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Origins of the names Oxford and Derby?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I've learned about the origins of the terms balmorals (from prince Albert's travel to the castle Balmoral according to Vass and Molnar) and bluchers (from field marshal Blücher who's soldiers wore boots with open lacing at Waterloo, according to Roetzel). But where does the names Oxford and Derby stem from? I've noticed that many makers or English shoes name their shoe models after towns - perhaps some particularly noteworthy shoemaker used the names Oxford and Derby for their models, and the usage got widespread?
post #2 of 12
Oxford comes from Oxford University, the first place that below-the-ankle lace-up shoes became popular. I don't know the origin of derby.
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton
Oxford comes from Oxford University, the first place that below-the-ankle lace-up shoes became popular. I don't know the origin of derby.
Isn't a derby shoe, like the hat of the same name, named after the horse races at which the styles were popularized? Or am I just making that up again?
post #4 of 12
Derbies were originally sporting boots, rather than shoes, and may have had buckles.

Aus_MD
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks!

Oh, another question: which of the terms "Derby" and "Blucher" (and "Oxford" and "Balmoral") predates the other? From the stories, they all seem to have originated during the first half of the 19th century.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by darck
Thanks!

Oh, another question: which of the terms "Derby" and "Blucher" (and "Oxford" and "Balmoral") predates the other? From the stories, they all seem to have originated during the first half of the 19th century.

"Oxford shoe" dates from the 18th century, Blucher (also originally a boot) from the early 19th century, Balmoral from the mid 19th century and Derby around 1900.

Aus_MD
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Wonderful, thanks! So the Oxford shoe predates the boots worn by prince Albert at Balmoral Castle? It is interesting that the older name Oxford still is around in Europe while the newer name Balmorals is used in the US. Is seems as if it typically is the other way around - US terms and customs are "older" than their Brittish/European counterparts.

Did the Derby's name come from the horse races as j suggested?
post #8 of 12
Thanks for your information.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by darck
Wonderful, thanks! So the Oxford shoe predates the boots worn by prince Albert at Balmoral Castle?

Originally called "Oxford-cut" shoes or "high-lows" (ie higher than a shoe, lower than a boot).

Quote:
Did the Derby's name come from the horse races as j suggested?

This is not clear - it may be from the town, as I believe there was a cordwaining industry there.

Aus_MD
post #10 of 12
The following is the first instance of "Balmoral boots", from Ewing Ritchie's Night Side of London (1858):

Quote:
... let us look at London on a Boxing night. By daylight you would scarce know London. A new race seems to have invaded the streets, filled the omnibuses, swarmed in the bazaars and the Arcade, choked up the eating-houses and the beer-shops. Smith with his Balmoral boots, Brown with his all-round collar, Jones with his Noah's Ark coat, Robinson with the straight tie, which young England deems the cheese, delight us no more with their snobby appearance and gentish airs; to-day this is the poor man's holiday. You can tell him by the awkwardness with which he wears his Sunday clothes, by the startling colour of his ties, by the audacious appearance of his waistcoat. If he would only dress as a gentleman dresses, he would look as well, but he must be fine. Well, it matters little so long as he be happy, whether he is so or not; and let him pass with his wife and children, all full of wonder and delight as they stare in at the shop windows and think everything-how happy are they in the delusion! - that all that glitter is gold.

The more things change...

Aus_MD
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Again, thanks a lot! This is great information.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton
Oxford comes from Oxford University, the first place that below-the-ankle lace-up shoes became popular. I don't know the origin of derby.

Wha...manton...does...not...know...? Must...breathe...!
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