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Article by Gerald Sanders, 1997
Sanders & Sanders - Old Papers

A look at the early days of the Business.

This collection of fifteen papers date from the year 1884 and cover the period 2nd May to 31st October. They were found under the floorboards of the first Sanders' shoe factory, which still stands at the corner of Station Road and High Street. They were discovered during the 1990s by a builder who, by good fortune, realised they would be of interest to somebody, so he delivered them to Clive Wood for safekeeping, who in turn kindly passed them to me.

My grandfather William Sanders came to Rushden from Rothwell. I am uncertain where he first lived, but his brother Thomas lived in a cottage which stood on the piece of ground now occupied by the Lancaster Club in Station road and it was here that the Sanders Brothers started their boot making in or about 1873. The first Sanders factory was built during the 1870's at the corner of High street and Station road where it stands today. (In fact, at that time, Station Road did not exist for it was the very edge of the village and the railway and its station were opened circa 1893.)

It will be seen that, of the fourteen archives:

8 are addressed to Sanders Bros.

6 are addressed to Sanders & Sanders.

At that time, there was no need to register the business so either name was acceptable until Sanders & Sanders became the accepted title.

G.E.S.S. November 1997.

From  To For
May 2
Bouts & Ellis Sanders Bros.
Leather to Mr Groome (Rushden) for dressing.
Haldenstein Sanders Bros.
Wax splits, Calf kids and Singapores (all unknown today)
Bouts & Ellis Sanders & Sanders
N.W.R. North West Railway to Irthlingborough.
Haldenstein Sanders Bros.
See the Seller's footnote -- but returned 2 weeks later with 2 Doz more.
June 10
Bouts & Ellis Sanders & Sanders  
Statement of account. Note the five months credit!
Haldenstein Sanders Bros. Leathers
Sample 2 Doz returned 6 days later
Shortland Sanders & Sanders Stitching
W. Shortland had the first sole stitcher in the area
July 18
Geo Matthews Sanders Bros.  
Receipted statement
Shortland Sanders Bros. Stitching
Stitching It appears that each out-worker took his own work to Irthlingborough to be stitched at about three pence farthing per pair.
Aug 31
Shortland Sanders Bros.  
Statement receipted with penny stamp (upside-down)
Oct 6
Shakerley Boston & Co Sanders & Sanders Leathers
Note: the mice have been at work on this one.
Midland Railway Sanders Bros. Carriage
By rail to various destinations from Irchester station. Mr Bramley carted the parcels to Irchester in his horse cart. Note customer names.
Midland Railway Sanders Bros. Carriage
Shakerley Boston & Co Sanders & Sanders  
Invoice for leather Bill for just over a quarter of a ton of E.I. Calf skins, or to be exact, 5 cwt. 2 qtrs. 18 lbs.

E.I. stands for East India and refers to leather from the Madras area of India which has been partly tanned before being shipped to U.K. for further processing and finishing.

This parcel of leather was to be delivered to Mr Groome who had a leather dressing business in Rushden. He finished the E.I. calf mainly as linings for boots.

Bouts & Ellis were merchants importing "crust" leathers for "curriers" like Mr Groome.

Invoice for more leather Haldenstein were suppliers of finished leathers for boot uppers.

A wax split was a stout split hide, vegetable tanned and "filled" with hot paraffin wax so that it could be termed "waterproof."

The one remaining piece of this leather, which somehow survived until about 1950, was an undyed, dirty greenish colour and both surfaces were waxy. George Miller, the clicking foreman told me that it was leather used "a long time ago" and it was only suitable for navvies' boots.

invoice for claf kid leather Bill for a sample of Calf Kid upper leather (sold by weight).

Could it have been Mr Haldinstein himself who wrote the footnote?

Whoever it was, they were to be disappointed for the parcel was returned two weeks later together with two dozen more.

statement of account This is a statement of account covering two invoices dated 2nd and 23rd May.

"Gent'n Please Accept & return enclos'd Bill £77.16.0 due 5th Octr"

How very polite and five months to pay!

invoice for samples Another sample of Calf Kid sent as a sample and "returned with 1 dozen more".

It seems Grandfather was not very impressed.

invoice for stitching
W. Shortland - Sewer & Stitcher to the Trade

Bills dated 30th June & 31st July 1884.

Sewer & Stitcher to the trade refers to a mechanised method of attaching soles. Up to this time, soles could be handsewn -- a slow and costly method used only for the best Northampton made shoes or, soles could be attached with metal rivets (nails) which was the low cost method but produced a very heavy and rigid boot. The first machines for sewing soles came from the United States and it would seem that Shortland decided to invest in the "new technology" - a shrewd investment enabling Mr Shortland to provide a most valuable service to the county trade.

It appears that each individual Sanders outworker took the boots, that he had part made by hand, to Irthlingborough, to have the soles machine sewn/stitched, the cost of the service being charged to the Company account.

It is not easy to understand the charge list but it appears to be as follows:

Prices per dozen pairs [12 pairs]-

Mens boots 15d
Youths boots 10d
Others 18d

It is interesting to see the names of the outworkers and how frequently they returned with the next batch.

It is known that, at a little later date, the Sanders Brothers had a Blake Sewer of their own.

Note: Further information regarding mechanised sewing and stitching in the 1880s would be most welcome.

Another invoice for stitching
Statement from W Shortland Receipted statement - "With Best Thanks".
Receipted invoice Receipted statement
Invoice for leather
Rail Freight invoice Midland Railway Company

Freight Bills - October 1884.

In 1884, the only fast and reliable means of moving goods about the country was by rail.

The Rushden branch line was not opened until circa 1893 and the nearest rail freight collection point was Irchester station from which all Sanders despatches appear to have been made. As can be seen, Mr Bramley collected parcels from Rushden - for conveyance to Irchester in his horse drawn wagon.

Rail freight was charged by weight and charges varied according to destination:

London 25/- per ton.
Liverpool 40/-
Newark 26/8 (twenty six shillings and eight pence)
Canterbury 42/6
Guildford 36/8
Reading 28/4
Dorking 35/-
Poole 45/-
Faversham 35/-

When we consider that each parcel was assessed for charge by weight in cwt. qtrs. & lbs., it was not an easy calculation for the freight clerk.

The list of customer names is interesting but to the best of our knowledge none of them exist today.

a receipt

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