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The Sons of St Crispin: The History of the Boot and Shoe Trade Unions

Start Date 11 September 2010
End Date 06 February 2011
Venue Northampton Museum
Location Northampton, UK

The Sons of St. Crispin Exploration of the Boot and Shoe Trade Unions exhibition will take place from 11 September 2010 to 6 February 2011.

St. Crispin is the patron saint of shoemakers and the namesake of the upcoming exhibition at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, Guildhall Road.

NUBSO, the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operators was the main union for the boot and shoe trade in the 19th and 20th centuries and therefore had a large number of members within the county. The exhibition is set to showcase the work of the union and its predecessors.

In 1905, 115 men of NUBSO marched from Raunds to London to protest about pay deals from the War Office, and visitors will get the chance to relive this moment and have a go at marching the route ‘in a marcher’s shoes’, whilst singing to the Raunds marchers’ songs.

Cllr Paul Varnsverry, cabinet member for community engagement, said: “The boot and shoe manufacturing heritage of the town and county is recognised the world over and is something we are proud to celebrate. I grew up in a part of Northampton where there were several shoe factories nearby, which a number of our neighbours worked at. I remember watching one, a retired cobbler, manufacturing a pair of tan brogues for my paternal grandfather. This instilled in me an interest in how clothing is put together that endures to this day.

“The Sons of St. Crispin exhibition will be informative and interesting for people of all ages and will create in visitors an understanding and respect for the skills of those factory workers who between them have guaranteed Northampton’s place on the global map.”

The exhibition also features a small taste of the St. Crispin’s fair, a fair that was held in the middle of Northampton to celebrate St.Crispin’s day each year. In the spirit of the fair visitors will be able to have a go on the museum’s very own coconut shy.

For more information please contact the museum on 01604 837111.

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