Posts Tagged ‘Shoes’

A cobbler’s last

July 22, 2011

Shoemaking and mending was once an important local task in towns and villages throughout the country. Market Lavington and Easterton were no exceptions. A scan through the censuses of the nineteenth century reveals that many men were engaged in the boot and shoe business. Some were called cobblers but more were boot and shoe makers or had a job name specific to one type of shoe such as a cordwainer who made more luxurious shoes.

One thing these workers had in common was the use of a last – a heavy metal shape for holding a shoe whilst it was worked on.

We have a number of lasts in different shapes and sizes at Market Lavington Museum.

A cobbler's last at Market Lavington Museum

The one shown here can be stood three different ways round so that the top or working surface suits three different sizes of shoe.

This cast iron shoemaker’s last was made by a company called Bloomers in about 1893.

We have mentioned Market Lavington’s 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 cobbler.


Heel Nails

June 9, 2011

Our Phillips Stick-a-soles and heels man has proved to be one of the most popular pages on this blog.

That single page is looked at more than once every day, on average.

Now we have been given heel nails, from the same firm, Phillips, for adding extras on worn heels that are not suited to the stick-a-sole type of fixing. These came from a house in Easterton where the resourceful householders did their own shoe repairs.

These nails for all rubber shaped heels are a recent acquisition at Market Lavington Museum

In times past, for most people, a cobbler was an essential person in a village. Both Market Lavington and Easterton had cobblers, boot and shoe makers, cordwainers and the like in the nineteenth and early 20th centuries. Ken Mundy was the last cobbler with premises on High Street in Market Lavington until the early 1980s.

You can see our collection connected with Phillips and cobblers in the upstairs room at the museum. There’s more about cobbling in the trades room, downstairs.

Ken Mundy

October 16, 2010

Ken has been mentioned quite often in these pages. He was the last cobbler/shoemaker in the village of Market Lavington running his business until ill health forced retirement in the 1980s.

Our photo shows Ken in the 1960s with all the clutter of his High Street premises around him.

Ken Mundy, Market Lavington cobbler and shoemaker in his shop during the 1960s.

We think Ken was born in 1915, the son of Fred and Lilian. Fred had been born in 1888, probably in the property which became Ken’s shoe emporium.

Ken became known as the man without mains water. He was the last person in the village to collect water from Broadwell, using two buckets and a wooden yoke. He did this well into the 1950s. His pigs, kept on The Clays, had mains water long before he did.

Ted, the leader of the village walks is one of those who recalls seeing Ken walking to Broadwell for water. He also recalls that lads used to go and chat with Ken as he worked. Cobblers seem to have had a reputation for homely wisdom. When Ted married, Ken made his shoes as a wedding gift. They were an exceptionally comfortable pair of shoes.

Do you have tales of Ken? We’d love to hear from you.

The Heel Glove

September 30, 2010

Some strange items can end up in a museum. Today we feature ‘The Heel Glove’, a ladies’ shoe protector when driving.

At Market Lavington Museum we have many objects linked to the shoe business. At one time many shoe makers and repairers lived and worked in the parish with the last being Ken Mundy who gave up in the 1980s.

The Heel Glove was designed to protect heels from wear and tear when driving a car. These days, driving shoes can have a continuation of  heel and sole material around the back to offer protection

The Heel Glove - an item at Market Lavington Museum

Our protectors were priced at 4/11 a pair which means they must have been on sale before 1971 when decimal currency came in. Perhaps they date from the era of the stiletto heel – the 1950s

Presumably these items never caught on.  One wonders how many ever sold. Our heel protectors may have sold, but they have never been opened or used.

Can anybody provide any further information?

The Market Lavington Cobbler

September 21, 2010

In times past, every village had its own cobbler or shoemaker. In fact, dealing with shoes was a much in demand business to the extent that in 1851, Market Lavington had at least ten men who made their living making and repairing shoes. Some of them, like members of the Maslen family, called themselves cordwainers. Others, more prosaically, were boot and shoe makers. The word cobbler does not seem to have been in use then.

Ken Mundy was the last cobbler and shoe maker to be working in the village. He certainly made shoes into the 1960s and continued to repair into the 1980s when failing health caused retirement from the trade.

At Market Lavington Museum we have a number of artefacts from Ken’s High Street shop. We have already seen, on this blog, his Phillips stick-a-sole man. Today we look at one of many adverts he had.

Advertising sign from Ken Mundy's cobbler shop - now at Market Lavington Museum

Some may wonder why this is a St. Crispin Slogan. St Crispin is one of at least eight patron saints of shoemakers and cobblers.

Do visit the museum to discover much more about shoes, shoemaking and the people who worked at these crafts in the Lavington area.

In the New Cabinet – Along the High Street

February 23, 2010

Market Lavington might be thought of as a village now, but it was, once, a market town with a long, busy High Street. Our ‘new cabinet’ walk takes in the High Street and other streets with commercial properties – notably Church Street and White Street. We are looking at shops and banks and some of the items found in them.

High Street Shelf at Market Lavington Museum

On the left, we have various items from Ken Mundy’s shoe shop which used to be between the present Co-op and newsagents. There’s his open and closed sign and his advertising man – both given by Phillips Stick-a-Soles and heels’ and also a shoe stretcher for accommodating bunions.

From the hardware shop, once upon a time opposite the Co-op, we have a loyalty card from the 1990s.

There used to be more than one butcher in the village, and how lucky we are still to have one. We think our butcher’s cleaver and steel came from ‘Piggy Ward’ who had premises next to the present Post Office.

Back in the 1970s there were four different banks in the village and we have the money weights from Lloyds which was near the Co-op.

The photographer – and how lucky we have been to have had professional photographers in the village for 130 years – is represented by a trimming guillotine.

The back drop to the cabinet is made up of bills from may of the village traders. There’s Hobbs, Doubleday and Frances, Gyes, Hopkins, Neates, Potters, Nottons – to name some of them. The shelf is not full yet and there’s space for more so do come and see it when the museum opens in May.

Phillips Stick-a-Soles and Heels Man

January 20, 2010

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.