A couple Sundays back in the post "A Valuable Booklet", I featured a few images from a quaint early 20th century pamphlet promoting the virtures of clogs.
I know you didn't need any convincing about the merits of wooden footwear, but apparently at the time, clog makers felt it necessary to lay out the case for their exceptionally enjoyable creations. As you might expect, the text is rife with the dated attitudes and assumptions of the period, though at this point in time how can you do anything but smile when confronted with a line such as "When mopping floors the rigid wood sole keeps the foot in a natural position and enables a woman to do her work with ease." Tsk, tsk, tsk! What were they thinking back then? It is tempting to wish you could forcefully plant the sole of that same shoe on the backside of the writer, but then you and I are no doubt equally caught up in the assumptions implicit in our own culture.
Strangely, though the shoes depicted in that eager tract seem just as dated to our 21st century eyes as the social sentiments expressed, I was happily surprised that many of you showed an interest in the possibility of owning a pair of these vintage styles for yourself. And here I thought I was the only one so smitten with wooden shoes.
Well, this Sunday I'm following up on that original post with news of a half dozen craftspersons from the British Isles who still proudly ply the clog making trade. And yes, if the Balmoral clog or the Clasp clog or any of the other styles so painstakingly illustrated in that "valuable booklet" truly caught your eye, you can have a pair made for yourself. How cool is that?
Follow the links and make your inquiries. (They're presented in alphabetical order.) And as a favor to me, let them know you read about them here.
In the meantime, I'm making a mental note to do a proper feature on these various gentlemen at some point down the road. I've covered the Scandinavian clog connection in great detail and given a nod here and there to the wooden shoes designed and manufactured in such places as Holland, France, and Germany, but I think I'm overdue for paying some serious attention to the folks in England who've been keeping their own clog wearing tradition alive!
Jeremy Atkinson, Herefordshire, U. K.
Mike Cahill, West Yorkshire, U. K.
The Clog and Shoe Workshop
The Clog and Shoe Workshop, proprietor Godfrey Smith, Scotland
Phil Howard, Greater Manchester, U. K.
Walkley Clogs, West Yorkshire, U. K.