Course Provider: Trading Places: Traditional Craft Courses
Contact Name: Mark Wood
Telephone: 01933 460 985
Rockingham Forest Trust
Course Length: 3 days
4.8 star rating, 4 reviewers.
3 day introductory shoe making course in the beautiful Stanwick Lakes national park. Make your own pair of leather shoes in our purpose built craft barn!
The Northamptonshire writer, H E Bates, recalled childhood memories of watching his grandfather at work. ‘He could, after the tradition of centuries, create a boot or shoe from the sole upwards, stabbing and stitching with his own hands. I am able still, to see him to perfection in the mind’s eye: shoemaker’s last between his knees, tossing handfuls of tacks and sprigs into his mouth, his awls, thread and leather, files, hammers all about him.’
This memory was formed at his grandfather’s workshop in Higham Ferrers – just a stones throw away from where you can now recreate that experience and make your own pair of leather shoes in our oak barn at Stanwick Lakes! The Nene Valley in Northamptonshire is renowned for its long history of making hand-crafted footwear and we are delighted to offer a unique course that helps to maintain the area’s proud heritage.
We believe this is the only ‘short course’ available in the UK that takes beginners though the complete process of making their own pair of shoes, including ‘clicking and closing’! You will start by selecting your leather and learning about the hides ‘stretch’, cut your ‘vamps’ and ‘quarters’ and then hand stitch your uppers and fix on the shoe last before cutting out and attaching the sole . You will walk away with (or in!) your own totally unique pair of shoes by the end of this 3 day course.
Please note that, unlike H E Bates grandfather a 100 years ago, we don’t allow participants to put the tacks in their mouths!!!!
The course is led by Nick Cooper, a Northamptonshire bespoke shoemaker. Trading Places is based within the beautiful surroundings of the Stanwick Lakes nature reserve, in the heart of Northamptonshire’s Nene Valley. All of our courses take place in and around our purpose built green oak Training Barn. Course places can be booked for one or more people depending on availability. However, if you are looking for a larger group booking (such as a work team building event, a group of friends or an alternative hen or stag 'do') we are very happy to discuss your requirements with you.
Click through above to book your place!
If your selected course is already fully booked please do contact us as we sometimes organise additional courses during the year to meet demand.
What's included in the price?
Tools, materials and safety equipment are provided for all courses. Participants are simply asked to bring their own supply of enthusiasm and a packed lunch! (we provide tea and coffee during the courses)
For anyone who is travelling some distance and would like to look at local accommodation, please see our website for a list (under the Directions tab). Please note that these businesses are local to the site but are not linked to Trading Places in anyway.
Julie Thompson -
Tony Fitzpatrick -
James Lee -
This craft course provider has been awarded Gold status for receiving 10 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.
The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.
They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.