Donshu Davidsons Footwear, Rishton

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Street: Ashworth Street
Town: Rishton
Post Code: BB1 4JW

Donald Davidson was born in the Rossendale Valley on the morning of the 28th February 1906.

Rishton is where it all starts from for Donald and his family, they moved into the town in 1937, Donald, his wife, and their daughter, Avril, who was only 18 months old at the time.

Shoe Design Sheet from May 1963
Visible Image - Shoe design sheet from May 1963
(MOVE YOUR MOUSE OVER THE PICTURE TO MAKE IT CHANGE)
Hidden Image - April 1951 Design, updated in 1962.
(Pictures courtesy of Derek Barden)

They bought number 36 High Street, and lived upstairs, the ground floor being used for the shop and shoe repair room.

The main business which Donald won for the business, was a major contract for the army to repair the boots for the soldiers.

The other business premise were;

  • 50 and 52 High Street,

  • 21 and 23 High Street, purchased about 1945,

and in 1949 he purchased the site for Donshu which was on Queen Victoria Street in Mill Hill.

Neil Walmsley, former Mechanic at Donshu.

In 1952 he also purchased premises on School street in the town, which were previously the Rishton library, and before that the liberal club, which now has been demolished. It is also said that he used the Primitive Methodist church which was also on School Street between 1952 and 1957.

During 1960 he purchased Daisy Hill Mill, and sold 36, 50, 52, 21 and 23 High Street and the School Street premises. The mill had become vacant in 1960 as a result of the Government re-organisation of the cotton industry, and was thus taken over.

This was Davidson's limited, manufacturers of shoes and slippers with vulcanised soles. The Rishton Company was a branch of a Blackburn firm that was itself an offshoot of a Rossendale firm. Originally the firm was housed in a smaller, inadequate building in Rishton in 1958 but in 1960 the needs for new premises were essential. Therefore Daisy Hill mill was purchased for expansion purposes.

The extensive renovations and conversions necessary included rewiring, reflooring, reventilating, and redecorating throughout, but the building was structurally sound. The ground floor only was used and should the need for further expansion arise, there was land available.

The raw materials consisted of various fabrics from England, Germany, Holland and Malaysian rubber from Perite Limited, Dunlop, and Kays in sponge form on sheeting. The majority of the slippers are for the home market and only a small percentage is exported. Transport was by road, waste fabric was burnt, but waste rubbish was returned to the manufacturers and a refund received.

Of the 204 employees, 74 were women (including my Mum during the late 60's) and 66 of the total live in Rishton, but there was a little difficulty in finding recruits in the town.

In 1965 on the 25th February, Donshu Footwear was on fire due to an electrical fault. This is when Donshu Davidson merge.

5th February 1983 saw the end of the once great footwear factory, all in all a sad day, for there were many people from Rishton, Blackburn, and Great Harwood who at one time or another worked for Mr Davidson.

The overhead photo is taken looking down Ashworth Street towards the East.

The person in the white coat, is believed to be Firmee or Kenneth Sutcliffe.

Now closed down, the factory has been split into small units.

Donshu Dinner Dance
Visible Image 1 - Some of the staff at Donshu before leaving for a day outing.
(MOVE YOUR CURSOR OVER THE PICTURE TO MAKE IT CHANGE)
Hidden Image 2 - A night outing from the Donshu, a dinner dance.
(Pictures courtesy of Derek Barden)
Shoe Designs
Visible Image - Donshu design from June 1962
(MOVE YOUR MOUSE OVER THE IMAGE TO MAKE THE PICTURE CHANGE)
Hidden Image - June 1964 Shoe Design
(Pictures courtesy of Derek Barden)

Previous Tenants

1878

Christened: Name: James Ashworth Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: cotton manufacturer Married on: Address: Daisy Hill mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1881

Christened: Name: James Ashworth Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: cotton manufacturer Married on: Address: Daisyhill mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1887

Christened: Name: Oscar Loren COCHRANE Age: 27 Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Doctor Occupation: Married on: Address: Daisy Hill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Died at: Burial Date: Tuesday, August 16, 1887 Cremated? Burial No: 3 Grave Ref: OA 103 Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1888

Christened: Name: Smithson Brothers Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: cotton manufacturers Married on: Address: daisy hill mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1888

Christened: Name: Smithson Brothers Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: cotton manufacturers Married on: Address: daisy hill mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1894

Christened: Name: Smithson Brothers Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: cotton manufacturers Married on: Address: Daisy Hill mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1897

Christened: Name: Smithson Brothers Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: cotton manufacturers Married on: Address: Daisy Hill mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1903

Christened: Name: Smithson Bros. Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: cotton manufacturers Married on: Address: Daiseyhill mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Tel. 7 Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1906

Christened: Name: British Northrop Loom Co Ltd Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: Married on: Address: Daisy field Mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: 78 (Great Harwood) Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1915

Christened: Name: William F. Chambers & Sons Limited Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: Cotton Manufacturers Married on: Address: Daisy Hill Mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1931

Christened: Name: W. F. Chambers & Sons, Ltd. Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: COTTON GOODS (MANUFACTURERS OF) Married on: Address: Daisy Hill Mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1935

Christened: Name: W. F. Chambers & Sons Ltd. Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: cotton manufacturers Married on: Address: Daisey Hill Mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1935

Christened: Name: William F. Chambers & Sons, Ltd. Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: cotton manufacturers Married on: Address: Daisy Hill mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Tel. 149 Great Harwood Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1947

Christened: Name: William F. Chambers & Sons Ltd. Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: cotton manufacturers Married on: Address: Daisy Hill mill, Ashworth Street Telephone: Telephone 149 Great Harwood Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

1951

Christened: Name: W. F. Chambers & Sons Ltd. Age: Date of Birth: Birth Place: Relationship: Occupation: cotton manufacturers Married on: Address: Daisey Field Mill, Ainsworth Street Telephone: Died at: Burial Date: Cremated? Burial No: Grave Ref: Notes: No Image on file. Reference:

References

178 Rishton, A North East Lancashire Cotton Town Website Exists- Marian Sleigh Valid Email-
  • Sunday, January 1, 1978 0

218 Derek Barden Website Exists- Rishton Website Valid Email-
  • Friday, February 1, 2002 0 Donshu Footwear