The Bodleian Libraries recently purchased the historic customer ledgers of venerable Oxford shoemaker, Ducker & Son, providing a unique glimpse into the lives of the shop’s famous clients such as Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien and Brideshead Revisited novelist Evelyn Waugh.
From 1898 until its closure in late 2016, Duckers traded from its well-known shop on Oxford’s Turl Street.
The contents of the 11 leather bound ledgers detail the purchases of the shop’s illustrious clients over the last century and provide insights into the social and commercial history of the early 20th century.
Over the years, customers have included members of European aristocracy, several Maharajahs as well as generations of Oxford academics and students. The purchase has generated significant press interest with articles in The Guardian and The Financial Times.
The ledgers have been catalogued and are now available for scholars to consult at the Bodleian. The catalogue can also be found online here. In addition, the Bodleian has also archived the Ducker & Son website in its web archive, ensuring that the shop’s website is available for scholars to view in perpetuity.
For more news from the Bodleian Libraries, view their Trinity term update.