Shoe of the Month – Shoes with Stories

Shoes with Stories

These beautiful shoes were designed and made by Hetty Rose.

Henrietta Rose Grogan graduated from the London College of Fashion with a degree in Footwear Design & Development (Cordwainers). She worked for footwear designer Georgina Goodman on an industrial placement for a year and has worked in London and Italy for handmade shoe companies.

Hetty’s collection is based on the practice of re-using and re-working vintage materials in a creative and sustainable way, hand making gorgeous, feminine shoes to fit. She primarily uses vintage Japanese kimono fabrics: relics of a disappearing world, saturated in significance and hidden meanings. The colours and folds signify various seasons, occasion, status and the personal taste of the wearer.

Hetty Rose Shoe

Hetty Rose Shoe

You too could make a stunning pair of shoes like these or a pair of ballet pumps as Hetty is holding a shoe making workshop at Northampton Museum in March and in July.

The designs are simple, yet provocative, designed to make the foot appear more attractive. The collaboration of colours, materials, service and directional design result in unique, wearable footwear.

Find out more about our Shoe Making workshop by going to our website

Shoe of the Month – “Maria” Children’s Shoes

“Maria” Children’s Shoes

It is The British Heart Foundation Wear Red Day on 6th February and Valentine’s Day on the 14th.

To mark these occasions, Northampton Museum & Art Gallery are delighted to have received a donation of a pair of stunning red “Maria” children’s shoes by design house Vevian.

This classic patent leather shoe with a bow ribbon fastening comes in a beautifully handcrafted wooden shoes box and is one of their most popular styles.

Maria Children's Shoes by Vevian

Maria Children’s Shoes by Vevian

These will be on display  at the museum this month. To find out our opening times please go to our website

Shoe of the Month – Women’s Shoe 1640-1650

Women’s Shoe 1640-1650

Shoes from the 1590s and the beginning of the seventeenth century are rare survivors. This womens’ shoe is an example from 1640 – 1650. The latchet style and a ribbon or leather cord would have been threaded through the latchet holes to keep the shoe on. It has a reasonably high wooden heel covered in leather. It would have been hand sewn and because it is a concealed shoe it has been well worn and shows signs of repair. Concealed shoes are an item of footwear deliberately hidden in buildings.

Shoemaking was making its mark in contemporary society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as illustrated by The Shoemaker’s Holiday – a romantic comedy written by Thomas Dekker probably in 1599. Dekker’s play reflected the new interest in shoemaking, which was one of the most important trades at this time replacing England’s woollen trade. The truly beautiful alum tanned shoes with exquisitely fine cut work, pinking and razed patterns of the late Elizabethan and early seventeenth century are fine examples of the shoemaker’s craft and skill.

Women's Shoe 1640-1650

Women’s Shoe 1640-1650

The Shoemaker’s Holiday is currently being performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Strafford until 7 March 2015. The director, Philip Bream and the movement and stage designer came to visit the Shoe Collection at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery for more inspiration and to look at shoes and discuss the shoe trade in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

To find out more about The Shoemaker’s Holiday go to

Shoe of the Month – Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

These clogs are very special. They were given to the donor’s father by a Dutch family who befriended him during the Second World War. He was in the Army and travelled through France, Holland, Germany and Belgium 1944 – 1945

Clogs are very significant in Holland and are used to celebrate St Nicholas’s Day on December 6. Before they go to bed on St Nicholas’s Eve, some Dutch children still put out their clogs, hoping St Nicholas will fill them with presents by the morning. They also fill the clogs with straw or hay and a carrot as a treat for the Saint’s white horse.

When they wake in the morning, if they have been good the food is gone and sweets and toys are in its place. If they have misbehaved and been bad over the year, the carrot and straw remain and there are no presents, but a cane! Black Peter, a mischievous imp who carries a bundle of canes for use on naughty children, leaves the cane. So remember to be good this year.

Dutch Clogs

Dutch Clogs

Shoe of the Month – First World War Centenary Boots

First World War Centenary Boots

These ‘boots’ were made by artist Val Goldfinch. They were inspired by the centenary of the First World War. The first ‘boot’ is made from an old last and a map of Northamptonshire representing where it would have been made. During the First World War 70 million pairs of boots and shoes were made for the UK’s Forces and allies, with just under 40 million being made in Northampton and the County 

Val Goldfinch First World War Boot

Val Goldfinch First World War Boot

The other ‘boot’ represents its use in the trenches. The last has been built up and the boot is lined with a reproduction trench map and the bootlace has turned into barbed wire and is ‘Battle Scarred’

Val Goldfinch First World War Boot 'Battle Scarred'

Val Goldfinch First World War Boot ‘Battle Scarred’

Shoe of the Month – Best Foot Forward

Best Foot Forward

We’re always interested in adding contemporary designer footwear to our shoe collection.

These black patent leather peep toe mules are by the designer Yves Saint Laurent. circa 2005. They were donated earlier this year along with other designer examples.

YSL is a luxury fashion house founded by the designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge in 1961. Today the company markets a broad range of women and men’s ready-to-wear products, including leather goods, jewellery and of course shoes.

Yves Saint Laurent Mules

Yves Saint Laurent Mules

The mules show details that date back to the designs of the 1940s and 50s. They sport a low platform sole and open toe with a retro style bow detail, which were often seen on women’s shoes of the 1940s.

Discover more designer shoes in our collection by clicking here

Ride ‘em Cowboy

Ride ‘em Cowboy

Cowboy boots were traditionally worn by men who rode all day on horseback. The narrow toe of the boot made it easier for the cowboy to find the stirrup quickly when he mounted, and a reinforced steel arch braced him while he rode and roped standing up. The Cuban heel prevented his foot from slipping in the stirrup.

First appearing in the 1860s they may have developed from boots worn by military officers in the civil war or the footwear of Spanish conquistadors in South America.

Decoration varies widely. Early boots were made from cowhide pieces sewn together, but very soon cowboys began asking for decorative stitching, cutouts in the high tops like Texas stars and different materials. Modern examples can be highly decorated and come in the most lurid colours and materials including alligator and ostrich.

Cowboy boots have become an icon of American culture through Hollywood films and have been in and out of fashion ever since. Famous wearers include James Dean, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Springsteen and Rene Zellweger.

Cowboy Boots 1940s

Cowboy Boots 1940s

 This 1940s example was made in Texas.