Archives

Shoes With Sole

Due to rationing in WWII, shoemakers had to find alternatives to leather. Called sea leather, their creative solution was to use brightly dyed fish skin!

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Shoe Digitisation Passes 100,000 Images Mark!

The Shoe Digitisation Project has just passed a massive milestone; we have now taken over 100,000 images of shoes! Since 2014, a dedicated team of professionals have been working on the project to clean, document, repackage and photograph our historic shoe collection. We now have a photographic record of over 7,000 shoes predating 1979, and […]

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Volunteers Wanted for the Clarks Point of Sale Digitisation Project

  The Point of Sale (POS) collection is one of the biggest and most historically significant collections held by the Alfred Gillett Trust. Not only it is one of the largest collections of its kind in the UK, but one of the most complete. With objects ranging from 1851 to the present day, with only minor […]

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Being an Investigative Sleuth: Finding Andrew Johnson and Henry Kay Henrion

Whilst cataloguing and numbering the Point of Sale collection, I’ve come across many interesting things: symbols used as illustrators’ signatures, famous actresses and photographers collaborating with Clarks, plus angry starfish and dancing crocodiles. The angry starfish and dancing crocodiles we’ll come to another time, but the fun part of not knowing too much about graphic […]

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The “Youth must be served”, the development of the Teenage range

The Teenagers range was a true reflection of Clarks capitalising on a period of dramatic social change reflected by the evolution of the ‘teenager’ into mainstream society. The range itself, aimed specifically at girls, has its roots in the Craftsewn range. The term ‘Teenagers’ made its first appearance in the April 1948 trade and price […]

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Syd Brak, Athena and Clarks

If you grew up in the 1980s and 90s, you undoubtedly know of ‘Athena’ and the posters they were renowned for. A recent article by The Guardian online came up with the 10 best posters from the time they were around. I was excited to see that one of the posters was by an illustrator […]

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The Hardy Amies influence

Hardy Amies first gained recognition in the fashion business designing women’s clothes.  He started training in the 1930s before starting his own business in 1945 and being appointed Dressmaker to H.M. Queen Elizabeth.  He was eventually appointed as Design Consultant to the Men’s Division of Clarks in 1962, collaborating with Hugh Brooking Clark.  Hugh believed […]

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The Dilemmas of Collections Management

These ‘Duskdawn’ shoes were made in 1957, and are from the Skyline collection. This image exemplifies the inevitable consequence of displaying our collection in a museum case.  Whilst the shoe on the right hand side has been held in a box away from any light, the shoe on the left has been on display in the museum, and has consequently sustained damage from the light used to illuminate […]

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Measuring Feet in the 21st Century

The Archive often deals with enquiries about foot measuring at Clarks and a new initiative has just been launched by the company which builds on its long heritage of foot fitting. An article on the BBC News website shows how iPads have been adapted for foot fitting and shows several examples of gauges from our […]

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Short hair for girls in the Clark family – can you solve the mystery?

Can you help with a mystery which has been bugging the Trust staff for some time? We have a large collection of photographs relating to the Clark and related families in Street, Somerset. Several of the young girls in the family wore their hair very short in late 19th century, and we have always been curious as […]

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