CHEANEY HERITAGE - MADE IN ENGLAND SINCE 1886
Joseph Cheaney established the company in 1886, and in 1896, along with his brother Arthur, they moved to the site which the factory occupies today.
During the first 80 years of business, the factory made shoes exclusively for some of the finest retailers around the world, branded to their individual company requirements.
Joseph Humphrey Cheaney, the founder’s grandson who worked for the company for 51 years, realised that the company’s future lay in building up its own Cheaney brand for its home and export markets. In 1964, determined to see the legacy built up by the family continue, the decision was taken to sell the business to Church’s English Shoes. The Cheaney brand then became available to retailers all over the world, backed by a comprehensive instock service from the Desborough factory.
In 1966 Cheaney won the Queen's Award to Industry and in 2016, the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.
In 2009 Jonathan and William Church bought the company. Their family has been making fine shoes for five generations and they are fully committed to producing the finest footwear entirely made in England.
The image shows Cheaney's Northamptonshire factory circa 1900 (same factory as today)
Joseph Cheaney was a prominent local character, being a local councillor and also had involvement in the Church. He was interested in the welfare of local children, and it appears that he used to keep them supplied with oranges.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Harold Cheaney joined his father and brother in the business, which led to the company name changing to J. Cheaney & Sons in 1903. It became a limited company in 1920, with a paid up share capital of £40,000, which was substantial for the time.
There are a couple of amusing anecdotes concerning the independent nature of the workforce in the early part of the 20th century. Desborough shoemakers took a lively interest in the local hunt and requested permission to go and watch the spectacle. This was refused, but the workforce went anyway, thus finishing production for the day! On another occasion, a sales representative for a last manufacturer came to demonstrate a more efficient way of handling lasts (the three dimensional form on which shoes are made). The workforce took exception to having their working practices criticised and promptly threw the salesman in the local duck pond, thus incurring each of them a £5 fine for their trouble! At that time Cheaney had a 54 hour working week spread over five and a half days.
CHEANEY RECEIVES A QUEEN'S AWARD FOR ENTERPRISE IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Cheaney is honoured to announce that it has been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade for 2016 on the day of the Queen’s 90th birthday.
The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the UK’s most prestigious business awards, given only to companies or individuals who are outstanding in their field.
This is the third time Cheaney has been awarded this honour the previous times being in 1966 and 1971, we are delighted to be back. We would like to extend a big thank you to all our employees, customers and suppliers without all of whom we could not have achieved this.