Shoe study pre 1500

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Tod
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Shoe study pre 1500

Postby Tod » Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:04 pm

My latest challenge is to produce a set of shoes starting from one piece all the way to welted construction modern shoes, that would be around 8th to 18th centuries. Not only will these be for shoe on my trading stand but also as examples for when I do lectures or displays of shoemaking.
The latter stuff is not a great issue I’ve been making shoes for years and have stacks of notes etc.
Pre 1500 and Tudor (16th C) are some what of a pain. The Tudor stuff I’ll come to later. I’ve got lots of books that show archaeological remains or complete examples, there are also complete written reports. But for some unknown reason the researchers always fail to give any information that refers to the thickness of the leather used. Last nights big read from about finds from York and the best description of thickness was “thin leather” not helpful at all.
Can any one answer the question as to why no thicknesses are given (please don’t guess). Does any one know of any documents that give upper and sole thicknesses of pre 1500 shoes and boots that I can obtain?
I’m going to get in touch with my contact at Northampton Museum and call the Museum of London, does any one know who dealt with the finds from York (Coppergate etc)?
Books I’m using as ref.
Stepping though Time
Shoes and Patterns
I’ll post the name later but it’s one of reports of the finds in York



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Postby m300572 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:15 pm

Coppergate finds were likely dealt with by the York Archaeological Trust Labs - I think Jim Spriggs is still the head honcho there.


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Postby Attilla the Bun » Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:33 pm

Jim retired a year or two ago!
It's Ian Panter now.
By a remarkable co-incidence, we have a very lovely girl working here at the moment who has spent quite a bit of time working in the York labs and also has a special interest in shoes (wear paterns, etc).
When she comes back from teabreak, I will ask her.


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Postby Theotherone » Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:29 pm

Found this a while ago, I don't know if it adds anything

http://museums.ncl.ac.uk/archive/old_fo ... index.html


Because there would have to be three of them.

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Postby Tod » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:05 am

They're the design of boots I made last year, thanks any way.



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Postby m300572 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:21 am

Attilla the Bun wrote:Jim retired a year or two ago!
.


God that makes me feel old - it doesn't seem that long ago that we did a session with the YAT labs as part of my course - it was, however, in 1981!! York in the freezing cold, just before Christmas, just like a Christmas Card


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Postby Dave B » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:16 pm

Have you got the museum of london book? I'm afraid I don't have it but all the other medieval books from this series are excellent.

Paul Meekins did have copies.

Dave

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shoes-Pattens-Medieval-Excavations-London/dp/0112904432/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1238512403&sr=8-1


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Postby Tod » Tue Mar 31, 2009 4:18 pm

Yes I've got that one.



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Postby Theotherone » Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:02 pm

IIRC correctly the MOL book gives the type of animal that provided the skins for many of their finds, does that give any clue to the thickness? (this is kind of a genuine enquiry as my mind collects weird facts)


Because there would have to be three of them.

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Lena
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Postby Lena » Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:41 pm

I'm guessing that the lack of information as to leather thickness may be due to the leather being conserved before the leather expert sees them. A chemical conservation shrinks the leather up to c. 16% and if they're freeze dried they shrink up to 8%*.

Perhaps you can ask someone at the Archaeological Leather Group? I'm neither a leather specialist nor a conservator, so I have no idea whether leather finds get conserved before or after analysis.


*: C. Schnack (1994) Mittelalterliche Lederfunde aus Konstanz (Grabung Fischmarkt). Page 10.



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Postby John Waller » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:46 am

[quote="Lena"]I'm guessing that the lack of information as to leather thickness may be due to the leather being conserved before the leather expert sees them. A chemical conservation shrinks the leather up to c. 16% and if they're freeze dried they shrink up to 8%*.

I was going to say much the same, but Tod asked people not to guess!
With extant examples you can only measure what they are now not what they were when made, and leather is much affected by moisture or the lack thereof. Having said that I'm sure that boffins have developed formula that will allow accurate estimate of original sizes/thickness to be made.


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Postby Tod » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:45 am

I know some people in the ALG (which I really should join) so I'll ask.
Thanks Lena (the Green Lady of Oxford).



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Postby Colin Middleton » Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:12 pm

Doesn't the MoL book discuss degrees of shrinkage in the appendix?

Tod, have you tried the Yahoo Medieval Leather group or Medieval Shoe group? Like any forum, there's a lot of crap but some quite informed posters on there too.

Best of luck


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Postby Medicus Matt » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:18 pm

Tod,

Had a look last night in my copy of "Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York" and it does include thicknesses in the dimensions of the finds.


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Postby Tod » Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:15 pm

Medicus Matt wrote:Tod,

Had a look last night in my copy of "Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York" and it does include thicknesses in the dimensions of the finds.

That'll teach me not to read the catalogue part first :oops: I blame it on tiny writing and reading at midnight.




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