Northampton is situated in the heart of England and is a town renowned for its shoemaking industry - the history of which goes back hundreds of years. Historical demand for Northampton shoes became so strong that by the year 1840 there were 1,821 shoemakers in the town, that was around a third of all adult males in the town at the time.
The first record listing the export of shoes from Northampton is in 1378 when some were sent to Flanders and by 1525, shoemaking was a significant part of the makeup of the town.
A shoemaking guild was set up in 1401 which controlled the way the work was performed to ensure good quality. All the shoemakers in the town belonged to the Guild, which regulated the trade and also provided religious services and social events for its members.