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No 12 Constitution Hill

George Spence - Boot Maker (K1908)

George Spence - Boot Maker
George Spence - Boot Maker

J B Harris ("Memories of Southwold 1920-1939") writes of his boyhood holidays in the town: "... at the foot of Constitution Hill was Spence, the boot and shoe maker and repairer. His shop was off the path, just a single workshop with a low bench along the back wall, facing the entrance. On this sat father and son surrounded by a sea of footwear, each of them cutting, sewing and nailing. I used to sit just inside the door and watch. They carried on conversations between themselves, with me and any of the several droppers in. What fascinated me was that this all happened through lips bristling with brads and nails. Most of the talk was way above my head."
With thanks to Mary Harris for permission to quote her late husband's memoir.

George Spence - Boot Maker (K1937)

George Spence - Boot Maker, Boot repairs and Shop, (SRB 1939)

George Spence - Boot Maker, Boot repairs and Shop, (SRB 1940)

William Spence - Boot Maker, Boot repairs and Shop (SRB 1949)


William Spence - Boot Maker, Boot repairs and Shop (SRB 1952)






Now a garage


Do you have any memories or records about this address? Can you correct any of our information or fill in any of our blanks? If so, please email Barry Tolfree
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BSD - Bernard Segrave-Daly
BCS = Bygones & Characters of Southwold by Barrett Jenkins
C = Census
CP = Cinema Programme 1958
CSP = Coronation Souvenir Programme 1953
G = Gales Trade Directory
GRO = General Register Office
K = Kelly's Directory
LM = Local memory
M = James Maggs' Southwold Diary 1818-1876
MCG = Methodist Church Guide 1930
NA = National Archives
PP = Pantomime Programme 1933
PLR = Petrol Licence Records

POD = Post Office Directory
PPP = Pier Pavilion Programme 1924, 1926
RCE = Rotary Club Exhibition 1969
SCM = Southwold Catholic Magazine 1923
SCTG = Southwold Corporation Tourist Guide
SER = Southwold Electoral Register
SFP = Southwold Scouts Fete Programme 1947
SG = Southwold Guide
SGCH = Southwold Golf Club Handbook
SLHR = Southwold Local History Recorder 1980s 1990s (Mrs R. McDermot)
SMHS = Southwold Museum & Historical Society

SN = Southwold & Neighbourhood 1903
SPM = Southwold Parish Magazine 1895 -1954
SR = Southwold Recorder 1927, 1932, 1934, 1935
SRB = Southwold Rate Book
SRT = Southwold Railway Timetable 1915
SSAS = Southwold Sea Angling Society Handbook 1909
SST = Southwold Summer Theatre Programmes
SSW = Southwold Shopping Week Programme, June/July 1922
STG = Southwold Town Guide 1930
SVL = Southwold Visitors List 1907, 1930
SVCP = Southwold Victory Celebration Programme 1946
SWCG = Southwold Wesleyan Church Guide

TTR = 'The Town Revisited' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 2000
TTT = ''To The Town' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 1988
W = White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk 1874

Note on dates
Unless otherwise stated, dates given do not indicate the years in which the business started or finished but those for which there is firm evidence that it was trading at this address. Sources in brackets; key at bottom of page.


Site of the Spence workshop, now demolished.

William Spence's workshop is the lean-to building on the left - featured in a postcard image, probably from the 1930s.
Image courtesy of Ian Goffin
Click the picture to see the full image

Constitution Hill in 1950 with the Spence workshop just visible - the yellow lean-to at the near end of the row. from a postcard in the Robert Palmer collection, reproduced by kind permission of Margaret Palmer.
Click the picture to enlarge.