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Northampton Boot and Shoe Industry

Northampton Shoe Industry

The reference to Northampton and the manufacture of shoes originated from the 15th Century. Northampton had a steady supply of raw materials that were essential to shoe making due to the large Cattle Market held in the town. The central location of Northampton allowed for a wide distribution network and as a result the town’s major industry became shoe making. By 1642, there were enough skilled shoemakers in Northampton to be able to secure larger shoe and boot orders.

(Northamptonshire Boot and Shoe Image)


By 1841, there were 1,821 shoemakers in Northampton listed on the Census.  This was evidence of a large transformation for the Northampton shoe industry as shoe makers were starting to become known as shoe manufacturers. These shoe manufacturers would normally employ a large amount of shoemakers supplying them with materials and collecting the finished products that they could then sell to the buyers.

Northamptonshire had a rich shoe industry for a long time due to the rich supply of leather, water for tanning and oak bark. The Northamptonshire shoe makers have made Northamptonshire famous across the world as a place to purchase high quality shoes.

This is a photograph of my Nan and Great Nan working in a Northamptonshire shoe factory.

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