This wooden foot is called a LAST. They came in different sizes, the upper of the shoe was pulled over the last and then the sole was sewn on.
The clickers and closers in Olney worked on an 'outwork' basis, meaning that they worked from home usually in a small barn, for factories which were assembly workshops - such as that of Mr Hinde in Back Street (East Street)

They sent the various pieces of shoes that they had cut or sewn to the factory where they would then be made up. They were paid according to the amount of work they had done and a good worker could earn a reasonable wage.

Shoemakers had a reputation for being hard drinkers, and this was certainly the case in Olney with its wealth of public houses. At the end of the 19th century there were at least 15 and a good deal of the shoemakers time and money was spent in them.

When Mr Hinde and Mr Mann opened the Cowper Works many of the little workshops fell into disuse, because it was decided that the workers should 'come-in', meaning that they had to attend the factory to carry out their work.

The men were not entirely happy about this, but knew that it meant better working conditions and a regular wage.