How were the shoes made?

Making the shoes at Mansfield Shoe Co. happened in different stages.

By Jodie Henshaw

1.Designing and Pattern Cutting Department

The Shoe Designers made the original shoe from which all others were made, the designer needed to know how to make each part of the shoe. The Pattern Cutter then creates the template from which the shoes will be made.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'How were the shoes made?' page

2. Clicking Department

In the Clicking Department all the leather and fabric parts of the shoes were skilfully cut out.

‘…for ½ Hour in the morning, and again in the afternoon, we were allowed the luxury of listening to ‘Music While You Work’ a popular radio programme at that time.’ Cliff Burton

3. Closing Department

In the closing department the leather and fabric pieces of the shoes were stitched together and the decoration was added.

4. Press and Sole Cutting Department

The insoles, soles, heels and stiffeners were made in this department. Working In this section required strength, skill and good teamwork.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'How were the shoes made?' page

5. Making Department

In this department all the different parts of the shoes were fixed together, it required a lot of skill to operate the machines by hand.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'How were the shoes made?' page

6. Finishing Department

In the finishing department the final touches were made to the heels and the soles.

‘….the working environment at that time left a lot to be desired, as it was very noisy, and the air was thick with leather dust, from the sole scouring machines, dust extractors were fitted but were not very effective….’ Cliff Burton

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'How were the shoes made?' page

7. Shoe Room

In the shoe room final touches were added to each pair of shoes, socks and laces were added before there were wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a box.

‘…I examined every pair of shoes produced, at that time we were making 18,000 pairs of shoes per week, any footwear that was rejected was sold to the workforce on a departmental basis, when a reject sale was announced, people got very excited, the sale took place in the Factory Canteen after you had finished work it was a stampede to get the pick of the shoes on display, at that time a pair of Reject shoes would cost you 15 Shillings…’ Cliff Burton

This page was added on 24/01/2012.
Comments about this page

I have looked at web pages in the past on how to make shoes with little success. This is the best one I have seen and is a great educational source - thank you

By Paul Mapes
On 01/02/2012

Remember going to shoe co on a trip with my school. Very interesting and I remember the smell to this day

By Enid
On 23/04/2015

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