Chris from Key Cobbler
“Anything that helps local businesses, independent businesses especially, and helps them grow is perfect for us. So something like the Lake District Pound is perfect for Kendal, especially when town centres aren’t as busy as they used to be. The local businesses are doing well in Kendal, but there is always room for more footfall.”
“I have been five years now but the business itself has been here 22 years, my fiancee Sinead’s parents Mark and Agnes own the business and so I am marrying into the trade.
“I met their daughter Sinead and I had always mentioned that I would love to come and see how things worked at the cobblers. I jumped at the opportunity and came in and started picking it up. I was thrown in at the deep end and I loved it.
“Getting into the job you either pick it up or you don’t and that’s where my love of shoes began. Now I am just obsessed with them. It can annoy my other half at home because there are just shoes everywhere.
"It’s all about how they are made and where they are made. Britain has such a good reputation for making shoes and it all comes from down in Northampton where all the shoes factories are. With the shoe and the way it’s made there is all sorts you can do with them and they can just be repaired and repaired and repaired - there’s no need to throw them away.
“Key cutting is just a piece of machinery, but for shoe repairs you have to learn about the way that they have been developed and the way they have changed over time. Then you can take it further and learn how it’s repaired. You’re best repairs and you’re best shoes are all leather, because it moulds to your feet, and that’s why people keep them for years because they’re like gloves.
"The oldest pair of shoes we’ve actually done was 100 years old and it was a pair of cycling shoes from World War Two. It was for someone who wanted to do a charity bike ride in the Lakes where they all had to use vintage bikes and equipment. They were his great great granddad’s cycling shoes that he used to use travelling around Europe before the war broke out.
“Keys, shoes and engraving are the main things we do, but we still get asked for all sorts of things that cobblers have obviously dealt with in the past, like hair combs and braces. I think what brings all the things that cobblers do together is just attention to detail. If you’re engraving a watch that’s worth two or three thousand pounds then you can’t be making a spelling mistake.
“Anything that helps local businesses, independent businesses especially, and helps them grow is perfect for us. So something like the Lake District Pound is great for Kendal, especially when town centres aren’t as busy as they used to be. The local businesses are doing well in Kendal, but there is always room for more footfall.”
The Key Cobbler
4 Market Place