|Gedera Historic Museum - Shoemaker |
(Image link: www.wikipedia.org, Author:
Dr. Avishai Teicher, 1 June 2009, accessed 9 Feb 2014)
All footwear was handmade until the industrial revolution when the process became mechanised and it became cheaper to mass produce shoes.
In 1851 it was the third largest manufacturing industry in the UK, which means that most people will have at least one person in their family tree who worked in the footwear manufacturing trade.
My great, great grandfather, Frederick Sutcliffe was a boot maker all of his life. He started his career as a journeyman which meant he had completed an apprenticeship and was fully educated in the trade but not yet a master. Later in his career he was a boot riveter which was probably a part of a factory line in the production of footwear.
Becoming a cobbler or shoemaker was a perfect trade for a man who had limited mobility or a disability as it did not involve a huge amount of physical labour as many other occupations did.
Other occupations within the trade:
- cobbler - traditionally mended shoes
- shoemaker - made shoes
- bootmaker - made boots
- cordwainer or cordiner - produced high class shoes
Occupations within the mass production of footwear:
- Pressman - operated a press to cut the leather
- Prickers - would make holes in the leather
- Bottom fillers - filled the bottoms of shoes in the finishing process
- Skivers - used a tool to cut or split leather
- Rough-stuff worker - cut the soles and heels
- Finishers - polished and finished off the footwear
- Hand craftsmen
- Clickers - cut the uppers of the shoes from the sheets of leather
Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan