The Clog Blog

The Clog. Symbolic in towns like Blackburn as the footwear of the working class. It was the shoe of the people. At the crack of dawn the sound of thousands of workers with wooden shoes trudging through the cobbled streets to the mills would boom around the town.

The typical Lancashire clog is different to a Dutch clog in that it only has a wooden base. These clogs would have leather uppers and depending on the type of work the person was doing they could have a protective area around the toes. Clogs were used for all occasions and even became synonomous with dancing and fighting. It is believed clog dancing began in the mills with workers tapping their feet to the rhythm of looms. Clog fighting on the other hand was rather more vicious. This involved the participants undressing to nothing but their underwear and clogs and continually kicking each other’s shins until one person gave up.

Working in a museum can be a little strange as you are surrounded by all this history but very rarely do you get to live it. This is why I have chosen to do a historical roadtest, wearing a pair of clogs for a full day. I decided to go for a little walk around the town centre to see what they were like.

You wouldn't find a pair of these in here!

It's hard work testing clogs

I chose to do the roadtest in a style of clogs which would have been used by a mill worker. These shoes were not made for fashion but had practical uses in mind. Having never worn clogs before I found they were surprisingly comfortable although a little noisy! 

Would I swap my trainers for a pair of clogs? Probably not. Although I’m sure I could find room in my wardrobe for a pair.


2 Responses to “The Clog Blog”

  1. 1 Charles David Purses April 6, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I don’t think I’ve seen this depicted that way before. You actually have made this so much clearer for me. Thank you!

  2. 2 denise brogden July 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I haven’t worn my clogs in town for ages, as I used to get loads of older people stopping me and saying how they hadn’t seen anyone wearing them in ages. Also a wet tiled surface isn’t the safest to walk on in clogs

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Blackburn Museum can be found in Blackburn, Lancashire. It houses objects documenting Blackburn's industrial past as well as a world class collection of Fine Art, Japanese prints, Icons, Numismatics and Manuscripts. Come and visit us to find out more.

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