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Cunnington Bros.

The factory The unimposing door
The factory on the corner of Crabb Street and Park Road
The door in Crabb Street

Messrs. Cunnington Bros. was established in 1882 by Messrs. Thomas D. and Isaac Cunnington. They had begun as wholesale boot and shoe and upper manufacturers, and curriers. By 1900 they had built a fine large factory at the corner of Crabb Street and Park Road, and then had a pair of houses built in Park Road, not far from the factory. When Thomas died in November 1906, Isaac was joined by his nephew, Robert C. Cunnington, son of his older brother Charles who was a currier.

23 & 25 Park Road
23 & 25 Park Road - stand almost opposite the factory
The homes of Isaac & Thomas Cunnington

Extract from Council Meeting May 1900
Messrs. Cunnington Bros., for additions to factory in Crabb-street and Park-road and passed subject to the following modifications:
The walls between the columns to be 18 inches thick and other walls on ground floor including walls of conveniences, to be 14 inches thick: the manure pit to be provided with a cover and to have no connection with sewer: a manhole to be provided where siphon shown on plan and a vent shaft to be provided at upper end of drain: the hood over door in Crabb-street not to project more than 6ins. in any portion and the brackets not more than 1½ inches: an additional stair case to be provided in an approved situation.

By 1916 they were making men’s light medium grade footwear, for home and export sales.

Rushden Echo, 6th July 1900, transcribed by Kay Collins

Outing—The employees of Messrs Cunnington Bros., Park-road, had their annual outing on Monday when they went by the Band of Hope trip to Yarmouth. Saloon carriages were provided, and the party numbered about 60, being accompanied by the foremen of the various departments. They had a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Rushden Echo, 5th April 1918

OBITUARY – Mr. W. S. Betty, of Bristol, a boot factor who was well known in Rushden, died here yesterday week.  About a fortnight ago he was taken ill while staying at the Queen Victoria Hotel at Rushden, and was removed to the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Cunnington.  Two trained nurses were engaged, and his wife and other relatives were sent for, but in spite of every care he died on March 28th.  Death is attributed to the effects of an attack of blood poisoning some time ago.  The body was removed to Bristol for interment, Mr. T. Swindall making the local arrangements.

Extract from a Military Tribunal in May 1918

Robert Charles Cunnington, 37, married, managing director of Messrs. Cunnington Brothers, boot manufacturers. In this case Mr. Isaac Cunnington said that respondent had for the last seven or eight years held the post of managing director and it was not easy to find managers. Conditional exemption withdrawn and temporary exemption until July 31st granted, in line with the other shoe trade cases.

No major alterations were made to the building after about 1923. The factory was taken over in about 1937 by Bignells when they amalgamated with A W Gilbert & Sons of York Road. It closed in about 1973.

For a few years part of the property was used by Avenue Panels, later Avenue Agricultural, but since they vacated it in about 2008, it has stood empty. It is a Grade II listed building. An auction sale failed to find a buyer.

Fatal Accident 1933

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