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Icons of the Exchange: Church’s

First introduced in 1945, Church’s iconic Consul shoe is a masterclass in pared-back luxury and style

When it comes to men’s formal shoes, you can’t put a foot wrong with a pair of classic Oxford lace-ups. And for the past 75 years, Church’s iconic Consul has been the go-to model for its timeless style, quality and versatility.

‘The Consul is one of Church’s most iconic shoes and represents the core of our heritage as English shoemakers,’ says CEO, Anthony Romano. ‘A classic cap toe Oxford crafted on the 173 last, the time-honoured Consul has become our most revered styles to date due to its sleek, elegant and uncomplicated, yet formal appeal.’

Created in 1945, the Consul takes its name from the British ambassadors and politicians who favoured them. The shoe celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, but in the context of Church’s history this is a mere drop in the ocean. The company was officially founded in 1873 by Thomas Church, but the brand can trace its roots back even further, to Thomas’s great-grandfather Anthony Church, who was born in Northampton in 1617. Northampton is recognised as the home of British shoemaking, and over the generations the traditional craftsmanship and skills that were born in this region were passed down through generations of Church’s before Thomas forever cemented the family name with premium footwear.

Today, you’ll find Church’s boutiques all over the world – from St Moritz to Singapore – but every pair is still made at the company factory in Northampton. Each pair is a work of art, crafted by experienced artisans from the ‘finest raw materials’. On average, Romano notes, there are between ‘250 and 270 individual processes per pair of Church’s shoes’ and it can take up to eight weeks to make just one pair. The longer the shoe rests on the last, Romano explains, the more it will keep its shape, and when it comes to creating a pair of Consuls, a luxurious natural finish is created by using waxes applied by hand to gradually build up shading and enhance the innate beauty of the calf leather. All Church’s shoes, including the Consul, are constructed using the durable Goodyear Welt method, and with extensive shoe care guides and in-store services, there’s no reason why your Consuls shouldn’t last a lifetime.

‘Customers today want a product that has a real tangible value, which stands the test of time from both a quality and design standpoint,’ says Romano. ‘Our wearers are our biggest brand advocates and see our shoes as a considered luxury purchase, an investment for the future, in a timeless design. [Church’s] handmade shoes are loyal to the artisanal traditions of English shoemaking. Timeless in aesthetic and exceptional in quality, they are among the most long lasting and desirable in the world.’

Church’s Consul shoes start from £720, Church’s

The Royal Exchange celebrates its 450th anniversary this year. Our Icons of the Exchange series pays homage to the exceptional array of retailers that call The Royal Exchange home, with a look at the heritage, design and craftsmanship of products that epitomise the essence and excellence of our celebrated brands.

We look forward to welcoming you to The Royal Exchange during 2021, for a considered shopping experience in spectacular and historic surroundings. Please visit our boutiques page for regular updates on our retailers’ opening information and hours, as well as details about virtual appointments and click and collect services.

Visit our heritage page to learn more about the history of The Royal Exchange and keep an eye on our 450 Years site, journal and Instagram for more fascinating facts and insights about its past and present as we commemorate this special milestone throughout the year ahead.