For over a 100 years (since 1904), Watkinsons name has been synonymous with Footwear Retailing in York. Now in its Fourth Generation we are proud to be an independent, family run British Establishment whose ethos is quality, service, value for money and attention to detail.
The story akin to the Elf and the Shoe Maker goes like this; Albert Watkinson (Master Bootmaker) cycled to York from Suffolk visited Castle Howard, liked it and decided to settle in York. He opened a small retail and repair shop in Gillygate but quickly out grew this premises and moved to the original Shoe Shop – No 2 Bootham. Since then Watkinsons have traded from various sites within the city, purchasing properties alongside retailing shoes.
Our identity is a Victorian style arcaded shop window, together with our black and gold corporate colours and scroll emblem consisting of Albert Watkinsons original signature. The brass shoe sign purchased in the 1970 ‘s by Dorothy Preece from an antique stall in York Market, won an award as one of the most tasteful advertisements in the city of York. All these have merged over the generations and represent who we are today.
Throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Bill Preece (Managing Director) skillfully steered the Company through changing times. His foresight in purchasing properties rather than renting retail premises proved a winning formula and when the Footwear Industry hit hard times, Watkinson’s consolidated it’s trading into one large store, 53 Goodramgate. Rental from the remaining commercial properties helped us emerge into the 21st Century in a financially stable and healthy condition.
Purchased in 1978 it is one of the oldest shops in Goodramgate, A large premises it gave us the opportunity to develop into one of the finest independent footwear shops in the country.
Today in 2013, Goodramgate is the hub of Watkinsons HQ, we stock over 10,000 pairs of shoes and our offices and warehouse are run from this beautiful premises where the Directors are involved and work on a regular basis.
As the new era of Internet Shopping emerges, we take knowledge from the past, inspiration for the future and combine it to create our uniquely quintessential English Internet Site and High Street Store.
Combining English style with vibrant continental goods, we hope you will be tempted by our extensive stock of International footwear rarely found in one collection. For over four generations the Watkinson family has built connections throughout Europe enabling us to bring leather goods directly from European Factories to our store in York.
We bring to you products which we not only consider stylish but quality and value for money – it’s what we’ve been doing ever since the very start in 1904!