Monday, July 26, 2010


Spending endless wonderful summers in England when I was growing up, wearing Clarks shoes was just what everyone did. As my uncle was a Director of the company, Clarks shoes were part of our family. Of course I just wore them back then and never put much thought into the history of footwear and how the styles changed dramatically each decade.

Recently and for the first time, I visited the Clarks Shoe Museum in Street, Somerset, headquarters of Clarks manufacturing and home to the Clark family. I never even knew there was a museum (amazing what inheriting Doris' collection has opened me up to!) so off I went with my uncle Hugh and Olivia.
Now, I have heard of the Bata Shoe Museum in Canada, and I know I can see pairs of outrageous 16thcentury chopines in the Venice Museum and of course feast my eyes on small displays of delicate silk brocaded dancing slippers at the V&A in London, but I had no idea such a superior and exciting collection of shoes, from a prehistoric grass and hide 'slipper' to Ferragamo pumps from the 70s could be seen just down the road from all my relations in England.

And there are cases upon cases of historic, glamorous, funky and pretty shoes along with very interesting and in depth text about the history of shoes and what was going on each decade to influence shoe styles. It is a wonderful, intimate museum to get lost in for an hour or so.

And just to tempt you to visit Street even more, Clarks (along with Monsoon, Evelyn & Crabtree, Witchery and more) has an outlet shop in a brilliant brand-name outlet centre just up the road.