World’s leading collection of shoe heritage opens to the public!

Lovers of shoes will be in awe once you cast your eyes on the beautiful and inspiring shoe collection which totals 12,000 pairs dating from 1620 to the present day – now that`s a lot of shoes! Some of the country`s most respected and best-known brands and designers attended the launch event and some of the industry`s best modern-day talent, including Jeffrey West and Stamp Shoes, was showcased. The museum`s highlighted pieces include Vivienne Westwood`s Super Elevated Ghillies, the well known style that caused Naomi Campbell`s fall in 1993 (who can forget that?!), the shoes Queen Victoria wore on her wedding day and the stilts in the shape of a pair of Doc Martens made for Elton John to wear in the Pinball Wizard sequence in the film of `Tommy, A Rock Opera.`

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Westwood Super Elevated Ghillies

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Queen Victoria Wedding Shoe

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Elton John ‘Tommy’ Boot

Rob Purdie, Executive Director, Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, which has supported the reopening of the museum and continues to work with the modern-day shoe and leather industries in Northamptonshire, comments:

`The Northamptonshire footwear industry is globally unique and home to an unrivalled concentration of the world`s most respected, high end, handmade shoes including Church`s, Cheaney, Barker, John Lobb, Jones and Jeffery West.

`In addition, Northamptonshire’s educational, scientific and technical expertise is recognised world-wide and our leather merchants work internationally supplying just the right kind of leather for some of the most demanding global brands. The industry flourishes today, and that`s why we`re celebrating the best of the past alongside leading new initiatives such as the launch of the International Footwear Foundation, which will support ancestral tourists and international visitors to understand the industry in the county as well as provide high quality educational and research facilities for contemporary designers, researchers and students.”

Quirky and bizarre footwear is also included in the collection. A boot made for an elephant, tribal crocodile shoes and examples of `concealed shoes`, shoes hidden in old buildings as a good luck ritual, which dates from as far back as the 15th century are all just a snippet as to what this range has to offer.

So if you`re ever in Northamptonshire then pop along to the Museum & Art Gallery and gaze upon the weird, crazy and beautiful gathering of shoes!

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