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699.00RM - 2,999.00RM
The foundation stone of the Barker brand was laid in a humble cottage in the heart of England's shoe manufacturing industry in 1880, by an enterprising Northamptonshire boot maker.
Arthur Barker was a skilled craftsman and natural innovator, whose waterproof peg-sole boots were highly sought after (the pegs would swell when wet and make the sole waterproof). Unable to satisfy increasing demands, he employed other craftsmen in surrounding villages to fulfill his growing order book. With a keen eye on the future and a shrewd sense of timing, Barker invested in factory premises at the turn of the century, later securing contracts to supply the British army with boots during the First World War.
Throughout the interwar years, the Barker brand went from strength to strength as Arthur's three sons joined the family business, taking the brand into new markets and territories. In 1947, a new factory was built in Earls Barton to house the women's shoe production, and in 1950 the brand established a separate sales company to sell direct to retailers.
Arthur Barker, known affectionately by all the succeeding members of his family as Great Grandfather Barker, must have been a man of great resolve an tenacity of purpose. He began by working in a ‘shop’ (or workshop) situated at the bottom of a house garden in North Road, Earls Barton.In the earlier days, Arthur Barker personally made hand sewn boots or shoes, but in 1880 he founded a company working with several others and sending work out to home workers in their individual ‘shops’.After a time, Arthur moved his business to a small factory in Station Road and in 1905 his three sons joined him in ‘The Firm’ as it was called. During this time Arthur’s eldest son Charles left to become a leather importer. Ernest and Arthur junior worked on with their father during World War I, fulfilling contracts for army boots.The 1920s saw Barker producing fine quality footwear in considerable quantity including establishing export trade in South Africa which grew rapidly over several years. In 1921, Arthur the ‘Grand old man’ died leaving the Barker family business to his sons to continue. In 1933, a new branch was established in South Africa with several workers from Earls Barton, known as ‘The Pioneers’ emigrated and settled there. Arthur Barker junior managed the South African branch with the help of his son Roy, who subsequently ran it until 1965.After World War II, Barker Shoes expanded considerably in Earls Barton with a new factory built in Station Road for the making of ladies shoes. This enabled the older factory to concentrate on men’s footwear only.In 1955, the third generation of Barkers joined ‘The Firm’ which saw Albert became one of the world’s finest shoe designers while Charles steered the business until his early eighties. During 1956 the fourth generation joined the business and following in the footsteps of his predecessors, William (Albert’s son), became a respected shoe maker and shoe designer until his untimely death in 1996.An impressive modern factory was purpose-built in 1986 to allow Barker to continue its shoemaking tradition and is where each pair of Barker Goodyear welted shoes are still made today. See the catalogue.
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