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  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    1780-1820 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wooden soles; leather straps; iron rings

  • Museum number:

    B.76:1, 2-1997

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The patten as a type of protective footwear dates back at least to Roman times. They have been worn mainly for the practical purpose of protecting shoes and feet coming into contact with mud, puddles, or street rubbish, but have also been fashion items when made in more sumptuous materials.

This particular pair are of the later type with a wooden sole mounted above a metal ring, the whole thing worn over a pair of shoes and keeping the wearer's feet about an inch above the ground: this pair of pattens probably dates from 1780-1810, but the earliest printed mention of this type with the metal ring beneath is in 1575. The squared toe is not necessarily an indication of the toe shape of the shoes with which they were worn: pattens for general wear were almost always made in a squared or rounded shape for strength, as pointed toes would have been prone to snap. Pattens continued to be widely worn until the earlier decades of the nineteenth century, particularly in the country, where improvements to roads took longer to effect.

Pattens for children are quite rare survivals, and some of the smallest pairs are apparently models. The obviously genuine wear which has occurred to this pair indicates that they really would have been worn by a child.

Physical description

Pair of girl's pattens, each with a shaped wooden sole with squared toes and black-pigmented sides. The sole is raised above the ground by being rivetted to an ovate iron ring beneath it, with tab-shaped flanges, one of which hooks over the toe of the sole. The pattens fastened over the wearer's shoes with single hole lace-up instep straps of red leather lined with kid and trimmed at the outer sides (at least) with a black leather strip; the instep straps are nailed to the soles.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)


1780-1820 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Wooden soles; leather straps; iron rings

Marks and inscriptions

£4 (?) on sole of (1)


Height: 1.9 cm rings, Circumference: 14.2 cm sole

Object history note

Bought: Lot 121, Christie's Sale of Costume & Textiles 28/01/1997

Price: £160 + £28.20 V A T etc

Descriptive line

Pair of wood and leather pattens for a girl; UK, 1780-1820

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Illustrated on p 9 of catalogue, Christie's Sale of Costume & Textiles 28/01/1997


Wood; Leather; Iron


Carving; Stitching; Moulding


Footwear; Children's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project


Museum of Childhood

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