Living in humble Lancashire I am constantly exposed to the quirks of the people and traditions that dwell within the county. I can quite say that this part of the North-West isn’t instantly recognised as influencing fashion, but after a bit of hard work and interest in my local surroundings I managed to find something quite remarkable.
Above is a picture of a lady from Nelson, Lancashire cleaning the front wall of her house. Nothing too special about this image other than what she is wearing on her feet. Clogs were a huge part of the North’s makeup in regards poorer people that worked in the mines between the start of the 19th Century and beginning of the 20th wore these shoes as they were cheap to buy and even cheaper to maintain. The industrial revolution really gave clogs the exposure they needed to be on everyone’s feet. This type of footwear differs from the traditional Dutch clog in the respect that it has a wooden sole, leather uppers fastened together with stitching and tacked to the sole with brass fixtures. Usually the clog came with iron trimming on the sole to make the shoe last longer.
The clogs importance and wear soon departed after the first world war after cheaper man-made shoes were made. The clog was also dealt a deadly blow by Morris Dancers or Clog Dancers who took to attaching bells to their shoes to accentuate the noise of the feet on the floor. The shoes were now no longer cheap, practical, affordable or most important of all cool. There are still a few enthusiasts for the clog in and around the North of England and Scotland, who use old traditions and make footwear to order but there are more everyday that stop.
Now the footwear of so few and can either be seen as a novelty item sold in extremely small sizes to be placed on a mantlepiece or used for heavy industry, I do believe that the Lancashire Clog may well be making its way back to being worn by a few people again. Watch this space that is all I am saying…