How to find shoemakers in your family history

By Guest, 13 December 2018 - 10:33am

In the final episode of Made in Great Britain, the team head to Northampton to discover the history of Britain's shoe industry. Nell Darby picks the best resources to trace shoemakers in your family history

Made in Great Britain shoemakers
The Made in Great Britain craftworkers learn shoemaking techniques from master shoemaker Scott McKee (Credit: BBC/ Endemol Shine UK/ Rudi Gordon)

Series 1 of Made in Great Britain will end with a trip to Northampton.

The final episode, showing on BBC Two at 9pm on 14 December, reveals how the town played a crucial role in Britain's shoe industry.

Northampton's shoe trade began in the 15th century, with nearly 2,000 shoemakers based in the town by 1841.

The town helped make marching boots for Second World War soldiers, and is still home to artisanal shoemakers today.

On Made in Great Britain, the team of contemporary craftworkers discover the different footwear making techniques used throughout the centuries.

Your ancestors may well have helped make Britain's shoes - find out more with these online resources.

 

Northamptonshire Archives

Northamptonshire Archives

Northamptonshire Record Office unsurprisingly has details of various local shoemaking companies and associations, as well as cordwainer (a historic term for shoemakers) apprenticeship indentures.

 

Worshipful Company of Cordwainers

Worshipful Company of Cordwainers

The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers is a London livery company that was established in the 13th century. Its website has a timeline listing various city-based cordwainers. It also looks at the various ways in which a shoemaker could join the company.

 

London Metropolitan Archives

London Metropolitan Archives

London Metropolitan Archives holds records for the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, covering the period 1395 to 1974 (catalogue reference CLC/L/CJ).
 

 

Don't miss the December 2018 issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine for much more expert family history advice

 

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