Workday Wednesday: My Weavers made shoes

FootwearHats and shoes feature significantly in my family. Whilst hats aren't quite so in vogue as they once were, we all still need footwear, but how things have changed!

My Dando line were the hatmakers, my first confirmed hatter being my 6 x great-grandfather, John Dando (abt. 1715-1775). However, this profession died out in my family during the mid-nineteenth century.

Moving from heads to feet, from the title of this post, you might be thinking my ancestors were involved in the weaving industry, having a sideline in making shoes. Actually, Weaver is the surname of my shoemaking forbears.

My 4 x great-grandfather, Robert Weaver (abt. 1789-1869), lived in Curry Rivel, Somerset, and was described as a shoe and boot maker and also a cordwainer. Distinct from a cobbler who repaired shoes, a cordwainer made luxury footwear out of the finest leathers. Whether Robert was the first cordwainer in his line is uncertain as I haven't been able to confirm the occupations of his antecedents.

My 2 x great-grandfather, William Henry Weaver (1848-1944), lived with Robert and his wife Sarah, and it is therefore no surprise that he too, went into the family trade. He would have learnt his skills from his grandfather. Ironically, there is in fact, a weaving link as William Henry's wife, Jane (nee Arnold), had previously been a silk weaver, coming from a long line of silk ribbon weavers in Nuneaton, Warwickshire.

Their son, Richard, had a short spell at shoemaking before embarking on a 40 year career with the post office. The need for homeworkers and factory outworkers met with a decline during the 19th century as factories increasingly took over the manufacturing processes and mechanisation in the industry was complete by the 1890's.

William Henry Weaver's granddaughter was my own gran, Phyllis Grace Geake (nee Weaver). Born in 1916, her connection with shoes was not in the making of them but in the selling. As a young woman she worked in a shoe shop called Leonards.

Footwear continues to play a large part today as our son, Phyllis' great-grandson, is the manager of a shoe store and so the connection with footwear, spanning at least eight generations of our family and four centuries, is still going strong.

Image provided by Classroom Clipart

[Why Workday Wednesday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

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Category: Ancestors Corner

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