To protect delicate fabric-covered shoes from the mud and filth of the street, all kinds of overshoes were worn. This pair has wooden soles, which stand on a metal ring. It would have required quite a skilful act of balance to walk on them and the child would have been from a well off family. This type of overshoe was found in a number of European countries, among them the Netherlands, but this pair may well be English. Obviously they are rare, as they would be discarded when no longer needed, though a few pairs seem to have survived in museum collections.
Pattens were at this time termed as ‘under-shoes of wood and metal which were worn strapped beneath the shoes to raise the wearer out of the mud and effluence of the streets.’ However, ‘with the advent of paved streets and efficient sewerage and drainage systems in the 19th century, there was no longer any need for pattens and the trade floundered.’
Glorious museum standard relics, hugely evocative and bewitching.