My 1940s corde shoes.

September 21, 2011

I've always said this; I definitly live in the wrong country if it concerns vintage.
As you couldve seen in my previous post; I found a pair of beautiful corded shoes in a tiny vintage store in Newcastle called 'Allika'.

Cord [kɔːd]


  • 1. (Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Textiles) string or thin rope made of several twisted strands
  • 2. (Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Textiles) a length of woven or twisted strands of silk, etc., sewn on clothing or used as a belt
  • 3. (Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Textiles) a ribbed fabric, esp corduroy
  • 4. any influence that binds or restrains.
vb (tr)
  • 1. to bind or furnish with a cord or cords
  • 2. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Forestry) to stack (wood) in cords

 [from Old French corde, from Latin chorda cord, from Greek khordē; see chord1]

corder n

cordlike adj

I thought that they deserved a post of their own. I am still over the moon with them, considering the perfect state they are in. I won't be me if I didn't do some research about the history of the shoes. It had some doing, but still found some swell information about the factory where the shoes came from!

The history of Lotus Ltd. is very closely connected to the history of the Bostock family.
In 1814, Thomas Bostock established a shoe manufacturing firm in Stafford, United Kingdom. Later on, his three sons { Edwin, Thomas Jr. & Frederick } joined the business and entered into partnership with their father. Son Edwin continued the business in Stafford, while Thomas started manufacturing in Stone, and Frederick started a business in Northampton. When Thomas Bostock Jr. died in 1871; his brother Edwin took control of the factory in Stone.

Lotus shoe makers Ltd was incorporated in 1903, as a subsidiary company of Edwin Bostock & Co Ltd.
Its purpose was to sell ready-made shoes manufactured by its parent company. It was the first shoe manufacturer to adopt this instock method, rather than manufacturing shoes to order.  In 1914 the name of the factory was shortened to Lotus Ltd, by which time it was outstripping its parent company in performance and profits. In 1919 the businesses of Edwin Bostock & Co Ltd and Frederick Bostock Ltd amalgamated with Lotus Shoe Makers Ltd under the name of Lotus Ltd. The amalgamation of these three firms provided a diversity of knowledge and experience. The Company not only manufactured shoes but also stored them in large quantities; made its own lasts, heels, celluloid products and cardboard boxes. It also developed a joiner's shop and builder's department for general maintenance and for the construction of packing cases for export.

The early 1920s saw the development of the multiple retailer and in line with this trend Lotus Ltd acquired its first 4 retail shops in 1926, to sell exclusively Lotus and Delta shoes. More retail shops were purchased later and operated through the subsidiary company. Lotus & Delta Ltd. The shops, and later the dwelling houses, which the Company purchased in Stafford to rent to employees, were maintained by the joinery and building departments. These departments amalgamated and became a separate shop-fitting company in 1957.

A sales catalogue dating from 1904 explains the origins of the Company name:

"The name Lotus - The Lotus was a large white water-lily of exquisite beauty. Kings offered it to the gods, guests wore it at banquets, architectural forms were modelled upon it, it was employed in the ornamentation of thrones. Whether its root had the effect on men ascribed to it by Homer may be doubted, but no one ever saw it without recognising it instantly as a thing of beauty and therefore as a joy for ever." This quotation was an extract from Professor Rawlinson's book Egypt and the implication was that Lotus shoes would be a thing of beauty. The brand name "Delta" is probably an allusion to the Nile Delta where the Lotus flower grew.

The Bostock family connection with the Company ended in 1970 when Mr James F Bostock retired from the Board of Directors and his daughter, Miss Annabel Bostock, retired from her position as Fashion Director. On 31 December 1972 the Argo Caribbean Group Ltd purchased a majority shareholding in the Company. It became a subsidiary of Debenhams plc, part of the Burton Group, in August 1973. The factory at Stone was closed in 1975 and manufacture continued at Stafford and Northampton.

The Fii Group purchased the Company from the Burton Group in August 1986, to expand its share of the footwear market. The Fii Group was principally a manufacturer of shoes and medical and laboratory equipment and by the end of 1987 it was the second largest footwear manufacturer in Britain. In 1996 the greater part of footwear manufacture was transferred from Stafford to Bridgend and the Lotus factory on Sandon Road was demolished in 1997. A reduced workforce operated from smaller premises off Sandon Road until the end of 1998, when the remainder of the operation was transferred to Bridgend. This marked the end of an association of nearly 200 years with the town of Stafford and it was also the end of the town's long history of footwear manufacture, which had been a major industry throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Lotus Ltd factory in Stafford - 1925.

Closing room, Lotus Ltd, Stafford, 1928.

Thomas Bostock Sr.
1777 - 1865

Lotus Ltd catalogue, 1928.

Pictures from:

Lotus Ltd Advertisements from the 1940s

Images found on Google

Look at the Lotus typography inside the shoe, and above on the advertisements.

So, what do you think? Great find or not? I, for one, know it is!

You Might Also Like


  1. I absolutely love those advertisments; they don't make 'em like that anymore!...

    And the Tigerbalm worked verrry well! ;)

  2. Dat is niet bepaald de tijgerbalsem die zijn werk goed gedaan heeft.

  3. Oh my these shoes are lovely and so for that matter are the adverts, thanks for sharing.

  4. Brilliant research...! This is not least the funny & interesting thing about wearing vintage—the things are not only beautiful, they also carry a history.

  5. Wow what a find! Those shoes are simply beautiful and so elegant! I live in England and I love vintage shopping! I've never been in London but I think that it supposed to be really good also.

  6. I found these in Newcastle. So they made a little trip!

  7. Those shoes are really gorgeous!! How wonderful that you could find so much information about the company, too.

  8. Love the advertisement. En de schoenen zijn zeker prachtig! :) Ik ga gauw ook maar weer eens naar Engeland.

  9. Those are beautiful.Not a crease from wear on them either wich you would expect them to have at there age.Those look like they were never worn but a few times.What a great find.Thanks for sharing the history,always love learning how and when things were made.xx

  10. I love old advertising!
    beautiful shoes! :)

  11. They sure don't make shoes like that anymore.

  12. Aubrey N. Roadway.30 July, 2015

    The corde range of footwear was still available in 1950 (The year I joined Lotus and Delta at the Stafford
    shop in Greengate Street.) Shortly after that. the style began to lose favour. Ref the comment about the shoes not creasing, the fact that they are leather lined throughout ensured that they kept their shape.I liked the whole of the Corde range they were certainly very elegant.


Popular Posts

My Flickr Images