was told that the factory was above coal mining workings.

      My great uncle was Walter W. Phillips the founder of the company in 1903. He bought out The Premiere Rubber Company which was the Manchester factory. Walter was born in 1871, married on 14 July 1902 and died on 22 July 1946. He married Florence Emma Button born 29 September 1875 died 1966 (sister of my grandfather, Henry Paul Button). Before her death Florence had a flat in the Grand Hotel, Brighton (Later the hotel that the IRA bombed when Maggie Thatcher was staying there).

      An incident I can remember is that at Manchester, they used to open and tip bags of black carbon into the rubber mix to give strength/durability to the stick-as-soles. This often caused the operative to get covered in fine black carbon. One day they dropped the whole bag into the mix by mistake, but found that it worked just as well. That saved them getting so dirty. The glue (Phillips GP Rubber Adhesive) you refer to did have a distinctive smell.

      I worked in the sales department in Acton for 9 years (I am now 82 years old). I can still recall (in alphabetical order) the names of the 38 sales representatives employed by Phillips and the territories they covered. Just after World War II there were about 40,000 shoe repairers in the UK. Each repairer received a visit from a sales representative every 8 weeks. Products were supplied through ‘leather and grindery’ wholesalers. A high number of men were repairers, as many were trained in the army at the time of their demob (demobilisation). When ladies shoes became more elegant in 1950s and 1960s (stiletto heels) many found their skills of repairing boots inadequate.

      Being the great nephew of the founder of Phillips Rubber Soles Limited did not guarantee great financial reward. At age 16 in 1956 I was paid £4 per week. My train/bus fares from Beckenham, Kent to Acton cost £1.25p per week. Once a year on “stock taking” Saturday all the office staff reported for duty and we all received exactly the same pay for the day’s work – more than £4 .

      Those were the days !

      Best wishes to you

      Paul G Norton

      Paul G Norton

  22. Richard Says:

    For interest:

  23. Ewa Says:

    Hi, back in the 2005 I’ve bought Phillips stick a sole pharmacy poster. It was somewhere in England near Lincoln. Now I’m trying to find it on the internet but I can’t find anything like that. I’m wandering is it original? Was it popular back in (just guessing) ’60 ?

    • marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

      Sorry. we know nothing about any connections between shoe repair stick a soles and pharmacies.

    • Paul Norton Says:

      Phillips Stick-a-Sole advertising was aimed at shoe repairers in the 1950s & 1960s when I was in their sales department at Acton, London W3. My great uncle, founder of the company, Walter William Phillips (1871-1946)set up a separate company for pharmaceutical products that he developed, namely Phillips Yeast and products such as Vetzyme yeast products for dogs and Kitzyme for cats. Phillips Yeast was at Park Royal and run by his son, Douglas Hugh Granville Phillips (1908-1980) and son-in-law (Mr Willison?). Their emblem was a ‘bearded collie’ for the vet. products..

      The advertising managers at Phillips Rubber Soles Limited included over the many years, Mr Nichol, Lester Button, Mr Wagstaff and then Ken Woods. The poster size adverts in the 1950s and 1960s featured a new pair of shoes with Phiilips Stick-a-Soles and Heels on them placed on a table next to a bright colourful floral display in a vase. Repairers were offered a large wooden picture frame to exhibit the poster in and the Phillips sales representatives (38 of them) replaced the picture about every 4 to 6 months. One of my jobs was allocating the number of posters that each representative received and keeping a record of the “loaned” model of the Phillips craftsman with glasses to each shop. I remember designs incorporating wording that included “Soled and Heeled” Phillips also advertised on television in the 1960s.

      Paul G Norton

      Brentwood Essex

      (at Phillips from 1956 to 1965 less 2 years 1958-1960 National Service in the REME)

  24. marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

    Thank you, Paul

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