I bought a pair of "Bench Made" brogues from Next many years ago. Within 3 months I had to have them re-soled. When I took them to the cobbler, he played heck about the poor quality of them, saying they shouldn't have needed repairing in such a short space of time. I wrote a letter of complaint to Next but didn't even get a reply. Needless to say, I've never bought a pair of shoes from there since.
roytonboy,I am not an expert on shoes, but I think that if your soles wore down quickly it could be due to the quality of leather used on the sole.
I am guessing that these shoes were cheaper than a known brand ie Cheaney ?,if so it could be the same as the Bexley shoes that have been discussed here previously,the shop recommends putting a thin rubber sole on the shoe as soon as possible to prevent wear.
I have the Bexley longwings a nice looking shoe IMO,very comfortable,but with a thin very soft leather sole and I am guessing that lack of a quality leather sole is how they keep their cost low.
I think that it is a case of buying a more expensive shoe and getting more wear from it,I read that a lot of real quality shoes use specially aged and conditioned leather for their soles,check out those Robinson longwings that Botolph put up pictures of,those soles are going to last a long time.
I have found a brogue that looks very similar to the shoes being worn by blokes in Bristol about 1970,Sanders Fakenham ,not a longwing,would something like that have been worn in your area around then ? also most brogues that I saw then were black,was that also the case in Manchester ?.