There are some beautiful shoes in the window of our Spot-it! partner this month, Kokos of East Finchley. They have been around for a good forty years and are still delighting local customers. When I went in to have a browse I was rather taken by their soft suede and nubuck styles, which I was reassured would be pretty tough against anything the city streets can throw at them.
I am sure Victorian ladies were tempted by gorgeous delicate shoes too but they would not have stood much of a chance against the one big problem of the age – enormous quantities of horse dung.
It’s easy to be over romantic about times past – horse drawn carriages have a certain allure. Of course the reality was that huge numbers of them caused accidents, traffic jams and muck. It is estimated that there were over 50,000 horses in London in the mid eighteen hundreds, each producing 3 pints of urine a day and up to 35 pounds of manure.
This problem came to a head when in 1894, The Times newspaper predicted… “In 50 years, every street in London will be buried under nine feet of manure.” (The invention of the motor car solved that problem)!
The only thing that helped the stuff from clogging up your shoes and being trailed through the house was one of these – a boot scraper.
Every Victorian household had one on the doorstep – or set into the wall near the entrance like the one above. They came in all sorts of design from the relatively plain to the rather fanciful.
Many of these period features disappeared during the war when homeowners were asked to donate them towards the war effort as the need for iron grew. Consequently they are relatively rare and are being collected. But back to shoes! If you would like a chance to win a £200 voucher to spend in Kokos, get your skates on and enter our competition here: https://www.prickettandellis.com/spot-it-2/ It is easy – just tell us where this local landmark is:
I will give you a clue – its near a library. Good luck!