- Oct 9, 2017
- Reaction score
An interesting article that I came across, the birth of Mod.
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I agree, a lot of those shoes still look quite contemporary.I had a play with the wages and costs to see what the equivalent would be today.
The easiest way to do it is simply to add in the inflation rate - this would make his £5 pair of shoes cost roughly £100 today - high end high street - better quality Clarks - but not GYW.
It is more accurate to compare spending power compared to wages. This gets more complicated (measuringworth.com gives a great calculator if you are into that kind of thing) but can be simplified a bit. His weekly wage is £7 and that is more or less the same as an apprentice would get as an hourly rate today*. Assuming a 35 - 40 hour week, his shoes now cost getting on for £200 - which can just about get a pair of English made GYW.
His suit would be closer to £400.
Compared to income value change or labour value change, the amounts above would need to be increased by 50% to 100%.
That would probably fit better with the shoes - a pair of 'Jermyns' from Church's in 1958 ("A mature version of the current taper-toe trend" according to the ad) cost 109/9, so pretty close to the £5 he spends.
Even at the lower rate, a lot more than most people would pay today, even if earning much more.
*a bit of a crude equivalence as tax, social support etc have changed over time.
While I was looking for shoe adverts, I came across this page https://www.rushdenheritage.co.uk/shoetrade/ShoeManufsAssoc1958picAds.html of ads from 1958. It struck me that most of these shoes could still be sold today, whereas a lot from, say, 1974 would look really out of place.
Elsewhere on that site, there is a list of the Rushden shoemakers who used to be there. In the 1930s there were over 40. I think it is now down to 4, and much (most?) of their production is overseas.I agree, a lot of those shoes still look quite contemporary.
It's also good see brands like Grenson and Sargent still going today (unlike so much British manufacturing which has now gone to the wall).
The attraction of the foreign can often be alluring!So it seems that, while Italian country boys like me were trying to ape young Brits, these latter actually were inspired by Italian fashion.
What a waste of effort on my side ! ...
Maybe not all Nothampton based but I can think of more English shoemakers than that still on the go. Off the top of my head - Barker, Cheaney, Church, Gaziano Girling, Grenson, Lobb, Loake, Trickers. Maybe a few more, I dunno.Elsewhere on that site, there is a list of the Rushden shoemakers who used to be there. In the 1930s there were over 40. I think it is now down to 4, and much (most?) of their production is overseas.
From JS Facebook pageGoing back to the article, the window dresser made me think of John Simons who did the same thing,though he'd have been about 3 years older than 'Cliff'.
The lease on his shop(in 1964) was £14 and he took £60 in his first day. Comparing that to the numbers above shows how pleased he must have been
Yes, it's just Rushden that I was talking of.Maybe not all Nothampton based but I can think of more English shoemakers than that still on the go. Off the top of my head - Barker, Cheaney, Church, Gaziano Girling, Grenson, Lobb, Loake, Trickers. Maybe a few more, I dunno.
Not sure how much of their production has gone overseas, although I know it's not all.
Plummy voiced narrator. Poverty porn documentary.An interesting 1970 Thames TV documentary on poverty in North Islington just appeared on YouTube. Captures the time nicely, and fleeting glances of clothing, footwear and haircuts which may be of interest.