Northampton’s shoe heritage celebrated with new sculpture trail

Published: Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Northampton’s rich shoe heritage will be celebrated with the first giant shoe sculpture trail throughout the town centre.

The fibre glass sculptures were commissioned by Northampton Borough Council, with support from Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID), as part of the #CelebrateNorthampton summer programme. And the first shoes will be in place from Wednesday 24 July, with further shoes placed throughout August.

Designed and created by Noel Blakeman Ltd to represent shoes from our heritage, the 12 shoe sculptures are of giant stilettos, brogues, Doc Martens and Chelsea boots. 

Noel said “As a local artist, I feel it is important to engage the local community with public art projects that acknowledge and promote the rich history and feeling of the Town”.

The trail has gained a lot of support from local businesses, who have sponsored the shoes and approved the locations for the sculptures to be based.

Businesses confirmed as sponsors include Jeffery West, Steffan’s Jewellers, Grosvenor Shopping, Starbucks, University of Northampton, Royal & Derngate Theatres and Destination Nene Valley.

The sponsors have worked with five local artists to create a range of designs for each shoe, celebrating their brand as well as the town’s culture and diversity.

The artists involved with the shoe sculptures project are confirmed as Kardi Somerfield, Jessica Adams, Beth Easton and Leanne Conroy.  

Councillor Anna King, Cabinet member for community engagement and safety, said: “The Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee found more promotional work was needed to highlight the town’s heritage. We’re excited to be bringing the shoe trail to Northampton to raise awareness of the town’s rich shoe and boot making history and the many shoe manufacturers still based in the town.

“We hope visitors and residents alike enjoy finding out more about our town’s heritage, as they track down all 12 sculptures at key locations around the town centre.”

Mark Mulllen, BID Operations Manager, said: “We are rightly proud of our shoe heritage here in Northampton and are confident these giant shoes will give visitors yet another reason to come into our town centre.”

A Shoe Sculpture Trail Map will be available online and from The Guildhall by October half term.

To tease other shoe seekers about the locations, people are encouraged to take selfies with the shoe sculptures and share them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #CelebrateNorthampton