Frederick Riley Ltd., Stafford

Frederick Riley

Frederick Riley (Staffordshire Heritage & Arts)

Closing Dept., Frederick Riley

Closing Dept., Frederick Riley, Gainsborough Works, Stafford, 1930s (William Salt Library)

Gainsborough Works

Frederick Riley's Gainsborough Works, St. Patrick's Place, Stafford, January 2011 (Staffordshire Heritage & Arts)

Sales increased and the business grew, and they concentrated on making high quality women’s shoes under the ‘Gainsborough’ brand. As with many other manufacturers in the late 19th century, shoes at this time were largely made either by rivetting on the sole with brass rivets, or pegging them on with wooden pegs. Hand sewn shoes were still made outside the factories. In 1885 a larger factory was acquired in Mount Street.

The company continued to grow rapidly, and in 1892 moved to the factory on St. Patrick’s Place which had been built by another shoe manufacturer, James Day, and was then renamed ‘the Gainsborough Works’. Powered machines, including a Blake sole stitcher and a Boston tacker, were first introduced in 1896.

From 1909 the company was known as Frederick Riley Ltd., and before it closed in 1942, Frederick Riley & Sons. 129 people were employed in 1938.

The Gainsborough Works still stand, and between around 1962 and 2004 were occupied by Stafford Tool & Die (later Stafford Tool & Machine Co.).

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