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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

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;

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.


Derek Barden February 2002 via Email (address withheld)

East Lancashire Cotton Town - Marian Sleigh.

Donshu Dinner Dance
Shoe Designs