This style of shoe is called a Paduka. It is made from wood and ivory and dates to the mid nineteenth century. Padukas are India’s oldest footwear. Their open design is suited to the climate, and they keep the sole raised above the sun-baked ground.
Within the Hindu religion, cows are considered holy animals and therefore footwear made of cow leather was not desirable. Footwear worn by holy people or in holy spaces was made out of wood, ivory, metal and sometimes camel leather. Holy men tended to wear very simple wooden padukas, whilst those worn by well-off worshippers tended to be more elaborate. Padukas can be easily removed before entering a sacred space like a temple.
The Hindu deities Krishna and Rama are often depicted wearing Padukas
A group of soldiers in India, late 1930s
In 1970 the Northamptonshire Regiment collection was moved to Abington Park Museum, where it can be seen today. Previous to this the Regimental Collection was based at various barracks in Northampton since it was first formed in 1933. In 1960 a major reorganisation took place of the Army. The Northamptonshire Regiment was included in this and the collection was moved to Gibraltar Barracks, Northampton before being moved to Abington Park Museum.
The collection includes photographs acquired by the Regiment over many years, some of which are the personal photograph albums of individual soldiers. Some of these photographs show life serving in a various number of places including Waziristan, India, Egypt, Iraq, China, Korea and other tours of various bases in Europe.
For the last three years Northampton Museums Service which currently looks after the collection on behalf of the Regimental Assosciation has been working to digitise the photographic archive. The results, over 1700 images so far, can be seen on the Northampton Museums Flickr stream: http://ow.ly/6H5Kq
Northampton Museums and the regimenatal Association would welcome comments on the history of these photographs, especially if you can identify any of the soldiers pictures.