All pictures from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum
I enjoy writing about people, and once I see an interesting face, I become obsessed with what made them tick. Jennifer Fenwick Irwin put up a great picture of a local shoemaker on the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum Facebook page last week. Not a lot is known about him except the words: Patrick Tucker, shoemaker. Born in Ireland in 1836, and died in Carleton Place, Ontario in 1905. James Moore or J.P. as he was known was at first a shoemaker in Carleton Place for over twenty years, learning the trade from William Neelin. He then became a railway baggage handler in the early 1880’s.
What happened to the local shoemaker? The last time I visited one, and that was a long time ago, the shoemaker was blaming Doc Martens for the demise of his business. Did we just get into disposable footwear, or collecting way too many shoes?
In the same period Patrick Tucker was running his store in Carleton Place, Italian shoemaker and designer Pietro Yantorny would not even agree to add a woman to his client list, until a deposit of $1,000 was made. I am sure Mr. Tucker was working hard for his money amid the leather scraps and shoe polishes. Most shoe makers were notorious for watching women walk in their shoes to get that shoe repair just right. If they made you a brand new pair of shoes, they would get you to soak your feet in plaster to make the model for your shoes.
In those days the client had no say in the outcome of their shoes. A good patch job was all you could hope for, to make your shoes and boots last. They never once sacrificed their craft to make a buck. The local shoemaker is definitely a dated practice now. To those that still practice the trade, it is a godsend to those who spent too much on a pair of shoes, or purchase a classy pair of vintage shoes.
Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 18 Mar 1907, Mon, Page 5
These shoes were donated to the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum and are on display now in the exhibit: “They left Their Mark”
Hot tip– For those looking for good shoe polish–Moneysworth & Best Shoe Polish – Walmart, Canadian Tire, and The Bay
For the Facebook Group:
Tilting the Kilt, Vintage Whispers from Carleton Place by Linda Seccaspina is available at Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street, the Carleton Place Beckwith Museum in Carleton Place, Ontario and The Mississippi Valley Textile Mill in Almonte. available on all Amazon sites (Canada, US, Europe) and Barnes and Noble