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William Green - founder of 'Grenson'

Jane Green
William Green
Jane & William's Gravestone
C A K Green

Sketch of the original workshop by R K Green
Reginald Kersey Green was third son of Charles A K Green, and a grandson of William Green (1835-1901) the shoemaker who founded the Grenson shoe company and his wife Jane (nee Kersey). William was born at Houghton Conquest in Bedfordshire, where his mother’s brother lived. It is thought that William may have met Jane when he attended a Temperance Festival at Hartwell House, near to Aylesbury town. Jane was born in 1839 in Aylesbury Buckinghamshire, where her father was head gardener for the owner of Hartwell House, Dr. John Lee, a notable philanthropist.

At first William Green had made shoes in the loft over the corn merchant’s in Newton Road and sold his wares to a shoe factor, Mr Darnell who travelled up from London on behalf of shoe shops there. He liked the quality and encouraged them to expand. To begin with his own family lived at 2 Cambridge Place in 1871. In 1874 they built a new three-storey factory at the bottom of Albion Place fronting High Street South. Members of the family also lived close by and were working in co-operation with William. The family were staunch Baptists and attended the ‘Bottom Meeting’ in Little Street.

Further expansion saw the new factory built on the corner of Cromwell Road and Queen Street in 1895, and the firm still operate there today. About this time William & Jane moved house to 15 Griffith Street. Their eldest son Charles Arthur Kersey Green was born in 1862 and he moved to live at the foot of Crabb Street when he married. Later he moved to Hayway and in 1920 moved into Knuston Hall.

Cambridge Cottages in Newton Road.

The row is now demolished but Mr & Mrs Allen who kept the shop at the time of the photograph (right) built a new shop, on the land enclosed by the wooden fence in 1937, where they continued to trade until 1959.
The workshop - in the loft over Allen's shop. (previously a grain store)

rear view of the factory
The first factory built by William Green has a square date stone of 1874, near the apex of the roof. In the centre front a round carved stone depicts another boot and tools. After he built the new factory in 1895, this factory was used by other shoemakers, then by Mr Hulatt, a sewing machine supplier/repairer. It was been converted into living accomodation (c2005).

Grenson Girls - Hospital Parade 1913
(l-r) Mrs Prickett (nee Knight), Mrs Dunkley (nee Woods), unknown
c2008 with windows replaced

If you have a photograph of the factory in High Street South,
before it was altered, we'd be pleased to take a copy.

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