Search

Made in Hackney: Step inside Well Street footwear factory Freed of London, which makes 130,000 dance shoes a year

PUBLISHED: 13:35 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:24 30 October 2017

Up to 100,000 ballet shoes, and 30,000 theatrical dance shoes, are made in the factory each year. Picture: Freed of London

Up to 100,000 ballet shoes, and 30,000 theatrical dance shoes, are made in the factory each year. Picture: Freed of London

Archant

Each week, the Gazette takes to the streets to unearth something being manufactured right here in Hackney. This week we feature Freed of London, which creates dancing shoes for the stars from a factory in Well Street.

Theatrical shoe designer Jimmy at work in Freed of London's Well Street factory. Picture: Freed of LondonTheatrical shoe designer Jimmy at work in Freed of London's Well Street factory. Picture: Freed of London

From its humble home halfway down Well Street, Freed of London makes shimmering shoes for twinkling toes.

The company has been producing some of the world’s finest dance shoes from the site, its main factory, since 1971.

Up to 100,000 ballet shoes, and 30,000 theatrical dance shoes, are made in the factory each year. Picture: Freed of LondonUp to 100,000 ballet shoes, and 30,000 theatrical dance shoes, are made in the factory each year. Picture: Freed of London

The team of 90 employees shape ballet and theatrical shoes for customers from the stage to the big screen.

Up to 100,000 ballet shoes, and 30,000 theatrical dance shoes, are made here in Hackney each year.

Up to 100,000 ballet shoes, and 30,000 theatrical dance shoes, are made in the factory each year. Picture: Freed of LondonUp to 100,000 ballet shoes, and 30,000 theatrical dance shoes, are made in the factory each year. Picture: Freed of London

In recent years, performers from the New York City Ballet to those on Strictly Come Dancing have worn Freed of London productions.

Rafiqul Haque, 32, has been a quality control assistant in the Freed factory for 12 years.

Theatrical shoes at the Freed of London factory. Picture: Freed of LondonTheatrical shoes at the Freed of London factory. Picture: Freed of London

He told the Gazette the company’s growth has matched Hackney’s own development: “The place has really grown, and now it makes sense that our shoes go all over the world.”

And it’s always entertaining working with the company’s 10 master craftsmen who create the shoes for showbiz stars, Rafiqul said.

Up to 100,000 ballet shoes, and 30,000 theatrical dance shoes, are made in the factory each year. Picture: Freed of LondonUp to 100,000 ballet shoes, and 30,000 theatrical dance shoes, are made in the factory each year. Picture: Freed of London

“Watching them work is fun,” he added. “It’s very different from any other job. I love it.”

Latest Hackney Stories

Yesterday, 18:46

County Championship Division Two, day three: Northamptonshire (346) trail Middlesex (187 & 374-9) by 215 runs

Yesterday, 18:00

London Lions have captured six foot ten inch big man Kervin Bristol in a massive coup for the club following his season with Vytautas in Lithuania last year.

Yesterday, 17:00

The former Spurs striker enjoyed a two-and-a-half year spell at White Hart Lane

Yesterday, 14:00

The left-back talked up the potential of Myles Judd, Dan Happe and Marvin Ekpiteta after Saturday’s win

Yesterday, 18:27

Four former friends on trial for murder have turned against each other in the dock at the Old Bailey, with one accused of calling another a “snitch” in graffiti on a prison toilet wall.

Yesterday, 16:59

Gillett Square in Dalston hosted an annual skateboarding festival at the weekend, raising £1,750 for a charity that aims to bring boarding to Palestine’s youth.

Yesterday, 13:56

As students picked up A-level results at BSix College, one former pupil was on hand to inspire those that weren’t in a celebratory mood.

Yesterday, 12:00

The 50-year-old reflected on the Premier League loss to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium

PROMOTED CONTENT

To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now


Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists