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The Story of the Norwich Boot and Shoe Trade Paperback – 31 May 2013
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Author: Frances and Michael Holmes
In the years leading up to World War II the Norwich boot and shoe trade employed over 10,000 people, a staggering 15% of the total workforce, making it the City's premier industry. Many large companies were all forces to be reckoned with. Yet by the end of the century these mighty companies along with many of their competitors had floundered and failed. This raises many questions. Not least of which is: Why? But it is also important to ask: What was it like working in the shoe factories? What shoes were made? Who were the major companies? What is their legacy? The best people to answer such questions are those who worked in the factories. Here their fascinating commentaries have been interweaved with archive material, photographs, contemporary newspaper reports to tell the engrossing story of the Norwich.
Publisher: Norwich Heritage Projects
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on 4 December 2016
I picked up my copy of this book while doing a tour of the Van Dal shoe factory in Norwich and I found it a fascinating read. At its height the shoe making trade employed more than 10,000 people in the Norwich are which was about 15% of the total workforce. The book takes you through the rise and fall of the industry from the 14th century to the present day. It describes the processes involved in shoe manufacturing and discusses the impact of modern technology on them. There are sections on all of the major manufacturers and retailers in and around Norwich as well as a chapter on the legacy left by the industry. I particularly enjoyed the many "Lasting Memory " pages which are spread throughout the book, in which former employees describe their experiences in the trade. The book is packed with wonderful black and white and colour pictures and illustrations which greatly enhance the text. All in all, it is a thoroughly enjoyable and informative book.
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