Did you know, The United Kingdom endures 33.7 inches of rainfall each year, with an average of 133 days experiencing rain and snow (please note as I write this from my little office in Wales, the odds are stacked slightly higher for us here). Therefore, it is no surprise that wellington boots have become a staple piece of every Brit’s wardrobe.
From here in Cowbridge to the Cotswolds and even Covent Garden, they are seen in every environment.
Originally worn by officers in the British Army, wellington boots have been around since the 1790s. However, it was Arthur Wellesley, more commonly known as the Duke of Wellington, who popularised the shoe in 1817. This transformed the wellington boot from military uniform to aristocrat fashion.
As the former British ambassador to France and the governor of Mysore and Seringapatam in India, Wellesley was a wealthy man, who was appointed Duke of Wellington in 1814. He had his own shoemaker, Mr George Hoby of St James’s Street, London. In the early 1800’s the Duke asked his shoemaker in London to modify his boots.
The new Wellington boot, named after the Duke himself, was an instant hit among British gentlemen, partly because of its practical and aesthetically pleasing design, but also because Wellesley was a war hero and other men were keen to emulate his style. Wellesley was most often portrayed in paintings wearing these boots that are now commonly known as “wellies”.
Le Chameau kindly sent a lovely pair my way a few weeks ago and now another lockdown is upon us, I can speak for a lot of people in saying there will be beautifully made wellies up and down the country making their debut over the next few days during Christmas and new year.
Every Le Chameau boot is constructed by one Mastre Bottier. In order to become a Mastre Bottier it takes 9 months of training before they are ready to construct their first Le Chameau boot.
The Mastre Bottier carefully stretches the rubber pieces over the aluminium boot last, gradually forming the famous Le Chameau shape. Once the shape has been created, it’s time to add the trims and small details that give the Le Chameau boot its premium quality.
I can vouch for the comfort (my other wellies are Hunters and not quite as soft or warm) and they do have a fabulous variety of sizes and tasteful shades…. Daisy my companion in the picture is slightly nonplussed.
Check out www.lechameau.com for more information on their fabulous boots!