Vandalised shoes costing more than £40,000 to make comeback to Northampton

Giant shoes part-funded by the taxpayer are set to make a comeback next month after they were vandalised.

Friday, 15th November 2019, 5:08 pm
The red stiletto, now at the top of Abington Street, caught many residents' eyes when it appeared in the summer. Picture by Kirsty Edmonds.

On July 24 this year, the arrival of an enormous red stiletto in Market Square caught the eye of many residents. It was the first step in a new art exhibit of 12 shoes that would be decorated by Northampton artists and displayed across the town over the coming months.

The red stiletto was joined by two new additions in October - a giant teal Doc Marten decorated by 'Fridge Street' artist Kardi Somerfield and a silver stiletto sponsored by Steffans' Jewellers.

The three shoes planted their steps in the Market Square, Guildhall Road and the top of Abington Street, and were set to be joined by the other nine shoes in the coming months.

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But back in October, the three shoes had to be taken away due to ongoing issues of vandalism.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed the shoes, which cost £42,000 to produce, have been part funded by the borough council to the sum of £34, 272. The rest of the funds have been provided by sponsors.

A spokeswoman for Northampton Borough Council said they are set to make a comeback in December after repair works have been made.

She said: “Responding to a report by the Overview and Scrutiny, a shoe sculpture trail project was developed to help highlight Northampton’s rich shoe and boot making heritage.

“The first sculpture, a red stiletto was installed on the Market Square. This was keenly followed with the installation of three more sculptures on 4 October on Guildhall Road and Abington Street. Unfortunately, due to incidents of vandalisms, we removed the sculptures from the streets the following week, in order to protect and repair the shoes.

“We are pleased to confirm that the shoes are being repaired and the shoe sculpture trail will be relaunched as part of our Christmas activities. Keep an eye out for a number of the sculptures making appearances in Grosvenor Shopping, Royal & Derngate and on Abington Street in coming weeks.”

Northampton sculptor, Noel Blakeman, and artists were sourced to create and decorate the 12 sculptures, designed to represent famous shoes produced in the town.

The trail was developed, encouraging families seeking out the sculptures to explore areas of the town centre.