Sunday, 15 December 2013

An Old Shoe Shop

This advertisement from 1889 recently caught my eye. I have quite vivid memories of McCutcheon's shoe shop in Butcher Street. They had an agency for start-rite shoes and as a young child I was dragged along to their premises to have my shoes fitted. Indeed my first pair of shoes was purchased from this emporium.

They had a strange piece of equipment which enabled the staff member to see whether a shoe had enough space around a child's foot. This machine was undoubtedly at the forefront of 1950's and early 1960's technology, but how it worked and how safe it was I really don't know. From the front it looked a bit like a lectern or a low pulpit. The subject of the examination stepped onto the machine from the rear and manoeuvred forward as far as possible so that his or her shoe encased feet were thrusting forward into an aperture. There was a viewing window on the top of the machine and the assistant considered the scene through this and then pronounced on whether the selected shoes were the correct size for the young feet.

During the course of my memory the business was owned by the Cunningham family who lived at 1 Carlisle Terrace from the time of the construction of that house at or about the date of this advertisement until it was sold by the widow of the late Cecil Cunningham in the early nineteen eighties to a gentleman by the name of William Coulter. For many years the Cunninghams provided lodgings for the Assize Court Judge.


  1. That was my Grandfather and He was actually Cecil Cunningham.

    1. Sorry about that Adam. I must have had a senior moment as I did know that. I have made the necessary alterations.

    2. No worries. Thanks very much for posting the picture. I shared it with my father John. Interesting bit of family history. Think the shop closed in 1982. Always remember visiting the shop and still love the smell of new shoes.