Celebrating a trade that was Norwich’s heart and ‘sole’

People are being encouraged to share their memories of Norwich's shoe industry for a new arts projec

People are being encouraged to share their memories of Norwich's shoe industry for a new arts project. Left to right, Fiona Muller and Tim Edwards from Eastern Region Media with Kate Cooper from The Museum of Norwich at The Bridewell.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The shoe industry was once the 'heart and sole' of Norwich, employing thousands of people and producing millions of pairs of shoes.

Now a new project wants to celebrate that heritage on film and is appealing for people to get involved. Called Footprints of the Past, the project is led by Tim Edwards and Fiona Muller from creative arts company ERM CIC. They are looking for people with links to the shoemaking trade to share their memories and photos, and for volunteers to help record these reminiscences. School are also urged to get involved.

The plan is to create films and animations that will be taken on tour and shared online to help keep the city's shoe heritage alive.

Mr Edwards said: 'ERM are keen to speak to anyone with recollections or stories, artefacts or cuttings, tales and photographs of the manufacture, trade and creation of shoes and shoe-making in the city.

'Perhaps a family photo includes a view of a factory? Perhaps your grandmother sewed at the factory and told you stories about workers? Perhaps your grandfather sold shoes to the trade, made the leather uppers, was involved in exhibiting new lines of footwear? ERM would be more than pleased to work with you to tell your story.'


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The Silver Road Community Centre, George White Junior School, Magdalen Gates Primary School and Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell are among those who will be working with ERM CIC. Mr Edwards said there was lots of opportunities for more volunteers to get involved.

'ERM are looking for people to take part as volunteer story collectors, film makers, animators, and interviewers. As well as being trained for these roles volunteers will research the shoe-making history and associated developments that were brought to the city during this period.'

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The project is being funded by a £9,000 Awards For All grant. Anybody who has memories email Fiona Muller at ermcic@gmail.com

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