Edinburgh World Heritage

55 Thistle Street - Shoemaker

In 1812 this building was the shop of Charles Webb, a shoemaker.

Men’s shoes in the Regency period were of a fairly simple design, made of black leather, with a low heel and perhaps with a buckle. More expensive versions would have very thin leather and perhaps silk linings.

The height of fashion though was to have a pair of boots. These could be either the ‘Hessian’ style with shaped tops and a tassel, or if you felt patriotic the all new ‘Wellington’ boot named after the famous general.

On the upper floors were lodgings for hire owned by a Mrs Boyd.

Thistle Street had many rooms for rent, catering for those coming to study or work in the expanding city. One young man who lodged in Thistle Street at this time was William Jerdan, forced by his family to come and study law.

He actually spent his time in, “billards, luncheons, dinners and hard drinking”. He admits “…in Edinburgh the gaieties and seductions were too temping for me to resist”, and he looked back on his time here as, “irretrievably wasted and ill-spent.”

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