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Shoe Collection

Shoe collection and archive

Our shoe collection is Designated by Arts Council England and is of international significance.

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The collection

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is home to one of the largest collections of shoes and shoe heritage in the world. Arts Council England designates the collection as being of local, national and international importance. The collection's strength lies in its very broad range, from ancient Egypt to the latest fashions and from Northamptonshire-made shoes to footwear from around the world.

 Image link to History of the shoe collection page.

History of the shoe collection

Within three years of the museum’s foundation in 1865, records show boots and shoes were donated. The first was a pair of women’s slip-on shoes from India. In 1873, shoe factory owner Moses Philip Manfield suggested that displays of locally manufactured footwear would give shoe workers a standard to aim for and a sense of pride in their work. What then followed was a series of local and nationally significant donations and the collection continues to grow today.