Sunday School Shoe Club

The Sunday School Shoe Club
The first entries of the Shoe Club , which are for 1874 to 1876, are found in the back of the Coal Club Book. Also in the back are the Women's Clothes Club entries for 1875 and 1876. There are two more books showing the accounts for the Women's Clothing Club and the Sunday School Shoe Club both from 1877 to 1885 and Women's Clothing Club and Sunday School Shoe Club 1886 to 1900. It is not known if the Shoe and Clothing Clubs had been in existence since the 1830s as the Coal Club appears to have been.

In 1874 the children were paying, on average, 1d per week to the Shoe Club. The ledger is ruled of at the end of August and no payments were made in the last 3 weeks in August and the first week in September. Extra payments were made in September usually 5d in the first week so that by the end of December 4s 4d had been paid. Apart from the early years only a summary of the names is shown in the books It is likely that further examination of the unnamed books also held by St John's church may well turn out to show the weekly collection entries.

The balance sheet from 1877 onward shows that to this 4s/4d was added a bonus of 2s/2d for each child. This bonus money came from charitable donations from around 7 of the local clergy and gentry amounting to around £5 per year plus discount from the shops, bank interest and the balance from the church offertory.
A comparison of names needs to be done to confirm or otherwise if the same families appear in all three Clubs but many of the same surname names do crop up. The numbers in the Shoe Club are higher as each child is recorded separately rather than the Coal and Clothes Clubs where the names are recorded by, what might be assumed to be, the head of the family.

The Shoe Club account sheets for 1877 to 1900 are headed up in various ways, for instance School Shoe Club or Christmas School Shoe Club. Between 1882 to 1885 there is a separate section shown as Infant School. The accounts for both the Shoe and Clothes Clubs shows the names of the shops where the shoes and clothes were purchased, the number of purchases and the cost made at each shop each year.

In the 1870s and 1880 the most popular shop in the Shoe club was Burgess, which had been established in 1827 in the Market Place, but at least another 10 shops were named. In 1890 the Burgess shop was purchased by the Beynon family and this continued to be the most popular shop for the Shoe Club members under this new name. Although the shop was sold in 1937 it continued to trade in the Market Place under the name Beynon until it closed in 1990. The second most popular shop in 1890s was the successful drapery business of McIlroy and Rankin, at 42 Cheap St Newbury owned by local business man John Rankin after whom a local primary school is now named. Camp's Drapery Bazaar opened in Northbrook Street in 1886, Joseph Hopson furniture business in West Street was established in 1854, in 1921 these two business merged after the two families were united by marriage.

Transcriptions of the pages are available to members on line.

Further research into the shops is still to be done.