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Shoe and Boot Repairs

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by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published February 11th 2020
You can get well heeled here, even if your'e not
In days of yore, cobblers or bootmakers, were very popular as people had their shoes repaired instead of replacing them.

shoe repairs
The sign is what they do.

So I was surprised to find out that shoes can be repaired these days.

What's a cobbler, you may ask? Mr Oxford, via his dictionary, describes a cobbler as a person who makes or mends shoes.

Glen at work patching a jacket.

Glen who repairs shoes in his Hutchinson Street, Lilydale shop prefers to be called a shoe repairer as he doesn't make shoes, but only repairs them, although he will answer to cobbler. He not only repairs shoes but any leather goods.

Cobbler at work
At work.

Walking into his small shop is like walking back in time. The main workbench is well over a century old, purchased by Glen's father, who operated the business before Glen started working for his father in 1980 as a 19-year-old.

old work bench
The very old workbench.

I did a 20 year apprenticeship under dad before I took over the business."

All the main equipment is definitely last century vintage as they are so reliable and built to last, and have. The old Singer sewing machines are pedal-powered.

old singer sewing machine
One of the Singer sewing machines.

The most common repair these days is ladies heels. If they fall off, they can be re-attached. If you want them higher, that can be done.

A unique repair is that if one leg is slightly shorter than the other, Glen can just increase the height of one heel, even if it is only a few millimetres.

shoe repairer
Still at it.

I expressed the opinion that when shoes wear out it would be more economical to just buy a new pair. Not so, I was told, particularly if you have paid a few hundred dollars for a pair.

repaired shoes.
Waiting for happy customers.

To prove his point, Glen showed me a pair of $1000 riding boots he had just repaired for a lady in NSW.

riding boots
Looking like new.

Even much cheaper shoes and boots can have their life extended by repairs.

If you have run out of holes in your belt, because the non-shrink leather has shrunk, Glen will make you some extra holes.

Have one foot slightly wider than the other? You can have one shoe stretched to give each foot the comfort they deserve.

I noticed a range of accessories displayed. Shoe polish, brushes, and shoelaces.

shoe accessories
Some of the accessories available.

When your shoes need a little TLC, don't toss them, see Glen.

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Why? To give your footwear a new life.
When: Normal shopping hours
Phone: 0448 999 942
Where: 6 Hutchinson Street, Lilydale. Melways map: 38. E. 4.
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