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Wescam Engineering (Ernest Chambers Heel Factory)

A Grade II Listed Building in Raunds, North Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.3454 / 52°20'43"N

Longitude: -0.5325 / 0°31'57"W

OS Eastings: 500061

OS Northings: 272936

OS Grid: TL000729

Mapcode National: GBR FZC.XWZ

Mapcode Global: VHFP7.Q9BW

Plus Code: 9C4X8FW8+5X

Entry Name: Wescam Engineering (Ernest Chambers Heel Factory)

Listing Date: 23 April 2004

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1391031

English Heritage Legacy ID: 492720

ID on this website: 101391031

Location: Raunds, North Northamptonshire, NN9

County: North Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Raunds

Built-Up Area: Raunds

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Raunds St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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1740/0/10016 PARK ROAD
23-APR-04 Wescam Engineering (Ernest Chambers He
el Factory)

Heel factory, now engineering works. c.1900. For Ernest William Chambers.
Gault brick with blue brick and red brick dressings: parapeted roof with front corner pedestals supporting spiked spheres. L plan originally, infilled to become rectangular by 1924. 2 storeys on high plinth. 3 windows plus a taking-in door on both floors to right and 5 windows to left side. The original cast-iron framed windows survive under segmental blue brick arches. Door to left side. The upper taking-in door has a protective rail and the origial cast-iron hoist. The right side is blank and is partly single-storey. The large late C20 extension to the rear is not of special architectural interest.
The way the 2 storeys are likely to have been used is that on the ground floor the heal shapes were stamped out of heavy gauge leather using very solid stamping machines. The second process is glueing layers of the leather together, pressing them until set and finally trimming up the edges and buffing. This would mostly likely have been done on the upper floor and the finished goods lowered out of the upper door.
HISTORY. Ernst and Enos Chambers are noted as boot heel manufacturers in Raunds in 1906 and may well have been in this factory because they are noted as in Manor Street in 1922 and in 1929 and 1940 in Park Road (almost certainly one and the same factory). This building is marked in the OS maps as a 'heel factory' at least until 1970.
EH Northamptonshire Boot and Shoe Survey, Site Report No.7.
Morrison, Kathryn A., with Bond, Ann, 'Built to Last? The Boot and Shoe Buildings of Northamptonshire', forthcoming, pp.5 and 22.

This is the best preserved and most interesting structure identified in the Boot and Shoe Industry Survey as a heel factory and is one of a very few examples of purpose-built factories with specialised uses identifed as being of special interest. It is a small very carefully detailed factory and exemplifies the expansion of the industry into towns surrounding Northamption at the end of the C19. It is a remarkably unaltered survival of a very unusual building type.

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