A History of Crockett & Jones

A History of Crockett & Jones

Makers of Fine Shoes

Founded in 1879 by two brothers-in-law, James Crockett and Charles Jones, with a grant of just £100 pounds each, Crockett & Jones went on to become one of the best-known British shoe manufacturers, and are still family-run to this day. 

Crockett & Jones began life in the shoemaking capital of Britain, Northampton, which has been associated with the shoe industry since Medieval times.  This historic town provided the perfect backdrop for the creation of the Crockett & Jones brand and, in 1879, six years after Charles Jones had married James Crockett’s younger sister Annie, the two went into business together.  They formed their first small factory, which housed 20 employees, after receiving a grant from the Thomas White Trust, which encouraged young entrepreneurs of ‘good character’ to set up a business of their own.  

It was a family firm from the start, employing two of Charles Jones’s brothers, his sister and his wife.  Business flourished and, in the early 1890s, they moved into larger premiseswhere they still reside today.  It was here that they were the first footwear manufacturer in the UK to install the new Goodyear Welting Stitching Machine, which provided superior construction of their footwear and speeded up the manufacturing process, helping them to meet increasing demand.  By the 1890s, the second generation of Crocketts and Joneses had joined the company.  Again demand for their high quality shoes increased and, in 1910, they commenced a 5-story factory expansion, adding a huge proportion of glass so their craftspeople on the factory floor could benefit from natural light during the extensive construction processes.

This timely expansion enabled Crockett & Jones to produce over 3 Million pairs of Shoe & Boots for officers in the First & Second World Wars. Having experienced huge demand for women’s footwear in the 1930s, with women’s shoes taking up 60% of their production, this lessened in the 1950s as fashions changed.  By the mid-50s, focus was again back onto gentlemen’s footwear, and Crockett & Jones also began expanding their export to the global market.  This exportation increased in the 70s but, due to mass-production flooding the shoe market, Crockett & Jones refocused their brand, creating only the highest quality Goodyear-Welted footwear, setting them firmly above their, mass-produced competitors or those brands who had chosen to outsource part of their production overseas. Crockett & Jones remain firmly set on producing 100% of its Goodyear welted shoes in its own factory in Northampton, giving them total control over product development and product quality. 

Throughout the 90s and into the 00s, their reputation for producing some of the highest quality footwear the world over grew rapidly, as did global demand for their shoes, and they received the coveted Queens Award for Export Achievement.  In 1997, they founded their first stand-alone store at 69 Jermyn Street. Fast forward to 2011 they added a second store on Jermyn Street at No.92, which is, to this day, their largest store in the world, showcasing their full range.  The first members of the fifth generation of Joneses joined the company in 2006 and, from 2012, Crockett & Jones became the official brand partners of the James Bond franchise, cementing them even further into the heart of British culture as bastions of high-quality gentlemen’s footwear.  The brand’s accolades did not end there and, in 2013, they were recognised for their commitment to producing the finest quality footwear, receiving a Royal Warrant from HRH The Prince of Wales as a Manufacturer and Supplier of Footwear.  

In 2019, Crockett & Jones celebrated its 140th Birthday, and it is their commitment to quality, comfort and durability which has stood the test of time, coupled with the work of the exceptional craftspeople who continue to hand-make their shoes.  In fact, each shoe still goes through an 8-week construction process, using only the finest materials, and, with just 200 skilled workers in their factory, you can be sure that your Crockett & Jones shoe is the pinnacle of British heritage craftsmanship and luxury footwear.

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