Bill shares his decades of experience in the English shoe making industry from last maker for John Lobb, St. James in the ’70s to founding his own specialist, orthopaedic bespoke business, Bill Bird Shoes in the Gloucestershire countryside in 1987.
Alison Hastie got into shoemaking in 1978. Keen to earn a living using her hands, she saw shoemaking as the way to do just that. After University she joined the Conker Shoe Company in Devon where she gained practical knowledge and experience before founding Green Shoes in Totnes.
Bespoke shoemaker, Jim McCormack, one of the most well respected shoemakers in England, entered the trade at 16 and hasn’t look back since.
Retired John Lobb last and tree maker, Perry Bruce-Mitford shares stories of his time as an apprentice training with Lobb and most recently, re-training as a gilding conservator.
New Zealand-born, Tim Skyrme, is a well-respected craftsman now living in Australia.
A self-taught leather worker, Tim first trained in shoemaking at Cordwainers College in London in the 1970s. He then worked at Freed, the theatrical and ballet shoe company before moving to Kuranda in the rainforest, north of Brisbane, Australia. Keen to further his skills he trained with renowned shoemaker, George Koleff in Adelaide and mentored and trained Glenelg-based shoemaker, Eugenie Neave.
He is the author of one of the most comprehensive books available on shoemaking Bespoke Shoemaking : A Comprehensive Guide to Handmade Footwear and now makes cigar-box guitars.
Tim & Fiona Slack
The Slacks have worked in the shoe trade since the swinging ’60s, as designers, makers, consultants and trainers from Somerset to London and now Yorkshire. They’ve worked all over the world and now live in Yorkshire manufacturing under their own label and training up a new generation of shoemaker.
Philip Taylor – coming soon
Phil Taylor contracted polio as a child and went to school at the Lord Mayor Treloar College, where he trained to be a shoemaker from the age of 11 years. Now an orthopaedic specialist and master shoemaker, Phil says that he owes his success to Peter Shaw, who believed in him and encouraged and guided him as a young boy.
For the past fifty+ years, Phil has focused on passing on his skills and expertise, mentoring the young people who worked alongside him in his orthopaedic footwear business, The Cordwainer, in the Derbyshire Peak District and through his shoemaking book, The ORTHOPAEDIC SHOEMAKER: A shoemaker’s guide to the skills and science of getting it right.