Ellis Brigham – Still going strong at 90

Ellis Brigham
Oh, the boots! An early down advert from the Ellis Brigham catalogue. Photo: Ellis Brigham

How will you feel when you’re 90?

In the current age when many companies spring up from nowhere and are just as quickly forgotten, to be around for 90 years shows not only tenacity, but the ability to do things right – and keep doing it right.

When boot-maker Frederick Ellis Brigham opened his two-up two-down in Harpurhey, a Manchester suburb, in 1933, he could only have dreamed that 90 years on, having survived a World War, several recessions and a pandemic, that the third generation of Brighams would be at the helm of one of the most experienced outdoor retailers in the UK.

From trilby hats and tweed jackets to Scottish beaters shoes, boots with sought-after nailing patterns and Fred’s hand-made sandals, the company recalls how people would walk miles just to peer through the shop windows at the latest kit offerings, as well as seek Brigham’s advice. Or they would bring their gear in for Fred to repair: sustainability long before the throwaway era.

Today, people still peer through the window displays of some 24 stores nationwide, all crammed with some of the most renowned brands on the market, before stepping inside for a browse, expert advice and perhaps a bespoke boot/pack fitting or in-store event. Whether it’s hiking, climbing, camping, paddleboarding, dog walking, trail running, skiing, snowboarding, there has always been something for every outdoor lover.

To celebrate the anniversary year, Ellis Brigham is holding an Explore Weekend in September – a two-day exploration and outdoor adventure weekend, which runs from September 15 to 17 in Bala, North Wales. Guests will be able to enjoy guided hikes, trail runs, climbing, swimming, paddleboarding, outdoor cooking demos, gear repairs, yoga, forest school, workshops and speakers plus a two night camping pitch all included in the ticket price.