Fred Howarth - Lambert Howarth & Sons

From early life in Piercy Street, Waterfoot, the tin bath in front of the fire to going to whitewell bottom Council School. His father’s desire for him to go to Manchester Grammar School and then enter the family footwear business.

He recalls the founder of the firm Lambert Howarth in particular the dangerous trip from Rawtenstall to Accrington on his trap and carriage fighting off robbers. Betsy Howarth had drapery shop and was the brains of the family and often paid wages for the footwear business.

They took over a footwear /slipper firm – Rossendale Works in School St, Whitewell Bottom as a debt and soon after started making round toe clogs (local clogs square toe) that would be exported to Ireland.

His brother Clifford went to Leicester Tech to learn how to do pattern cutting and he would learn Fred who would grade the patterns.

In 1926 his father (also Fred) started work for Marks and Spencer and the trial order of felt slippers with leather sole resulted in rapid growth taking over the old Osbornia Spinning Company mill employing up to 800 people and again expanding in 1938 into Burnley Healey Royd Factory with incentives from Burnley Council.

The Marks and Spencer work and their growth resulted in large order and helped the firm through the 1930’s depression.

During the war the firm would use old railway carriage seating as materials and the crepe they had been using to produce 24,000 pairs children leather sandals was placed under government embargo and locked away.

He talks about the formation of Valley Supply and as shareholders how the waste collection increased your stake in the firm as a co-operative of manufactures worked together.

To listen to the full interview please click on the green button with the white triangle below. 58 mins