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Ashford & Campion

The factory
c1910 next to the library, and the factory after extensions c1916

About 1898, William Campion and his brother-in-law, William Ashford, began manufacturing heels at their home in Wymington. They had previously been working in a shoe factory, making and attaching heels, so once having learnt the technique of heel manufacture, they realised they could turn this into a profitable small business. The two men and their wives were the only employees in the early days, manufacturing mens, youths and boys shoe heels; however, as the business grew more profitable, more women were employed.

Cut sole dept
Ashford & Campion Ltd Cut Sole Dept.
in Sartoris Road taken in 2007
In 2015 flats are being built on the site.
The firm moved to Newton Road in 1908 and the premises were enlarged three times to cope with the increasing trade. Both the partners are thoroughly practical and understand the business of heel making. Before WWI all kinds of men’s, youths’ and boys’ heels were produced either with top pieces or without. After the War they concentrated on the manufacture of heels for the British and Allied Armies. Having a large and modern factory and all the requisite machinery, they were very successful and served a wide area. In 1922 the factory was sold to John White. After a brief closure, the company was started again at Higham Ferrers in 1924. In the 1940s they also had a 'cut sole department' in a small factory in Sartoris Road, previously the joinery works of Swannell & Turlington.

Extract from a Military Tribunal in May 1918

W. Campion, Grade 2 and W. Ashford Grade 1 principals at the firm of Ashford and Campion, heel manufacturers, were given until July 31st.

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