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C K Woods
C K Woods sample shoes Everytime shoes
Samples of C K Woods' shoes - 'Citadel Made in Northamptonshire' (top) and 'C K Woods production'
A catalogue perhaps from the early 1960s
'Everytime' range all with leather soles

Charles Kingsley Woods was born at Rushden in 1892, son of John and Eliza, who were both born at Ravensden, Bedforshire. They came here shortly before Charles was born, with their children Cornelius, Percy and Vera, and lived in Little Street. Another son, Edward completed the family in 1894. John worked at home as a shoe finisher.

Charles worked in the office at the CWS shoe factory in 1910. On 29th September 1915, Charles married Jessie Gladys Warner, aged 20, daughter of William & Sarah, at Park Road Baptist Church.

Article prepared for distribution at an Exhibition in 2005 at Rushden Heritage Centre, by Arthur Harris.

On his return, in 1919, from serving in the First World War, Mr Charles Kingsley Woods began a small business in a workshop at 1 Little Street, Rushden, manufacturing men's Goodyear welted boots and shoes. In those days most of the work was given to out-workers with little machinery used.

About 1922, Mr Woods moved to a house and workshop at 10 Crabb Street, Rushden, taking the premises over from John White and about 1926, the business moved again to Church Street, Rushden also to premises once used by John White.

As the business gradually expanded the factory machines were purchased. Mr Woods decided that larger premises were needed, so in 1928 the Company moved to North Street, enabling all the manufacturing processes to be accommodated under one roof, rather than being sent to outworkers. Over the years this factory was modified and two further extensions constructed.

While visiting Kingston, Jamaica, Mr C K Woods was asked by one of his customers to start a shoe factory there, so in 1953 Mr Woods' son, Peter, now Managing Director of the company, went out to Jamaica to open a factory. He took the machinery from North Street and spent 6 months in Jamaica teaching local people how to use the machinery to manufacture shoes of all types, including ladies shoes. This factory became the first British shoe factory to be exported and traded as the Hanwood Shoe Company. It still operates today, although in 1967/68 C K Woods sold the 25% shares they once held in the Company.

Today C K Woods in Rushden no longer manufactures men's welted high-grade shoes, 95% of which were all leather. Shoes in the 1970's were supplied to factors and multiples in Britain and exported, particularly to Norway, Qatar and Canada. The Company employed about 60 people, two or three times a year.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 30th May 1941, transcribed by Kay Collins

Presentation—Mr. C. K. Woods, boot manufacturer, was the recipient of a case, containing a fountain pen and table cigarette lighter, presented by the members of No. 2 Platoon of the Rushden Home Guard “A” Company upon his retirement from the position of Platoon Commander. Mr. Woods, who is still a member of the Home Guard, was one of the first to join in Rushden and was given command of No. 2 Platoon, which he formed. During the last war he served in Mesopotamia from 1915-19, being mentioned in dispatches.

A letterhead showing three directors [?1970s]:

C K Woods

K P Woods &

F N Woods

Wholesaler spots shoes on tennis star [newsclip - source unknown]
My picture shows a young man with size 13 feet who only a few days ago was a national hero. He is, of course, Buster Mottram whose gutsy battle against Brian Gottfried in the Davis Cup final in the USA was the UK's only victory.

Buster Mottram wearing C K Woods shoes

The picture of Buster being swept off his feet by five beauties from Coca Cola (the company who sponsored the British team to the tune of £3,000-a-man match fees and a £10,000 bonus if they brought home the cup) was taken at Heathrow and first appeared in the Daily Express, where it was seen by Mr Peter Doughty, head of Doughty's Footwear, London and Manchester-based footwear wholesalers. He immediately recognised the name on the soles of Buster's welted leather shoes as one of their brands, made for them by C. K. Woods, Rushden manufacturers.

Mr Doughty tells me that his company are specialists in large sized footwear for men - demand for which steadily increases. They stock up to size 14 in all-leather and carry some size 15s with PVC soles.

In future, "bottoms up" will have a new meaning for the Doughty organisation!

'Rushdene' Brand

leather tag
W E & J Pebody of Olney supplied some of the leather to the factory, and these tags were put on the shoes as they were packed into the boxes ready for sale.

The shoe-box labels below are some of the brands made by C K Woods.

Citadel Englands Gentlemen's Welted
City King Citadel Oxford shoe Citadel Gibson shoe
Top footwear
The shoe-box labels - some of the brands made by C K Woods. Blank labels went to the box factory, where individual orders were overprinted with size and style numbers on the required label.

Factory Flats Scheme
Evening Telegraph, Wednesday, February 5, 1986, transcribed by Kay Collins
Another former shoe factory is to make way for homes in Rushden
C K Woods factory site in North Street is the latest to catch developers' eyes — and the site has now been granted outline permission for residential use.

Recently, the Jacques and Clark factory in Midland Road was demolished to make way for private flats, and another residential scheme is in hand for the former John White shoe factory in Newton Road, Rushden. The Woods site covers an acre and developers want to retain the three storey factory buildings on the North Street frontage and convert it into flats.

They also want to build terraced homes on part of the factory site. East Northants planners have asked for details of layout, parking and amenity areas before granting full planning permission. The cost of the project is not yet known.

The factory in North Street in 1986
An advert from 1954
The factory is now flats
The plaque to commemorate the opening
These three pictures were taken
by Greville Watson in 2009

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