Before the 1920s everyone knew the local cobbler, a worthy representative of the 'gentle craft', who repaired shoes and made them look like new for a few pence. This book tells the story of shoemaking from the days of the isolated shoemaker, who made a shoe right through, to the groups of men who worked with apprentices in the larger towns and served the customer direct. It shows the growth of mass production in the seventeenth century, with a recognisable factory system and warehouses in the cities. Finally the book shows the late development of mechanisation in the 1850s and the rigidity it imposed. About the author June Swann MBE, was Keeper of the Boot and Shoe Collection, Northampton Museum, until 1988. She is now a consultant on the history of shoes and shoemaking.