Thursday 24 July 2014

Finding Your Feet

A long too hot today so a brief item from the past.  This is the way it was with or without socks.


From clogs to the dignity of boots

Tuesday September 5, 1916
The Manchester Guardian

The strong prejudice shown by even the poorest Londoners against clogs - which the high price of leather is said to be weakening - would have seemed ridiculous in the eighteenth century when clogs were worn by women of all classes.

The more refined variety of clog had a thin wooden sole, which was cut transversely in two pieces, attached to each other by a hinge. Anne Bracegirdle, the most beautiful actress of her time, wore clogs. Horace Walpole notes in one of his letters that "Mrs. Bracegirdle breakfasted with me this morning.

As she went out and wanted her clogs she turned to me and said, 'I remember at the playhouse, they used to call for Mrs Oldfield's chair, Mrs. Barry's clogs, and Mrs. Bracegirdle's pattens.'"

Pattens, which clogs have entirely superseded, consisted of a wooden sole with a large iron ring attached to the bottom for the purpose of raising the wearer above the wet and mud. They were fastened round the instep, and made a greater clatter than clogs. Many churches used to exhibit notices requesting worshippers to leave their pattens in the porch so as to avoid disturbing the congregation.

Even in Lancashire the wearers of clogs are becoming more fastidious. A decade ago the youths and young men of the mills and workshops wore their clogs during the evenings, and only rose to the dignity of boots at the week-end.

Now clogs are worn in at least one Lancashire town merely for work (writes a correspondent), and as soon as that is ended the workers put on their "everyday" boots as distinguished from "Sunday" boots.

Of course there are the conservative exceptions who still retain clogs for evening use, but even they have been influenced so far as to have a change, the heavy working pair giving way to a lighter make.

These latter are often works of art. The heel is high and comparatively slender, and the sole is thin, deeply curved, and finishes with a sharply pointed, upturned toe.

A rim of highly-polished brass nails fastening the uppers to the soles stands in bold contrast to the equally highly-polished black leather, upon which various designs are traced.

Further ornamentation is sometimes achieved by numerous lace-holes edged with brass and bored in a triangular group with the base lying on the instep, one pair I have seen having no fewer than 56 lace holes.

The price of this type is about seven or eight shillings. Those who indulge in this gaudy footwear invariably keep it as bright as new, bestowing particular pains on the brasswork.


Time to put the feet up.

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