A shoe firm started 100 years ago by identical twin brothers is still going strong – under the helm of identical twin grandsons.
DB Shoes, in Rushden, Northamptonshire, was founded by Jack Denton and Bill Denton on 11 February 1920.
The company is now run by Jack’s grandsons, David and Charles Denton, who helped rescue it in the 1990s.
Charles Denton said: “It’s in our blood. Shoes are part of our history. I’m extremely proud of that.”
Jack and Bill Denton came from a shoemaking family with their father George involved in another firm – Wilkins and Denton – from 1873.
George’s father, also George, was listed in the census as being involved in the shoe trade in 1841.
The twins began their own army boot firm, originally called Denbros Ltd, on 11 February, 1920.
They were also known as the Denton Twins and “all round sportsmen” when they played county cricket for Northamptonshire.
Both served with the Northants Regiment during World War One and were taken prisoner by the Germans in 1918.
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Grandson Charles, 56, said if Jack and Bill could see the firm now they would be “very proud that we have lasted in Rushden, that we have survived out of the hundreds that closed”.
Northamptonshire is renowned internationally as the home of shoemaking. In Rushden alone there were once 40 shoe firms.
The company still specialises in supplying made-to-order wide-fitting shoes – and has a thriving mail order business.
“We had to reinvent ourselves and found our strength in this niche market, given our ageing population,” Mr Denton said.
He said he and his brother David had four children between them, although none of them are twins.
He added that only time would tell if any of them “decide to take it on”.
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