Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sole Man.





So far south, he’s only just still on Queens Road, is Jan Kirski, of Superfine Shoe Repairs. I first photographed Jan in his shop about 15 years ago, and then again today. Nothing has changed. He doesn’t even look any older. He is 82, not a bit dodery and as sharp as anybody. Jan was in the Polish navy as a lad and married a Leicester girl, moving to here in about 1953. He is still married to her and they live quite close in a ‘nice house’. He bought the shoe repair business as a going concern from a chap who was retiring. It had once been a fishmongers, hence the tiles, but has been a cobblers, continuously for about 70 years. Jan’s only major investment was to buy a German scuffing and polishing machine when he first bought the business. This has now given faultless service for 50 years, needing only replacement v belts and recently (in the last 10 years) a new electric motor. Entering, it is a living, breathing, smelling museum. NOTHING has changed in about 70 years. If you are ever down this way, take an old pair of shoes in, just for the experience.


6 comments:

Peter Ashley said...

I am now in tears, thankyou.I have a recurring thought that I was once a cobbler in a previous life. At least, that's what I think people say of me.

Diplomat said...

Yeah - like the pun. Shame he didn't get that into his shop name, or maybe he didn't know it used to be a fishmonger's. Now then - apart from the hair salon types - business and shop title puns need recording and it ought to start here .......

Ron Combo said...

Ah - Phillip's Stick-a-Soles! Marvellous.

mat said...

Reading this has just made my day. I used to live on Queens Road as a child between about 1975 and 1977, and I remember this cobblers. Last night, on a visit to Leicester and having nothing btter to do, I went for a long walk and was staggered to see that the shop is still there. It was also fascinating to put a face and name to the person who ran the shop.

mat said...

Reading this has just made my day. I used to live on Queens Road as a child between about 1975 and 1977, and I remember this cobblers. Last night, on a visit to Leicester and having nothing btter to do, I went for a long walk and was staggered to see that the shop is still there. It was also fascinating to put a face and name to the person who ran the shop.

CHRISTINE RUHIG said...

My Grandfather actually put those tiles on the front of the shoe shop, he was William White the Fishmongers, who lived there with my grandma Gladys, aunties Dorothy and Gladys and my mum Lily White, My mum went on to marry a polish airforceman who came over in the war Adam Ruhig and his brother Stefan, My father was born in Krakow, I was sorry to hear Jan had died, but wonderful memories he has left behind .