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Cobbler in Southover Street

This wonderful shot of an old fashioned cobbler whose shop was in Southover Street, was kindly donated by local photographer Tony Tree.

These were the days when people regularly had their shoes mended. My grandfather had a sort of cottage industry in shoe-repairs from his shed. He would not have much work today!

I also remember my father buying those stick on sole repairs and adding steel segs on the heels of my shoes to stop them wearing out. They made a fantastic noise as I walked – but I rather enjoyed it.

Do you remember this cobbler? What about shoe repairs? Did you ever do your own? Share your memories by posting a comment below

Cobbler in Southover Street
©Tony Tree

Comments about this page

  • Not quite sure whose grandfather is being referred to here, but most of the shoe repair people I knew in the past had served time ’At Her Majesty’s Pleasure’ where they were taught the trade! You could watch them working in the shop window with nails in their mouths for speed of operation. Heaven knows what Health and Safety would have made of that these days! I did have rubber soles put on some quality shoes a few months back, and it cost a pretty penny, I can tell you, especially in view of the fact that I wear trainers 99% of the time!

    By Stefan Bremner-Morris (20/09/2015)
  • My grandfather, Herbert Saunders, born 1876 in Paddington Workhouse, was a cobbler and leather boot maker and never saw the inside of a prison. He had a shop in Arthur Street, Hove and then Cowper street. His son Fred became a boot repairer and had a shop in Preston road. He never went to prison either!

    By Diane Ruff (20/09/2015)
  • The gent in the window of his cobbler shop, between Bellgrave Street and Lewes Street, was Mr Wood.  I watched him many times as boy plying his trade. Southover St had a buzz about it; pubs on nearly every corner, news agents, bakers, barber shops and fish and chip shops. There was also another cobbler on the corner with Jersey Street.

    By Ken McNeill (22/09/2015)
  • My late father Charlie Snelling used to be a trombonist in the TA Band which rehearsed in the Drill Hall, Dyke Rd. The conductor then was a Mr McKeown who had a cobbler’s shop in Elm Grove.  I recall seeing his hands where one of the fingers were deformed due to his occupation!

    By John Snelling (22/09/2015)
  • Hello John, you have just reminded me of Mr McKeown and his cobbler shop in Elm Grove just after the pharmacy that corners with Hampden Road. My first ever pair of football boots were hand me downs from my cousin, they were the type that Sir Stanley Matthews played with big toe caps and of course they had the hammer in studs. McKeown’s had a box of these in the window and I purchased a few studs soon after I got some new boots. Modern, slimline, low cut around the ankles; I now thought  I was Bobby Charlton or George Best!

    By Ken McNeill (23/09/2015)
  • I lived in St Pauls Street as a child and there were many cobblers in the area. One in St Pauls St (?) St Martins St, Homewoods (?), a father and son business, The son was our caretaker at St Martins School. Also one at the north end of Upper Lewes Road. I also seem to remember one in Lewes Road near the bottom of St Mary Magdalene St. Recycling was the norm then!

    By Tony Tree (25/09/2015)
  • I remember the cobblers shop in Upper Lewes Road on a corner on the eastern side of the street as you went into Brighton. My mother used to take us 3 small children there to get shoes mended. He was a very chatty man with jet black hair. My mother told me his wife had died young when she fell from an upstairs window, whilst window-cleaning. He was such a nice man, I felt very sorry for him. Years later I went there again and he remembered me as the little girl in the pushchair.

    By Sally Reynolds (04/05/2023)

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