10 pairs of First World War shoes

As part of my work on the ‘Wor Life’ project I have been identifying First World War era clothing and textiles within Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums stores. Here are ten pairs of shoes;

1910-1914 – TWCMS : H16931

H16931a

H16931cH16931d

These kid leather shoes from before the war are a beautiful colour-it’s sometimes easy to forget when looking at black and white photos, that Edwardian women wore some quite garish colours.

1914 – TWCMS : H16902

H16902aH16902f

These satin wedding shoes are in beautiful condition and were obviously treasured.

 

1914 – TWCMS : D489 – wedding shoeD489ds

D489dD489a

These simple wedding shoes have been dyed black for everyday use after the big day.

 

1915 – TWCMS : D495

D495d

These beautiful beaded evening shoes are dated to 1915, as the war continued women were encouraged to dress well, for morale, but also not to be be extravagant.

 

1915 – TWCMS : J2569

J2569bJ2569cJ2569a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoe ornaments, such as buckles and bows, were very popular and were often detachable. As the war continued many women made their own shoe decorations out of left over buttons and spare material.

 

1913-1919 – TWCMS : H16932

H16932aH16932e

This style of shoe is known as a Cromwell shoe because it looks like the type of shoes that were worn when Oliver Cromwell was in power.  It was popular during the first few years of the 20th century – they go to show that there’s nothing new in fashion!

 

1915-1920 – TWCMS : D2145

D2145a

This type of shoe is called an Oxford shoe, its very thin toe would have been pretty uncomfortable to wear!

 

1915-1920 – TWCMS : H16976

H16976b H16976c

The majority of our shoe collection from this period consists of black or cream shoes – wedding shoes and everyday shoes.  Many women took up jobs for the first time as the men went off to war, they therefore needed more comfortable and sturdy footwear- but still with a small bow as decoration.

 

1917-20 – TWCMS : 2005.5096

05_5096a

05_5096e

 

 

 

 

 

05_5096b05_5096c

 

During the First World War women’s skirts became shorter due to an increase in the price of fabric and social changes.  The bright green heel on these shoes show that as skirts became shorter shoes became more elaborate.  As the label shows they were made in Paris for the Newcastle department store Bainbridges.

 

1920 – TWCMS : H16973

H16973cH16973dH16973a

 

 

 

 

 

These shoes made of silk brocade show that after the war shoes styles became much brighter and highly decorated.

2 Responses to 10 pairs of First World War shoes

  1. joan milne says:

    You can’t see in these pictures how much smaller the shoes were generally at that time. People were a lot smaller then.

  2. Helen Vasey says:

    Hi Joan, they’re teeny tiny aren’t they!

    thanks, Helen

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