Northamptonshire’s Shoe & Tannery Heritage

                                                                                                  Northamptonshire’s Heritage

           Boot & Shoe and the Tannery industry

Mick Henson’s latest sculpture “LASTING PLIERS” is inspired by the traditional trades of Northamptonshire. He’s worked in the Boot & Shoe and Tannery industries as a maintenance engineer from leaving school. During the 80’s and 90’s he saw the industries lose over half it’s original manufacturing capacity. maintenance engineers are one of the last to be made redundant, making sure everything is isolated and assisting with the removal of the sold machinery. This can be a very emotional time, machines you’ve worked on for years just get thrown in the skip for scrap. The idea for the first sculpture came from the gears off scrapped shoe and tannery machines, this sculpture is called “TURN NO MORE”.                               Work on the second sculpture began after he was given leather embossing plates from Pearson’s Tannery after the company closed down. Inspired by the lasting pliers used in the manufacture of footwear for over a hundred years a design for an abstract sculpture started to take shape, using the embossing plates to make the 8ft tall sculpture it would represent both trades. A 3ft tall wooden maquette of the pliers has been made and exhibited, the local Evening Telegraph paper coved the story of the lasting pliers maquette and it’s now became a sculpture in it’s own right

“Turn no more”


                                                                                                         “Lasting Pliers” wooden maquette with original lasting pliers tool

News paper clip

A picture from the repetition series

lasting pliers and shoe lasts

Lasting pliers sculpture on a back ground of shoe lasts 


Boot and shoe

Singer sewing machines with shoe lasts

Embossing plates with 3 different designs

wooden model
wooden model of lasting pliers sculpture

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