Title ID 439Collection ID426
TitleLeather to Last
Genre/TypeAmateurIndependent AmateurNon-fictionFictionActuality/FactualDocu-Drama
ThemeWorking Life
KeywordsFilm Making Labour Trades Workers
LocalUK Location not known
RegionalEast Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionR “Dick” Curry
CameraR “Dick” Curry
ParticipantsGeorge H Smith (Boot and Shoemaker)
Other creditsRonnie Drayton (Assistance)
FormatColour Sound
Duration11 min. 10 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


An award-winning amateur documentary in which bespoke shoemaker, George Smith, reflects on his life’s work.


Inside the workshop boots and shoes, leather cuttings, lasts and tools are scattered about. Mr Smith makes his thread from hemp fibre and stitches a sole onto a shoe; he describes how his craft has changed since he started as an apprentice 40 years ago. He continues to work on the shoe, hammering the stitches and building up the sole and talks about how he and his friend built the business up from making riding boots for locals to taking orders for bespoke shoes. As he talks the film shows boxes of wooden lasts, boxes of letters and receipts around the workshop. Mr Smith finishes the shoe repair and expresses a satisfaction with his life’s work and contentment that he is retiring that day. This film won Mr Curry a Film Making Magazine 8mm Award for Documentary in 1978.


A still from 'Leather to Last' (1978) - a pair of boots