*Bespoke MOSS BROS. British Army Officer’s Mess Boot & Spurs, Circa 1960: 41,5D
Size: 41-41.5 [US.8-8.5] [UK 7-7.5]
Styles: Boots/Stiefel, Collectors Shoes/Object d'Art, Custom-Bespoke-Maas
Custom Made – Bespoke
British Army Officer’s Mess Boot
All that is certain of Moss Bros’ origins is that it first appeared in King Street in 1881. Their reputation as a military outfitter was born after the Boer War when a collection of odd army garment was found tucked away in a cupboard in the King Street store and sold briskly. The same military clients soon came to Moss Bros for their civilian clothing as well. With the Great War in 1914, vast numbers of newly commissioned officers descended on King Street for their uniforms. In the 1920’s, mass-production of cars was in its infancy so horses were still important. Moss Bros was already well known for riding outfits, so it was a natural progression to add a Saddlery Department in Kings Street.
With the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the Military Department came into its own again and Moss Bros opened the following year in Portsmouth with the naval business in mind. However, within just a few days, the first bombs on Portsmouth landed on the store. Undeterred, Company Secretary John Russell found a wooden hut which he somehow persuaded the Navy to tow across the harbour. The hut was erected outside Portsmouth Dockyard and continued to do brisk business well into peacetime.
In 1988, Moss Bros sold its original site in King Street, Covent Garden. The capital freed allowed the merger with Cecil Gee, and thus with such prestigious names as Beale & Inman in New Bond Street and Savoy Taylors Guild, with its flagship in the Savoy Hotel in London’s Strand. Moss Brothers with its long traditions in military and equestrian clothing is now also in partnership with Ascot Racecourse to produce special formalwear. But history has come full circle. In the early 1990s, the company returned to Covent Garden once again, opening a traditional Moss Bros store opposite the original site in King Street. To enter that Covent Garden store today is to have the impression that you have returned to your club.
The present boot, a made-to-measure officer’s boot with detachable spurs for formal mess, dress or parade, is unusual in that the usual model for these occasions is the laced “George” boot. This pair is more correctly to be called a Chelsea Boot, popular during this period, except for the addition of the spur box for use in military occasions. Of course it is also possible that the owner commissioned these for horse riding for which it is eminently suitable.
The overall effect of the Chelsea Boots’s cut, the uninterrupted sweep of the vamp, is one of sleekness and elegance and is as highly recommended for business wear (perhaps without the spurs) as it is for jeans.
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Size Details:This is a custom-made boot thus unmarked as to size but by my precise measurements commensurate to a UK 7,5E......US 8.5D.....Continental 41,5D, for the mid-width foot.
Original sole and heel showing modest wear, the tops showing use and imperfections but sturdy, the elastic gussets somewhat stretched. Sold with spurs and without shoe trees. This is the finest level of hand-workmanship; the sole is hand-sewn into a channel and "skived" over.