Modern Maybole has
risen into fame chiefly through the Shoemaking industry. For the introduction of
this trade among us, we are indebted to the enterprise of two men— Mr Charles
Crawford, and Mr John Gray; while for its remarkable expansion we are indebted
to Mr James Ramsay, Mr T. A. Gray, Mr Robert Crawford, Mr Lees, and several
others. It says not a little for these men that they have hitherto managed to
secure a comparative monopoly of this branch of manufacture in Scotland. Other
towns, more favourably situated, might have equalled or surpassed us, but these
contrived to be first in the field, and have so led the way that Maybole shoes
are now found all over the world.
At the present
date, there are ten shoe factories in the town:
John Gray and Co., Ladywell.
T. A. Gray, Lorne.
James Ramsay, St. Cuthbert’s.
John Lees and Co., Townend.
William Boyd, St. Helen’s.
Shoe Factory, Drumellan St.
J. M. Runeie, Greenside.
G. Dick, Ladyland.
M’Garvie and Co., Society St.
Cuthbert’s Shoe Factory.
These ten factories
employ over 1500 people, and produce annually about a million pairs of boots and
shoes, valued at £250,000.
To aid in disposing
of this immense stock of shoes, a large number of shops have been established
throughout the country, each bearing MAYBOLE SHOE SHOP on it's
front. This well-known sign may be seen not only in Scotland but also in England
and Ireland. A friend even noticed it in far off Manitoba. It is chiefly the
heavier class of shoes that are manufactured here, although large quantities are
also made for ordinary wear. The employers have ever been foremost in the
introduction of new machinery, so as to keep in the forefront of the trade; and
a walk through one of our factories is a treat to the visitor. Most of these
factories have tanning and currying works connected with them also, so that
while the raw hide is brought in at one door, it is taken out as manufactured
goods at the other.
St. Cuthbert's factory best known to visitors as standing in the
main line of traffic. It is adjacent to St. Cuthbert’s Well, whose name it has
taken, and fronts the castle, whose well-known figure it has adopted as a Trade
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