Arbroath shoe trade

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Robin Fairweather, a long standing member of Arbroath Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow, addressed his fellow members at the latest meeting of the Club.

Robin gave an account of his working life, which included his time with the Royal Signals. However, Robin focused on his involvement with the shoe trade and, in particular, shoe manufacture and repair activities, which were located in Arbroath.

He stated that shoemaking in Arbroath commenced in 1823 and was located in the Abbey Works in Sidney Street with product being made under the Keltic brand. Unfortunately, the business was affected by the depression of the 1920s and the last shoes were made in 1935.

Shoe-related activity continued with the setting up of a repair facility following the cessation of manufacture. Employing around 20 people, shoe repairs continued up to around 1970 with 1500 pairs of shoes being repaired per week. Operations ceased in 1970.

The formal vote of thanks was delivered by Colin Bowie and President-elect Harry Simpson was in the chair.