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#1 2009-06-15 03:25:03

Kingstonian
Member
From: sea to shining sea
Posts: 3205

My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

Just some of my experiences from a trip to Northampton. Manton and others have provided fully illustrated threads on Style Forum. I found those interesting, though I know some of you may not like the poster.

Anyway, I got a cheap train up from Euston as I did not fancy driving up the M1. The journey was quick and pleasant. I actually drove to Northampton the following day for a family celebration . The M1 was not the nightmare that it used to be. It was a Saturday but there was not the amount of road works that used to make car trips such a nightmare.

Everyone of the five shoe factories is in walking distance of Northampton station. Church’s is right next to it. I could have caught a taxi but I prefer walking, mooching around and getting a feel for the place.

My first call was J. Lobb - the furthest away in a Northern direction. Straight up through the town centre and just past the racecourse open space. You ring the bell and go upstairs. Like many of the shoe places, it is a proper old factory with a lot of character. The shop is not that  big and the shoes are in boxes down narrow aisles. There were other customers there when I arrived - all foreigners -an American, an Oriental and some Francophone blacks.

I was told there were no Oxfords, but they did have monk shoes. I tried Chapel double monks in museum brown. I liked them and bought them.

Next stop was Trickers. Crockett and Jones were closer but they were not yet open. Trickers has a fine shop. As has been mentioned before, the person who runs the shop is very knowledgeable and helpful. Trickers has a carpark which is welcome as the street is restricted waiting. Lobbs and Crockett & Jones are OK for street parking. I doubled back to Crockett & Jones which already had quite a few people browsing. Their shop is the largest I was in. Contrary to what has sometimes been said, they did have hand grades on sale.. They seemed to have huge numbers of Tetbury chukkas with Dainite soles too. However, in terms of savings nothing could touch  J Lobb. I also found that some C&J shoes had been obviously tried on so many times that you could say they were shop-soiled.

Back to the town centre on a lovely sunny day. I stopped off for a couple of pints (Holden’s Special - very nice) I then went to Church’s. They are right by the rail station. The shop is down a side street from the main reception. They had sample shoes for £75. That would be OK but all samples are in a size 8.5. No good for me. Nothing that looked a great bargain so I left and got the train back.

Please note that the factories close down completely for certain weeks. I was planning to go a fortnight ago but they were closed then. It is also worth ringing ahead to see what stock they have in your size. They will not have the whole range in the factory shop. Certain weeks are better than others. As a Brit, it gave me great satisfaction to see we are still making world class products albeit in limited amounts. It was nice to support a British industry. Obviously you look at people's feet as you are in the town. They are not well shod. It is a typical British town. Dress standards are typical - in other words poor.

I did not visit Edward Green as you have to phone in advance and book an appointment.

Last edited by Kingstonian (2009-06-15 03:27:58)

 

#2 2009-06-15 03:35:18

The_Shooman
A pretty face
From: AUSTRALIA
Posts: 12932

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

Thanks for the storey. lt's been a dream since l was a kid to visit the John Lobb factory. You are such a lucky guy having the opportunity to see all the Northampton shoo factories. l'm sooo jealous mate.

The Lobb factory was the stuff of legend when l was growing up. All the old Church's shoo salesmen used to tell all the Lobb stories to me as a wide eyed 8 year old.

Last edited by The_Shooman (2009-06-15 03:47:21)


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#3 2009-06-15 23:43:07

Cruz Diez
Member
Posts: 1950

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

Nice report! I especially liked your description of the surroundings and people, which is absent from most attempts on the forums.


"Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends" Coco Chanel
"A man cannot be born a tailor, but he can be born rich. The patrimony can be inherited, but not the art." Giancarlo Maresca

 

#4 2009-06-16 06:49:52

Film Noir Buff
Dandy Nightmare
From: Devil's Island
Posts: 9080

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

No piccies?


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#5 2009-06-16 07:51:06

Kingstonian
Member
From: sea to shining sea
Posts: 3205

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

Sorry. I do not have a digital camera.

Manton and co. had lots of photos in their SF posts though.

Lobb Chapel is a current model

http://www.johnlobb.com/uk/#/Ready-To-W … ige/chapel

 

#6 2013-11-24 03:20:08

Goodyear welt
Ivyist At Large
Posts: 2702

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

I managed to get to the John Lobb factory myself this past Thursday. So heres an update on Kingstonian's findings...

I traveled by train to Northampton and walked into town to get a bus to Oliver Street where the Lobb factory is. The bus station was a ten minute walk. Ten minutes in the town center is enough, its quite a dire little town. I asked a few drivers which bus I needed to reach Oliver st. Non of whom knew, non of whom had  heard of John Lobb either. I decided a taxi was in order, it took maybe a ten minute ride and the fare was £3.50. The factory is situated just off the main road and Oliver st. itself is mainly terrace housing after Lobbs premises. The shop is now found about 150 meters further down on the same side of the street, set back a little in new units. You can't miss it. To get into the complex you have to use an intercom. Once the gate is opened the shop can be found on the left side, where there is only one door. I say this because once into the yard you won't see any shop signs and there are three units (all owned by Lobb) to choose from.

The shop itself isn't big but is very well lit and consists of shelving running the length of the room with the shoes stored on them in plain white boxes. They are in sections according to size, after which they are random in style and colour. The lady in the store was happy for me to rummage though after offering help. I found her to be most agreeable. There were maybe 40 boxes in my size, some I liked, some I didn't. In the end I choose a pair of Brackley in Chestnut, it was between those and a pair of single Monks in black pebble. And I always say I don't like Monks! I would have purchased both if I hadn't done a wedge on a suit I'm having made the day before. Along the back wall there is a small selection of the Austin Martin range. Not my thing as a rule but some of the driving boots were fantastic. There was also a small selection of Lobb belts, slippers and socks for sale but oddly, I thought, not shoe trees.

The shoes in the shop are all seconds, (though I'm not sure about the drivers as their made in Italy) but on most pairs I couldn't see a fault. The shoes are sold at 40% below retail. They are sold with dust bags. My pair have a tiny fault above the heal, I think with the right polish it'll be un-noticeable. To get back to the town center I used the bus service, a stop can be found turn left at the top of Oliver st, crossing the road road and walking 50 meters. Its a regular service and I waited no longer than five minutes. I will return early next year and hopefully be able to check out some of the other factory shops as well.

http://forums.filmnoirbuff.com/uploads/thumbs/3934_bilde12.jpg

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Rocking traditional, current and classic Italian Ivy since 2011.

 

#7 2013-11-24 04:33:41

Sammy Ambrose
Member
Posts: 3552

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

^ Very nice. Good choice.


If you aren't seeing through all three eyes at once day and night you are up shit creek without a paddle. The Shooman

 

#8 2013-11-24 04:37:43

Kingston1an
Member
Posts: 3420

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

Interesting update. The lady in the shop is quite helpful.  Next time I went there was nothing in my size except loafers which I did not want. Plenty in smaller sizes and Oriental customers were happy.

As I say, I like walking and provided you have a map you can easily get to the different factories. I like Northampton - nice market and marvellous shoe museum- though some will find it humdrum.


"Florid, smug, middle-aged golf club bore in this country I'd say. Propping up the 19th hole in deepest Surrey bemoaning the perils of immigration."

 

#9 2013-11-24 05:23:34

Goodyear welt
Ivyist At Large
Posts: 2702

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

Yes, I would have been happy to walk myself but I couldn't find a shop with map sales. Which of the other factory shops would you say is best to visit, Kingston? I quite fancy the Sargent shop and Barkers, have you been?


Rocking traditional, current and classic Italian Ivy since 2011.

 

#10 2013-11-24 06:11:24

Kingston1an
Member
Posts: 3420

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

There are only five in Northampton town - Lobb , Churchs,  Crockett, Trickers and Edward Green. Crockett is only open Friday/Saturday. Edward Green used to be by appointment.

Sargent and Barkers are not in the town but in Northamptonshire. I have not visited them.

Here is a map:-

http://www.northamptonshireleather.com/ … ectory.pdf

Last edited by Kingston1an (2013-11-24 06:15:41)


"Florid, smug, middle-aged golf club bore in this country I'd say. Propping up the 19th hole in deepest Surrey bemoaning the perils of immigration."

 

#11 2013-11-24 06:52:24

Goodyear welt
Ivyist At Large
Posts: 2702

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

Thanks.


Rocking traditional, current and classic Italian Ivy since 2011.

 

#12 2013-11-24 13:20:04

The_Shooman
A pretty face
From: AUSTRALIA
Posts: 12932

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

Nice looking shoes, you are very very lucky.

Goodyear welt wrote:

I asked a few drivers which bus I needed to reach Oliver st. Non of whom knew, non of whom had  heard of John Lobb either.

I bet those folks had bad shoes on too. wink


Buff's Bastards......exposing message board inanity and keeping false GODS accountable since 2006!

Cooked food should be made illegal - Dr Jubb (Jubsy)

 

#13 2013-11-24 13:44:52

Goodyear welt
Ivyist At Large
Posts: 2702

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

I did see a number of men in bad leather shoes while wearing tracksuit bottoms as it goes. It struck me as that kind of town. I'm going to have to make an appointment for E.G next time. Those half brogues you posted up are on top of the top drawer for me, hopefully I'll find something along those lines.


Rocking traditional, current and classic Italian Ivy since 2011.

 

#14 2017-04-26 13:46:11

woofboxer
Devil's Ivy Advocate
From: Staines-upon-Thames, Middlesex
Posts: 6079

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

I had to go to Northampton one day last week to serve some papers so it seemed rude not to visit a couple of the factory shops.....

Trickers first, where I tried on a couple of pairs of derby shoes which were very nice but would really have just been duplicating similar styles/colours that I already have. As Kingy says, the bloke who runs the shop is a character and very knowledgeable about the products. Trickers is still a very traditional family firm who still send out stock in dozens and only stopped pricing the shoes in guineas in the 1980s.  The shop is quite basic but you can see into the the factory and watch shoes being made. The gent told me a great story about how during WW2 all the shoe factories in Northampton were turned over to war production e.g. army boots. After the war when shoe making resumed it was found that most of the wooden lasts had disappeared, because of coal rationing the workers had nicked them for firewood! It was a good story whether it was true or not.

The only other one I had time to visit was Church's which was much slicker and more like a high end shoe shop, which figures as the company is owned by Prada. In there I tried on a pair of cordovan plain toe Shannon derbys which fitted perfectly. Although greatly reduced they were still a fair wedge, I couldn't get my head around the purchase as I hadn't left the house that morning intending to spend a few hundred quid on shoes and it felt too impulsive so I walked away. A day or two of mulling over and research led me to discover that Church's only make a small number of cordovan shoes each year, so with the discount on offer they represented a good opportunity. I gave the shop a call and a couple of days later the Shannons arrived at my door. I'm very pleased with them, the only flaw I can detect is a small blemish in the leather near the toe on the right foot, I don't think this will be visible once they've had a bit of wear and polishing. I need to do a bit of shining up on them.

I will return sometime to visit the other Northampton factory shops. It seemed that at the two shops I visited only part of the stock was out on display. If they don't have the style you like out in your size it is definitely worth asking as it may well be available.

Here are my FAT BASTARD Church's Shannon shoes. I feel like a proper shooman now.



http://i1188.photobucket.com/albums/z406/woofboxer/IMG_3236_zpsc2ncrvzc.jpg


'I'm not that keen on the Average Look .......ever'. 
John Simons

 

#15 2017-04-26 15:50:57

woofboxer
Devil's Ivy Advocate
From: Staines-upon-Thames, Middlesex
Posts: 6079

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

and after a few minutes with the polishing cloth......


http://i1188.photobucket.com/albums/z406/woofboxer/IMG_3241_zpsnwptvx0q.jpg


'I'm not that keen on the Average Look .......ever'. 
John Simons

 

#16 2017-04-26 23:30:43

Film Noir Buff
Dandy Nightmare
From: Devil's Island
Posts: 9080

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

I went to Gaziano and Girling's showroom in NYC.  I need to order a few new pairs, maybe some urban commando boots and a pair of slip ons for the weekend. It was crowded when I gort there with some larger than life dandies and I was pressed for time but took a few hasty shots.

http://forums.filmnoirbuff.com/uploads/thumbs/5_2017-04-26_123546.jpg

http://forums.filmnoirbuff.com/uploads/thumbs/5_2017-04-26_123542.jpg

http://forums.filmnoirbuff.com/uploads/thumbs/5_2017-04-26_123642.jpg


Le costume fait sur mesure en tissue Fresco est le préféré des ploucs!
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#17 2017-04-27 01:37:27

The_Shooman
A pretty face
From: AUSTRALIA
Posts: 12932

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

Film Noir Buff wrote:

I went to Gaziano and Girling's showroom in NYC.  I need to order a few new pairs, maybe some urban commando boots and a pair of slip ons for the weekend. It was crowded when I gort there with some larger than life dandies and I was pressed for time but took a few hasty shots.

http://forums.filmnoirbuff.com/uploads/ … 123546.jpg

http://forums.filmnoirbuff.com/uploads/ … 123542.jpg

http://forums.filmnoirbuff.com/uploads/ … 123642.jpg

Some great looking oxfords, monks and booties. Love the blue 2 eyelet derby also. Incredible!

Last edited by The_Shooman (2017-04-27 01:39:12)


Buff's Bastards......exposing message board inanity and keeping false GODS accountable since 2006!

Cooked food should be made illegal - Dr Jubb (Jubsy)

 

#18 2017-04-27 09:15:32

Kingston1an
Member
Posts: 3420

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

woofboxer wrote:

I had to go to Northampton one day last week to serve some papers so it seemed rude not to visit a couple of the factory shops.....

Trickers first, where I tried on a couple of pairs of derby shoes which were very nice but would really have just been duplicating similar styles/colours that I already have. As Kingy says, the bloke who runs the shop is a character and very knowledgeable about the products. Trickers is still a very traditional family firm who still send out stock in dozens and only stopped pricing the shoes in guineas in the 1980s.  The shop is quite basic but you can see into the the factory and watch shoes being made. The gent told me a great story about how during WW2 all the shoe factories in Northampton were turned over to war production e.g. army boots. After the war when shoe making resumed it was found that most of the wooden lasts had disappeared, because of coal rationing the workers had nicked them for firewood! It was a good story whether it was true or not.

The only other one I had time to visit was Church's which was much slicker and more like a high end shoe shop, which figures as the company is owned by Prada. In there I tried on a pair of cordovan plain toe Shannon derbys which fitted perfectly. Although greatly reduced they were still a fair wedge, I couldn't get my head around the purchase as I hadn't left the house that morning intending to spend a few hundred quid on shoes and it felt too impulsive so I walked away. A day or two of mulling over and research led me to discover that Church's only make a small number of cordovan shoes each year, so with the discount on offer they represented a good opportunity. I gave the shop a call and a couple of days later the Shannons arrived at my door. I'm very pleased with them, the only flaw I can detect is a small blemish in the leather near the toe on the right foot, I don't think this will be visible once they've had a bit of wear and polishing. I need to do a bit of shining up on them.

I will return sometime to visit the other Northampton factory shops. It seemed that at the two shops I visited only part of the stock was out on display. If they don't have the style you like out in your size it is definitely worth asking as it may well be available.

Here are my FAT BASTARD Church's Shannon shoes. I feel like a proper shooman now.



http://i1188.photobucket.com/albums/z40 … ncrvzc.jpg

Glad to hear that the Trickers man - David - is still at the shop. Since the firms got wise to internet resellers the bargains are not what they were, IMO.

I got Trickers in cordovan in a similar style to your Church. I would like the Church Grafton walnut calf brogue if the price was right. I have their plain black Oxford - Consul.

I got Edward Greens in a pop up sale in London but I think their pricing is a bit too much. The Chapels I got in Lobb are now around £1200 though...

I do like Northampton. I have a sister that lives there. It has no pretensions, but has all the facilities of a decent provincial town and a decent marketplace - Middle England.


"Florid, smug, middle-aged golf club bore in this country I'd say. Propping up the 19th hole in deepest Surrey bemoaning the perils of immigration."

 

#19 2017-07-05 14:43:36

Goodyear welt
Ivyist At Large
Posts: 2702

Re: My trip to the Northampton shoe factories

I visited the Lobb, Church and Tricker factory shops last week. Not so much in any of them in my size but did get a nice pair of hi-tops in Lobbs for nearly half retail price. I can't find the fault with them but their stamped "R". Nice pair of suede loafers out of Trickers, made for Todd Snyder which were well under half retail. Had a small mark on the heel which came off with saddle soap. Nowt out of Church's as nothing was sexy enough.

Young guy in the Trickers shop when I was there. Nice enough. Will have to go back to get some boots for winter. £250...be stupid not to.

http://forums.filmnoirbuff.com/uploads/thumbs/3934_19832468_10159024071775397_1728842574_n.jpg

http://forums.filmnoirbuff.com/uploads/thumbs/3934_19866481_10159024071900397_741589219_n.jpg


Anyway just thought I'd keep you up to speed with da shoe situ.

Last edited by Goodyear welt (2017-07-05 14:44:27)


Rocking traditional, current and classic Italian Ivy since 2011.

 

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