The wellington boot
Essential for September showers ( yeah it’s September already..), and anyone living in Britain. The gumboot, the wellie, the rubber boot, call it what you will, is indispensable for the rainy season, and what Gene Kelly should have worn when splashin’ in the rain. It’s a must-have for this month.
It is so named and famed thanks to Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington. The duke, clearly sick of battling with wet feet, took his favourite hessian boots to his shoemaker and said ‘ There’s a good fellow, can you modify this design?’
The shoemaker, one Hoby of St James’s Street, said: ‘ Yes of course, sir, leave it with me’. They got rid of the trim, lowered the heel, fitted and tightened it to the leg. It mimght not have been a fashion statement, but to the soldiers in the ravages of war it was a godsend, and back home the patriotic were also keen to style themselves on the heroic Iron Duke. Across the land demand rose and the name wellington boot stuck.
Though originally made of leather, in 1852 industrialist Hiram Hutchinson met Charles Goodyear ( yes, think tyres 🙂 ) who had just invented natural rubber. Before you knew it, they had teamed up and their boot was a lightweight smash hit.
Now wellies are not only a fisherman’s and farmer’s friend, they are a festival’s and everydays’s essential item.
Hunters are the Ferrari of the gumboot gang and designers from Chanel to Pucci have made theirs a must-have, though it would be a shame to let those get muddy. 🙂