Boot & Shoe Makers and Shops

Cobblers & Cordwainers

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


Cobblers and cordwainers

Part of a display in Bradford on Avon Museum

As suppliers of essential articles, shoe makers and shops could be found in almost every street in Bradford on Avon and the villages around. With the centralising of the work in factories, like those in Northampton and Street, shoe making in Bradford declined during the 20th century and then became off-shored to other countries with cheaper labour

Strictly speaking, Cordwainers made boots, shoes and other articles from leather and are named after the Spanish city of Córdoba, which was famed for its leather workers. Generally they just referred to themselves as boot and shoe makers. Cobblers were people who repaired footwear.


Shoes were not always of leather. Clogs have a sole that is carved from wood. These have leather uppers and the sole has a wrought iron edge, like a horse shoe, for better grip. They were used by a child from Christ Church School for working in the school’s allotment garden in Sladesbrook in the 1940s.