The Shoe Must Go On!

– Posted on Monday 15th June 2015

‘The Shoe Must Go On!’ is the inspired title for an evening talk at the Manx Museum on Friday 26 June by the UK’s leading Shoe Curator and author of a new book published by Bloomsbury, Shoes: An Illustrated History, Rebecca Shawcross. Whether you wear shoes as a necessity or a much-loved luxury, this talk will have you looking at your hobnails or heels in an entirely new way.

Rebecca will take us on a pleasant stroll through the history of shoes, from the distinctly lewd medieval poulaine to the delicate flats of the early 19th century and the 70s platform.  Together she’ll have us trying on the highs and lows of shoe fashions.

Rebecca’s book reveals how shoes do more than get one from A-to-B;

“Shoes have always been more than just a practical necessity. They reveal the culture of the times in which they were worn – the sexual morals, the social power play, as well as the endless shifting of fashion. Rebecca Shawcross takes the reader on a fascinating journey – packed with social and historical detail – of making and wearing, of the spectacular and the everyday, of conforming and rebelling.”

Rebecca works at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery where she curates the UK’s largest shoe collection, that’s over 13,000 shoes! She is not only the UK expert on the history of shoes, acting as historic shoe consultant to the likes of the Royal Shakespeare Company, but also follows shoe manufacturing, new innovations and developments. This is Rebecca’s first visit to the Isle of Man and her first opportunity to share her knowledge on the national shoe collection in the Manx Museum, including a 19th century pair of boots made locally for the Sulby giant, Arthur Caley.

If your passion for shoes entices you to a more hands-on experience, for just a small number of guests Rebecca is hosting a ‘Followers of Shoe Fashions’ Workshop on Saturday 27th June at 2pm. Using shoes from Manx National Heritage’s collection and elsewhere, Rebecca will lead a fun, interactive session exploring the history of the shoe, changing styles and the origins of the heel.

Tickets for the evening talk are £10 and workshop tickets are £22, the latter is limited to just 15 places and includes cakes (and choux buns!). Buy tickets online or from the Manx Museum Gallery Shop.

The events form part of the year-long History in Heels women’s history project, where pop up displays and events are taking place at seven Manx National Heritage venues.


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