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

17:00

Bromley manager Neil Smith feels his side were unlucky to lose 3-1 to league leaders Leyton Orient.

16:00

Eric Dier is ready to finally return to Portugal in what will be a “very special” occasion when England play in the Nations League Finals next summer.

14:00

Harry Redknapp is currently taking part in the latest series of I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!

Mavis Jackson was born nine days after the Great War ended on November 20, 1918 – making her a “peace baby” despite her grand old age of 100.

11:00

Leyton Orient captain Jobi McAnuff is delighted with his free-kick goal and his side’s fight back to win 3-1 against London rivals Bromley.

Health chiefs have moved to address a multimillion pound overspend at Homerton Hospital.

10:00

Arsenal Women’s Jordan Nobbs has been ruled out of the rest of the WSL season and could miss next summer’s World Cup in France after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament, writes Joshua Bunting.

Finsbury Park has been stripped of its Green Flag status after a damning “mystery shopper” report by an environmental charity.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Former teacher Steve shares his experiences as a foster carer for teenagers, from dealing with some of their more challenging behaviour, to the rewards of seeing a child develop into a happy and healthy adult

If you are an unpaid carer in Hackney over the age of 25, who would like to get back into work, then Working for Carers can provide the practical assistance and support you need.

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