Located AtStaffordshire Record Office
LevelCollection
TitleRecords of R K Bailey Ltd., shoe retailers, Town Hall Buildings, Tunstall
Administrative HistoryThis business was founded in 1842 by Charles Frederick Bailey who came from Preston in Lancashire to Burslem to make clogs for pottery workers. He became known as "Clogger Bailey". The business passed from father to son until the depositor, Reginald King Bailey (b. 1903) began trading in Tunstall as R K Bailey in February 1934.

Mr R K Bailey was trained in the shoe business for two years at Lotus of Stafford. He progressed through the factory from washing leather to dealing with business accounts. He also worked at Messrs. Brookfields, Greengate Street, Stafford. In addition, he qualified as a chiropodist after studying in Manchester. The firm became a limited company in May 1942 with Mr R K Bailey as Director and Mrs Mollie Bailey as Secretary. Although Mr Bailey was called up for war service late in 1943 and worked as a miner (an member of the National Union of Mineworkers) from April 1944 until September 1945 at Sneyd Colliery, Burslem, nevertheless he continued to manage the shoe business. He opened a branch at Burslem in 1947 and another in Cheadle in 1956. The Cheadle branch was originally registered as 'Ken King' but this was refused by the authorities because of the royal associations of 'King' although it was Mr. Bailey's middle name. It continued trading until May 1977 when the effects were transferred to R. K. Bailey Ltd., Tunstall. The following year the Burslem branch was also closed. This was to reduce the responsibilities of Mr. Bailey and in 1979, when he was 76 years old, the parent business in Tunstall was sold to Clarks Ltd. of Street, Somerset who have continued (1985) to trade as R K Bailey at the same premises in Town Hall Buildings, Tunstall.

In 1934 the staff consisted of Mr R K Bailey at a weekly wage of £2. 10s. and one assistant. This was Mrs Maskery who had worked for Mr. Bailey's father and grandfather. In 1934 Mrs. Maskery's wages were £1. 17s. 6d. per week. In 1934-5 the business turnover was £3,301. 9s. 1/2 d; in 1977 it was £57,288 net and in 1978 £68,659 net. In 1978-9 including the sale to Clarks total takings were £100,000.

Mr R K Bailey married Mollie Webb on 3 June 1936. A school-teacher, she was the daughter of George Webb of Tunstall and sister of Alf Webb and of Laura Jones of Uriah Jones Pottery. They had one daughter, Victoria Webb Bailey, born 5 May 1941, who married Brian Walker of Century Oils on 3 April 1963. They have three children, Clare, Paul and Guy. Victoria is Vicki Walker of Radio Stoke. Mr R K Bailey has been involved in many aspects of local life. From 1938 to 1950 he served as a Sergeant and Inspector in the Special Constabulary. Between 1942 and 1945 he raised for the Spitfire Fund £10,000, enough for one Spitfire. He also helped to raise £10,000 for the Haywood Hospital of which he remained a Governor until the introduction of the National Health Service. Amongst other offices, Mr R K Bailey has been President of the Tunstall Traders' Association, President of Tunstall Building Society, President of Tunstall Rotary Club, Vice-Chairman of the Malam Home, Secretary of the Nash, Peake and Roxborough Fund for 44 years, Secretary of the Tunstall Old Folks' Treat, Captain, President and Chairman of the Directors of Newcastle Golf Club, member of Wolstanton Golf Club and Porthill Tennis Club, member of B.P.M.F. Club, Stoke, member of Old Public Schools' Rugby Club and a member of the Maori Amateur Dance Band.
Access ConditionsSome of the records in this collection are not generally available for public consultation, as they are subject to exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act. Please contact Staffordshire Record Office for further information.
CopyrightAny questions concerning the publication of images of documents in this collection should be directed to the County Archivist, Staffordshire Record Office, Eastgate Street, Stafford ST16 2 LZ.
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