Tuesday 14 November 2017: Bob Lingwood: Shoe-making
Probus member, Bob Lingwood, explained that the main part of his talk was a recording of a BBC 2 Programme “Inside the Factory”. It was both entertaining and informative and covered the manufacture of sports footwear, dance shoes, and lightweight flexible shoes with a fashion element for everyday wear. Companies involved were Joe Foster & Sons, [Bolton], Reebok, New Balance [a USA based company], and Frederick Freed, [a London based company] making ballet dance shoes. Finally, the programme illustrated the education and training of shoe designers at Cordwainers’ Technical College in London. The story covered the development of the industry from cottage home based shoe-making to a factory production, comprising high tech machines controlled by computerised systems involving high capital expenditure.
After the film presentation, Bob gave a brief outline of his sixty years work experience in the industry and his involvement with various units shown in the film. After leaving state school at 14 years of age he enrolled at Cordwainers’ College for a two-year course on shoemaking which covered everything from foot measurement to completed footwear. On completion his first assignment was with Frederick Freed, London based Dance Shoe [Ballet] Maker. In later years his own company Tyrone Shoes Omagh produced high tech parts for New Balance, based in Tralee, Ireland and Cumbria, England. After “retiring” at the of age 70, he worked on for a further five years with Reebok, employed as a Technical Consultant in production units worldwide.