The BFA has launched its 120th Birthday celebrations in some serious shoe style by revealing a stunning show-case of some of Northampton’s most respected and revered manufacturers
Northamptonshire has long been regarded as the heart of the industry – the ‘Savile Row’ of shoes – and to help celebrate the BFA’s special birthday, 11 of the county’s most renowned manufacturers displayed examples of their exquisite work at a unique show case.
Master shoe-makers Church, Cheaney, Sanders & Sanders, Trickers, Loake, NPS, Crockett & Jones, Dr Marten, Barkers, Loake and Grenson all submitted shoes for the event which was described by BFA Chairman Robert Perkins as a ‘visual feast of the highest quality of craftmanship.’
Mr Perkins added: “The BFA’s 120th anniversary comes at a time when there is a resurgence across the UK shoe manufacturing sector with recent investments by Dr Martens, new Balance, Goral, fosters and Gina shoes – it marks a really exciting period in shoe retailing across the UK.”
The ‘shoe-case’ was open to press and BFA members and was held at Northampton’s beautiful and recently restored Delapre Abbey, The 900-year-old abbey provided the perfect backdrop for the historical display, steeped in shoe heritage.
William Church, Joint MD of Cheaney Shoes and a BFA board member submitted footwear for the BFA’s ‘shoe case’. He said: ‘Northamptonshire made footwear is held in high regard the world over and this showcase press event of exquisite footwear is a great start to the BFA’s 120th Anniversary celebrations’
Martin Mason, managing director of Trickers shoes, worn by Prince Charles also featured footwear at the event, he added: “ Trickers holds a unique position as the oldest footwear manufacturer in Northampton and we are delighted to have participated in the BFA showcase at Delapre Abbey.”
Apart from recognising shoe manufacturing history the shoe-case also celebrated and looked forward to the industry’s future.
BFA’s Jayne West said: “The Northamptonshire welted footwear industry produces around 1.3m pairs with a turnover of £146m, exporting 52% of that figure, some firms export a considerably higher percentage.
“This unique cluster of internationally respected footwear manufacturers is worth celebrating. The Northamptonshire firms, some of whom are here at Delapre showing their world-respected craftsmanship, export £77m worth of the highest quality footwear to premium global markets and make up more than half of the UK’s total footwear production base.”
Local children also helped mark the BFA’s birthday with a ‘Design a Shoe’ competition run in conjunction with Delapre Abbey.
The winner, eight-year-old Demetria Jolley was treated to a special surprise when Church shoes revealed they would bring her shoe design to life!
Demetria, who attends Abington Vale Primary School, took her inspiration from the Union Jack flag and the special BFA birthday – her ideas certainly wowed judges form world-renowned Church’s shoes. The Northampton based footwear manufacturer were so impressed that they decided to make her design into an actual pair of shoes.
Speaking of the very special prize, Demetria said: “I am so proud of my shoes and can’t wait to see them and put them on. I had no idea they’d be made ‘real’ and it’s really brilliant.”
This unique ‘shoe-case’ event launched the BFA’s 120th Birthday celebrations and united members from across the country to celebrate the special anniversary later in the evening at the Northamptonshire Manufacturers’ Dinner, held in Delapre Abbey’s beautiful dining room.
Images attached (Photography: charlesward.com)
- Demetria Jolley, BFA competition winner, Simon Hill from Church shoes and BFA Chairman Robert Perkins
- Adele Williamson – shoe-making intern for Trickers who displayed her skills at the event
- The stunning Dining Room at Delapre Abbey
- The Shoe show case in the abbey’s dining room
- Cheaney’s Two Tone Oxford shoe
“Northamptonshire’s Finest’ – manufacturers who showed at the event:
Church Barker Loakes
Jeffery West Airwair
Sanders & Sanders Crockett &Jones