The traditional dress of Lancashire women was always clogs and shawls.
All women wore shawls and quite often they had inherited them from mothers or grandmothers.They wore shawls for everyday use and occasionally kept one for 'best' in a drawer somewhere in the house. Because most women wore shawls instead of coats, and indeed, many working class women didn't even own a coat, it was quite common for certain occasions such as funerals, to borrow coats and even hats from better off neighbours.
If a housewife wanted to treat herself after a small windfall, she would usually buy a new shawl in preference to a new dress or underwear. They were very useful items. Wrapped in a shawl she would be protected from cold winds far better than when wearing a coat, and when the baby was wrapped in her shawl, he was completely protected from the elements.
All the mill girls wore clogs and shawls and at five thirty in the morning the clatter of all those clogs on the cobbled street was a signal to all that another day had dawned.Then would come the sound of the miners going to work in their clogs.
It is hardly surprising then, given that they were commonly worn by both sexes, that every district had it's own clogger's shop. The clogger would make and mend clogs and would also sometimes stitch or sole and heel a pair of boots or shoes when required.
A good clogger would cut his own uppers, although these were often bought ready cut and sewn. The clogger would match them to a wooden sole of the same size, hammer a sliver of thin leather (called a welt) around and according to which purpose the clogs were required for would press in steel or brass eyelets and toecaps. Steel for work, brass for best or for dancing, but work clogs usually had clasps rather than laceholes.Finally a set of irons would be hammered into the soles to complete the clogs. When these irons wore out they would be removed and a new set fitted and one pair of clogs would last a very long time. Although it only cost a few pence for the irons to be fitted, a man often bought the irons from the clogger and removed the old ones and replaced them himself.
Old boots were never thrown away, they were saved and the uppers would be fitted to a pair of wooden clog soles, and since the leather from the boots was generally softer than the clog leather they would be very comfortable.
At Christmas time the children from the poorer families could apply to be included in the Chief Constable's Clog and Stocking fund. This was a charity sponsored by the Chief Concstable to provide that no child need be absent from school or work because of lack of suitable footwear. Many children, however, would not wear them because the distinctive design made them easily identifiable as "Chief Constable's Clogs". Many children would rather go to school in their sister's old shoes, rather than be seen in charity clogs.