Sunday, 24 July 2016

Shoe Folklore

The Cobbler

Although most dictionaries still list cobblers as being menders of shoes, common usage has twisted their role to being makers of them. The meaning of the word changed in the mid twentieth century, originally shoemakers were known as cordwainers. The cordwainers established a guild in the medieval period and woe betide any cobbler who overstepped his brief.

Historically shoes were an expensive item which warranted repair so cobblers patched and soled and latterly re-heeled shoes, these days very few people bother to have more than new heel tips put on their shoes hence the rise of the heel bar.

The often visible nature of the cobblers art gave rise to several idiomatic phrases such as;
Cobbled together meaning made badly of anything to hand or
Load of old cobblers (or simply Cobblers!) meaning rubbish or that the person was telling a tall story.
Let the cobbler stick to his last meaning stick with what you know.

Mending in World War Two
A rubber Philips sole has been added as a preventative measure and only a quarter of the heel has been replaced to conserve materials.

1960s. This pair has had the whole heel replaced not just the tip. Judging by the condition of the rest of the shoe which has been reglued where the crocodile has cracked they were obviously a much loved pair.

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