These are perhaps the best made shoes I’ve ever seen, with a precision of the work that is extremely impressive. The shoes are a small series made by Crockett & Jones for an International craftsmanship exhibition in Turin in 1911. The story of these and pictures of several of them in today’s post.
The quality of factory-made shoes was very high around 1900, and many of the most skilled craftsmen worked for the factories, either as employees or freelance. Crockett & Jones’ factory was one of the big ones also at that time, and ahead of a major international craftsmanship exhibition in Turin, Italy, 1911, they decided to make an effort to showcase its level. A small series of shoes made by hand, with the best leather they could get (at this time, quality of material was generally much better than it is today), made by their best at the various moments. In other words, they are not representative of what C&J’s shoes looked like at the time, but showed what they were capable of.
Most of the shoes made for the exhibition stand on the shelves in the showroom located in the factory building in Northampton. The series consists of a mix of different models. The one who received the highest attention in the 1911 show was a slipper with an advanced pattern on the upper, which was hand. It was awarded first prize in one of the exhibition’s competition classes. Those who impressed me most though were a pair of classic classic oxford shoes with small details like rounded gimping and wider spacing between seams etc. The handmade sole stitches are tight and very neatly made, waist and heel clinically performed, and so on. Shoes I could sit and study for hours.