Blackmans Shoes' amended shopfront, reading: 'We DO sell online'. Image courtesy of Blackmans shoes.
LocalLocal economyNews

Brick Lane’s Blackmans Shoes closes after 87 years

London’s first Dr Marten retailer now in its third generation has closed up shop on Cheshire Street and moved online

Blackman’s Shoes, the infamous father-and-son shoeshop has closed its shop just off Brick Lane after 87 years on Saturday 1 July.

Despite the sign: ‘We do not sell online’ displayed proudly on Blackman’s busy shopfront for most of its life, the family-run retailer has been forced to go back on its promise and move its sales online. 

On Monday 5 June, owner Phil Blackman wrote on Instagram: ‘With a very heavy heart, I have decided after 87 years in east London to close the shop front of Blackmans Shoes. This decision has weighed heavily on me and my family but we sadly just cannot continue.

‘We tried to hold off selling online for as long as we can to be original and not cave to modern societies. That time came, the same as the time has now come that online is the only way we can keep the shop open.’

When visiting the online shop, you are met with the shop’s well-known mantra: ‘The devil wears Prada, but the people wear £5 plimsolls,’ that hung proudly on the painted-black exterior of its Cheshire Street location. 

But in the world of online retail where you’re hard-pressed to find a pair of shoes for less than £40, Blackman’s has had to up its price of plimsolls for the first time in its long history. 

A pair of the white or black rubber-soled pumps from Blackman’s will now set you back £7. But when a pint around the corner from its old Cheshire Street location comes in at a similar price, it’s difficult to feel too hard done by. 

Serving the East End since 1935, Blackman’s witnessed many changes that have swept through East London in the intervening decades. Until the very end, the family-run establishment proudly remained an offline, cash-only establishment. 

In a video posted on Instagram, Blackman announced the official closing of the bricks-and-mortar shop on Saturday 1 July, inviting his loyal customers to visit the shop for a chat and a cup of tea before its closure. 

Though this East End institution has lost its physical home, you can still find the retro boots, hi-shine brogues and Dr Martens that Blackmans was known for at affordable prices online. 

For your next pair of Monkey Boots, visit Blackmansshoes.com 

If you enjoyed this piece, you might like our article about local residents protesting to save the Frank Dobson Square improvements.

Please support local journalism.

As a social enterprise using constructive journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or subscription fee as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone in our area.

We are a tiny team of four covering Bethnal Green and Tower Hamlets, relying entirely on member donations. Hundreds of members have already joined. Become a member to donate as little as £3 per month to support constructive journalism and the local community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.