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50-YEARS-AGO: THE BARTON LANE COBBLER


History With Flynn

A while back I mentioned the shoe repair shop that stood on Barton Lane, Eccles and is now called Linda's Plaice despite it being an Indian Takeaway.

Some people remembered the shop as being called, Heywood's Shoe Repairs in the 1950s, i can recall it in the 1970s when it was owned by who I thought was a Polish gentleman.

Looking through the Eccles and Patricroft Journal for October 1970, 50 years ago, would you believe? I came across the following story and photograph, entitled, "Shoes For A Circus Clown"

The story told that anybody passing the shoe repair shop would be in for a shock as proudly displayed in the shop window, were a pair of clown's shoes, so large that there wasn't a size for them but they were 23 inches long.

They had been hand made by the owner of the shop, 57 years old,  Dymtro Ostapowycz.

We are told that last year Mr  Ostapowycz. got a call from a high wire, walker at Belle Vue Circus who wanted a pair of shoes made for him to be used in his act, he did and the chap was delighted at the craftsmanship, so much so he told all his friends in the circus.

He then received a telephone call from Sonny Fossett a clown at the circus who wanted a special pair of shoes making, a pair as big as possible and yet still one's he could walk in.

Mr  Ostapowycz.was obviously a highly skilled man as we were told that he had already made specialised shoes for disabled people and had even shod a Polish dancing troupe from Oldham.

After much trial and error the shoes have been finished and are waiting to be picked up, but in the meantime they were proudly displayed in the shop window.

cobbler2.jpg

Can you imagine if Sonny Fossett decided he was leaving the circus and didn't want the shoes?

Finally we learn that Mr Ostapowycz was a Ukranian and came to England in 1947 and spent some time in a displaced persons camp at Banbury.

He has had the shop since 1968 and lives in Cheetham Hill with his wife and three children.

I do remember the shop and this gentleman, however I was told that he was Polish and had been in one of the concentration camps in Europe, and also had a camp number tattooed on his arm.

 

I have no idea if this is true or an Urban Myth, do you remember Mr Ostapowycz at this shop and had you heard this story


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