1. ITV Report

Extraordinary life of king of the boot makers

Horace L. Batten Photo: ITV Anglia

One of the oldest traditional bootmakers in the country has died at the age of 102. Horace Lampard Batten was still making shoes until three years ago in the village of Ravensthorpe in Northamptonshire.
Seven generations of the family have run Battens Bespoke Boot Makers. Horace took the reins aged 25. He was a keen sportsman a for a short period captained both the Northampton Saints rugby and cricket teams. He began a professional career in cricket but had to give up when his mother’s health deteriorated and he was drafted into the family business. As he perfected his craft in Northamptonshire, his boots went to clients worldwide including Darth Vader who wore a pair of Batten's wax calf jackboots in the original Star Wars trilogy. In the second world war, the business did its part by making boots for the armed forces. The Batten family also made boots for hunting, and the quality of their products was such that some have been known to last for up to 40 years.

Horace as a young man Credit: ITV Anglia
Horace as a teenager Credit: ITV Anglia

You can watch Olivia Paterson's report, containing pictures of Horace at work taken when he was 97, below.