Friday, 25 March 2011

Dadds, boot & shoe warehouse, Acton

In earlier posts I mentioned shoemakers Freeman, Hardy & Willis from Leicester, and the True-Form Boot Company from Nottingham. Today we move further north to Kendal in Cumbria, where in 1842 21-year old Robert Somervell started his business as leather merchant. For several years he provided bespoke shoemakers in the area with uppers. Some time before 1851 though, Robert Somervell was joined by his brother and together they founded the company Somervell Brothers, which produced its own shoes. The K brand (chosen after the initial of their hometown Kendal) was adopted in 1865. It seems the name of the company was changed to K Shoes Ltd in 1949.
From the start the company acquired a reputation for good quality footwear and its products became extremely popular. Within a few years Robert Somervell became a reasonably wealthy man and he and his large family moved from the modest family home in Kendal to Hazelthwaite, a large house in Windermere (he had six sons and three daughters. The eldest son, also named Robert, became a master at Harrow. In My Early Life, Winston Churchill pays tribute to him for teaching him how "to write mere English") .
Little information about the company seems to be available beyond these early years. In 1981 K Shoes Ltd was taken over by Clarks. Shoes continued to be manufactured in Kendal but in 2003 Clarks announced it was closing down the factory with a loss of 170 jobs and moving production abroad.

I haven't found anything about Dadds, other than they stocked K Shoes, but that's written on the wall!

Boot & Shoe
Depot ...
Running Shoes

Location: High Street / Picture taken on: 22/05/2008


taio said...


Heathcliff said...

I remember this ship very well - it was very old -fashioned even when I was growing up in Acton. The place for school shoes!

Heathcliff said...

Sorry - for ship read shio!!!

Heathcliff said...

Shop even - it's been a very long day!!!!