‘If shoes could talk’

These silk satin dancing shoes were the first garment donated by a London family to The Stitch Lives of London.  The story of Mary Pearse, a London pauper who never owned a pair of shoes but whose father may have made such a pair has been hand stitched on them.  All we know of Mary is contained within this short narrative, written by the clerk as she was admitted to a safe house:

“188. Narrative of Mary Pearse,  22 Apr 1815. 

Mary Pearse ~ 15 years old ~ of Hanway Place (yard) Mary le bone, was referred to the consideration of the last committee by George Farrant Esq, a Magistrate of Middlesex. Not being at that time discharged from confinement, her case could not be investigated.

She now states, that her Father is a shoemaker – & that her mother is living ~ that she has never been from home, till the evil example of a Sister, who has been a Prostitute some time, led her to think of quitting her Parents. She stole from her Father £7 ~ & took up her abode at No. 6 Charles street, Drury Lane, where she spent £5 ~ of the money, the remainder being recovered by her Father.

Admitted.”

Bill Nighy Recording

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