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By: Geoff Mackness. November 12th 2007
H T Mackness Ltd 1919 - 2002

H T Mackness' factory in Beech Road Their delivery van
Above - The factory in Beech Road in 2008

Right - A van with sign writing by Clive Wood


Having served in the R.A.M.C during the First World War and suffered poisonous gas inhalation, Mr. Herbert Thomas Mackness was advised not to continue his craft as a "clicker" in a local shoe factory for health reasons.

He therefore, started cutting shoe socks from leather etc. in the large hut in his garden in Midland Road Rushden. This proved to be a successful enterprise, supplying the numerous local shoe manufacturers and within a year he was joined by his brother Harry. Shortly afterwards they moved to larger premises in Alfred Street (behind the current Salvation Army Citadel).

Business continued to improve and in 1924 the factory in Beech Road (off Higham Road) Rushden, formerly owned by Messrs Badham and later Messrs Lilley, was acquired together with the house and garden at No. 3, which was later to be rebuilt upon for an extension. Harry Mackness and his family moved into No. 3, dressing leather, cork splitting and painting took place together with use of synthetics for use as shoe socks and in 1931 a four storey extension (built by A. Sanders Ltd) was added to the existing property and shoe factories all over the County were supplied..

Harrys' son, Dennis had meanwhile joined the Company which now employed quite a few people.

About 1937/8 Systoning of Leicester was acquired and this opened the product range of shoe insoles to the sort sold in pairs over the retail counters. This was done through 'multiples' and "Leather and Grindery Merchants."

Throughout the war they traded under the brand "Mascot". Harry's second son, Geoff, joined the Company in 1938 and with the exception of war service, stayed with the Company until retirement in 1988 and his son John came into the business in 1978 and stayed until the demise of the British Shoe Trade forced closure in 2002.

Many additional products were added post war including, "Gold Stamping" of brand, all products for the shoe manufacturing, retail (via wholesalers), shoe retailing trade in this country, South Africa, W. Indies and New Zealand.

Although the Company ceased to exist in 2002, the premises remain, having been bought by David Corbin, the current owner of the "John White" brandname who were huge customers of H. T. Mackness Ltd.

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