History of the Museum

Elda and Footwear

It has been more than a hundred years since the manufacturing of the footwear is the main industry in Elda. However, we are not sure about when did exactly appear this industry itself.
It is important to mention that footwear has always existed in Elda, and there are several documents which can certify it, so it is essential to determinate when this industry started to create profits as well as an increase and innovation in its techniques.
Although the footwear industry development of Elda started with a group of shoe workers from the early XIX century, there were also other circumstances; agriculture problems, geographic location or other previous industries were some of them.
During the XIX century, this local industry had a consolidation that made it the first economical activity in the last part of the century. We can mention different stages: a first increase of workers and manufactures (1851 – 1870); new industries and services (1870); a consolidation as the first local industry (1875 – 1890); the construction of new factories (1891 – 1990).
In the last period of the XIX century, there was a transformation in the Elda’s society, which became an industrial village. As a consequence, there was an increase in the number of workers, a huge demand of them, basically children from the low class of society who started as apprentice.

Was during this time when Elda lived and spectacular increase in its population and became to have a wonderful recognition all around the world.


History of the Museum

The Elda Footwear Museum was created in 1992 and recognised by the Culture, Education and Science Valencian Ministry 24th March 1994.  The Museum is managed by The Footwear Museum Foundation with David Navarro Bel as Director.
The Museum was inaugurated 4th February 1999 and the act was presided over Princess Elena.
The handmade works and the unique objects that exist related to the footwear and its industry were in danger of extinction, and with the death of shoe workers and seamstresses were disappearing the most amazing and brilliant techniques of the low and medium Vinalopó region.
We need to mention that other Museums in relation with footwear exist in Spain, but unfortunately they have not been able to compile all aspects of this sector.
Talking about the Elda Footwear Museum is talking about a Museum that holds all aspects of this sector, with sections of documents – archives – titles; shoes and miniatures and tools and machinery related with the shoe industry.

Furthermore, the Museum recovers the old techniques of footwear manufacturing processes, promoting everything that leads to suppose a contribution for the investigation of this sector as well as didactic material for researchers.
The previous director and founder of the Museum, was related with the manufacturing shoe processes and its training in 1964. He was the witness of the processes from the handmade industry to the mechanise industry. During the 60´s and early 70´s, in the middle Vinalopo Region, many tools used in the handmade processes were moved away to open the way to the mass- produce industry. He started to collect most of these tools and old footwear with characteristics that made them different in design, type of leather, manufacture... During 80´s and thanks to the compatibility with the Shoe Technique teaching, they started to think about creating a Museum. Firstly, they received economic support from the Provincial Bank of Alicante and different business men as well as many shoe workers. After that, also the Official School of Engineers and the Town Hall of Elda took part in the investment.
The preparations to get the project started were officially made in 1988, when they started to create a collection which could be visited by people who worked with footwear or related with it. That initiative coincided with the closure of many factories, when they took the opportunity to save some of the tools and different shoe elements which could be shown to the public.


In 1989 they created a Commission for the sign of agreement related to the collaboration of the Town Hall of Elda, the Bank of Alicante and the Official Industrial Engineer School from Alicante.
From the very beginning and almost with no budget, they started the catalogue work, which after that was financed by the Valencian Ministry.
All the expenses were defrayed by little contributions from workers, business men...
The creation of the Elda Footwear Museum was made 15th January 1992.
Nowadays the Museum is composed of IMPIVA (Institute of Medium and Little Valencian Business), the Town Hall of Elda, Industry and Culture Ministry, Alicante’s Provincial Council, The Mediterranean Bank, the Official Industrial Engineers School from Alicante, INESCOP (Spanish Institute of Footwear), FICIA Foundation and FICE (Industrial Federation of the Spanish Footwear).
In December of 1992 the Elda Footwear Museum was inaugurated by the Culture and Education Minister in a property ceded by the Torreta High school from Elda.
In 1996, The Museum was moved to an industrial area meanwhile they were waiting for all the works to be finished in the same place as it used to be the FICIA (International Footwear and Industry Fair) where they were constructing the actual Museum with 2000 m2 area.


Apart from been one of the most important ladies in the high society of Spain, last 16th September the Duchess Cayetana from Alba also became “Best Put on Shoes Woman of Spain”.

The Museum took into account the fact that Mrs Cayetana has been during all her life a fashion icon because of her elegance, freshness and excellent taste in fashion, wearing the best national footwear brands, especially the ones from Elda and the region. After the traditional show around the Museum and accompanied by her husband Alfonso Díez and important figures of our city, she was given “The Formolio” as well as different collections of shoes from high quality footwear shoes brands from Elda , which are contributors. The Duchess also ceded her shoes to the Museum, the ones she wore in her recent wedding with Alfonso, which are displayed at the Elda Footwear Museum.

Cayetana de Alba, had a very warm welcoming at the entrance of the Museum by the public who was waiting for her, the Duchess also mentioned that she has always thought that Spanish shoes are the nicest ant the most original ones and also that all her shoes are from Spanish brands.

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