Click here for the Glossary page
Click here for the main index of the Burton Latimer Heritage Society site
Click here to return to the previous page

Article from the careers supplement of Northants Evening Telegraph 14 June 1957
Coles Group Youth Training 1957

Young Employee receiving instruction
A Young Employee receiving instruction at the Coles Group Factory at Burton Latimer.

In recent years, the Coles Group of Burton Latimer – the largest private group of shoe manufacturers in the Midlands – have added to their interests every year, and that policy is to be maintained.

With the diversity of interests they have in such a large number of markets the Group offers the school-leaver a bright future, with the knowledge that he or she will be playing an essential part in the life of the industry and the country.

The Coles Group comprises eight companies – the Coles Boot Co., E K Coles Ltd., Whitney and Westley Ltd., Individual Shoes Ltd., Beaufort Shoes Ltd., Arthur Nutt and Co. Ltd., Finedon, C and W Footwear Ltd., Wellingborough and Compere Shoes Ltd.

They manufacture men’s, women’s and children’s footwear and each week thousands of pairs of shoes are distributed to all parts of the world.

In fact, the Group is one of the leading exporters in the district.

The weekly output is 30000 pairs and the firm employs a staff of 1250.


All young people who join the Coles Group can be assured of a personal interest being taken in their future. They are given every encouragement and opportunity to advance their careers.

On two days a week, they can attend technical school during working hours and as soon as they become competent, they can go on to full-time piecework.

With their high production programmes, the Coles Group pay very high wages.

The firm’s canteen is one of the finest in the county and here excellent lunches can be obtained at very reasonable prices.


The Coles Group is noted for their social activities. Under the guidance of a welfare committee, employees enjoy annual outings and factory parties – the last one they held was the largest the Wicksteed Park Pavilion had ever seen. Also popular on the social side are the Keep Fit classes at which professional instruction is given to those who want to enjoy complete fitness.

The parent company of the Group – The Coles Boot Co. – celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.

The Group was founded in 1908 by Mr. J. Wallace Coles, at Burton Latimer and he was succeeded by his son, Mr. E. Keith Coles whose son, Mr. Nigel Coles is now in the business.

Mr. Coles’ son-in-law, Mr R. L. Amey is also with the firm. Mr Lewis Langford, a director of all the companies joined the Group in 1927, and his son, Mr. G. Langford, is now in the business.

Mr. Angus Westley, who is a grandson of the founder of Whitney and Westley Ltd. is a Group director and managing director of Whitney and Westley Ltd.

The Coles Group who have brought glamour to the men’s footwear trade and whose products are worn by royalty abroad and by leading celebrities in the world of entertainment and sport offer to the school leavers security and ideal working conditions in a clean modern factory. (Click here to read more about The Coles Group)

Click here to return to the Main Index
Click here to return to the Local Industry Index