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Collection highlights: Shoemakers’ banner

Shoemakers' banner

Shoemakers' bannerThis banner of the shoemakers of Duns, Berwickshire celebrates the passing of the first parliamentary Reform Act in 1832. Tradesman like the shoemakers believed that the act had given them the vote, hence the production of the banner. The celebration was, however, somewhat premature. In reality reform had only extended the franchise to the middle classes.

Saint Crispin was the patron saint of shoemakers. He was also referred to as King Crispin, hence the crown above the shoemaker’s half-moon knife. The emblems of Scotland, England and Ireland are incorporated. The rhyme and pun celebrate the role of shoemakers in the reform conflict.