*NEW – K SHOES, England, Cap-Toe Officer’s Dress Oxfords, Circa 2000:41.5-42D/E
Size: 41-41.5 [US.8-8.5] [UK 7-7.5], 42-42.5 [US.9-9.5] [UK 8-8.5]
Styles: Militaria, Oxfords
Made in England
Royal Warrant Holder
K Shoes provided footwear, shoes and boots, to civilian and military alike for more than 100 years. Demobbed soldiers, comfortable in their Army issue dress K Shoes, continued to favour them for civilian use. It is hard to say if this pair was intended for an Army officers uniform or his daytime civilian kit; the models are identical.
In 1990 K Shoe Shops and K Shoemakers experienced a rapid decline and ever increasing redundancies as world recession took its toll and the retail trade in particular declined significantly. Offices and factories were closed. The important Lancaster factory stopped production. Finally, on 2nd May 2003, Natland Road Springer Factory produced the last K Shoes that were to be made.
Jonathan de F. Somervell, in his erudite and highly readable history of the firm, K Shoes | Industrial History of Cumbria [http://www.cumbria-industries.org.uk/a-z-of-industries/footwear/k-shoes/] writes, “All that now remains of the company founded by Robert Miller Somervell in 1842, which in its heyday employed 20% of the working population of Kendal and had at least one member of every family in the town on its books, is a small repair factory and a warehouse.” Behind these poignant words lurk the wonder and the tragedy of the industrial revolution, its politics and its evolution. While we, the privileged, enjoy the fruits of industry, how many artisans and craftsmen are displaced and impoverished by market forces that are beyond their understanding or control? To the buyer of these shoes; wear them with the greatest of pleasure and pride -these are right and proper English goods- but wear them also with appreciation for the dedication -the life’s work- of anonymous cordwainers, redundant now, in a dying industry.
With production ended and their retail stores closed, very few examples of this consummately English firm’s products are to be found now, a dozen years later, certainly not in new, boxed condition. This pair is a “find” for the lover of tradition and it is a piece of English history.
Size Details:Marked UK8. By my measurements, this is a 41.5E, for the medium to slightly wider foot but also suitable for a 42D, a medium width foot.
New and unworn in original carton. Trees not included.