Shoes and Costume
Explore some of the 25,000+ items of footwear held by the Alfred Gillett Trust.
Many of these were made by Clarks and associated companies such as K Shoes and numerous examples can be seen on display in the company’s Shoe Museum. Highlights of the collection on display include an 1885 example of James Clark’s Brown Petersburgh slipper and early examples of Nathan Clark’s Desert Boot.
The historic and world shoe collections encompass centuries of shoe history, including fragments of Roman sandals and medieval shoes as well as a rich array of women’s, men’s and children’s shoes throughout the ages.
As well as the footwear collection, the Trust also holds extensive ranges of accessories, tools, machinery and lasts associated with each stage of the shoemaking process.
The shoe collection is currently being digitised. Further information is available on this exciting project, which started in spring 2014.
The Trust’s shoe handling guidelines outline how shoes must be handled by Trust staff and visitors in order to preserve the lifespan of the shoes for future generations. These guidelines are available for those interested in learning more about shoe preservation.
The Trust holds a number of small costume collections originating from members of the Clark family. These include a variety of Quaker domestic costume items, mainly 19th century, as well as some 20th century pieces used for family theatricals.