The Alfred Gillett Trust based in Street, Somerset is a charity that was established in 2002 to care for the heritage collections of C&J Clark Ltd and the Clark family which established the globally-recognised shoe company.

The collections are varied and include family and business archives, shoe catalogues, point of sale materials, fossils, artwork and furniture, costume, film and sound archives, and a large collection of historic shoes and shoe making machinery.

We are based in the Grade II listed Grange, a purpose-built archive and museum store near Clarks Village and Clarks HQ in Street, which also houses a public reading room, seminar and conference rooms, cataloguing areas, photographic studios and staff offices.

Our Mission and Vision

Our Mission is to share the rich history of Street’s shoe industry, demonstrating the principles of stewardship, integrity and community-mindedness, upon which the collection was founded, and inspiring the next generation of creators, thinkers and innovators.

Our vision is to inform and inspire the public by sharing the cultural history of shoemaking.

Charitable Objectives

The Trust’s charitable objects are:

to advance public education through the co-operation and assistance in the foundation and maintenance of a public records centre and museum in Street in the County of Somerset or such other place as the Trustees may decide for one or more of the following purposes namely:

a) the preservation within a library archives and records centre of the historic papers records and exhibits connected with the footwear and shoemaking industry in the town of Street and the surrounding area or elsewhere; and

i) those who developed the said industry and trades particularly in Street and the surrounding area;
ii) the domestic and social life of the area; and
iii) the Religious Society of Friends

b) the exhibition to the public of historic shoes material machinery equipment and buildings used in connection with the said footwear and shoemaking industry and its supply and distribution trades;

c) the exhibition to the public of any fossils and other articles of historic interest or articles of artistic merit including paintings drawings and works of art of all kinds.

Alfred Gillett

Alfred Gillett (1814-1904), fossil collector

Alfred Gillett (1814-1904), fossil collector

The Trust is named for Alfred Gillett (1814-1904), a local cousin of the founders of C & J Clark Ltd, Cyrus Clark and James Clark. Alfred retired to Overleigh House in Street and spent many years researching and excavating the ichthyosaur fossils for which Street is internationally renowned.

More information on the Trust’s geological collections are available for those who are interested.


2 Comments on “About”

  1. Was your Alfred Gillett related to Mr. J. H. Gillett, who i believe invented the Gillett skate. In his diary for 8 March 1881 my grandfather records that he had a pair from Mr Gillett, at a cost of over £3, describing them as as “a boot with a wooden sole……….are brown leather & lace high up”. I am transcribing the diary and should like to have a picture of the skates to use as an illustration, if possible.


  2. Having checked the archive I am afraid I can neither confirm nor deny whether ‘our Alfred Gillett’ is descended from the Mr J H Gillett referred to in this enquiry.
    Alfred’s father was John Gillett (I do not have any record of a middle name) and he was a shopkeeper. However, there is no reference to him, or any of the other Gillett relatives, being involved in shoemaking – I would therefore conclude that it is unlikely that Alfred Gillett is related to J H Gillett.
    The collections team have also been unable to find any reference to the ‘Gillett skate’ mentioned.