Our shoe and leather heritage
Northampton is world famous for its boot and shoe industry, and although production levels are not what they used to be, the town still boasts many high-end manufacturers; each offering something a little different.
Traditional family shoemakers such as Church’s, Crockett and Jones, Edward Green, Tricker’s and John Lobb are thriving in Northampton, along with more modern brands like Jeffery West.
Beyond the town, Dr Martens in Wollaston make the cult Air Wair boot, Joseph Cheaney & Sons have reached a record £10 million sales turnover as a result of exports from their factory in Desborough, while quintessentially English brands like Loake and Barker are crafted in Kettering and Earls Barton respectively.
Many operate factory shops selling quality ‘seconds’ at bargain prices!
A walk down Jermyn Street in fashionable West London will take you past a host of luxury boot and shoe shops, selling products crafted to an exceptionally high standard in Northampton and Northamptonshire. And many of the brands listed above can also be found further afield, in places like Hong Kong, New York and Tokyo.
Back in Northampton, the boot and shoe trail stitches together the existing factories, their shops, the empty and converted factory buildings and the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery on Guildhall Road, which boasts the biggest shoe collection in the world. The museum is currently closed for expansion, but part of the collection can be found at the Abington Park Museum.
The National Leather Collection is now open in the Grosvenor Centre every Wednesday, with fantastic views of Northampton’s historic Market Square.
Celebrities, aristocrats and business leaders around the world do their walking in shoes made in Northampton and in royal circles, the Prince of Wales makes a bee line for his favoured Crockett and Jones shoes.
Students come from across the globe to study at University of Northampton’s Institute for Creative Leather Technologies and there’s even a West End and Broadway musical called Kinky Boots – based on a true Northamptonshire shoemaking story – so the town’s rich shoe heritage quite literally takes centre stage.