Friday, 17 August 2012

Tricker's, tractors and wizards in Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh, for those who don't know it, is a picture-perfect British seaside town, celebrated for its links with composer Benjamin Britten who lived there with his lover, Peter Pears - both of them swanned around town in identical, sailor pants and knitted bobble hats.

The town also boasts a terrific shoe shop, Mack's, run by Mr Joseph Calladine, assisted by his able young son. They have one of the finest ranges of shoes I've seen in the UK - a good selection of Tricker's and, more unusually, Alfred Sargents, including the Kelso boot, and the rather beautiful Sargent Coldstream shoe. It appears that Sargent have resumed limited production of the shoes as standard, according to Mr Calladine, who also told me that Sargent moved into Veldtschoen in a big way, once they'd bought up much of the tooling following the closure of Lotus.

Mack's prices are very competitive; mostly around £220 for the Sargents, which is less than many online retailers. I particularly liked this pair of Tricker's Veldtschoen, a special order for a client that didn't quite fit, in size 7 1/2. If that's your size, move quickly, these are a bargain at £190.

Mack's is certainly on my list of Britain's best shoe shops, along with another little family-run store I hope to return to in the next few months. If you're over from Japan and are looking for a good pair of shoes, a trip to Aldeburgh will probably pay for itself, and you'll also get to see a unique slice of Britain. It will acquaint you with the word 'luvvie'. As I photographed the tractor below, I am informed an elderly gentleman flinched, as if he were regularly pursued by paparazzi, thinking he was in the frame. It was Sir Michael Gambon. Sorry for disturbing your afternoon, Professor Dumbledore...

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