Goliath Footwear

Scope and Content

The collection consists of employee registers, pensions and death benefit scheme registers, staff wages ledgers, price books, accounts, newspaper cuttings, and photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

Goliath Footwear was founded in 1880 by the Co-operative Wholesale Society under the name of the Heckmondwike Boot and Shoe Works. The factory was based in Heckmondwike in West Yorkshire and was the second Co-operative Wholesale Society shoe factory to be founded, after the Leicester factory on Duns Lane. The Heckmondwike Boot and Shoe Works was designed to manufacture hard wearing work boots. Initially the premises were rented on Beck Lane, but in 1884 the factory moved to the purchased Brunswick Mill. The mill had been built in 1871 and had previously occupied William and Arthur Cardwell & Co, stuff manufacturers and card teeth and card makers. The factory was extended in 1887 when the Co-operative Wholesale Society decided to begin leather currying on the premises. Additional extensions were made in 1892, 1894, and 1896. The works usually employed between 3 and 4 hundred persons and on average produced between 6 and 8 thousand pairs of boots per week.

Goliath, famously made lightweight football boots for Sir Stanley Matthews who played football for Blackpool, Stoke City, and England. Sir Stanley Matthews made several visits to the factory and put his name to a brand of boots. Goliath were also a major supplier to British Industry with clients such as British Aerospace, The Ministry of Defence, Rolls Royce, and the Coal Board. Goliath were also the first to develop the chainsaw boot which was designed to resist the cut of a chain saw.

In 2003 the Co-operative Wholesale Society sold Goliath Footwear. However, the company still continues to operate as one of the United Kingdom's leading suppliers of safety and occupational footwear.

Reference: Co-operative Wholesale Society Production in West Yorkshire. The Boot and Shoe Factories, H. Gomersall (Jun 1994).


The collection is arranged by function.

Access Information

Some items in the collection contain sensitive information relating to persons who may still be alive. These records are restricted until a hundred years after the creation date.

All open materials, can be viewed by previous arrangement, Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm. Contact the Archivist at: National Co-operative Archive Co-operative College Holyoake House Hanover Street Manchester M60 0AS archive@co-op.ac.uk http://www.archive.co-op.ac.uk

Acquisition Information

Donated to the National Co-operative Archive Jun 2006 by the Co-operative Group.

Other Finding Aids


Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Volumes, newspaper cuttings, and photographs. Some of the material is fragile.

Archivist's Note

Catalogue compiled by Adam Shaw, Assistant Archivist, July 2007.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction can be carried out in accordance with our Reproduction Policy. Please contact the Archive for details.

Appraisal Information

Artefacts loaned to the Shoe Museum.

Custodial History

Archival records and artefacts were received by the Co-operative Wholesale Society (later the Co-operative Group)from Goliath Footwear Apr 2004. The artefacts were loaned to The Shoe Museum on a five year agreement Apr 2005. The archival records were donated to the National Co-operative Archive Jun 2006.


None expected


Co-operative Wholesale Society Production in West Yorkshire. The Boot and Shoe Factories, H. Gomersall (Jun 1994).

Geographical Names