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Clogs in Britain & Beyond – a talk by Michael L Jackson

Clogs in Britain and Beyond

Review of the online talk about the history of clog making in Britain and beyond, given by Michael L Jackson on 13th March 2021.  Judith Proctor writes:

“Michael Jackson showed us some of his extensive collection of clogs and used them to illustrate his talk.

“He spent some time discussing a belief, widely held in Lancashire, that clogs was originally introduced by Flemish weavers.  Although there are many interesting stories associated with this belief, it isn’t actually true.  The Lancashire clog has an origin that is completely English.

“One has to realise that there are two different types of clog.  There are ‘sabots’/’klompen’ – when we think of Dutch clogs, this is the style we are thinking of – which are made of hollowed out wood.  The other kind are galoshes.  Although I think of a ‘galosh’ as a waterproof overshoe, it is also the correct term for a clog with a wooden sole and a leather upper.

“Each of these is made in a very different way.  Michael showed us various examples of traditional tools used for making klompen in Europe, for cutting and shaping wood, and hollowing out the inside of the clog.

“Next, he showed us where the glaosh style of clog actually originated – from ‘pattens’.  I’d come across pattens before, but had never made the mental connection to clogs.

“Pattens were wooden overshoes worn in Medieval times and were still being sold as late as the 1920s.  The were a wooden sole, raised on a couple of wooden stilts, or sometimes a metal ring would rest on the ground with metal struts supporting the wooden sole above.  A leather strap (that would later evolve into the leather upper that morris dancers recognise) passed over the foot to keep the patten in place.  The purpose of pattens was to protect delicate shoes from all the mud and dirt in the streets. (and also to protect the feet from contact  with cold surfaces).

“It was interesting to learn from old adverts that the same manufacturers made both pattens and galoshes, clearly demonstrating the connection between the two.

“Michael then moved onto showing us clogs and patterns from around the world.  The most familiar probably being the Japanese ‘geta’.

review by Judith Proctor

Donations from participants raised money for the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS)

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