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Harborough Museum


These pattens or overshoes, made from a combination of leather, metal and wood date back from around the 18th century. The metal ring affixed to the base of the patten was specifically invented to raise the individual above the street-level. It was designed in a ring shape to provide the wearer with balance.

They would have been strapped on underneath a pair of shoes and held in place with the leather fastening, elevating the wearer above the muddy and wet streets. As sanitation during this period was a far cry from today the streets would have been significantly dirtier, flooded with the draining’s of bedpans; the 18th century ‘toilet’.

Despite their practicality, pattens were deemed somewhat discourteous due to the incessant clinking noise they made when worn. In Jane Austen’s posthumous novel, Persuasion, Austen describes “the ceaseless clink of pattens” along with other everyday sounds to be heard in the early 19th century street.

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Tel: 0116 305 3627

Address: The Symington Building, Adam and Eve Street, Market Harborough, LE16 7LT (Car Park: LE16 7XA)

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