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The concealed revealed

What are concealed shoes?

Women's black leather lace ankle boot, 1880s. Found under the bedroom floor of a farm in Shepton Mallet, Somerset

Women's leather boot, 1880s. Found hidden under the bedroom floor of a farmhouse, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

What are concealed shoes?

Concealed shoes are those that have been deliberately hidden in buildings and they have been a fascinating mystery for many years. Very little is known about them. What we can say is that a large number of shoes, usually old, well-worn and damaged, were concealed in various locations within a variety of different buildings across the UK and further afield including North America, Australia and some European countries. It was a particularly popular practice between the 1700s to the end of the 19th century, though earlier finds have been recorded.

There has been much speculation over the years as to why the shoes were concealed, as there are no contemporary records that explain why people hid shoes and in some cases with other items such as bottles, bones, coins, marbles, combs and scraps of textile and newspaper. The find can consist of one shoe, pairs or multiple single shoes. These groups of shoes can be from the same date range or differ quite widely in date, suggesting several concealments over a long period of time.

Enquire about the concealed shoe index

Report a concealed shoe

Further information on concealed objects from other sources

Concealed Revealed project

Apotropais

World of old houses

Concealed garments