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From Trade Directories, Council Plans, & a bundle of receipts found in 2011
Joseph Knight
Rectory Road corner of Victoria Road built in the 1880s and extended in 1889 (see council plan 134)
Extract from 1891 Industries - Wholesale and Export Boot and Shoe Manufacturer, Victoria Road.—A prominent position must be accorded Mr. J. Knight, Junior, in reviewing the boot and shoe trade in Rushden. This gentleman has been established some years, and by turning out uniform first-class goods has built up a trade of considerable value and extent. He devotes special attention to the manufacture of medium-class and cheap goods, and is in a position to compete in both quality and price with any house in the trade, in the town or county. His premises are of spacious dimensions, three-storied in height, substantially built, arranged on modern lines, and conveniently divided into office, warehouse, and factory. The last named is furnished with all the requisite machinery. There is a well-appointed large factory at Olney, recently opened for the manufacture of the cheaper productions. It is equipped with the best machinery and appliances, and has every facility for carrying on a large trade, comprising stock, packing, clicking, sorting, and forwarding rooms. With such excellent manufacturing facilities, and the aid of a large number of experienced hands, Mr. Knight is prepared to execute all orders on the shortest notice. All his productions are noted for thorough utility, soundness, lasting wear, and best finish; indeed, it is only by maintaining these qualities at the highest degree of excellence that he ensures a large and constant flow of orders from all parts of the kingdom and abroad. By all who know him Mr. Knight is much respected for his enterprise, and it is safe to predict that he will yet take a higher rank in this important branch of industry.

York Road factory - now flats
The York Road factory - now flats (2010)
Old factory on the corner of Victoria Road/Rectory Road


Herbert Adnitt's receipt
Herbert Adnitt's receipt for architectural services June 1920
Joseph Knight began shoemaking in the 1870s and was a finisher in 1881. By 1891 he was manufacturing in Victoria Road and kept this factory making footwear for the wholesale trade until the 1920s.

A factory in York Road, belonging to Ellard & Howes, was destroyed in a disasterous fire in 1907, and Joseph and Mr Brightwell applied to the council for permission to rebuild on the site in June 1908.

This factory thrived and plans were submitted to the council for an additional leather store to be added in October 1908. Another open shed was erected in April 1911, and further factory additions were made in 1914/5.

More plans for additions were drawn up in 1920, Mr Herbert Adnitt being the architect. About 1926 the firm became a limited company, probably on Joseph's retirement. He died in 1932 aged 76.

The factory was taken over by Bignell's in about 1938. Much later it was taken over by Wearproof Ltd. After standing derelict for a few years, it has now been made into luxury flats (2009).


For a photo album of the factory click here Ebooks and scroll down to 23 York Road and click run

click here for a Survey of the factory

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