Duckers' in the Turl
It's very sad to report that Ducker & Son (Duckers') in the Turl in Oxford is closing. Number 6, The Turl, Oxford, has been a shoemakers and shoe shop since the 1860s. The current owners, Bob (top photo) and Isobel Avery, who wish to retire, were unable to find a buyer who could assure them that they would not betray the expectations of their loyal customers in terms of the quality associated with the name. This is a heroic decision considering the potential rewards for handing over such a ready-made legacy as shoemakers to the likes of Evelyn Waugh, Baron von Richthofen, J.R.R. Tolkien and Mr. Bean. If they weren't convinced the name wouldn't be hijacked for exploitation, it's frankly better for all of us that it goes down with the ship. Good show Averys.
On the negative side, the high street of Oxford becomes a greyer, less interesting place and the option of acquiring made-to-measure handsewn shoes evaporates from the consciousness of the passers-by. You don't miss what you never had.
I'm reminded of this poignant reference to Duckers' in Atonement by the Benedict Cumberbatch character Paul Marshall:
I like your shoes.Not any more, old boy. Not any more.
Duckers in the Turl. They make a wooden thing, shaped like your foot. Keep it forever.