Craft / March 2017

Edward Green: Quintessential British Excellence

We explore Edward Green’s modern factory in Northampton, and discover why it’s one of England’s finest shoemakers.

Founded in 1890, Edward Green is one of England’s most prestigious shoemakers. Creating a modest figure of 350 pairs a week, which is a fraction of its neighbours’ productivity, all of its shoes have a distinctly British sensibility to them. The brand is fairly lauded for its refined lasts, quality of calfskins and handwork and just so happens to be the latest addition to the burgeoning footwear offering on The Rake Atelier.

Aside from the quality of its produce, what sets Edward Green apart is its modern factory, where the brand’s Head of Brand & Business Development Manager Euan Denholm is showing us around. “It’s a big, spacious building that’s much easier to work in, whilst may not be as atmospheric as a Dickensian workshop it allows our craftsman to properly see the character of the shoe and leather they are working on,” he says. The factory is brightly lit and devoid of the creaky floorboards and spiderweb-clad windows found elsewhere in the shoemaking town.  As a result of having this sort of set up, it allows the brand to perform at a consistent and high-quality function.

Our tour starts in the clicking room, where the shoemaking process starts following the selection of calfskins. In comparison to other local shoemakers, Edward Green’s clicking room is significantly smaller and quieter, thanks to the select amount of craftspeople working to meet the brand’s modest output. Furthermore, all of the parts are cut by hand, rather than a loud, industrial punching machine. Edward Green primarily uses Italian and French-sourced calfskins, and its veteran clickers’ roles are to survey the skins and feel for growth marks and imperfections and adherently work around them — there are no compromises or exceptions. Then, according to the pattern of the shoe, they click the uppers from the finest and most flawless areas using their own unique tools.

Contributor

Benedict Browne

Benedict is The Rake's Associate Style Editor.