Budding shoe designers at the University of Northampton will now have a greater opportunity to produce their footwear creations in a brand-new high quality workshop.

The new facility will now provide footwear students with additional space for their work and complements the existing studios and range of workshops already at Avenue Campus.

The workshop was officially opened by John Miller, Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers in March. Many high profile names in the footwear industry also attended such as John Saunders, Chief Executive of the British Footwear Association, Mark Jeffery and Guy West from designer label Jeffery West and Helen Kirkum, Footwear and Accessories Designer and recent graduate of the University.

The opening of the new facility also coincides with the launch of the standalone BA (Hons) Footwear and Accessories programme, which will provide students with the creative skills and technical knowledge to footwear design. This also gives footwear students the opportunity to use the facilities in the University’s Institute for Creative Leather Technologies.

Northamptonshire’s shoe and boot making heritage dates back almost 900 years as almost every town and village in the county has had a successful specific footwear industry, for example Long Buckby was famous for its long boots and Wollaston for its work boots. Over 25 manufacturers are still operating within Northamptonshire, with big names, such as Dr Martens, Church & Co, and Crockett & Jones. The University has strong connections with the industry and often hosts regular guest speakers, as well as supporting the students with internships and work placements.

John Miller, Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, said in his speech:  “It’s a very exciting time for the University of Northampton and our company has been associated with the University ever since its footwear course commenced and we have been offering scholarships and bursaries since then. We’ve always felt there’s great opportunity for Northampton as the centre of the shoe industry and the University has the ability to build on the pedigree of the footwear industry that’s based here – Northampton is where it all happens and that’s a great advantage for its students.”

Dr Julie King, Subject Leader for Fashion and Textiles at the University of Northampton, commented: “We are all delighted to have such an incredible resource now available to our footwear and accessories students. It will help them become more technically proficient than ever before and builds on the amazing footwear heritage of Northampton.”


At the University of Northampton, we offer our students more than just a good degree; we blend academic and vocational skills with ‘real world’ industry experience and are ranked a top 50 University in the Guardian University league table two years in a row (2014 and 2015).

  • We were the first UK University to be awarded the Ashoka U ‘Changemaker Campus’ status, in recognition of our commitment to Social Entrepreneurship.
  • The 2014 National Student Survey (NSS) figures reveal that the University of Northampton’s overall student satisfaction rate is 89%, which places us three percentage points above the sector average of 86% for Higher Education institutions in the UK.
  • 96% of our graduates are employed or completing further studies within six months of graduating.*

*Source: HESA Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13. July 2014, compared to full HEI’s for full time study first undergraduate degree leavers.  (96% for the last three years)