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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Wigan Album



Shoe Repairs
Shoe Repairs
Photo: Dennis Seddon
Views: 515
Item #: 35165
Inside Rickards shoe shop on Hallgate.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 2nd July 2024 at 09:15

Thankyou so much for posting these, Dennis. I am so sorry to hear that the shop is closing. I always had my shoes mended at Rickard's; the courteous service and the workmanship was far better than the "pop-in" places. It had such and "old-fashioned" air in that shop....it wasn't "posh" and I think that was part of its appeal. Unfortunately I have been unable to wear the heeled shoes I used to have mended for some years now and I hardly ever go to Wigan these days. When I was at Wigan Little Theatre I went in to ask if we could have some leather cuttings for the workbench in "Hobson's Choice", (which is set in a clogger's shop), and the man in your photos gave me loads of them and also some paper bags for the "shop" on the stage. He was so kind. I wish him well in the future.

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 2nd July 2024 at 11:04

Irene, I only went in to get a key cut, but I found the place fascinating.
I got talking to this man and he told me all about his family and the history of the business. I asked him if I could take a few pictures and he readily agreed.
I could have stayed there all day and listened to him.
I'm truly sorry to see the shop go.

Comment by: Veronica on 2nd July 2024 at 12:34

It’s very sad to see these types of shops closing. We live in a
‘ throw away ‘ society these days. I bet that shop smelled like ‘Owd Blinkhorn’s’ Clogger's where my old dad sent me with his clogs for irons. I doubt they could mend the stinky trainers that a lot of folk wear these days…Clogs have had their day though and clattered off into the sunset.
Irene you would have loved the Cloggers where I was sent as a child. A bit scary though when ‘Owd ‘Blinkhorn’ appeared through the trap door in the blink of an eye!

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 2nd July 2024 at 12:59

What interesting photos. We used to have a ' proper' shoe repairers here where I live till a couple of years ago. I remember the smell as you walked through the door, glue, leather, machine oil etc.
It was a loss to the town when ' The Cobbler' retired.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 2nd July 2024 at 14:36

I wish I could have seen "Owd Blinkhorn" popping up through the trap-door, Veronica! We had a chippy in Ince called Blinkhorn's We had a cloggers in Ince too....ours was called Barlow's and I actually wore clogs as a little girl and I know Elizabeth did too as she was related to Walter Hurst, the well-known Hindley clog-maker. My Dad used to mend our shoes on a "last" which I still have somewhere and that ALSO appeared on the stage at WLT in "Hobson's Choice", along with my Victorian lamp with its white globe and my aspidistra on its plant-stand.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 2nd July 2024 at 14:56

I was going to say ‘what a load of cobblers’ but meant it in the kindest possible way.
Sad to see that it is closing, perhaps another craft consigned to history.
I must confess though I cannot recall the last time I had shoes soled and healed, probably in Timpson’s when they were in Standishgate.
My dad always had quality shoes from McNulty’s, he had a last and took care of all our shoes when we were young. He got the skill and the leather from Jimmy Walker who had a cobblers shop in Millgate.
Very many thanks for the picture Dennis it brought back memories.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 2nd July 2024 at 15:01

PS, I’m in Wigan tomorrow so will call in and wish him all the best. It’s the least I can do.
These pictures Dennis will I hope be viewed with great nostalgia for many years to come.

Comment by: Veronica on 2nd July 2024 at 15:42

My dad had a ‘last’ and he had made his own wooden tool box with hammers and
screwdrivers and all that goes with those things. I don’t know what happened to them when he died. Although I have two hammers of his. The screwdriver went missing once when a workman was at my house! He ‘borrowed’ it and I never saw it again. Also a wallpaper scraper went missing when I had a decorator in. Those tools were the best quality and years old. He probably inherited them from his own dad. So beware when you have workmen in the house!!! I bought a new wall paper scraper and it wouldn’t scrape the icing off a cake! Nothing but rubbish these days… My first clogs were bought when I started walking at 11 months Irene and I haven’t stopped since!

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 2nd July 2024 at 16:04

Tell him about Wigan World Album, Colin, as he may not know of it, and he can then see the photos and read people's comments.

Comment by: Alan Winstanley on 2nd July 2024 at 16:10

On hearing the news when i popped into the shop about the impending closure ,i was absolutely shocked !!!! I understand his reason's after all he and his family have been very good and loyal servants to the people of WIGAN. I will miis him terribly because the only shoes i usually buy are all leather and as for taking them to Timpsons "You can kick that into touch"" for they have not a clue i just don't like their standard of work .
So another nail in Wigan's store's but have to thank them for their workmanship and would like to wish them all the very best in their retirement THANK-YOU!

Comment by: . Ozy . on 2nd July 2024 at 19:14

My sister in law Elsie used to buy me clogs from the blind shop off Darlington st East in the late 60s .
I’m sure they only cost a quid a pair .

I would screw footprint shaped bits of old car tyres to the wooden soles and they’d outlast 3 or 4 pairs of boots … I’m going back to the mid to late 70s here by the way .

They took a bit of getting used to mind , but they were warm in winter and cool in summer and they didn’t make your feet sweat either , but when you wore them in the snow they became “ cloggy boggy “ and the farther you walked , the taller you’d become .

When the blind shop closed , I started getting them from Walter Hurst , but Walter was charging four quid a pair for his .
I bought a pair for the ex-wife’s birthday one year …. brown in colour , ( the clogs that is ) , but the dozy cow never wore the blimmin’ things so they lived on a shelf in the shed for years .

I don’t know where they eventually ended up.
Car boot sale most likely .

Comment by: . Ozy . on 2nd July 2024 at 19:25

P.S. send us a postcard when you arrive in Timbuktu Veronica .

Comment by: Veronica on 2nd July 2024 at 22:20

Will do Ozy! But it may be Tittybong not Timbuktu.

Comment by: David Wood on 3rd July 2024 at 09:08

Does anyone remember Bob Housley's shop on Warrington road, Newtown, where Rathbone's shop is now.

Comment by: James Last on 3rd July 2024 at 09:12

Only reason it's closed is because all you Wiganers have started buying cheaper shoes from China.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 3rd July 2024 at 12:29

Just got back from Wigan, unfortunately he is closed on Wednesdays so will call in on Friday.
Looked through the window, it was like glimpsing into the past, amazing!!! I will try again Friday.
I alway buy my shoes from Clark’s but I always chuck them away rather than get them soled and healed, that’s probably because they are not the quality they used to be.
Thanks again Dennis for the heads up.

Comment by: Dave johnson on 3rd July 2024 at 16:23

David, I remember Bob Housefly. No matter when he said your shoes would be ready, when you went for them he was always going to do them next!

Comment by: Pw on 4th July 2024 at 19:11

I remember when the cloggers in Hindley was run by Harry Hurst,Walters dad.I think Bill Hurst who had the bike shop in Hindley was Walters uncle.Walter certainly was a character.

Comment by: Ian Myall on 10th July 2024 at 12:48

All those people lamenting the closure of a real Cobblers in Wigan, Rickards, may like to know that a nephew of the current owner of Rickard's has a Cobblers in Farnworth, Bolton, he has been there for years after his father moved the shop from Walkden, it is on Market Street and I always take my leather soled and heeled shoes there and he does an absolutely excellent job to boot! (please excuse the pun) It is a bit of a stretch from Wigan but well worth the trip, good luck.

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