Alice Hawkins And The Footwear Industry

Alice Hawkins And The Footwear Industry Blog

Pat Keeling

Pat Keeling - 1972Pat’s first association with modelling was in 1969 when she took a modelling course with Kathy Parker Agency based in Leicester. 
She was inspired to pursue a career as a model.  At the time Leicester was at its peak in the hosiery industry and because she had a good pair of legs she ended up on the cover of packs of tights and stockings, Pretty Polly, Elle, Christian Dior.  Things really took off when she became the BBC Golden Girl in 1972, and this opened many doors for radio, TV and personal appearances.  The next few years took her on many fabulous assignments.

Realising that a model’s life is limited, she started the Pat Keeling Model Agency in 1977 while still taking on her own modelling assignments.

The agency’s reputation for professionalism and excellence grew.  Fantastic fashion shows were produced for the Leicester Mercury throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s.  The agency choreographed and produced shows for Next Plc, John Lewis, BHS, Mothercare, Asda, Adams Childrenswear, Tesco, Matalan and The Clothes Show Live, to name but a few.


A Few Facts About Alice Hawkins

Here is a few interesting facts about Alice you might not know:

  • In 1876 her family moved to Leicester to find work in the shoe trade.
  • In 1886 Alice joined the Equity Shoes of Leicester as a shoe machinist
  • Alice joined a suffragette meeting in Hyde Park on the day of the state opening of Parliament. Arrested on the same day for disorderly conduct at the gates of the House of Commons and given 14 days in Holloway with 28 other women.
  • Alice imprisoned for 14 days in 1909 for trying to force an entry into the meeting hall.
  • The Leicester City Council fixed a blue plaque on the wall of the Equity shoe factory in memory of Alice.

Alice Hawkins

Alice HawkinsOne of the films for the new museum exhibition will be about the legacy of Alice Hawkins and her association with footwear industry of Leicester.

The story of Alice is a tremendous story of one woman’s fight for the most basic of human rights, the right to vote.

Born in 1863, Alice lived most of her life in Leicester.  A mother of six and shoe machinist by trade, Alice was determined to have an equal say in the democracy of the day and was imprisoned five times in all in her struggle.

There is a great website dedicated to her life which has essential information and content about Alice that will be included in the film we are creating for the exhibition.

The website is:


Citizens Eye

Gareth Morgan from Zenithfilms was recently interviewed by Citizens Eye, a community news website, about the MuBu project.

Gareth Citizens Eye InterviewThe interview was filmed for the Citizen’s Eye website and the video uploaded to their YouTube channel. It featured Gareth talking about the different aspects of the MuBu project and how the aim is to produce digital content for the Newarke Houses Museum’s new exhibitions . He mentioned the digital media workshops and how people from the relevant communities can apply to be part of the project. 

Click the link below to read the article and watch Gareth’s video interview.

Interested people should contact: Gareth on 07522032683 or Paul on 07875256189.


The Three Films

There are going to be three films created for the new museum galleries. After a couple of meetings with Philip French (Curator – Leicester History, Newarks Houses Museum) we have decided on the themes and are now in the research and development stage.

The three films are:

Film 1: Alice Hawkins and the Footwear Industry
Film will document the legacy of Alice Hawkins, Leicester’s first suffragette and her time working in the footwear industry.

Film 2: Pat Keeling and the Hosiery Industry
Interviews with Pat Keeling about her experiences of working for the hosiery industry in Leicester as a model and her current work she is doing with her modelling industry in the local area.

Film 3: Montage of Leicester Industries
A film looking at areas of the Footwear and Hosiery industry at the start of the century in Leicester and what those buildings are today.


Treasure Box Media And Zenithfilms

Partnering with The LeicestHERday Trust in running the workshops for the project is Treasure Box Media and Zenithfilms.

Both have vast experience in digital media production and training and will be overseeing the delivery of the videos and audio into the Newarke Houses Museum’s new exhibitions.

Treasure Box Media

Treasure Box Media are a videography and motion graphics company based in Leicester. They provide a number of creative services including Wedding and Event Videography, DVD Photo Slideshows and Motion Graphics training.


Also based in Leicester, Zenithfilms are a dynamic, creative production company that primarily create narrative short films. Equipped with the latest high-end equipment, they also cover a wide range of personal, corporate and promotional material, adding their own unique cinematic edge through an imaginative use of technology and boundless creative spirit.


Want To Learn Digital Media?

Want to learn digital media techniques in audio & video?

The LeicestHERday Trust have teamed up with Treasure Box Media and Zenithfilms to deliver a number of workshops in audio and video production to a number of volunteers within certain areas of Leicestershire. 

These volunteers will use their training to help produce the audio and video content for the new exhibitions in the Newarke Houses Museum.

We are looking for volunteers from the following areas: Highfields, Beaumont Leys, Braunstone, St Matthews, New Parks, Eyres Monsell and Saffron Lane who would like to participate in this great project.


Leicester Newarke Houses Museum

Leicester Newarke Houses Museum

Newarke Houses Museum & Gardens incorporating the Museum of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment

Newarke Houses Museum is composed of two historic houses, Wygston’s Chantry House and Skeffington House and tells the story of 20th century Leicester and the history of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment.

The museum displays include room settings from the 1950s and 70s, a cinema experience, a collection of toys from Tudor to present day and a play area for children to try various games. Two dedicated community galleries tell the story of ‘Moving Here’ and settling in Leicester.

Find out more about Leicester’s famous son Daniel Lambert and visit a 1950s street scene inspired by Wharf Street that includes the Jolly Angler public house, a grocer and a pawnbroker, with sounds and conversations from the times.

Discover more about the story of Leicester at War. Through personal stories find out about the home front and the history of the Regiment, including a recreation of a First World War trench with sound and lighting.

Through oral histories, archive film, computer interactives and collections discover the histories of Newarke Houses, the surrounding historic area and 20th Century Leicester.


Leicester My Home

“Leicester My Home” is to be a new exhibition within Gallery One of the Newarke Houses Museum, Leicester.

The Exhibition will look into Leicester, past and present, and in particular focusing on work, industry and the sense of pride throughout the city.

The themes will include:

  1. Introduction to Leicester as a City
  2. Hosiery and knitwear in the early industrial era (1860-1900)
  3. Boot and shoe industry in Leicester (c 1860-1900)
  4. Engineering in Leicester (c 1900-1980)
  5. From the Home to the Factory
  6. From the Factory to the Home
  7. Large scale industrial units to smaller sized workshops in the late 20th Century

The LeicestHERday Trust will be partnered by Treasure Box Media and Zenithfilms to create digital audio and video for the exhibition.


About this Sponsor

The LeicestHERday Trust is an organisation formed to give an equal voice to all women and enhance the community at large by enhancing women's life experiences. LeicestHERday Trust is the home of the International Women's Day.