Mixed emotions for Brian after vintage shoes are sold

Brian Bennett from Amble with some of his collection of shoes. Photograph Andy Commins
Brian Bennett from Amble with some of his collection of shoes. Photograph Andy Commins

An Amble man has said he has mixed emotions after seeing his vintage shoe collection, compiled over half a century, sold at auction.

And Brian Bennett admits he was surprised to see the haul fetch as much as £1,100.

More than 20 pairs went under the hammer during Anderson & Garland’s Town & Country Sale in Newcastle last Wednesday and were snapped up by an anonymous buyer.

Among the items were one-offs made in Scotland, Derbyshire, Devonshire and Yorkshire, many with the utility mark – signifying they were made before 1940 – as well as wooden and leather clogs for children and football boots with leather studs. All were unworn and in mint condition.

Mr Bennett, 65, said: “How do I feel after selling them? I think it is half and half. I do feel sad but the shoes had been in the garage and were just lying around so I am pleased they went to somebody who is going to enjoy them.”

Mr Bennett, from the town’s Robson’s Way, started his career as a travelling shoe salesman at the age of 15, after following his uncle into the business.

His work took him across the country, including looking after 56 shoe shops in Scotland.

Mr Bennett collected many shoes of particular interest during his career, including clogs, football boots and dress shoes from the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

He displayed some of the shoes in the window of WL Shaw in Amble’s Bridge Street, run by his wife Katherine and in the third generation of the Shaw family.

When the store relocated to Queen Street, under the name Classic Footwear by WL Shaw, about 15 months ago, he took the shoes down and subsequently decided to sell them.

Auctioneer Rod Meek described the collection as ‘quite unique’.