My home town of Northampton and the county of Northamptonshire has an illustrious history of shoe making, which includes providing over half of the 70 million boots made for Army personnel in WW1. The history dates back some 900 years and although the remaining factories are few and far between in the 21st century there are still some working to provide exceptional, hand-crafted shoes.
These factories follow the same skills and processes that have been used for centuries, creating some of the highest standards of shoes in Britain. They have a huge following, with the likes of Dr. Martens, Crockett & Jones as well as the famous Church's shoes, known all over the world as the height of shoe fashion. Selling to the rich and famous, as well as James Bond & HRH Queen Elizabeth II.
I have always been extremely interested in the history of my hometown, especially the industrial heritage that can be viewed throughout the county. Thankfully, Crockett & Jones shoes were kind enough to let me explore and meet some of the staff that work in their Northampton factory. I wanted to show viewers the way that these shoes are produced, capturing the skilled workers as well as producing images of the factory itself.
I set out to create a project that explores the skills and people that encompass this trade. I wanted to capture some of the two-hundred or so processes which make up some of the shoes sold to customers globally. The cobbler industry in Northampton has dwindled in the last century, yet it is still a well respected and highly regarded trade, with these shoes selling for hundreds of pounds in most cases.