Once there was a Shoe Shop...

Digging and scraping in the midst of the current renovation of our new shop premises at 130 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JE we found an interesting product brochure from a former occupant that we wanted to share. Dated 1921 - it has been hidden under floorboards undisturbed by water leaks or mice for nearly 100 years....

A Norman & Sons Ltd - a short history:
Established in 1863 by Albert Norman the firm of A. Norman and Sons Ltd, footwear wholesalers and later manufacturers, had its origins in the firm of Norman and Sons Boot and Shoe Factors of 34, 36 and 38 Kingsland Road, London E1.
1906  - the firm became a limited company with members of the Norman family as major shareholders and directors.
1927 - the firm had moved to 110-112 Shoreditch High Street, premises with which it remained associated until 1983. From these premises the company conducted business as general factors, supplying footwear of all types of retailers all over the United Kingdom.
1950 - the company acquired a manufacturing arm through the acquisition a Borough Shoes Limited, of Higham Ferres, Northamptonshire, formerly A. Sudborough and Son Limited.
1965 - a warehouse at 112-120 Tower Hamlets Road, Forest Gate, had been added to the company's assets.
1971 -  the last year for which an annual report survives, the company had a turnover of £865,156.
The Norman family remained associated with the company until 1972, when the company was taken over by Spencer Rotherham Limited, textile and general wholesalers, also of Shoreditch High Street.

Brochure Contents:
This collection covers the period between 1906 and 1972, the period between the formation of A Norman & Sons upto the takeover by Spencer Rotherham Ltd. A related series of trade catalogues is held by the Hackney Museum.

Our new shop - work in progress to reveal the past...

An impressive iron pillar uncovered and emerging from the rubble during the renovations at our new shop in the listed Wells & Company Commercial Ironworks Building at 130 Shoreditch High Street London E1 6JE. Opening April 2014.

After many hours of scraping, scratching, banging and knocking, we have discovered this original stone skirting border which we are hoping to keep. We have removed two false ceilings to bring the ground floor back to its original and impressive height of 3.7 metres - complete with original brick arches, cast iron pillars and columns and plaster friezes.
Peeling layers after layers these superimposed retro wallpapers, to reveal a grand decor mural, testimony of the past occupants tastes and previous trends.  

Down the creaky steps and into a Dickensian cellar.  Sprung with Victorian arches, cast iron pipework and even an old chimney breast and fireplace. We have permission from the conservation office to replace the stairs - needed! - although we plan to keep the catacomb atmosphere as original as possible.

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