Russell gave his name to nationwide shoe firm

John-Clifford Russell
John-Clifford Russell

John-Clifford Russell, was born in Chiddingly in 1791 to Mary Russell, an unmarried 15-year-old.

Not an auspicious start, but the boy made good.

He became a cordwainer (shoe-maker) and went on to give his name to the nationally-known shoe retailing business of Russell and Bromley.

Where They Have Trod by Jose Loosemore, his great-great-grand-daughter, tells his story.

Believe it or not, the author lives in Russell’s original shop in Chiddingly. It is called Cordwainer’s.

She is selling the book (£5.99) in the Chiddingly village shop in Muddles Green. Profits from the the book’s sale will go to that community project, which will shortly celebrate its first birthday.

One passage from this charming book caught Rouser’s eye.

It concerns Lewes cordwainer Richard Willard, born 1780, who had a business at 175 High Street. He is buried at St Michael’s.

In 1839 he bought a piece of land, together with the poorhouse of St John-sub-Castro and other buildings ‘lying upon the west side of the mound under the castle’ for £190.

He converted them to cottages. The site of Castle Precincts House, built by John Shelley in 1815, was formerly part of the poorhouse grounds.

Pictured, Russell.