Chelsea Boots – A Little History
Here is a little history of Chelsea Boots. In 1857 Shoemaker to Queen Victoria, J.Sparkes-Hall claimed the design as his own, when, after patenting it in 1851 said of his Royal wearer “she (Queen Victoria) walks in them daily and thus gives the strongest proof of the value she attaches to the invention”.
The Invention of Vulcanized Rubber
American inventor Charles Goodyear claimed he developed the process to vulcanize rubber in 1835, it was later patented in 1844. Also in the same year, the British inventor Thomas Hancock claimed to have invented vulcanized rubber for which he received a British patent. Vulcanized rubber, the crucial element in the design of the first Chelsea boots because the elasticated sides of the boot made it easy to pull them on and slip off. The trend for elasticated side boots caught. Originally as footwear for horse riding, but also became an outright fashion up until the onset of the first world war in 1914.
Though J.Sparkes-Hall created the first boots in 1851, they didn’t get the name Chelsea Boots until later in the mid-1950s, up to then, some called them Paddock boots. A group of young Artist’s, Film Directors and Socialists started frequenting the Kings Road area of London. Named “The Chelsea Set” by the media, they made the name ‘Chelsea’ synonymous with a new way of living and dressing.
In the 1960’s London’s theatrical shoemakers, Anello and Davide, re-interpreted the boots by adding a Cuban heel, these became known as the ‘Baba Boot’. The Beatles became massive fans of Chelsea Boots, along with many other pop stars. Also at the time, the image-conscious Mods started wearing Chelsea Boots with there tailored suits, while driving their scooters in the 1970s.
In the most famous science fiction films of all time, The Star Wars Trilogy, the Chelsea boot made appearances in all of the original films. They were the footwear worn by the Stormtroopers.