'The shoe industry will be back on its feet soon': Tricker's boss hopeful after shutting Northampton factory for first time ever in history

The firm made boots for the army during the world wars but coronavirus has halted production

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 7:15 am

The boss at Tricker's hopes the industry will get back to business soon after closing its Northampton factory for the first time in its 191-year history.

England’s oldest shoemaker carried on through both world wars but was forced to stop production and shut its shops last month.

Managing director Martin Mason told BBC Radio Northampton there is 'nothing worse' than walking around an empty factory.

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Tricker's managing director Martin Mason shows Prince Charles around the Northampton factory during a visit to mark the 190th anniversary in January 2019

Speaking to the Chronicle & Echo he said: "It's purely for health and safety reasons as social distancing in a factory is difficult as it's a hot and loud and busy place and not something I want to put my staff through.

"But hopefully the shoe industry will be back on its feet soon enough."

Tricker's was founded in Northampton in 1829 by Joseph Tricker and has been making shoes at its St Michael's Road factory since 1904.

During World War One and Two, the firm made boots for British Army soldiers but the current crisis has put a temporary stop to production.

Mr Mason said: "It's not as if we can make boots for the NHS, they're not going to want welted footwear in hospitals!

"We've just got to wait now like a lot of companies."

Tricker's is still taking online orders but has furloughed most of its workforce after the shops in Northampton, London and Tokyo closed on March 20.

The company, which provides shoes for Prince Charles and has had its Royal Warrant since 1989, then shut down the factory three days later along with many others across the country when the UK lockdown began.

Mr Mason said: "It's unprecedented times but we're no different to other businesses.

"These are very strange times and most people now just want to get back to work and we will do when it's safe to do so."