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Detailed photograph
of an old cobbler's shop

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Full size reconstruction of a cobbler�s workshop in Victorian and Edwardian times, showing actual tools of the trade and how he worked

Life-size reconstruction of an old cobbler's shop - also known as a snobs, shoemaker and shoe mender - showing the cobbler's tools and how he worked. Photographed in Nidderdale Museum, Yorkshire.

The device between the cobbler's legs: the cobbler's clamp

The device between the cobbler's legs is a simple wooden clamp. It is similar to what my father used when hand stitching a leather sole onto a shoe 'upper'. As both hands were required to do the stitching, the clamp was needed to hold the shoe in position.

The cobbler in the photo is using the clamp to hold together two ends of a piece of leather, possible in preparation for sewing them together to form a loop.

The clamp works as follows. At the base, the two pieces of wood are joined together. At the top end they are free. When held between the legs, the knees apply pressure bringing the two pieces of wood together, holding the shoe in position.

Laurence McAvoy
Whose grandfather was a shoemaker who started a shoe repair business
in Belfast around the outbreak of the Second World War and whose father
took over the running of the business in the early 1940s
until retirement in 1970.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Pat Cryer, webmaster


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This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.